As the editor/publisher of the City of Pittsburgh’s only magazine of commentaries, culture, film and television reviews, sexy stories and topless women, I study all kinds of successful online and print publications in the hope of becoming a better editor/publisher myself. Some of these publications have nothing to do with my genre, the “girlie” or the “men’s” or the “lads'” magazine. I just want to know what makes for a successful publication. I want to know the right way to edit and publish the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.
And I want to know what NOT to do. I need to know why other publications (online or print) fail.
Nuts (Magazine) use to be a successful “lads'” magazine. It closed down in 2014 after several years as one of the most successful magazines in the UK. This is what Wikipedia has to say about Nuts:
Nuts was a British lads’ mag published weekly in the United Kingdom and sold every Tuesday. Nuts’ marketing campaign at its launch in 2004 used the slogan, “When You Really Need Something Funny”.
The magazine closed in April 2014.
Nuts’ main rival magazine was Zoo Weekly, which is aimed at much the same demographic, 18–30 men, and contains similar content. However, since the start of the respective magazines, Nuts always outsold Zoo, with the sales figures for the later half of 2013 showing a gap of nearly 25,000 copies per week. Other magazines in competition with Nuts were Zip and men’s monthly publications such as FHM and Loaded.
The circulation of the magazine declined from 2007 onwards. The average number of copies sold in the second half of 2013 was 53,342, whereas the magazine had sales of 306,802 at its peak in 2005.
On 8 August 2013, Dominic Smith, the magazine’s editor, announced that their publication would no longer be sold by Co-op supermarkets. Smith withdrew the publication in response to the Co-op’s request for publishers to put their ‘lads’ mags’ in modesty bags to mask their explicit front covers. The Co-op said that it was responding to consumer concern.
In March 2014 IPC Media announced that Nuts might soon cease publication after a 30 day consultation with staff. Digital monthly sales of 8,776 (Jul-Dec 2013) suggested to industry observers that the magazine was not making a successful transition to an online platform.
The magazine’s last issue was published on 29 April 2014. Lucy Pinder, who was a regular model for Nuts, appeared on the cover of the last issue. The Independent journalist Ella Alexander wrote at the time: “The magazine stayed true to its ethos right until the bitter end – passive, unthreatening, with (objectified versions of) women for everyone.”
Well, looks like my writer’s block is over for the time being, but I’m still going to do a little house (apartment) cleaning. Cleaning your apartment is good for the soul.
It was supposed to be a mostly cloudy day in Pittsburgh today (I just repeat what the weather outlets report), but right now it’s a sunny afternoon in The ‘Burgh, the high around 38.
Only four more days before I’m back on my beat in Little Italy.
Hail to Pitt!
PS The Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette has a monthly circulation of around 6,500 (visitors); but it will only cost me around $330 to publish it in 2016. Revenues from the magazine are projected at $400 to $450 for the same period. So, the magazine won’t shut down because of financial losses. Plus, it looks like circulation will continue its 10 months of steady growth.
Many magazines that fail don’t have a large enough margin of profit. I just need to operate in the black. Period. And continue to grow the magazine’s circulation, even if it averages only 100-200 more visitors every month.
You know you can’t beat that with a stick!