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Why haven't you bought a copy of GUD?

Really, I know many of you have. This isn't meant that way.

I want to up our marketing savvy. Please help us figure out our weaknesses. We know writing, and we've put together a strong product.

But we don't know marketing. We're definitely trying. We're putting in the effort. But effort sure could use a bit more smarts to it, in my opinion.

Would I have bought a copy of GUD? I don't know. I'm trying to think this through, trying to think through our marketing, our visibility. If it was a close friend's mag, I probably would. Once. See what it was like. If it wasn't a friend's mag, ... maybe I would have gotten a PDF if a close friend said it was the bee's knees. The $10 price point seems high to me, for a magazine--I come from a genre background. Sure, it's quality paper, but given the choice and not being sure of it, and having lots of clutter already, I think I would have gone for the PDF (if someone was recommending it to me). Curiosity. If I happened to have the money in my paypal account. Them's my discretionary funds, and they fill irregularly.

Trying to think through similar purchases I've made, recently (and not so recently) -- I bought a copy of SG6... to support scrawl, and friends. I wouldn't have given it a try if I hadn't been _involved_ in it somehow, probably.

I bought a few issues of Night Train... I think the first one was on Sue's recommendation, and I liked it. Beautiful format, novel-to-me writing. Once I bought the first Night Train... then I knew what it was, knew it was worth it, knew I wanted to keep reading it, keep exposing myself to that "other" sort of writing (yeah, I'm a genre baby).

I bought a PDF copy of ASIM, and that's well put together. I think we're better, but I enjoyed a number of items from the latest. Bought a copy of some other mag I won't mention, PDF, and it looked like a cross section of our slush pile. Holy crap! But both of those buys were inspired by "wanting to know our competition".

I subscribe to F&SF monthly and think we're better than that, too, but of course I would. That's the only magazine I've subscribed to on a long-term basis, because I don't make enough time for reading, and they're cheap. And I can't stand Asimov's or Analog. ;)

Why don't I read Interzone? Anything else? Well, there's no need to. Sometimes I've given a magazine one try and not been impressed. Most often I haven't even given them one try because, well, I have enough to read already. I fill my time.

I buy books occasionally... generally they're impulse buys, and generally they're big names. Umberto Eco. Neil Gaiman. I've borrowed more books than bought, recently. Too much clutter!

But there are plenty of people out there who buy books... who buy magazines... right? Are any of them _here_? What inspires your purchases?

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
vonandmoggy
Feb. 13th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
Hopefully you won't hate me for saying this, but I do find the "about" page on the GUD website very vague. The mission statement says, "GUD is modern in business, method, and execution, but timeless in message." And the "for the reader" section states, "Fiction, information, poetry, art. The best of the best." But at no point do I get a sense of what a typical issue might contain. What type of fiction are we talking about? Based on the cover, I'd say maybe Lovecraftian-style writing. That's a guess, though. It gets more troublesome when I go to the "subscribe/order" page. There, in italics, it states, "...we provoke with words and art. We bring you stories that engage. Essays and interviews that make you think harder. Poetry that bares reality, more subtly interprets what it means to be human." Not to be crass, but isn't any literary/fiction magazine tyring to do exactly that? With GUD, I don't understand what separates it from anything else on the racks. Think harder about what? What about being human is GUD interpreting? I'm not trying to be a prick here. If I was wandering your site with no real idea of what you're about, I'd leave the site still not being sure.

So really what I'm thinking of is a stronger focus on what the magazine is (and, perhaps more critically, what it isn't). I have a sneaking suspicion you don't want to restrict possible submissions and/or readers, but in a sense you already are with the cover art and web design you've chosen (I can't see a romance writer submitting to GUD, for instance. Ditto for an "elves and dwarves" fantasy writer). So, for me, explaining clearly what the magazine is trying to do would be a very strong step. Your mileage may vary, of course.

All that said, it might just come down to time. With two issues a year, it just make take quite awhile to build up a solid buying readership. The magazine certainly seems to have a strong web presence (a quick google search showed as much). The Wikipedia entry is vague, but that goes with my above comments.

So, those are my thoughts. For what they're worth!

Von
kaolinfire
Feb. 13th, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
Gold, thank you!

I worry about restricting folks with the cover art and web design. The cover art is definitely a drawback for only having an issue every six months. The web design... I keep thinking I should lay out the moolah, that it really does make that big of a difference. I'm glad to hear that seconded.

((as an example of the difficulty--we don't want an "elves and dwarves hack and slash"--but an "elves and dwarves hack and slash while discussing Nietsche" would be fun... or anything that would make it a little more intelligent that the "run of the mill romp"))

Thank you thank you. :)

Difficulty one--finding the right words. Difficulty two--turning them into soundbites for the semi-casual browser.

Time to do a market comparison, I think. Why that kept eluding me, I don't know.
prgrmr
Feb. 13th, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
Who is your taget audience? Where do they hang out--in cyberspace and in real life? And have you been to all of those places with a message that will both get their attention and communicate what you want?

kaolinfire
Feb. 13th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
Target audience... the only readers that seem to hang out online or writers (or perhaps they're the largely just the people I know? writers and wannabe writers?)

Definitely have spread the word "there" a fair amount. I keep thinking there has to be this "vein" of people who buy ebooks that I'm missing, somewhere. But I can't think of anywhere outside of fictionwise, which doesn't seem to sell advertising, and which we don't have an "in" for, yet. Maybe I should try that angle more... pester them.

Haven't done the "real life" thing enough. Need to ramp that up.

Thanks! :)
prgrmr
Feb. 13th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
I keep thinking there has to be this "vein" of people who buy ebooks

I suspect that people who buy ebooks buy them for the same reason as people who buy paper books and magazines: for the content. You need to sell the content more. I've looked at your website and couldn't really tell what type of stories your selling. So to rephrase my question, look at what sort of content you carry, figure out who reads that stuff and go share with them.
kaolinfire
Feb. 13th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
Website content revamp is percolating up the list of priorities. Design revamp to help sell the message of the content.

Thank you again! =)
blueblindbee
Feb. 13th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
The mag is definantly really good -- but one thing that turned me off were the typos. At least they seemed that way. I couldn't make sense of the ones I've questioned and I'd think I would know when they are purposely put on. Or do I? I like to think so.

I'll look it up tonight and show you some places I'm talking about if that helps. :)

I don't know if typo's exactly count -- I'm sure every mag has them. But eh. My two cents. :)
kaolinfire
Feb. 13th, 2007 09:39 pm (UTC)
Every mag has typos (they piss me off in F&SF, too). I'd love to see any you could point out, though there's nothing we can do about them except try harder next issue. And we tried pretty damn hard.

You _did_ buy a copy (well, sort of), so you're not entirely in the "why didn't you buy a copy" camp. ;) Still, all input is appreciated. :)
thewritehand
Feb. 18th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
Marketing is so hard for a new magazine. We set up camp as a bi-monthly and launched our first issue in December. Well-received, but we need more sales, and more advertisers.

The website helps. The website needs to tell people exactly what to expect when they shell out the ten dollars (or, in our case, three pounds fifty).

We tried selling with Google Ads. Didn't work. Tried advertising in a major national genre mag this month. Hasn't helped enough to justify the cost of the ad, yet (but the ad has only been out 3 days so far).

Next step is to advertise in (and get editorial in) the associations - British Fantasy Society, Bristish Science Fiction Association, etc.

It's not easy. If you find the magic formula, please drop me a line, and I'll do the same...
kaolinfire
Feb. 18th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)
We really didn't have it in us to go bi-monthly from the start, though we would have loved to. Hoping to get to four issues a year; two a year is definitely not enough to stay in the public consciousness, and less than four means you can't even apply for periodical status with the post office ((which means you can't afford to put ads in the magazine, because then you couldn't ship media rate, and then...))

We managed to get several hundred dollars of ads through google, microsoft, askjeeves, yahoo, ... and yeah, really didn't help. That said, we had a much crappier website a few days ago. I have hopes that another ad buy would have higher conversions... but I really don't know. The one I'm sticking with for now is project wonderful--because for the most part I'm just spending what I'm making by having their ads on the site.

We got one ad in a major national genre mag (F&SF -- $90 for an inch). I know we've gotten one writer submitting from that, and that's all I'm really sure of.

Associations... a good idea.

I keep daydreaming about radio spots, tv spots, billboards--found a place that will rent adspace on little tv screens in a restaurant, clips between sports news and other such stuff ($100/mo, I think? $200, maybe).

Definitely hunting for that magic formula. In my spare time (that I don't have--to put it better, to the detriment of all else in my life) I ... add people on myspace. And then commentspam them a thanks, and that's the end of it. approaching 2800 friends, probably have gotten 10 orders that way. Have probably spent... 120 hours doing that. Not exactly a wise investment. ((also have gotten one "online" radio interview through that... which was fun))

I have the strong impression that we have to -create- new readers, but I really don't know how to go about that. Literacy campaigns are a government thing, big money, and they (probably?) don't do very well.

I really thought we'd be selling more PDFs. Not insanely more, but maybe the numbers reversed of what they are, now (we've sold... hmm... 132 copies of Issue 0, including 59 subscriptions (so 59 copies of Issue 1), and... 19 PDFs!)

We get around 150-200 unique visitors a day (2000-3000 unique visitors a month, so a fair amount of repeat daily traffic), and ... we need more. A lot more.

Need distribution (you're ahead of us there, soundly, being available in stores...); need to get out to some conventions; and need that magic formula! :)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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