Shepherdstown resident Nancy McKeithen is hoping to bring a new type of arts and culture magazine to the Panhandle with FLUENT, an entirely online magazine.
It all began for McKeithen with a conversation she had with a friend who suggested she start an online arts newsletter for those interested in local arts happenings.
"I bumped it up a notch," McKeithen said.
McKeithen said she decided that a full-fledged arts and culture magazine would really serve as a medium for the various types of local artists.
"We have a vibrant arts community, she said.
Launched in mid July, with the first edition sent out via email to almost 700 people, McKeithen's FLUENT magazine includes a collection of poetry, short stories, humor, plays, art and more. This combination of crafts is something McKeithen said one can't find anywhere else locally.
"There's nothing else quite like it in the Panhandle, she said.
McKeithen, who has worked in magazines for many years, has spent the last 17 years running her own marketing/communications company and continues to freelance write, edit and design.
She said the decision to publish the magazine online seemed like a no-brainer, given the current state of publishing, with more and more people reading their news and entertainment online.
"It's a matter of, the time is right," she said
The "flip magazine," format of the new publication allows readers to literally flip virtual pages as they read.
The online magazine is accompanied by the FLUENT website, which McKeithen said is also a major added feature to an online format.
The website's main function is to showcase a calendar of events, which McKeithen hopes to make the virtual "clearinghouse: for all local arts and culture event information.
"I think FLUENT adds to the cultural lifestyle," she said.
For FLUENT, which McKeithen hopes will remain "totally free" to subscribers, the business model relies on the potential sale of advertising space.
McKeithen explained that her long-term goal is to be able to pay freelance writers who now work for free.
"That's creating jobs in the county," she said. "That would be a huge achievement."