Kinston-based magazine to become national publication
A local publication that started out being marketed door to door recently landed a national distribution deal that will see it on newsstands throughout the country.
When Curtis Brooks launched his magazine, Gospel Pages Today, five years ago, he was seeking to fill a void he saw in Christian publications. He said he wanted to create “a Christian publication that’s not like the regular Christian publications.”
One way he wanted to change things up was by covering topics that other magazines avoided, and by writing about things in a more up to date way. “Christian publications are very conservative,” he said, but “people in the gospel community, they like gossip too.”
Under the original title, Gospel Pages Weekly, he started covering difficult topics within the gospel community, such as the divorce of a prominent pastor. After he received criticism for dealing with the controversy, he tried to make his next issue less divisive, but sales immediately went down, he said. In the subsequent edition, Brooks’ magazine put controversial gospel and R&B star Tonéx on the cover.
“When we came out with that publication with him on that front cover, we started selling out again,” Brooks said. “Then I knew that was the vision. Our publication, we talk about stuff they won’t talk about.”
As the magazine gained a following, Brooks sought to expand its reach. After gaining some important publishing connections, he was able to negotiate a contract to distribute the magazine, renamed Gospel Pages Today, nationally. The national reach will begin next month.
Brooks credits much of the success of his vision to the team he has assembled for the magazine, including Editor-in-Chief Naya Powell and Graphic Director Jeremiah Thompson, as well as Dan Riley, Eric Amundson and Arturo Vargas with 2 Friends Printing, which is responsible for printing the final product.
Powell, who joined the magazine staff in November, said one of the biggest challenges they have faced is transforming from a local to a national publication.
“We want to keep the local clientele, but we also want to appeal to people on a national level,” she said.
Powell said she hopes people in Kinston will continue to support the magazine as it expands, because “a win for us is a win for Kinston, because we’re a Kinston-based company.”
At the end of the day, Brooks doesn’t mind that his magazine gets called a tabloid.
“Our content is very controversial, but we sell a lot of copies...Tabloid seems like a dirty word, but we can make tabloids look good,” he said.