Cosplay Gen: What’s in Store for an Indie Project?

Posted: July 2, 2011 in Japan - pop culture
Tags: , , ,

I’m sure many of you got annoyed at least once by the multitude of colored advertising pages that often transform into a veritable obstacle in following the natural flow of pages in a publication you like. It’s a pretty understandable strategy for a media dominated, like all else, by economic considerations. Actually, advertising is the main drive that helps mass-media exist, as it is the most important financial provider, and, without it, perhaps many of the magazines and newspapers we are reading today would cease to appear. Nevertheless, advertising money is not all milk and honey. It means also a lot of compromises, which sometimes go to the extent when the content itself is affected. It’s already common knowledge that some advertising clients have their own claims upon the content of a certain media, and that the media patrons are often constraint to accept them, as they don’t risk losing such an important financial support. But, at the end of the day, the question that remains is: is it really worth? Is it proper to change the content of a media product in order to satisfy an advertising client? To change focus (although not directly) from the audience and your principles as media provider to the claims of a company that pays for being advertised? Certainly not, at least not in the case of independent projects.
Cosplay Gen is such an independent project, conceived exclusively as a high quality end-product that must include no advertising. When embarking into our colorful journey, we, the CosGen team, decided to support this project entirely through itself, without compromising its quality, content, or flow. Advertising may bring money, but it can also do damage. We wanted to deliver to our readers a magazine that looked like a book (not one to read once and throw in the garbage can afterwards), on high quality paper and with a cutting edge design. Only our readers are the ones who can assess if we succeeded in doing that or not. What I can say for sure is that not even one page of Cosplay Gen contains advertising. We believe in partnerships, and we gladly promote our partners – such as international conventions – in our magazine; but we don’t believe in selling our pages for money. There are too many good cosplayers out there who can fill those pages instead.
Nevertheless, there is another side of the coin in this too. Yes, being a completely add-free project is fancy and exclusive, but, like all high-quality products, a high-quality magazine also costs money. We aren’t some spoiled rich tycoons that have decided to publish a magazine because “it’s cool”; nor the magazine is published free of charge. On the contrary, the printing fee is pretty high. So how can such a project support itself? The answer is pretty simple: through its fans and readers. The same as advertising supports big media channels, the readers support Cosplay Gen. This one is not a profit-oriented media; all the money that comes from the clients is invested in the next issue. It’s a course that keeps this project alive. And, of course, it’s basic mathematics to understand that the better it sells, the more often it will appear in the future.
Without the support of their fans, all the indie projects are confronted with the harsh reality of two choices: to die (for those who believe in their concept until the end) or to be swallowed by bigger media and undergo subsequent changes that would transform them into something completely different (for those who are willing to make a fatal compromise). I sometimes wondered how many truly understand the real extent to which such an independent project depends on its public and how important it is to spread the word. If you like Cosplay Gen, save a minute to tell a friend who might be interested in such a magazine. Or write a few words on your blog, Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook account. Or send us an e-mail with a suggestion. The beauty of being independent is also the fact that we are more connected to our readers. It’s a friendly approach, which until now brought a lot of joy and fun.
I admit I really love this project, mainly because of this friendly approach, because I get to know a lot of experiences shared by the cosplayers we interview, and I always have a lot to learn from them. I also hope Cosplay Gen will have a pretty long life and will continue to present you with high quality content in the future too. And it will, as long as you will like and support it.

For all those who want to spread the word, the press kit is available here

The magazine is available for order on the shop page of the official website.



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