Her Own Words

DD Blog: The Making of the DD Annual

Six months on from publishing the DD Annual 2019 (our third print publication and, if we do say so ourselves, our best yet) we've had some time to reflect on the process.

Six months on from publishing the DD Annual 2019 (our third print publication and, if we do say so ourselves, our best yet) we’ve had some time to reflect on the process.


We couldn’t be prouder of this issue of the DD Annual, which marks the three years of Dear Damsels – and in that time we’ve come a long way. Our very first issue was published at the end of DD’s first year online and when we first approached the idea of a print publication – before we even really knew what it would look like, or even that it would take the form of an annual – our main question was: How? With no experience in how to publish a magazine we didn’t know where to start. From finding a way to print copies that doesn’t cost the earth, to working out where to store the stock, to remembering to account for the postage and packaging: we soon found out just how much was involved in a print project. The result was our first foray into the world of print: an A4 size, slightly rough-around-the-edges DD Annual.

Three years later, as we approached the task of publishing 2019’s Annual, with the experience of independently producing two print publications under our collective DD belt, the question was: How do want to do it this time around?

Dear Damsels Annual 2019

What we did the same

The DD Annual is a chance for us to collect some of our favourite pieces of writing published online throughout the year into a print edition. We love being able to offer writers the chance to see their work in print, and the idea behind the Annual has never changed – it is intended as a year spent in the company of DD; a collection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry celebrating women writers.

Because the Annual is a look back over a year of Dear Damsels, it is divided into twelve months, each introduced by a snippet from that month’s letter and a corresponding portrait of a woman. All the portraits for this Annual (and all the Annuals) were taken by photographer Libby Earland.

We also kept the format the same as last year’s issue. At 150×230mm, it’s smaller than A4 and bigger than A5, and there’s something about the size that we just love. We also haven’t seen anything else the same format.

What we did differently

This was the very first time we included original content in the Annual – including interviews with interior stylist Elle P.J., burlesque performer Felicity Furore, as well as TOKEN magazine creator Sara Jafari.

It was also the first time we had an illustrated cover. We were so delighted to work with Octavia Bromell (aka @tinkoutsidethebox), who illustrated us a quintessential Damsel. (She’s even available to buy as a print from Octavia’s shop.)

As well as having an illustrated cover, we were lucky enough to collaborate with Bath Spa Illustration Society on internal illustrations, and were blown away by their interpretations of the writing we sent them.

Finally, this was the first time we worked with a designer (marcuschamberlain.com) on the page design – which also meant it was the first year we didn’t drive ourselves insane moving text boxes around, and could therefore put more time into other things. (Thanks, Marcus!)

The next DD Annual . . .

It’s not long until we’ll start work on our next Annual (argh), which will publish in early 2020. With each publication, we learn something new, achieve more and push ourselves further – and we hope we do the writers that we feature proud. As well as all of the above, this year we have a brand new stockist for the DD Annual in the shape of MagazineBrighton, and you can also find DD on sale via Pics & Ink, alongside the likes of Oh Comely and The Simple Things.

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for the DD Annual 2020…

Love,
Abs x



Dear Damsels is your collective.

We want to create a space on our website where you can find out what your collective is doing for you. Whether it be upcoming events, publications, projects or podcast episodes, this blog will be where we communicate directly with you about what is going on in the world of DD.

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