A Chat with a Magazine Editor

Today it’s my turn to host the Footprints Magazine blog tour! Congratulations Janet and the entire team on reaching the 50th edition milestone.

As a writer, I love getting inside the mind of editors and finding out what makes them do what they do. I especially love Footprints editor Janet Camilleri’s heart for God and for encouraging women along the way. Afterall, we’re all in this together!

Why did you decide to launch Footprints? What’s the story behind the magazine?

I started Footprints because I couldn’t find a magazine that I wanted to read. I was looking for a women’s magazine that had quality Australian content; something that was wholesome, positive, uplifting, and relevant to my faith. Ideally it would be non-denominational, aimed at Christians, yet at the same time a magazine that I could pass on to friends who weren’t believers, knowing that they would not only have a good read but also be pointed firmly in the direction of our Saviour.

Over the last 50 issues, what has been the biggest challenge or hurdle the magazine has faced?

Probably sustainability. We don’t have a big million dollar empire behind us…

Some other Christian mags operate on donations only, printing only as and when they have the funds, but we didn’t feel led to go that way. We felt it was important to have a magazine that readers could rely on turning up on a regular basis. The small subscription fee we charge is purely to cover our printing and postage costs; pretty much everything else is provided by volunteers, from the writing, editing, layout, admin etc.

There was a time a few years ago where our number of readers was declining and our bank account was in serious trouble. After much prayer and discussion, the Team felt to change the format of our magazine to the handy A5 purse size that is today – this reduced our costs and we didn’t have to put up our subscription rates. As a bonus, the A5 size has proved to be extremely popular, and readers tell us they love the fact that they can pop it inside their diary or their bag to read “on the go” or have ready to give to others. Definitely a God-thing!

Seeing the numbers decline was a bit of a reality check for me as editor and caused me to seek the Lord for direction more than ever before. It was during this wilderness time that God showed me clearly that His will is for me to produce Footprints, whether it is for five readers or five thousand – my role is simply to be faithful and obedient; the rest is up to Him. Of course, having said that, He also showed me that He can touch many, many people through the pages of Footprints, so really we should be doing all we can to get it out there.

Over the last 50 issues, what has been the greatest moment or triumph the magazine has enjoyed?

The launch of our two books have been fantastic occasions! Clues to your Calling was launched with a special event at the Redlands Cultural Centre in 2003, attended by over a hundred people.

We had our 10th birthday party in 2008 and released Decadence, a collection of some of our favourite stories from our ten years of publication. It was wonderful to meet some of our readers face-to-face. We are looking forward to this again we have a picnic afternoon tea in Brisbane in July to celebrate our 50th issue.

But perhaps the greatest moments or triumphs are when we hear of how God has used an article in the magazine to touch people’s hearts and lives. We have heard from people who were comforted by Footprints during a time of grief; who have found hope in its pages when struggling with infertility or other difficult situations; who have found friendship and fellowship when they felt alone; or have been inspired to step out in faith and try new things, after reading our little magazine.

What is the one thing you want your readers to glean from the magazine?

The key message in each issue of the magazine is that there is a God who loves each reader just as they are, and He has a marvellous plan and purpose for their lives. A God who gave His only son, that we may once more have an intimate relationship with the one who made us!

How have you balanced working on the magazine as well as other projects, with family life?

I don’t know – it must be God! In addition to my Footprints commitments, I have a husband and two teens, I work four days a week, there are household chores, church, friends, hobbies … but I absolutely love what I do and so it doesn’t feel like work. Perhaps that is the secret!

Sometimes I have to make tough decisions – there are heaps of good things, things that I want to do, but I can’t do all of them. It is then I have to seek God and find out what He wants me to pursue and what needs to be pruned from my life. A couple of years ago I felt Him clearly impress me with the fact that He has given me a magazine to run and I need to focus on that.  I love to speak at women’s groups and events but since then I have put this on the back-burner – I just don’t have the time. Fortunately God has raised up Melanie and Nicola (other ladies on the Footprints Team) and they are doing an awesome job, sharing at ladies breakfasts, conferences and the like. However I look forward to the day that I can take up this aspect of the ministry again.

You’ve impacted many lives by following God’s call on your life; what advice would you give to women on the journey to discovering their purpose or those working in their God-given purpose?

This is an easy question to answer – I’ve even written a book about it (Clues to Your Calling)! I seriously believe that finding our purpose and calling in God was never meant to be a game of hide and seek. It is a matter of looking at certain clues in our lives and then taking the next step in faith. Some of these signs include:

  • Childhood clues – what did you love to do when you were a kid? What did you dream of being when you grew up?
  • Focus on your family – what gifts and talents are obvious in your family tree? Music? Writing? Art? Science?
  • Your personality profile – are you introverted or extroverted? Florence Littauer writes some great books on this subject, or look up some of the personality/psychological tests on the internet, eg Meyers-Briggs.
  • Your passions are a pointer – often your pain can become your passion; your misery can become your ministry. God can take your mess and turn it into a message.
  • Be guided by your gifts and talents – do you love to cook? Garden? Work on cars? Ask God how He would like you to use this for His glory.
  • Get direction from above. Ask God! He’s the One who made you – who better to show you? Read His instruction manual for life – the Bible.
  • And of course if they read Footprints, they will constantly be inspired and encouraged to seek God in every aspect of their lives 😉

I love hearing from women further along on the journey. I hope you found this as inspiring as I did! Visit the Footprints site for more information on the magazine.

UPDATE: If you’d like a free copy of Footprints magazine, email your name and postal address to editor@footprintsaustralia.com

Lots of other lovely bloggers have joined in on the blog tour, see the dates below.

Photos with thanks to Janet Camilleri

7 thoughts on “A Chat with a Magazine Editor

  1. Hi Joni, thank you for joining the Footprints blog tour! I enjoyed sharing about the hurdles and the triumphs along the Footprints journey. So often we only talk about the good stuff … and then we difficulties come in our own journey, we think we are the only ones who struggle. Not true!

    BTW if your readers would like a free trial issue of Footprints, they can send an email with their name & address details to editor@footprintsaustralia.com.

    • Thanks Lilian – yeah it’s interesting hey! Everyone looks at it very differently – not many questions have been doubled up so far.

  2. Pingback: Footprints Blog Tour 2010 : Be A Fun Mum

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