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Monday, July 12, 2010

Magazines begin with the Idea

I've written my share of magazine articles and newsletters. In fact my first newsletter was over fifteen years ago, printed on large paper at the printers and folded at my home with a crew of people for our hundreds of subscribers. What a chore and what an expense. Of course we sold products but basically we broke even for many years until I ended the subscription process and began giving it away for free.

The free model worked for me and the publication went down to four issues a year. Then came the Internet and email. Wow. Now we could email newsletters. But, there was a  problem. Not everyone had email and if they did rarely did they know how to access a newsletter.

Full speed ahead into the present day and we find newsletter overload, everyone has email even young children, and access to the internet is as close as your cell phone. Therefore, the information overload has come and no one wants to subscribe to a newsletter. What about magazines? While there are still periodicals being shipped via mail these are big companies for the most part. And, by the number of magazines on the shelf at the book stores and libraries I can see they are still alive and well. Or are they?

Recently I answered an offer to receive free magazines for one year. The ploy? Get you hooked on a magazine in order to subscribe to it in the future, and show the advertisers the tremendous "growth" in readership. Therefore, I am sure, charging a premium for the ad space. It works in terms of obtaining new subscribers. . . to an extent. Out of four magazines received we will subscribe to one. In analyzing the magazine models I've noted a common thread.

Magazine Models:

1. Multi-Ads and Articles and Photos
2. Some Ads and Articles and Photos
3. No Ads Only Articles and Photos

One successfully popular magazine I follow has an abundance of ads. When this company began the stapled copy, printed on cream colored paper with black and white photos and text, was delivered to my home for free in a manila envelope. Accompanying the magazine were many fliers and brochures for companies that fit the demographic interests of the readership. I was invited to send a flier to the editor for inclusion in their next publication. The flier I was told needed to include a discount offer. Training the customer to expect discounts is the major push of this publication. While I am not a fan of this type of marketing it was widely successful for the editors and they now have full color cover, ads and many other products that tie into the overall theme of the magazine topic.

In the next several weeks I will interview two magazine editors. They have specific goals in mind for the authors who submit articles as well as the goals to grow their audience and subscribers. Both of these magazines are niche specific. It will be interesting to hear how and why they began their endeavors and learn of their success.

Do you have a success story? Perhaps you submitted an article for publication that was accepted. Please share your information or frustrations with me. Perhaps I can help! 


  1. Looking forward to it, Felice! I was really amazed at how easy it was to publish my first magazine article. I always thought magazines didn't need me because they had so many other people contributing. However, I contacted the publisher of a large homeschool magazine not expecting much but found that my article idea was so unique and right in line with her audience and what she wanted to print that I got it published in half the time they usually take to publish new articles! Ask and ye shall receive, especially if you present an idea that is right in line with their audience.

  2. Thanks for sharing JoJo. It depends on the needs of the magazine Editor and in this case your timing was perfect. Each magazine has different needs knowing how to meet each one helps tremendously if your goal is to become published.