A Magazine for Black Authors
Remember back in the days when you had to wait for your favorite magazine to drop or radio show to come on to get your entertainment news? With the explosion of digital media, you can now receive information on just about any topic at the snap of Thanos’s fingers.
Over the last decade, there has been a decline in print media and that’s due to digital journalism. And when the pandemic hit the already struggling industry saw another decline.
But even with all the talk of print being dead there is a special group of people that’s keeping it alive. There will always be something special about receiving a magazine in your hands that’s addressed to you personally. Taking the time to peruse each article and consume the content and not just skim because you’re on the phone.
Darlene Ringo knew this and launched Juicy Reads, a magazine for Black literature. We caught up with Ringo to learn more about Juicy Reads, and how Black authors and members of the literary community can support and be part of the magazine.
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.
SGBC: Tell me about the time when you first had the idea to publish a magazine for Black independent authors, what was the first thing you did to ensure that it would happen?
Darlene Ringo: The idea came into play from my husband. We are both entrepreneurs and he wanted to start a magazine and I was so focused on my brand She Reads Fire hashtag #JuicyReads. I decided to make my hashtag a magazine. The first thing I did was research how to create a magazine.
SGBC: What is it about Black literature that made you want to create a magazine? And is your magazine genre specific?
Darlene Ringo: I love my culture and I love my people, so I decided to create a platform for readers who enjoy reading these different authors that we don’t even know exist.
I love to read, and the whole reason for me starting my bookstagram was to connect with readers and share books I read with them. I love reading Black everything. In public libraries and bookstores, I was disappointed with the limited selection of Black Authors. That is until I discovered Instagram and connected with authors all over the world. I wanted to give those authors a better platform and celebrate them while they were still alive. I feature Black authors regardless of their genre.
SGBC: With the world being digital, what was the deciding factor in making the magazine available to people who wanted the print version?
Darlene Ringo: While the world may appear digital, there are still avid readers who are not interested in digital ebooks and e-book magazines. They prefer print. Print is definitely making a comeback. When I started my magazine, I made it available both digitally and in print. (Currently, digital services are on hold until a better service can be found).
SGBC: What is the process from start to finish to create a print magazine?
Darlene Ringo: It takes a little over a month to complete the process. It is written and edited by me. The first step is finding authors to feature. The second step involves asking questions and writing a written article or an interview.
It is also my pleasure to read those authors’ books. As a reviewer, I feature books from those authors. While creating the cover and designing page-by-page layouts, I must send reminders to authors to submit forms or emails. Edit authors’ pictures for the best quality. I always publish a magazine of 28-44 pages, but in between then, I have to divide my writing work because I am a mother to two adoring children and a wife. My schedule is rather full these days.
SGBC: How do you select who makes the cover and what interviews and reviews make the cut for each issue?
Darlene Ringo: This is one of the most frequent questions I receive. It’s completely random. I never know who will grace my cover next. When I reach out to them for the opportunity or they can come to me, I like to help all authors, but it really depends on the authors who are interested in being part of Juicy Reads magazine.
SGBC: What has been the biggest business lesson that you have learned since starting your own magazine?
Darlene Ringo: One is being able to accept help. Since January, I have been self-publishing my magazine and promoting it endlessly. I recently began working with other people and now I have a little help–that goes a long way. Thanks to my brand ambassadors.
Taking a break is another thing I’ve learned to do, as I have overworked myself too often, and used to be afraid of losing readers’ interest. But I realized that if people love you they will always be here when I return. Without rest, you cannot function properly.
SGBC: What has been one of your personal highlights since starting the magazine that you can share?
Darlene Ringo: The experience of working with an author is like becoming acquainted with my favorite celebrity. All of the 100 plus authors I have worked with, including Jade Jones, Genesis Woods (she is so humble) Rae Lyse (I love her) and Myss Shan dopeness still make me giddy.
SGBC: For people out there who want to start a magazine but may feel like it’s too hard, what would be your advice to them?
Darlene Ringo: Research and do it! You don’t have to be a genius to do it. If you are truly passionate about it, it will come naturally.
SGBC: Can authors and people within the Black literary space purchase Ads to be featured in Juicy Reads?
Darlene Ringo: There are definitely some authors needed for my November issue right now. Visit my link to book now https://www.shereadsfire.com/magazine-feature
SGBC: Where do you want to see the Juicy Reads brand in five years?
Darlene Ringo: In five years Juicy Reads will be a well-known brand within the Black community of authors but most importantly the entire world. I have a few good projects that are coming soon that will be needed. By that time, I will have a staff that can help me with my magazine and writers, and reviewers. Also, I will have a bookstore filled with juicy novels.
SGBC: What do you want people to know about Juicy Reads?
Darlene Ringo: It is released every other month, as Juicy Reads magazine is a bi-monthly issue. I currently have six issues and am working on the last issue of the year. As well as featuring authors, my magazine also features poetry, book reviews, art, and unsigned authors.
I am so excited to offer subscription boxes in January. As well as coming soon is a podcast.
SGBC: Black Literature is…
Darlene Ringo: Black Literature is dope, it is creative, it is passionate, it is real, it’s unique, it’s the perfect getaway read when you need an escape from the world and it is juicy like Juicy Reads Magazine so get your copy!
Sistah Girls, Darlene was so dope to chat with, be sure to sign up to receive your copy of Juicy Reads magazine!
Keep up with Juicy Reads on these internet streets…
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