My Friend Frankie (MFF) is an online literary and arts magazine founded by Kelsey Nichole Brooks, who was eager to create a space where aspiring creators can showcase their work. What sets MFF apart from most other online magazines, however, is the fact that one of its main goals is allowing creators to build their portfolios and connect with industry partners (including, but not limited to, studios and publishing houses) for the best shot at succeeding in their creative careers.
A new issue of the magazine is published at the beginning of each month, and creators are welcome to submit to the literary magazine–which features poetry, prose, and personal essays–or the art magazine–which features photography, visual arts, and 3D, graphic, and game design–for a (free!) chance to get their work a spot on the website in the applicable category. To get more details on this awesome opportunity, we asked Kelsey a few questions; read on to learn about the inspiration behind MFF as well as some fun projects they have in the works!
HC: What inspired you to create an online magazine that not only features a variety of creators, but also keeps a database of these creators to help them potentially find work and partnerships in the future?
Kelsey: “The magazine was created in homage to a late friend of mine, Frankie. Frankie was one of the few people who believed in me as a writer. She found even the worst of my work beautiful and had it not been for her pushing me, I might not be where I am today. She was my guidance, my hero, my best friend. Because of Frankie, I realized how powerful encouragement is and how it can transform the creative mind. It wasn’t until Frankie passed away from cancer in July of 2020 that I realized that I have the responsibility of helping others the way Frankie helped me. So, this magazine is a way for her and me to continue our creative friendship. I want to be the person Frankie was for me.”
“If we start helping each other instead of helping ourselves, we find something much more fulfilling in life. You become part of many great things.”– Kelsey Nichole Brooks
HC: Having their work featured in online magazines can be a great way for creators to start building their portfolios, but these magazines often have submission fees and set submission periods. Did you ever consider charging a submission fee and/or setting struct submission periods? Why did you opt not to?
Kelsey: “We don’t charge a submission fee and we never plan to; one of the reasons we don’t charge for features is because creators already struggle enough to fund their creative work. Buying materials and paying monthly for studio fees are enough financial stress. We want to be able to support creators without putting this stress on them. As for submission deadlines, there currently are none; however, we are considering setting up submission windows in the future. Since we are a start-up magazine, the current flow of submission is manageable, but as the magazine grows, we will set deadlines to ensure we maintain the quality of each feature.”
HC: Would you ever turn a creator away? Why or why not?
Kelsey: “MFF is very community-oriented, but we do not accept every submission we receive. Whenever we get a set of submissions, we lay them out on a table and look at them; we want to know who is working for their success. From what we have seen so far, there is a big difference between those who are serious about making their creative work a full-time profession and those who are merely looking for a quick feature. Now, this is not to say that this is the case for everyone; sometimes there is enough material for us to work within a submission file, so instead of a feature we offer them guidance and work out other ideas.”
HC: Where do you see MFF five years from now? In other words, what would your ideal outcome of this magazine be?
Kelsey: “MFF has many projects in the works. We recently started a Donation Bin where people can donate and exchange materials they no longer need. This is our initiative to reduce waste, but also to help those who cannot afford art materials. Within a few years, we hope to open a studio where creators can come and focus on their work; this idea alone can involve many other projects, and we’re excited to work everything out.”