Mr. Magazine’s M.O.: Let My Magazines Grow
Ink-on-paper magazines are a physical storehouse of information that, if done well, "are worthy of being held in your hands," as Steve and Debbee Pezman told me. The Pezmans started their magazine, The Surfer's Journal, in 1992, charging $12.95 for the first issue. Now, 20 years later, they are still rocking, six times a year at a cover price of $15.95 an issue. They are creating "information" that is as good, if not better than the "storehouse" that contains it.
The goods are part of the store, and we are selling the entire store with its contents. You better be ready to pay up if you want to enjoy the experience, the total experience, and not just parts of it here and there. The total is much larger than the sum of the parts. Sue Roman, president of Taunton Press, identified three "must-haves" in any magazine they publish: "First, will the readers support the magazine? That means, will they pay a subscription price and single-copy price that is sufficient to profitably produce the magazine. Second, is there a strong base of advertisers who want to specifically reach these people? Third, is the subject matter well-served by the format of the magazine? Can it be compellingly communicated on a magazine spread, and is there an ongoing conversation about the topic that will keep the magazine lively for years to come?"
You would say, "But isn't that pure common sense?" I would say, "You are right, my friend. However, the sad part of our magazine business is we have parked common sense in the garage and gotten rid of the keys." We need to search for the keys, go back to the business of "common-sense" publishing and then watch our business grow. To paraphrase one famous wise person (and I am not talking about Bob Sacks here) "Let my magazines grow …" There is hope when there is a message worthy of hope! PE