Friday, 11 September 2015

Assuming Responsibility: Becoming Editor in Chief

"I am going to be an Editor in Chief".  It sounds like something I might have said when I was eight years old, the week after I had proudly announced I wanted to be an astronaut, and the week before I decided I was going to be a fighter pilot.  Even ten years ago, when it was still OK to have some kind of dream, it would have sounded ludicrous.  But with Gareth Davey stepping down from the plate at the end of last month, Under The Fable changed hands.  And here I am.  The boss.  In charge of an online magazine that I love.  So what's next?

In my mind it is going to be a hard job trying to accomplish half of what Gareth did.  He had nothing, and made a magazine out of it.  Under Gareth a team of hard working Sub Editors tirelessly sifted through a megaton of competitive creative pieces, and a Social Media manager decided just to give up sleep.  With Gareth at the helm an enthusiastic photographer trawled through England snapping anything she thought he might like to use in his magazine.  For two issues Under The Fable's enthusiastic team edited and presented prose and poetry and made our dream of entering the Creative Industries a reality.  January, Gareth and I were sitting at a table in Northampton University thinking of clever names for the publication.  September we traveled back from London after performing on a small tour of spoken gigs across the UK.  So I ask myself again: 'what's next?'

In my mind, it isn't simply about stepping into warm shoes and continuing with the work.  If the right person is to insert themselves into a role as grandiose as 'Editor in Chief,' then that person needs to be able to bring something new to the table.  What is the point in change, if it doesn't equate to progress? The magazine is approaching it's third issue, so is it too early to change anything?  How will the team respond to any changes after getting attached to Gareth's leadership?  So come on then, let's be having you: what is next?

Busy bees

For the past two weeks, Under The Fable regrouped, reeling from the news of Gareth's imminent departure and made the decision to carry on.  Sub-Editor Bethany McTrustery undertook my previous role as Creative Editor, Ashleigh Morris accepted the post of Events Manager to build our tour for 2016, and Meg Shipham accepted the role of Design Editor.  The Website has had a facelift, and four intelligent bloggers have been added to the team using platforms on Blogger and Medium, so that Under The Fable always provides the readers with some interesting literature.  Submissions are already flying in through the email, and work has begun on November's issue.  The office is buzzing with ideas, I needn't have worried.  The change has been accepted better than I dared hope.

A shared vision: a recognisable brand

Yes I have a vision.  I have my own ideas of what I want Under The Fable to represent, and how I would like it to look.  But focussing only on my own desires seems to be an incredible waste of my new position.  I enjoyed being the magazines number two.  Gareth gave me the power to build the team, and act in his absence.  But I don't simply want a number two.  There is not a single imbecile representing Under The Fable, and that creative energy needs to be garnered.  As a unit we have decided upon our new look, created a unique and recognisable logo, and as a unit, Under The Fable will gather around my coffee stained desk and decide together exactly what each issue will look like.  Ideas have been pouring in from all sides of the office, not one of them unheard or ignored.  It is safe to say that any future publication of Under The Fable will be owned by the whole team, and any ideas coming from the readers will be brought to the table.  I still want to recognise marginal voices, I still want to read something unique, I want every sleeping part of my imagination awoken by the work that is coming in.  What I am hoping to publish in November is a shared vision.

Looking to the future

So what does this mean for the future of Under The Fable?  I would like to think that I am providing an exciting yet stable future for this magazine.  I left the position of Editor in Chief at My Student Style to focus on this project, and I would like to think that at this time next year, I am still trusted with the leadership of the Magazine, and the team remains unchanged for the most part.  I do, however, think it is important to let the readers know what plans are in process for change:

  1. Myth-behaviour: Why should adults have all the fun?  Under The Fable has been to a family planning clinic, and all being well, offspring are the on horizon.  We wish to create a platform for younger writers to have their own magazine and shared alongside Under The Fable.  I am working on bringing UK schools on board for the first issue, although I would like it to match Under The Fable for it's global appeal.
  2. Global tour of the UK: Next years tour promises to be bigger, approaching more venues in more cities.  Already talking to venues in Wales, we hope at the very least to double the tour, both in capacity and overall awesomeness.  If you live somewhere that we missed the last time, we would like to hear from you.  We will try and get there.
  3. Happy anniversary:  Next May, after a year of collecting stories and poetry, and obviously with permission from the writers, I would like to publish our first annual anthology to be sold on Amazon, and any other platform that would accept it.
  4. Kindling the words:  In 2016 I hope to release Under The Fable's issues onto Kindle, for those who want to connect to our world in an appropriately twenty-first century manner.  The world moves at one hundred miles an hour, literature has to strive to keep up.
On a personal note, and to conclude what I worry might be turning out to be mission statement, this is the most exciting project I have ever undertaken, let alone find myself in the driving seat.  I am always open for suggestions, from the team, bloggers, and the readership alike, because I wouldn't have anything to drive without them.  Feel free to send your feedback and suggestions for improvements through our website: and help me put a copy of Under The Fable on every laptop screen possible.

Yours Excitedly

Adam Ward

Twitter: @WardyBoy82
Instagram: @poet_adzx2

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