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Talking through my hat

Talking Through My Hat explores bookish businesses and the fantastic people who create them, looking at why business are started, how they keep going and where we can take them in the future. I'm John Pettigrew - a hat wearer, a recovering editor and the creator of Futureproofs. To avoid missing anything, why not subscribe at Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow me on Twitter? The podcast is on hiatus from Easter 2019 for a few months, but we'll be back with more great interviews later in the year!

Feb 12, 2019

Sean Preston is the founder and editor of short-fiction platform Open Pen, whose self-titled magazine has been described as “More like a shot of absinthe than a boring pint of lager,” and is making its first forays into book production. He's a proud East Londoner, an ex-pro wrestler, a full-time thing-maker at a South London record label, and an occasional short fiction writer.

We talk about the deliberately analogue, hard-copy, zine approach that Sean took and the motivations behind that, and how that vision has continued over the years even as they grow into social media, a successful website and live events. In particular, the way that the physical constraints of a printed magazine affect how you publish and how your authors are perceived - and how the infinite digital space gives room to grow. Also, how Sean has kept a free print magazine going for a decade through advertising and sponsorship, and how that model is evolving with their expansion into live events and now books.