Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Paolo Bacigalupi on Magazine Marketing

I got these links from Lou Anders (I'll admit it; I don't try to read every single SF/F/H writer's blog anymore), and I agree with nearly everything Bacigalupi says. (Especially the bit about direct mail; the only thing that's comparable is telemarketing, which used to be a fantastic marketing channel before the financial services assholes poisoned the well for everyone.)

Part One: Why Are "the Big Three" Dying?
(Although, as both Sheila Williams and Gordon Van Gelder pointed out to me this past weekend, the big three are not actually dying, and just because the outside world only has one metric about the health of a magazine, it does not thereby follow that it is a good metric.)

Part Two: Marketing in Meatspace
(Mail mail mail. Test test test. And then mail some more.)

Part Three: Online Marketing
(Not the same old suggestions at all; Bacigalupi has some great ideas...whether or not they're actually feasible is another story, and only the people running the magazines could determine that.)


Michael A. Burstein said...

Can you get into specifics as to what Sheila and Gordon said?

Dan Goodman said...

I think he's right about the problem of the magazines not doing their own direct mail ads -- for a reason other than what he gave.

I've gotten an ad from F&SF which was cleverly designed for appeal to people who love visual sci-fi and who don't want any of that literary crap. The ad had to be designed by someone who had no idea what the magazine was like.

Andrew Wheeler said...

Michael: They weren't horribly specific, though Gordon did mention (in public) that this last year would have been F&SF's most profitable since he took it over, if not for the huge postal increase.

Sheila had an interesting comparison: her division (which does Asimov's, Analog, and the two mystery magazines) is similar to a mass-market publisher that puts out forty books a year -- all of which sell twenty thousand or more copies. Put that way, it sounds very successful.

And there's the issue of how much of the peak circulation of the magazines was made up of cheap "stamp" subscriptions, which only became profitable on renewals.

All in all, I guess the point is that circulation is just one number -- all by itself, it doesn't necessarily mean anything.

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