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The Great Magazine Lecture An adventure into the real world….
Overview • Business Models • Editorial Models • Implications for the Professional Writer
Business Models • Open “circ” (short for “circulation”) • Sold to anyone with the cover price • Closed circ • Selected audience • Often free
Costs • Money is the lifeblood of magazines. Costs include: • Production and sales staff • Materials of production (paper, ink) • Distribution costs (postage, trucks, cost of shelf-space)
Income • Sales • Advertising • Donations • Usually in the form of “real” contribution, such as office space granted by a college to a literary journal
Critical Pause • Why aren’t the thickest magazines—the ones that cost the most to produce—the most expensive to buy? • How do closed circ magazines that give away copies stay in business? • If these questions puzzle you, go back to the slide about Income. ADVERTISING!
Ad Rates • Advertising rates increase with circulation. • Magazine circulation is audited just as independent accountants audit finances. • Closed circ magazines can guarantee a niche market to advertisers, and so can charge advertisers more $$$ per reader.
Ad – Edit Ratio • Gauge a magazine’s financial health by comparing the number of advertising pages to the number of editorial pages. • A “healthy” ad-edit ratio is about 4:6, or 40% • Some magazines have ad-edit ratios of 9:1, or 90%
Who cares? I just wanna write! • Expect little or no pay from magazines in financial straits. • Expect few readers if you publish in low circulation magazines. and… • Knowledge of business models = knowledge of audience = more effective writing.
Consumer magazines Broad demographics Newsweek Parade People Niche magazines Narrow demographics Quilting Yachts PC Gamer Editorial Models
Magazine Feature Qualities • Urgency • Up to date information • Primary sources • Specific details Critical Pause: Ah-ha! Could this be why so many cover lines include a specific number?
Kinds of Articles • How-to • Personality profile – interview or narrative • Op-Ed and reviews • First person witness, such as travelogue
Purpose of Articles • Entertain • Persuade (foment attitude) • Inform • Provoke (foment action) A feature article can have multiple purposes. NOTICE: Purposes affect the reader.
Implications • Know the magazine’s audience. • Know your sources. • The writer is never the subject. • An article must give readers “value.” A reader who takes away no value, won’t buy the next issue, circulation sinks, advertising rates go south… disaster
Good Magazine Writing • Effective – achieves purposes • Collaborative • Timely