A string of ambitious Sunshine Coast publishers have tried their hand over the years at launching local magazines, but the challenge of sustaining reader and advertiser interest makes it a struggle for new publications to take off for even a few issues.
The quarterly ZOOM magazine is an exception, now celebrating its first decade (one year late, due to COVID) with a 10-year “Collector’s Edition.”
Publisher Edmund Arceo, a self-taught graphic designer with a degree in marketing from a university in Manila, knew the odds for a successful magazine venture were not great. Originally, he was hoping to put out a few editions and leave it at that, as he told Coast Reporter from his Garden Bay home.
“I just wanted to have, maybe, four issues, so I could frame them and put it in my office,” Arceo said. “It would be, like, ‘OK, I did this and that’s it.’ But people were sending me emails, very encouraging, looking forward to the next [issue]. It grew on its own.”
ZOOM grew, arguably, by focusing less on text-driven content and more on high-quality visuals showcasing local photographers and painters. And as anyone familiar with the Coast community knows, we are blessed with an abundance of fine visual artists.
“I have a long list of artists and feature photographers,” said Arceo. “If I like their work, I feature them. It’s been 11 years, right? And I still don’t think I will run out of subjects.”
It’s a clever business model. Photographers and artists already have their own portfolios and are pleased to offer them up. Thus, much of the content comes at no cost to the magazine, although like any professional publication, it does pay for commissioned work. Arceo has, meanwhile, built a small team of writers whose lean text tends to augment rather than distract from ZOOM’s visual impact.
“[Arceo] has a gentle but discerning energy for his projects,” said contributing writer Nancy Pincombe. “I love working with him.”
A couple of popular sections at the back of the magazine add some quirky elements – Diego’s Den (named after Arceo’s late dog), featuring photos of readers’ pets, and Viewfinder, containing photographs of Coast residents on vacation, holding up copies of ZOOM they’ve taken with them. Arceo said he always has more submissions to those two end-sections than he can fit into any one issue.
ZOOM Collector’s Edition is now available on local magazine racks.