Focus on Total 911 with editor Philip Raby
Fueling a passion for the most popular of Porsches, Total 911 brings its readers the latest news and features on a range of models, from modern to classic. Here Raby tells us more about how the magazine is put together, road trips, and long drives to work…
About the publication:
Tell us a bit about Total 911: Total 911 was born from a long-standing love for the Porsche 911 in all its forms. It sounds corny, but it really is produced by enthusiastic enthusiasts. How do you differ from other publications in your sector? Total 911 is the world’s only magazine that focuses on just the 911 – the only Porsche that people get really passionate about. It also has very high production values, so it looks great. Describe a typical reader for us: Total 911 has a worldwide readership, with the UK and USA being our main markets. The typical reader is male and will own, or aspire to own, a Porsche 911, and be really passionate about the cars. What stories are you most interested in covering in the publication? Each issue includes features on a range of 911s, from classic to modern cars. Because we focus just on 911s, we can go into a lot of detail on the cars. We are also running more articles on cars’ owners to add some human interest. How does the editorial process run? Do you have specific days when you focus on different aspects of the magazine, or is the planning on a much more ad-hoc basis? The production process is carefully planned through the month to avoid a last-minute rush, with time-sensitive material, such as news, being left until last. How do you decide the content, front covers and headines? Content is planned a couple of issues in advance, but sometimes changes to ensure we include up to the minute material on new models. Headlines are created by me and I aim to make them eye catching and witty. Covers are carefully honed over the four-week production period, with weekly meetings. Do you produce a features list? (If not, why not) Yes, we have a forward features list which is brimming with great ideas. Do you use freelance contributions, and if so, are they for any particular section/type of work? Yes, freelance writers and photographers are the lifeblood of Total 911. They are used for some of the main features. We insist on top-quality material, both written and visual. I have a great team of freelancers but am always happy to hear from other people who feel they have something to contribute.
Do you work closely with PRs? My main PR contact is, of course, with Porsche Cars GB. However, I also get press material from independent suppliers. What information/input from PRs is most useful to you? Information on products that will be of interest to our readers. Not only Porsche and other motoring products, but also cool gadgets and products that Porsche owners will enjoy. What's the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client? Email directly to me, but only if you think the product or service will be appropriate. Do you have a PR pet hate? Press releases that don’t give me all the information – contact details and prices are often left off. Also, product shots that are far too small for print media. When is the best time for PRs to contact you & when is your deadline for contributions? Any time during the month is fine but always by email.
Describe a typical day at work: What are your editorial duties/responsibilities at the magazine (e.g. commissioning, nibs, subbing, features, interviewing etc)? I work from home three days a week and spend two days at head office. Working from home means I can start at about 8am and work through to about 6pm. Getting an issue out every four weeks keeps me busy. I liaise with contributors, ensuring they have detailed briefs before they commence work and chat through potential ideas with them. I do all the subediting on the magazine, so I spend much of my time going through contributed work – I’ve weeded out poor contributors so the material I get in now is pretty ‘clean’. I also write a lot of the magazine myself – some of the features plus all the standing pages, such as news. Many of the features I do myself are the detailed, in depth ones, so I have lots of research to do each day. There’s a Total 911 blog now, so I’m training myself to remember to post on that, and also put updates on Twitter and Facebook. My office days involve a 70-mile drive to work, so I don’t start work until after 9am. As well as writing and editing, my time is spent discussing features with my designer, working closely with the advertising team and meeting with the publisher. It’s good to have face to face contact with the team. What do you love about your work? Most of the time, I’m office-bound, so it’s great to get out on location, with a couple of great cars and a photographer. If we’re lucky, we may even have time to squeeze in lunch! Sometimes we plan longer road trips, which are tiring but a lot of fun. Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position? I started off working as a marine electronics engineer, of all things, then I went to college and moved on to be a photographer (which is why I’m fussy about images in Total 911). I then edited several photography magazines before going on to launch and edit a number of car magazines. I started Total 911 about four years ago. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Eat the frog – get all the unpleasant tasks out of the way first, rather than storing them up until last. If you weren’t doing this, what would you do? Early retirement would be nice! Seriously, though, I’d like to do something involved in sailing or some other action sport. Maybe running a magazine on that subject. What media do you seek out 1st thing in the morning (magazines, books, blogs)? The BBC news website is on my RSS feeds and keeps me up to date with what’s going on. I get loads of magazines arriving on my desk, but rarely have time to read them properly, although I do keep an eye on what the opposition is doing. What's your idea of a relaxing day off? Going sailing in Chichester Harbour, which is local to me and my favourite place to be. [lnk|http://www.featuresexec.com/publications/info_outlet.php?pubid=11011|_self|Total 911] [img|jpg|Total 911 editor Philip Raby]