Archive for October 2008

National Novel Writing Month

October 29, 2008

November is national novel writing month. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000 words) novel by Nov. 30th.

As the NaNoWriMo website states:

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

This means about 6 pages a day, every day. In addition to actually writing a novel this November, I’m going to post my progress online (meaning you’ll be able to read my story as I write it). Publishing e-novels online is a ‘new’ wave, that’s happening parallel to the self-publishing wave – similar but not the same (If you want to know more about this or check out some, visit Pages Unbound). To see my progress, and read the story, check it out here.

Books: The Only Ad free Media Today

October 28, 2008

I discussed a little bit in my last post how media these days seems to revolve around advertisers. It’s no longer a system where content is created for readers, then advertisers pay to be seen by those reads. Now, frequently, content is devised to interest advertisers, since they pay the overhead costs, then it is ‘marketed’ to readers.

Most of our media today exposes us to ads. Conservative sources say the average American is exposed to at least 347 ads a day – but other estimates are as high as 3000 ads. Newspapers, magazines and websites all expose us to them. The only media source that doesn’t expose us these days is books – except for the few pages at the back that tell us other books the publisher thought we might like.

Maybe that is part of the reason e-books and e-book readers haven’t caught on as much as their manufacturers might like.

Books are the one media that consumers really expect to be what THEY want. They aren’t personally interested in book brands – most readers couldn’t tell you who publishes their favorite books. They read because they enjoy it, because it provides a longer escape from reality then a magazine. So, any attempts to change this reading behavior is sure to be slow. And it needs to really consider what readers want and how they use books. (Bnet recently wrote an article on this).

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The Newspaper Industry is Walking Backwards

October 23, 2008

There are two types of magazine publishing: Trade and consumer. The financial set-ups for these two are drastically different. There are also two types of newspapers: Free Dailies, and regular papers. Again, the financial blue prints are supposed to be very different.

Essentially, however, Trade magazines and free dallies follow a similar blue print. Consumer magazines and regular newspapers also see similarities.

Traditionally, consumer magazines/newspapers create content that is appealing to consumers, then, because consumers use/read/view their product (to the point they will pay for it) companies trying to market to that market segment advertise in the magazine or newspaper, with the hope that consumers of the magazine will then also buy their products. Some customers even enjoy looking through the ads. This has worked fairly well for a long time now (though, some companies are turning off of print ads because it’s hard to measure the direct response).

In contrast, trade magazines and free dailies are … free. They don’t cost their readers anything. Instead, they are paid for by the companies that advertise in them. Sometimes (at least according to my experiences in trade publishing) this means that editorial revolves around advertisers, and caters to them (rather then readers). This method seems to make less sense – by catering to advertisers you essentially make their ads less successful. At least in trade publications, they can get away with this because you’re dealing with business information, so the readers are partially reading the publication for the same information that manufacturers/advertisers want them to have.

But recent trends in the consumer magazine world make no sense. Ditto on newspapers, though for different reasons. (more…)

Mixed Blessings 4 Magazines

October 17, 2008

According to Mr. Magazine,

“The number of new magazine launches for the third quarter of 2008 exceeded that of the similar period of 2007 by 29 magazines. For the first time this year, the new magazine launches reversed the huge downturn trend that started with the third quarter of 2007 and continued throughout the first half of 2008.”

While this means that obviously those starting new magazines don’t believe the industry is doing as poorly as those in it do, it also means more competition for decreasing ad dollars. But, while most magazines that have passed their first birthday are worried, according to Media Life MagazinesEurope’s business elite has increased its readership.”

You may think this just means that the business elite are an older generation – but according to the survey that reveled these findings, those same people have “ramped up their consumption of news online,” but

“…they have not cut back on their consumption of traditional sources of news. Key among the reasons, believe the researchers, the print titles are portable, which fits well into an on-the-go lifestyle. But another key factor is trust. Those readers trust what they read in those publications over what they read online.”

This seems to be extremely positive. It means that there is a differentiation here between print publications and online media that is possibly, hopefully, a sign of a new trend that will filter down. It’s consumers consuming print (vs electronic media) BECAUSE it is print. Rather then reading the news on their blackberries or other small electronic devices they are reading it in print because of what print offers that online media does not: gatekeepers.

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Freelance : New Magazines

October 17, 2008

For any one out there who freelances or would like to, Mr. Magazine (note: once you’ve gone to the page, click on the month listings on the left hand side to bring up the magazine titles) has put up a great post with all the new magazines of 2008 to-date. A lot of them are likely accepting freelance writing, and their editors are unlikely to have regular writers already. So query away!

How to Write a Cover Letter

October 13, 2008

Cover letters are a must-have in today’s job world. Even if, sadly, most of them do not get read. Without one, you stand out as unprepared. With one, you stand a chance to catch the readers attention, present yourself and your resume in a little more detail and explain (briefly) why they should want you.

Do not put what you do not know, or what you want to know in your cover letter. The company wants to know what you can do for them; not what they can do for you. They are paying you – not the other way around.

Most cover letters are 3 paragraphs long. Any longer, and you will lose interest. Here is a break down of what should be in each paragraph:

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E-Magazines : An interesting Model

October 13, 2008

Many magazines (and publishing companies) are fighting the move to the web with all they have in them, rather then viewing it as a new tool to use. But not all.

One of the classes I’m taking at Pace University this semester is a marketing class and we are talking about how, since the internet, consumers are expecting more and more personalized products and services. As Kassia Krozser recently posted on Booksquare, “The pain will come for those (textbook industry, anyone?) clinging to old business models.”

What this means is that publishing companies need to look for ways to embrace technology. This, of course, will be different for each of the different ‘types’ of publishing (magazines, books, etc.), but embrace it they must.

Magazines

Take what Mitch Fox is doing at 8020 Media. Essentially, they are creating magazines out of user generated content.

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