We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia Rios & Meg Frank and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julia Rios, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
“The idea for Mermaids Monthly came from an answer Julia gave repeatedly over the years in interviews and on panels about editing. Often people ask if editors really have to reject stories they like, and Julia’s answer is yes. This happens for a variety of reasons, but one reason is that an editor has to think about the overall balance of what they’re curating.
If you’re an editor for a non-themed magazine, for instance, you can buy one mermaid story, and that’s fine. You can even buy two and get away with it. If you buy three? Well, congratulations! You are now That Mermaid Magazine. Which is fine if you’re Mermaids Monthly, but not great if you’re an un-themed magazine.
Julia typically ended this explanation with, “I’m not Mermaids Monthly.” But what if they were? Just for one year? That idea was so compelling that they asked Meg if Meg would like to make it a reality and that’s how Mermaids Monthly started!
What should our readers know about your business?
Mermaids Monthly is a magazine all about mermaids – every different kind and color. We started this magazine with the idea that we’d only do this project for a year. We wanted to create something that was compelling to read, but remained comfortable to produce. After our Kickstarter funding period and first submissions period we realized that there were a lot of different kinds of mermaid stories to share, as well as many mermaid fans to share them with. We decided not to end things, but to pass the ship on, specifically to a BIPOC-led team. We want to make more room for those who haven’t had as much opportunity to see themselves reflected in the media they love.
Starting a business, especially a publishing focused business, is hard. It requires a lot of time and energy and fiddly paperwork, not to mention money. We were and are very lucky to have had a lot of assistance available to us to make it happen, and want to pass that good fortune on to another team.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The Pacific Ocean is very pretty so we’d definitely love to have a few beach days but also we can’t get enough of the museums – especially the Getty, LACMA, and the Museum of Neon Art. Meg loves The Nickel Dinner and Julia recommends Sonoratown tacos. No trip for us is complete without books so we’d absolutely recommend stopping by The Ripped Bodice and The Last Bookstore.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Julia is an editor because of the editors that came before them. Specifically they learned to edit at Strange Horizons, a science fiction magazine whose founding editor team of Jed Hartman, Karen Meisner, and Susan Marie Groppi, passed the helm and helped newer editors learn the trade. Meg is grateful to all their family members who encouraged them to work in the arts, and to Kari N. Kolts who first helped them battle Adobe. Mermaids Monthly wouldn’t be possible without Assistant Editor Ashley Deng and Logistics Wizard Lis Hulin Wheeler.
January – Art by Nilah Magruder; https://www.nilahmagruder.com/ February – Art by Aqua Moon March – Art by Niv Sekar ; https://www.nivsekar.com/ April – Art by Dianita; https://www.artbydianita.com/ May – Art by Che Gilson; https://twitter.com/CheGilson June – Art by Sara Eileen; https://linktr.ee/saraeileen