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First page – New Service for Writers Launches in Berlin!

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First page, have you heard of it yet? If not, and you are a writer in Berlin looking to get published, then you probably should take notice! Described as a “literary magazine that values the passion and energy writers put in their first pages”, first page will house only the opening paragraphs of a writer’s work – a teaser of sorts – to help generate a buzz for their work. The magazine will take the form of a newspaper, with plans to make it freely available across Berlin – and possibly even further afield!

I asked first page’s Founder, Hou Chien Cheng, to tell me more about his initiative.

How did you come up with the idea for first page?

A few months ago, I was in a bookstore somewhere in [Berlin] Mitte looking for a new book to read (I often do this, just go in a random bookstore and see if I’d find some random book I like). However, after a good half an hour in the store, and still finding nothing, I decided to observe how other people choose books to buy. I saw that people would browse through the first few pages in order to see if the book was worth buying (which makes sense of course, I do it too). But then quite a few put the book back down before, or after, finishing the first page (and judging by the very little time some of them spent on the page, I doubt they even made it past the second paragraph).

I knew that the first page of a book was important but I’d never given it too much thought until then. I wondered if this first page were to stand alone, detached from the rest of the story, would it still be as interesting and important? Could it represent the literary value of the entire book? That’s when the idea of starting a magazine that collects these pages came to mind.   

Why now? And why in Berlin?

As a writer, I understand how difficult it is to get published, or even just to get a little bit of exposure. I can’t explain exactly ‘why now’, but I believe it’s never a bad time to launch a good literary platform. And Berlin is perfect for it – there isn’t a magazine similar to first page in the city and Berlin is filled with talented writers that the public that loves to read.

You have just completed a successful Kickstarter campaign. Can you tell us what that was like?

It was like a rollercoaster ride! The whole campaign took time to prepare before going live, and after it was live the real work began. Basically, we spent the whole month (and the month before that) sending emails, posting on social media, talking to friends and literature enthusiasts. And thanks to our generous backers, in the end (and very luckily!), first page was funded a 105%! It was a truly special experience.

Can you tell us more about the submission process for first page?

Although right now we are concentrating on building a jury of editors and writers – the submission window is currently open.

Where will First Page be available? And When?

First page is a free-to-take literary magazine. It aims to be accessible in various (English) bookstores in Berlin (for example, The Book Nook), and we are excited to say that a Danish museum will also be stocking a few copies too! Readers can expect first page somewhere between the third and last week of June 2019.

What does the future look like for first page?

First page is a non-profit, free-to-take literary magazine. This is a very exciting time as we will be starting small (a few hundred copies in Berlin) – but we have ambitions to become a quarterly magazine and set up in more cities and countries. First page is lucky to have been funded for its debut but to go further we must obtain long-term sponsorship and/or advertisers. With the debut we look forward to showing the industry – and potential sponsors – that first page is a project worth supporting.

Would like more information about this service? Check out first page’s website at: www.firstpageliterature.com


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