An indie magazine publication by Subsail

Maine The Way appeared in late 2017 as a thick magazine on a mission to highlight and explore the state of Maine and its surroundings. I was immediately drawn to the concept and high quality execution through the magazine's successful Kickstarter campaign. The publication subsequently started using Subsail at launch and has sold over 650 subscriptions in just over 18 months.

As they set out to create a definitive publication about their region, co-founding couple Cam Held and Christine Reighley decided early on to do some things differently.

Editor-in-chief, Cam Held and managing editor, Christine Reighley

I wanted to hear more about the magazine's origins, it's ad-free philosophy and why they print locally. Here's Christine to explain:

1. The magazine is "ad-free"

Our original plan was to produce an ad-free publication, but after working out our business plan, we felt it was in our long term interest to welcome partners. When we thought about it, we realized that advertising isn’t inherently bad, but being inundated by ads to the point where content becomes diluted or tainted is cause for concern.

So we decided to flip the traditional model upside down and approach our partnerships from a mutually beneficial position. We are storytellers and our audience is curious, so if we could work with brands that fundamentally supported our mission of quality content and compensation for contributors, we’d be willing to work with them.

We’ve capped our slots to 10 pages of our 160 page publication. We haven’t filled all those spots yet because we’re committed to finding meaningful partnerships, but it feels good to have found a way to balance our editorial morals and the financial demands of a high quality print publication.

2. The magazine grew out of an Instagram account

I started the @mainetheway Instagram account in 2014 with no grand plans for the platform whatsoever. The purpose of the account was to curate beautiful photos from around Maine and feature different photographers of the state. There was a lot of buzz on the platform, with interests for brands or artists to collaborate.

In the fall of 2016, we were on a road trip talking about where our photography careers would take us. Cam came up with the idea to start a print publication and it clicked. We had the platform, the resources, and youth on our side. We spent all of 2017 building content and producing stories then launched with a Kickstarter that fall. Thankfully that was a success and we’ve been able to continue producing Maine the Way.

It feels like a dream that we were able to launch a print publication in the digital age because of our social media presence. Instagram has been a great resource for us; it compliments the print well. Our goal with the publication is to go deeper. We’re not competing with social media, rather our publication is for the moments when you just don’t want to be on your screen. And we never would have been able to get started without the support of our existing online community.

The just-released fifth issue

3. The magazine is printed locally, with “environmentally friendly vegetable-based inks, in a 100% wind-powered facility”

We’re lucky to have a state of the art printer here in Maine, not to mention one that shares our environmental and ethical values. Before we went to print for the first time, we had no idea what went into it, so we’re lucky that we’re able to visit the print house for each run. The printer is huge and the people that work there are so skilled; we’re in good hands.

When we printed our first issue, there was an hour delay because the blacks weren’t perfect. At first, we didn’t quite understand what that meant, but after seeing the improved version, we were amazed they picked up on that.

It’s also great printing locally because our scale is much smaller than many of the jobs they run, but they pay attention to us. They use Maine the Way as marketing material to show people the quality they’re capable of. It’s a good relationship and we’d never consider printing elsewhere, even for a third of the price!

Issue 5 of Maine The Way is out now ($25).