Is pleasure something you treasure? In our chat with Knave and Fiesta's editor Matthew Elliott we talk changes in the erotic magazine industry since the rise of the internet, how important puns are when putting pleasure into print, and whether choosing picture sets for each issue is as fun as it might appear.
*This interview is safe for work, but the links may not be – only click on those that follow if you're really ready for what you might find…and you work in an open-minded office space…or from home (your OWN home – your mother never taught you manners?)*
Now we're prepared, let's get talking to Matthew…
As the editor of adult magazines, how do you get the right mix of tasteful and titillating into each issue you publish?
Knave’s tagline is: ‘The World’s Greatest Gallery of Glamour’. For 44 years and counting we’ve offered the modern man a sophisticated package of beautiful women, cars, gadgets and the best photography on the top shelf.
What are the editorial/image ratios for each of the magazines?
I’d say it’s a 60/40 split in favour of the girl-sets, however we do run some in-depth editorial too.
Knave is celebrating its 44th year in publication in 2012 – what is the secret to its longevity? What makes Knave different from other outlets in the adult sector?
All top shelf magazines have struggled in recent years and Knave is no exception. Branding makes Knave unique, though. It’s existed for 44 years! People have grown up with Knave – its name is familiar even to people who have never bought a copy. This, together with the amount of care taken in the production of each issue, has helped the magazine’s success and longevity. Indeed, with the arrival of Knave’s 45th birthday in 2013, it’s confidently predicted that the magazine will be around for a long time to come.
How do you think the rise of the internet has changed the erotic magazine industry?
I think the magazine industry is still very much alive. It’s much more rewarding having something real in your hands, rather than having to turn on a machine to turn yourself on. Plus, where would any man be without his stash of 'gentleman’s magazines'? [at work, probably – Ed] It’s something we all treasure dearly. Well, I know I do!
About you and freelance journalists
Do you pay for contributions from freelance journalists for the reviews section/other editorial in the magazines?
We do indeed, and we’re always looking to showcase new and exciting writing talent. Interested? Then please email. In the past, Knave has published the works of popular authors, including Harlan Ellison and the esteemed writer Neil Gaiman.
Could you name the three most important attributes that make a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again?
Confident prose, interesting tone and never missing a deadline… although we’ll accept two out of three.
Do you work closely with PRs at all or do you keep them at arm’s – or your choice of body part's – length?
We love PRs! Especially when they send us free stuff! *hint hint*
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
Please, please do not barrage me with 1000 word press releases. Keep it short, sharp and to the point. Or keep it personal with a phone call. We don’t bite!
When is the best time for PRs to contact you, and what is your deadline for contributions?
From 10am until 1pm and from 2pm 'til 6pm, Monday to Friday. We are always looking to feature interesting new gadgets/boys’ toys, plus male grooming products for our style pages. If that sounds good to you, then please do get in touch!
What’s your favourite duty on the magazine?
Every aspect of my job has the capability to be both stressful and fun. However, I must say that picking the cover girl is always a joy! Plus, seeing the finished product on the shelves (or in the hands of Mario Balotelli) still gives me a thrill – especially when it’s my own coverline that adorns it!
What advice can you give to people hoping to work in the erotic publishing industry?
Gain as much work experience as you possibly can, keep in contact with as many influential people as you can, and don’t take no for an answer. Oh, and make sure you’ve got a good selection of puns in your arsenal – you never know when you’ll need them!
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
After developing my people skills on Hertford market – as well as a strange fascination for cartons of strawberry Ribena – I transferred this new-found confidence to the stage, albeit a very small one in Bedford, singing with my (here comes the plug!) band Face For Radio and supporting the infamous Sigue Sigue Sputnik! To ensure my band gained vital coverage in the local music press, I would write all of our gig reviews under an alias. For some reason the reviews were always very favourable…
Having disbanded after two albums, and lots of critical acclaim, ahem, my passion for writing (and Liverpool FC) took me to Liverpool, where I obtained a BA Honours degree in Journalism. I was quick to exploit the rich musical tapestry of the city at the time, securing major interviews with Gomez and The Zutons, which got me the gig at Front magazine writing features that involved glamour models and bizarre Kung Fu DVDs!
After graduating, I became the editor of a wealth management magazine in Manchester, but it was the lure of Fiesta and Knave magazine that drew me down South. That was back in 2005, and here I am now. From editorial assistant to managing editor – I’ve earned my stripes and I have the tissues to prove it!
Do you tweet?
I do indeed! @fiesta_magazine.
Have you ever been tempted to get in front of the camera yourself?!
I don’t think the ladies of Great Britain are ready for that just yet!
The people of Great Britain will have to wait a bit longer for that, but in the mean time you can follow Fiesta on twitter at www.twitter.com/fiesta_magazine.
You can get in touch with Matthew via email.