Rokon Folds, but the writing won’t stop!

A sad day. Rokon, the music magazine I’ve been writing for for the past 8 months, has folded. Going from nothing to a free Korea-wide magazine fell a couple of advertisements short of being sustainable, and having thrown around $100,000 into getting the brand name out there and attracting advertisers, the owner has had to back out just short of profitability. There simply isn’t any more money. I’m pretty upset about it: having started from doing simple CD reviews I’ve had 57 articles and 11 double page spread feature articles over the past few months, more than I thought I’d ever achieve when I set out. One issue I even wrote almost 50% of the English content single handedly, and had to have a pen name to avoid it looking stupid. I’ll definitely miss all the free events and occasionally meeting the stars as well!

Fortunately every cloud has a silver lining. I’ve somehow convinced Julian – Rokon’s publisher – that I’m good at what I do, and he’s made a lot of contacts producing the magazine. Since going bankrupt Rokon have been inundated with offers to ‘make use of the writers’, and Julian has decided to take a handful of us and put together an independent group who will be providing content for a selection of magazines. We already have a definite deal with ‘Bling’ who are a local Korean music magazine (around 10 times the size of Rokon in terms of copies produced) looking from some English content each month (http://www.thebling.co.kr/# ). I’m already working on my first article for them (though it may not be published until August), and should be getting a brand spanking new set of business cards and an official job title over the next couple of weeks. We’re also in talks with ‘Groove’ (http://www.mygrooveonline.com/ ) and Eloquence, two local expat magazines. Between the three of them I hope to be quite widely published. Most exciting of all, ‘Time Out’ will be launching a Seoul edition in the near future, and it’s looking promising wrangling our way in with them as well. I still have my Seoul Government job pressuring me to up the work load as well, so if nothing works out I can also inundate them with four or five articles a week.

My overall feeling is still sadness: Rokon did a lot for me, and even with the new opportunities everything feels a bit ‘up in the air’. I’ll be over the moon if and when it all actually comes off: an article on Time Out and I’ll feel like I really have an excuse to start taking myself seriously. I’ll just be hoping like crazy that it all comes off, and if it does it can only be seen as a step forward. Fingers crossed!

James

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