Podcast: Literary Magazines in the Digital Age

Hi everyone,

In this mini podcast, I sit down with James Goldsworthy, co-editor of PASTEL Magazine, to talk about the process of launching a literary magazine in the digital age.

We discuss the stigma and prestige of the different forms, standing out in a saturated digital landscape, and taking advantage of digital media to reach a global audience.

James Goldsworthy is based in Queensland. He is a writer and visual artist, and the co-editor of both PASTEL and Inklings Zine.

The launch event for PASTEL is happening on the 23rd of November, at Betty’s Espresso in West End (Brisbane).

I hope you enjoy!



T: I’m here today with Mr James Goldsworthy, co-editor of PASTEL Magazine, to talk a little bit about literary magazines in the digital age.

I guess we’ll start by talking a little bit about PASTEL Magazine, and how it came about.

J: Yeah, ok. PASTEL Magazine is an all new literary journal, based across Queensland, with a mission to show-case the height of eccentric and experimental artists across print and online platforms. It’s run by myself, James Goldsworthy, and my partner in crime, Maria-Andrea Rivera. We both have a passion for the eclectic when it comes to the creative arts. It really came about after Maria and I started to spend some time around Brisbane-based creatives. What we saw was a culture of apprehension in young and emerging artists when it came to submitting work to publishing outlets.

What we discovered was that there seems to be an underlying idea that if your work doesn’t hit a kind of literary standard, then it’s of a different quality. So we wanted to start to break that down. Literary, non-literary—as far as we’re concerned, it’s all just one big melting pot.

T: PASTEL is digital at the moment, but you have plans to go into print?

J: That’s right.

T: Could you tell me a bit about the decision of starting off with digital and then moving into print? The prestige of print, if that’s something you believe in, and the stigma that comes with online journals.

J: I don’t know about a prestige or a stigma towards either, but I think there’s something to be said for any publication that’s paying homage to that traditional printing format. Perhaps it is the other way around now, in the sense that there may be a prestige on digital, and a stigma on print, purely because of the way the world’s going.

T: And if something doesn’t have a website, it’s automatically questioned.

J: Exactly, it’s cast aside, you know? I think as well, digital media complements print because, as you said, the world revolves around the internet now, and word of mouth really isn’t enough anymore to push a product. For PASTEL for example, if we hadn’t embraced digital media, we would never have made it half way across the world. We were so shocked to receive submissions from Spain and the USA, and to catch a little bit of interest. And, we’d only really been active for about two months.

T: So I guess we’ve talked a little bit about how digital media has helped emerging magazines make a name for themselves, but do you think there’s also a hindrance that comes with digital media?

J: I think the real hindrance there is when you are opened up to this landscape of other publications that are doing a similar thing than you, and it can chip away at the voice and the identity that you’re building for yourself. But I think to overcome that hindrance, you’ve just got to do what you’re doing. People are magnetised to talent; they can sniff it out. So if you’re just being yourself, and you’re pushing your own product, then through that, I think you can overcome that hindrance.

T: So best of luck with the magazine, and I’m looking forward to the debut issue.

J: Thank you. Our launch event is coming up on the 23rd of November, at Betty’s Espresso, Brisbane City, six o’clock to nine o’clock, featuring our first ever issue of PASTEL, featuring a slate of artists and poets and prose writers that have been featured on our online medias already. There are some exclusive pieces coming your way as well—we’d love to have you there.


Follow James and PASTEL on Twitter for regular updates, events, and submission calls.


[Podcast image: Coffee and magazine. Used with permission under a CC0 Creative Commons licence. Find here.]

[Intro and Outro Music: Someways by Nicolai Heidlas. Used with permission under a CC0 Creative Commons licence. Find here.]

[Sound Effect: Pages flipping. Used with permission under a CC0 Creative Commons licence. Find here.]

Someways by Nicolai Heidlas Music @nicolai-heidlas
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Music promoted by Audio Library youtu.be/gYKg7KhuRZI



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