Friday, September 30, 2016

2016 ISL Media Award Winners

After months of research and careful consideration, The Innovative Second Life Group has chosen our 6 winners for the 2016 Media Awards.  We have awarded the #1 best magazines and webzines in SL.  The six categories are:

*Fashion & Lifestyle
*News & Events,
*Home & Garden
*Arts & Culture
*Adult Content
*Special Award-The Best Magazine in Second Life

Congratulations to all the winners!  Here is a list of our 6 winners and why they were chosen the #1 best in SL.

Arts & Culture:
Kultivate Magazine:
Formally Windlight Magazine, Kultivate covers the arts and culture in Second Life.  Excellent interview's with creators and artists and featuring some of the most beautiful photography in SL by many talented artists. The interviews are complete and entertaining and the articles are informative ,  Kultivate is not only a visually stunning magazine but also very well written and constructed

News & Events:
SL Newser
We chose the SL newser as the #1 news source because it is a well constructed webzine offering residents news about current events, innovative products, press releases and informative articles. Covering Second Life's current news and real life matters of concern that effect SL.

Fashion & Lifestyle:
Eclipse Magazine
Eclipse Magazine stood out as the #1 best fashion & lifestyle magazine because of it's excellent variety and content. Beautiful photography highlights the latest trends in fashion and accessories, but also features artists, businesses,  designers, current events and SL lifestyles. The photography and graphics are professional and well done.

Adult Content:
Playmates Magazine
There are more adult magazines in SL then any other.  We chose Playmates Magazine as the #1 best because it offers professional, quality photography that is tasteful and imaginative.  The articles are entertaining and informative covering current fashions, destinations and creator interviews.  The content is classy, not trashy. and very well done.

Home & Garden:
LTD Magazine
We chose LTD Magazine (Love to Decorate Magazine) as the #1 best source for home & garden content because it features the newest innovative products from the best designers in SL.  Beautiful, professional photo's highlight informative articles in this well constructed magazine.

The #1 Best Magazine in Second Life:
BOSL (The Best Of SL)
Superior page design and graphics, superb photography, well written articles about a variety of subjects, and outstanding content elevates BOSL above the rest.  Consistent excellence in every issue.  We unanimously voted BOSL the winner of the best magazine in SL award.

Monday, September 5, 2016

In Search of the Best Magazines In Second Life - ISL Media Awards

The judges for the 2016 Innovative Second Life Media Awards have been working hard to look through every publication in Second Life.  As professional writers, photographers, editors and publishers in real life, we are all tough critics.  As much as we appreciate the efforts of anyone undertaking the task of publishing a monthly magazine, we have been underwhelmed by many. We have seen some mediocre photography, poor editing, badly written articles, inconsistency and amateur graphic designs. We have also seen amazing talent.  There are more adult magazines, then any other in SL.  We are looking for classy adult magazines with creative photography and interesting and informative content. We have chose not to include magazine's containing hard pornography, Porn movie stills or content strictly covering the porn industry as they have a large community that conducts their own appropriate awards.  A close second are the fashion magazines.  We are looking for fashion magazines that cover current trends from popular designers, short descriptions of the pictured outfits with designer and store information and beautiful photography that shows off the outfit. We are not including store or designer magazines that focus on their own products.  After careful deliberation, we have posted the nominees for this years awards in a previous post.  We compiled a list of requirements that we are judging.  
**ISL's Criteria For An Outstanding Publication:
  • 1. Professional photography. is a must.  Most anyone can take a photo of a person or thing against a Second Life sim background.  We want to see some effort.  Photo Shop editing, unusual windlight settings, shading, shadows, use of advanced photography tools, etc.
  • 2. No repetitive photo's or content.  The same model, same background just different poses or angles page after page loses our interest fast.  Same with text such as stories, articles and interviews.  We do not want to read a novel.  We like informative content that has been summarized by highlighting major points of interest.
  • 3. No Incomplete information: If an article is featuring a fashion designer, product or destination, We want to know how long have they been established. Where can the product or service be found, who to contact and is it offered in-world as well as Marketplace and price ranges.
  • 4. Consistency: Monthly issues should be available each month without fail. Content and format should always be consistent.
  • 5. Advertisement Overload:  We understand that ad's are the only revenue for most magazines but no one enjoys looking at more ad's then content.
  • 6. Self Promotion: An introduction page or a note from the editor or owner is important to let the reader know about you, your vision and direction of your magazine.  But we don't need 10 pages of your opinions or your photo in every article.
  • 7. Professional Graphics. We are looking for original and creative page design.
  • 8. Dated Content:  We are looking for current news and events, new products and destinations.  We don't want to read an article about something that been written about in dozens of publications already.  Date your publication! Volume 12 does not tell us if it was published in 2006 or in 2015.
We are looking for the best of the best.  The #1 best magazines in Fashion & Lifestyle, News and Current Events, Arts & Culture, Music, Adult Entertainment and Home & Garden.


Creating A Magazine In Second Life

Are you an aspiring editor or publisher?  Have you been wanting to produce a magazine or webzine in SL?   Below are some points to help create a great SL magazine or webzine.

Planning Process,  Think About This First:
So you think you are creative or a good photographer and would like to publish a magazine in SL.
Unless you literally have 10-12 hours everyday to dedicate to creating your magazine, you can not produce a quality monthly magazine all by yourself.  6 years ago I was delusional enough to think I could create a great magazine focusing on current events, new products and the latest trends.  After all, I have been in the publishing industry since college in real life and have worked for several popular magazines. I worked my way up from a copywriter to my current editor position.
I purchased a Thinc publisher system and began my magazine layout.  I created an outline of what I would be writing about and titled each article and interview adding a short description of the articles points on a notepad then decided how I wanted to construct my content.  I opened Photo Shop and began, starting with my introduction page and table of contents.  It took me many long hours just to complete those two pages to my satisfaction.  Then I started taking photo's of the places and things I had planned to write about.  Hours setting up and shooting products and locations then many more hours in Photo Shop editing and enhancing each photo.  Then I began the page layout of my first article and started researching my topic, another huge amount of time.  Long story short, I had put in around 40 hours for the cover and only 6 pages of the 60 pages I had planned.

Consider These:
  •  It takes a substantial amount of start up funding.
  •  You will not see any profit for months and even years sometimes if at all.
  •  It takes a lot of passion and drive to construct a great magazine every month without being over whelmed and eventually burn out and quit.
  • You will need a well established magazine with a high rate of readers in order to sell ad space.
  • You need ad fee's to fund the magazine. Usually a magazines only revenue.
  • This is not something you can simply slap together each month.  It is a long and painstaking    process.
After you have considered all of the above and you still want to create a magazine, here are some important steps.

First Thing:
 Do your research!  Look through every publication in SL.  Those in-world as well as webzine's in programs such as Issuu.  Know your competition and take notes.

Getting Started:
There are several things to consider before starting a magazine in SL.  First and foremost, what kind of magazine are you wanting to create, what is the concept?  What topic's will you be covering?  Who is your target audience?
Once you have that established what kind of magazine you will be creating, you need to create the framework or design.  This is very important.  You want your magazine to be consistent every issue.  There is no set standard for a magazines' framework as you will notice in real life and SL magazine's but there are the basic's.
Design, structure and substance.
  • Cover
  • Introduction page - Introducing the reader's to your vision and what to expect.
  • Contribution Page - Acknowledgement or credits of writers, editors, photographers etc.
  • Table Of Contents Page
  • Body (articles)

Hiring A Team:
Ask any publisher in SL and they will tell you the most valuable part of their magazine is the creative team behind it.  It's hard to find good help in SL.  It is helpful if you have a notecard detailing job description and expectations ready to give applicants.  They should submit several samples of their work, how many hours per week they are in SL and if their schedule would prohibit them from meeting assigned deadlines.
Interview the applicant asking why they want the position.  It is easy to tell those who are passionate or just looking to make some extra cash doing what they think will be an easy job.  The difference between a photograph created with the love and passion for the art and a photo that was taken because they "had too", is like the difference in a chef and a busy mom throwing together boxed mac & cheese.
*Having a group of trusted and creative friends to co-own the magazine is an option.  There are drawbacks such as shared debts.getting paid, creative differences and pulling of weight. But if you have a group that shares your vision it can be a fun project that could lead to a business.
*There are some residents that may contribute to your magazine for exposure or simply because they truly enjoy writing or photography and those who are looking for recognition. Keep in mind, those donating their projects have nothing to lose by not coming through or meeting deadlines.
*There really isn't a set salary base for magazine employees since it depends on the amount and complexity of their contributions and whether they are full-time or freelance. Most magazines do not pay their writer's and photographer's, but offer exposure and recognition.  A paid staff may sometimes be more dependable but costly.  A real life standard for writer's is $1.00 USD per word.  In SL, however payment is usually by the page or photo or on a monthly salary basis for full-time employees.
An example from one popular magazine in SL who does pay their staff.  Writers submit assignments in notecard form for in-world publications or email for webzines.  They are paid $100L per article. Since some of their writers also shoot their own photo's, they also receive $100L per image used.
The graphic designer then takes the articles' notecard text and photographs and creates the page layout textures to upload to SL or the webzine.  He is paid a monthly salary of $1000L.
There are two owners' that split the remaining profit and all revenue is made from selling advertisement.

Creating Page Design:
You will need to do some grid work for your page layout.  You may have several different templates for each content subject.  These need to have textures that you can give to your writers or graphic designers to use each month to insure consistency in your publication.
  •  Heading - Should be large bold text.
  • Subheading - Bold, smaller text than the heading and creatively draws the reader's attention also called "The hook." 
  • Description Summary - The supporting points of the article.  Should be double spaced between the subheading and first sentence of the article. Should consist of a short paragraph.
  • Body of Article: The story or interview.
  • Conclusion: The last paragraph should sum up the point of the text written in the description paragraph summary.

Page Layout Sample 1

Page Layout Sample 2

When all your pages are finished and uploaded to SL.  You need to buy a publishing system in-world,
Thinc or IntelliBook are the most popular.  You will need blank magazines that can be used in the publisher system you bought.  These are no copy/transfer and can only be used once.  This is what the server reads.
Now you are ready to load your blank magazine or upload to Issuu.
Follow your wireframe that you created for the design of your magazine. 
After you have loaded every page, double check all pages before hitting the "publish" button.
The publishing system will load/copy your template magazine and give you the finished product which you can change the permissions to yes copy and transfer.  They are no modify.

All that is left to do is distribution and gaining readership.  Both Thinc and IntelliBook sell kiosks.  These work off a server and automatically update each kiosk that is rezzed inworld each time you reload the server system.  Each month you simply open the servers content's delete the cover texture and magazine from last month and drag the new cover texture and magazine into the contents tab and select "reload" from the pop up menu.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Second Life's Stand Up 2 Cancer 2016

This month starts the 3rd annual Stand Up 2 Cancer benefit concerts in SL.  The Second Life Music Community is once again holding a series of concerts to help fund cancer research.  Each venue will have official donation kiosks.  The kiosks are scripted to take both lindens and credit card donations.
All Linden donations will be split between three countries. USA, UK and Canada.  Credit card donations will go to the country that the credit card issued in.  Unlike many other charity organizations who spend portions of donations on celebrity endorsements, advertisement, employee salaries, etc, 100% of all donations to Stand Up 2 Cancer are used for research all over the word in finding a cure for cancer.

Find scheduled venues and performers on the on the SLMusic Races website here:

Check back often through the month of September as the schedule is subject to change.

For more information or to donate directly to the Stand Up 2 Cancer foundation, go to their official website here,