My Job: Arlene Russo

How did you get where you are today?

By sheer bloody-mindedness! From a chance visit to The World’s Biggest Dracula Party, a convention celebrating the centenary of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula in Los Angeles in 1997, I made it my mission to produce a publication uniting Dracula fans all around the world. Neither hell nor high water (even a severe illness) would stop me producing my mag. With no prior experience of magazine publishing, I launched a high quality glossy magazine in the competitive marketplace on a shoestring. I undertook a self-taught crash course in publishing.

What are your main tasks?

Basically, I run the whole magazine myself. I have no team. Once I counted my tasks – and stopped counting after 22. I do everything – I choose every single article in each issue, decide layout, sub-edit every article and proof-read it, decide all the illustrations for every article, locate every picture, find advertising and so on. This is in addition to the business side: sales enquiries, subscription renewals, promotion, stockist enquiries, my own book-keeping.

How important are contacts?

I must be doing something right. I have never had to ask for an article – they are all voluntary. I am amazed at the support from contributors. I constantly have to turn people down who want to work on the magazine on a voluntary basis. It is quite humbling.

What is the key to success in your specialism?

I am the ideal reader. By turning my hobby into a business, first and foremost as a fan of the supernatural genre, I had an insider’s view and knowledge of my market.

What do you like most about your job?

I have a unique magazine and status and do occasionally revel in my title as Queen of the Vampires. As for dislikes – apart from being constantly exhausted trying to publish a mag practically single-handedly – I dislike the amount of bloody film images I have to censor. I have a phobia of blood and any images of this are banned – which is challenging for a vampire magazine.

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