Subscribers already got the email, and we’ve discussed this at length on Facebook, but now it’s official. We’re taking a break from monthly issues. Every month, it’s a struggle to bring all the pieces together in time. Final interview responses and pictures come in at the last minute, then we have to fire up the Adobe Create Suite (CS) to turn 60 or so blank pages into a digital magazine you can pay way too much for in print.
As I’ve mentioned before, it takes anywhere from 16 to 20+ hours to turn that blank InDesign document into something like issue 1.13. Believe me, it feels incredible to see the result of all that work, but finding a 16-20 hour block of time to do the building is getting harder and harder. Whereas previously we could crank on it for a weekend, maybe two if need be, nowadays it’s becoming an all-or-nothing shot.
When enough is enough.
I tried to start building 2.01 this past Saturday. Between common household interruptions – often the cutest 1-year old blonde I know grabbing my arm – I didn’t get any further than writing a list of all the pieces to think about for the issue. When I got back to it on Sunday, I cranked out my Alfa Romeo discussion with Carm La Spina before realizing I just wasn’t going to have the time to finish building.
V (my wife) starts a new job next week. She’s been telecommuting part time for about two years, now, the last year of which has been a lot of super flexible, stay-at-home-mom-type stuff. That all changes next week, and we’re all going to be getting up early to get the whole family out the door by something like 6AM, meaning next weekend will be filled with last minute prep for the busiest week of our lives since P came home from the hospital.
Which meant, if I couldn’t make a serious dent in the production schedule yesterday, it just wasn’t going to happen. That’s when I started second, third, fourth, nth guessing myself. I’ve had some doubts about the monthly issues for some time, but I never really pulled the numbers. Again, you might have seen this in a subscriber email or Facebook post with a wrecked rover, but here they are for all the world to see.
- We have 137 subscribers.
- Only 56 opened the last issue, or 40%
- Average open rate is 46%.
Less than half our subscribers seem to read the mag. Granted – and some of our readers in the know have pointed out – that’s double the industry average for bulk email like this. Still. Let’s look at print.
- We’ve sold a grand total of 67 printed copies since May 2013.
- To 21 people, who buy an average of 2.6 copies, each.
- (Average sales volume on print is 8.3 copies per month.)
Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt.
That’s the first thing they teach you. I’ve been saying this for years. Seeing the numbers above, it immediately became clear – monthly issues are too much, too far apart. We don’t want to be another throwaway next to your toilet. We want to inspire and empower you. (You can keep reading us on the toilet, though.)
CHANGE IS COMING…
Thanks to a boatload of positive support and feedback from people like Diego, Josh, Mark, Cat, Bodo, Jace, Eric, Jason, Justin, Mike, Mike, and Greg, we’re moving forward with a new excitement for the future. Enough is enough and things gon’ change ’round these parts. We’re still hashing out what those changes will look like, but here’s a few of our favorite ideas at press time:
- Move digital/print issue production to a quarterly basis. Possibly cover-to-cover features only. Still full-color. Still 100% ad-free. If we interview you – and your story moves us – you’ll still get something you can have Lanny and company frame for you. (Lanny is good people and makes us look good. Stop in and say hi.
- Run more content right here on the website. More free content for the masses, but also more subscriber-only stuff. We should have the final piece of our membership program in place by the end of February.
- Current subscribers will become lifetime members.
- Current paid subscribers will become lifetime supporting members.
- We’re going to setup a simple forum where our members can get to know each other.
- Introduce simple, monthly email newsletters. For those who can’t make it to the site more often and don’t want to bother with an RSS reader – but don’t want to miss anything – we’ll start sending out a simple email directory of all stories ran that month.
Beyond that, Deanna wants to get us into the 21st century with audio and video content, too. Considering we’ll now only be producing a physical magazine four times a year, that’s about 60 hours per quarter (20 per month, remember?) we’ll have available to put our snazzy smart phones to the test, interviewing people live and whatnot.
Our mission is to help you build high performance machines by introducing you to people and ideas you might not otherwise come across in your usual automotive travels, and to help you build high performance lives by applying the skills you’ve honed over the years to other areas of your personal and professional life. Someday, I like to think we’ll have our own TV show (online), podcast, and international events calendar (on PaddockScene, of course), and a high quality – affordable – monthly magazine, but first things first.
Thank you for believing in us as much as we believe in you. Keep going fast with class and press on regardless.