Sapphic Lifestyle: An Interview with Paige Briscoe
By Kelly Hides and Kayley Stanbridge
A topic that is always up for debate is the representation of the LGBTQ+ community within the publishing industry. As hopefuls, we are at the forefront of this movement and have the chance to shape a more inclusive industry. This issue, we spoke to Paige Briscoe, founder of Sapphic Lifestyle, a bi-monthly LGBTQ+ magazine containing news round-ups, articles and artwork, fiction and poetry by LGBTQ+ content creators and allies with queer themes.
What inspired you to start this magazine?
I’ve missed creating things ever since I finished my Publishing MA, and when LGBTQ+ History Month came around in February, I felt a distinct lack of platforms for LGBTQ+ voices that weren’t mainstream.
How long have you been working on the magazine? Have you faced many challenges during the process, and how have you overcome them?
When I started planning in February 2021, my biggest concern was not having enough content. This actually did become a problem – initially, I was planning a monthly magazine, but since we are a really small team, with only a handful of people who contribute content, I changed the publishing schedule to bi-monthly to allow us all more time to create content and help spread the word about contributing.
What skills have you developed during this process?
This project has definitely helped with my time-keeping skills. Knowing I have a strict deadline makes it easier to communicate to other members in the team when I require content from them. It’s also allowed me to become a lot more flexible and take initiative, as shown by the decision to publish every two months instead of monthly.
What goals do you have for your magazine that you want to achieve?
In the next few months, I would love to increase the amount of subscribers and contributors. The people who contribute right now are amazing, and I would love their work to be seen by more people. Our first goal is fifty subscribers, and I’m really excited that we’re halfway there already!
How have you found working online with your team?
Working online is actually really useful for us. My managing editor, Ludivine, is from France, and we met whilst both living in Wales. I’m unsure where she lives right now, but because we work remotely it has no impact!
Are you looking for contributors? If so, where can they apply?
Yes! We are always looking for contributors, whether they want to submit content or help with editing, proofreading, typesetting or promoting on social media. The easiest ways are to send us an email or fill out the contact form on our website!
Which websites / blogs / magazines / publishers / creators inspire you the most?
Honestly, Chelsea Graham (founder of The Publishing Post) is my biggest inspiration! Studying with her and Dominic Gilmour (The Post’s former Managing Editor) was a great experience, and I’m excited for Dom’s new project, Firebird Press, to get off the ground. There’s also Paul Handley, who runs the Bearded Badger Publishing company and book shop. I can’t even begin to imagine how many people he has inspired with his enthusiasm for the industry.
Why do you think that so many publishing hopefuls have started their own projects/businesses in the past year?
In my opinion, it’s definitely a combination of two things: the pandemic and the lack of opportunities available. The publishing industry has an oversaturated job market with a lot more hopefuls than positions available, as disheartening as that is! A lot of people create projects/businesses to keep their foot in the door, learn new skills and build stronger relationships within the industry. It’s so nice to see new projects and small presses cropping up everywhere!
Do you want to work in the publishing industry? What would your ideal role be?
My ideal role would be within Publicity. I currently work in digital PR, writing press releases for a lot of gambling and football clients – topics I don’t enjoy. I would love to transfer my skills to an industry I’m more passionate about and be able to write press releases and orchestrate marketing campaigns for books.
Why do you want to work in publishing? What appeals to you about this industry?
I think it goes without saying, as it does with anyone in (or hoping to get into) the publishing industry: I love books. I would love the opportunity to spread my love of books to others by working behind the scenes and helping with the creation of books that can inspire other people’s love of books.