High-Calibre Startup Publishing Concepts by Recent Publishing-School Grads: Paper Droids

It’s my pleasure to highlight three digital publishing houses to watch, enjoy, and possibly work for now and in the near future.

This blog post will kick off a series of blog posts I’ll be writing about cool startups in the publishing industry. The three I’ll be writing about are all the work of young publishing professionals I’ve taught at Centennial’s publishing program in Toronto. That’s one of the reason’s I’m aware of these vital new houses. But I’ll be doing some homework on other new houses further afield to watch and to work for soon.

Why should you, as a young publishing pro, trainee, or prospective entrant into a training program?

Startups are great sources of work, prestige, job experience; they open very broad connections to networks of other young people who are in or entering the industry writ large; and they are way cooler than almost any established publishing house. These houses are conceived to fill really amazing niches in the market that the big houses aren’t creative enough or deft enough to fill. Almost without fail, they zero in on cool tracts of culture like geek culture for girls, super-compressed literary fiction, and urban fashion in Toronto.

The only bad thing to mention about working for startups is that if they pay, it won’t be top dollar. There’s one last great perk to mention: these houses are always starving to publish good work, usually attainably short works or articles, so you prospective authors out there should get very familiar with their publishing mandates and write something great and submit it to them.

Paper Droids

Paper Droids is a fantastic web magazine of geek culture for girls. It’s written from women’s perspectives, provides everything from videogame reviews and cosplay info and tips to fashion pieces, and the articles are very well written and edited. The magazine features a very slick, clean design—the best design I’ve seen in a long time as far as readability, interest, article reference, and visual appeal. The next time I reboot design for my own weblog, I’ll be asking after the designer of this very sleek vehicle.

PD isn’t just entertainment, either; it covers news stories of interest to all humane, free-thinking people, such as the recent article on a Pakistani blogger (a young woman) and free speech activist shot by a Taliban assailant for keeping the blog; and another article that presents evidence from a study that suggests that female scientists are less likely to be hired than male scientists.

PD is created, designed, and edited entirely by a group of young publishing professionals living in Toronto who, only months ago, were publishing trainees: Rachel Kovach, Gina Macdonald, Elissa Smith, Nikita Shaw, Megan Patterson, and Ariel Kroon.

They are always interested in being pitched on new articles and are very welcoming to new writers.