Early Days for Harvesting Stories

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It may not be spring yet, but something is taking seed in Footscray – we’ve just started working on issue 4 of early harvest! Our editorial board, made up of thirteen exceptionally intelligent-looking editors from St John’s Primary School, Footscray Primary School, St Monica’s Primary School and Footscray West Primary School, are embarking on an intensive editorial program of commissioning, editing and publishing their very own literary magazine.

First things first, though. Before we start work, the board had a very serious discussion about the kind of environment they wanted early harvest to be created in. Everyone had some fantastic ideas about what made a good working environment – from relaxing and easygoing, to cooperative, supportive and mindful, and most importantly fun! It’s clear that these editors know exactly what it takes to make teamwork successful.

Next up, we heard from a bunch of people that will be involved in early harvest this year. Our publishers, Lach and Jess, gave us the rundown on their expectations, and marketing manager Andrew explained to us why decisions like the size, the cover design and even the binding of the magazine can affect the sales and marketing. The board were pretty keen to talk about the possibility of TV ads for early harvest, but since our advertising budget is pretty small (ie. zero) we realised we might have to come up with some alternative advertising ideas.

We also chatted with Andrew about the readership for early harvest, and came up with a clear picture of our ideal reader, which should help when we’re making decisions down the track. The early harvest reader could be a kid or an adult, who likes reading fiction and is creative, silly and adventurous. They’re an Andy Griffiths fan (who isn’t?) and we think they probably live in Australia – though some members of the board thought early harvest had the potential to go global!

Finally, at the end of the workshop, we made our first big publishing decision: the theme! After a giant brainstorming session and an intense voting period, the board decided that the theme of early harvest 2015 will be… TECHNOLOGY!

From typewriters to time-travelling spacecraft, there’s no restrictions on what technology might mean. We’re pretty excited to see what the writers and illustrators come up with.

This week we’re writing the callout for submissions, so stay tuned!

Samantha Forge is an Editor at Black Inc. and the Deputy Online Editor at Kill Your Darlings. She was one of the Creative Producers of the 2015 Digital Writers’ Festival, and is currently completing a Masters of Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne. She is a volunteer project facilitator for this year’s Early Harvest program.