Pages of Stories Publisher Talks to KBW

I met Darlene Poier through a local writing class.  At the time, she was just getting Pages of Stories off the ground and was looking for submissions.  Now, the second issue of the magazine has come out.  I asked Darlene to take a few minutes from her busy schedule to chat with us about the magazine.

KBW: How did the idea for Pages of Stories come about?

Darlene: I got the idea about 14 years ago. There are a lot of good novels out there and I found that I got very very involved in some of them. To the point where not much else got done. Add to that, at the time I had a very demanding job with little spare time. So I went looking for a magazine of short stories and discovered there weren’t many out there. Those that were out there were hard to find and when you did were generally genre specific. As the internet was starting to really take off in popularity at that time, I wanted to incorporate that technology as well. Unfortunately, lacking the technical expertise and lingo of what I wanted to do, I couldn’t easily articulate my idea. So, I shelved the idea.

About two years ago a chance conversation with a friend of mine brought it back. We’d been discussing what our dream careers would be and I told her about this one. It stayed in my mind and then finally in January 2009 I started to research and build a business plan around this idea. By this point in time, I had a diploma in computer programming and the internet had advanced greatly. I could more easily explain what I wanted and how I wanted it to be.

KBW: You’ve mentioned this is your third “career.” What other hats have you worn?

Ah well… I’ll be giving away my age here… In my early twenties, I got my diploma in Business Administration and started working in a bank. I did that for a few years and then progressed on to accounting. I started the CGA courses and thought that I would really enjoy it.

While definitely mentally challenging, I knew that it wasn’t for me. I was working as a clerk for a payroll company when I started to play around with Microsoft Excel, automating processes and creating formulas to make my everyday tasks easier. In truth, I’m sometimes a little lazy and will automate tasks wherever I can. Finally it dawned on me that I really liked working with Excel scripts and formulas, so I started taking some computer courses at night, just to be sure I could understand and do it.

I eventually went back to school full time and took computer programming. When I finished I started working in IT and really enjoyed the atmosphere. By this point I’d hit my thirties. I was in IT doing a wide range of technical jobs for a number of years before moving on to my current role.

KBW: Can you tell us a little bit about what goes into setting up an online magazine?

I think the biggest thing is that you have to have a vision of what you want the end product to look like. For me, it started with a plan, then moved on to a drawing and then finally engaging a web development company to bring life to the idea.

In the meantime I needed to get stories as well as have the legal framework in place. I consulted a lawyer about the terms and conditions and the verbiage. Then I started contacting Universities and Colleges that had creative writing programs; as well I contacted literary guilds and the local library. I sent out brochures all over Western Canada and down to the University of Iowa. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the help those places gave me.

As this was an online product, I also needed to get the payment processing portion of it in order. Fortunately, there are a number of good, well-established companies that can help you through this sometimes confusing process. In order to create the magazine you need to have the right software and there’s lots of good ones out there. The one I chose is excellent for what I need to do and helped me to create the look that I wanted fairly quickly and easily.

And then finally is the story selection. I know that my taste in literature isn’t necessarily what everyone else’s is. So I contacted people I know to be avid readers and all with different tastes in fiction to help with the selection. Along the way I got a lot of help and input from my husband as well as my friends. I couldn’t have done this alone.

KBW: You’re a writer yourself, aren’t you? What do you write?

I think in truth I’m a wannabe writer. I’ve started at least half a dozen stories but haven’t finished one of them. I like to write all sorts of things: historical fiction, creative nonfiction, mystery. What’s that saying…”Those that can, write; those that can’t, publish.”? I can honestly say that I truly appreciate the effort that goes into writing a story and I admire it.

KBW: When you aren’t working on Pages of Stories, what keeps you busy?

Ha ha ha ha…I don’t know when I’m not working on the magazine. J Seriously, I like to spend time with my husband (we’ve recently become addicted to the Wii), my dog, and my garden. And of course, I like to read stories!

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