Tips for a Successful Magazine Launch
• Cheryl Woodard, publishing consultant/co-founder of PC Magazine, PC World, Macworld and the Macworld Expo
• Tom Broberg, president, MagazinePublisher.com
• Imad Atalla, publisher of the recently launched Publio magazine
In an era when the appetite for information is insatiable as ever, the entrepreneurial spirit continues to inspire publishers to launch new magazines on a regular basis. 207 new magazines have been launched (through Oct. 12) in 2005, according to Magazine Publishers of America.
The road to a successful launch is not without peril. Most reports estimate that 50 percent to 60 percent of new magazines fail. A lesser-known statistic is that of the publications that fail, half are launched by experienced publishers (the other half by newcomers to publishing), according to www.MagazineLaunch.com.
To help publishing executives improve their chances of success with their future launches, InBox sought the insights of two magazine publishing consultants and a publisher fresh off the launch of his new magazine.
CHERYL WOODARD, co-founder of PC Magazine, PC World, Macworld and the Macworld Expo, is a publishing consultant (www.publishingbiz.com) and weighs in with some thoughts on magazine startups.
InBox: What sort of advice would you give a publisher considering launching a new magazine?
Woodard: Cash is the thing that kills most smaller publications: printing and postage are two big expenses that are typically paid in advance of publishing an issue. Newsstand sales and advertising are the major sources of cash income, but advertisers typically pay 30 to 90 days after the issue is distributed, and distributors pay even later (sometimes as long as 120 days after the issue goes off sale).
Make sure you have enough cash to manage your printing and postage bills for the first couple of years, and don't count on advertising or newsstand cash to cover those expenses. By the way, if you stick with one printer during this period, you might build up a relationship that will lead to more lenient credit terms, which could greatly improve your cash problems. Printers have the capacity to help startup magazines, but publishers often don't know to cultivate a relationship of trust with their printer, and therefore miss out on that support.