Please be aware that this focus interview is with Sarah Berry, the editor of top shelf magazine, Foreplay. If you are of a sensitive nature you may find the answers a little too explicit. If not, we do hope you enjoy reading the interview.
About the publication:
Who reads it and how many of them are there?
We’ve a circulation of 28,000 going to all sorts of open-minded men, women and those in between. Whether they’d like to have a gangbang, want to improve their oral skills, or secretly wear their wife’s knickers; if they get off sitting in custard, want to know the best fetish clubs or go weak at the knees over rubber; even if they just want to bang one out to saucy pictures, we’ll help them get off, whatever their pleasure.
What subjects do you cover? What stories are you most interested in covering?
Through our 2,000 word features, columns, reviews and fiction, we cover the whole erotic spectrum. There’s articles on oral sex and roleplay, to pieces on SM, swinging and fetishes. The mag is both serious and fun. In our second issue we’ve an MEP standing up for brothels, we’ve also get a legal columnist who explores everything from censorship to sex trafficking.
What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
The only literary top shelf mag left on the market, Foreplay brings you in-depth features, fiction, reader’s letters, legal advice, listings and reviews covering every aspect of the erotic world. Written by players for players, the Foreplay staff consists of a pervy cult pop icon, a pro dominatrix, a submissive, a splosher and a tranny.
How do you decide the content, front covers and headlines?
I like the mag to comprise of a range of articles to make sure the overall mag is both fun and informative as well as sexy. The pieces should cause a reaction in the reader, that they go ‘oh wow’, they laugh, are amazed or shocked. Covers need to be eye catching and cheeky. Also because it’s only A5 they need to be simple.
Do you produce a features list? Why? Why not?
I can do, though with juggling five mags in one go it can be tricky to get this done in advance. I’m happy to discuss up coming features though.
Do you use freelance contributions, and if so, are they for any particular section/type of work?
I do, both for articles and fiction. We also take readers’ letters, these are unpaid.
Do you work closely with PRs (e.g. for supplements, round tables, events) or do you keep them at arm’s length?
Do you have any advice for PRs?
I only deal with products that are sexy – eg fetishwear and lingerie, sex toys, aphrodisiacs, interesting experiences like nudist camps or swinging clubs, porn and erotic publishers.
How should a PR approach you about their client?
Email me first and then make a quick phone call.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
If you’ve got hot pics.
Do you have a PR pet hate?
When they don’t understand that mags work a few months in advance.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & what is your deadline for contributions?
Any time, though preferably after 2.00.
Describe a typical day at work: What are you editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet (e.g. commissioning, subbing, features, interviewing)?
A lot of days I’m at my desk emailing contributors, drawing up flatplans, as well as getting frothy over erotica and hot pics of people having sex. When I’m not at my desk I get to do a lot of fun stuff. I’ve been to lots of porn sets and fetish clubs and had the pleasure of interviewing adult actors, dominatrix’s, artists, campaigners.. I’m not voyeur – for work I’ve been an adult baby, a dog, I’ve kicked chaps in the balls (with consent of course) and I’ve cycled through London naked.
What interests you most about your job?
I love finding out what makes people tick and I get to see people at their most vulnerable.
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I used to edit trade and travel publications – including Road & Rail Technology and the in-car magazine for Hertz. I’ve always freelanced for erotic magazines and, until it closed, I had a column in Scarlet called Berry Outrageous where I’d try out something sexy or strange once a month including having a very intimate Tantric massage, being a naked cleaner, trying laughing yoga and going round Camden dressed as a Drag King.
Do you Twitter? Why, why not?
I will be.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Use lots of lube.
I’d like to have a go at…. / If you weren’t doing this, what would you do?
Trying to do this.