Today I spent the day finally setting up the website for Spoonesaurus Magazine, establishing and linking the shipping software, creating a subscription payment plan, and adding information to the website so it doesn't look like a fourth grader slapped it together with whatever they had. Although come to think of it, a fourth grader would have probably done a better job of it.
After a grueling stint sweating through some arcane stuff I feel very uncomfortable with, I think I finally got it right. All of this is to say, Spoonesaurus Magazine is now ready to accept subscriptions! Because I'm learning this as I go and need to accept the fact that action is better than perfection, we are only offering domestic (USA) subscriptions at this time. Don't worry, I know there are lots of you that want this in other places in the world, and I plan to sort this side of it out before September so you don't miss an issue. But I wanted to get this far now and get things moving.
A word on the magazine. After sweating for months over what it should cost per issue (and remember, we are planning to put out four issues a year), I finally settled on $15 per issue. I was worried if this price would seem too high, and I wanted to take a minute to break down the costs as far as I can anticipate them.
It turns out, printing is bloody expensive. When I printed the sample issue, the printing alone cost just about $5 a copy. I'm looking into other printing options, but for full spread, good quality color printing, it's not cheap. Nor should it be. This is the real world, with physical materials that cost real money, and people's time, not just pixels and algorithms. Shipping is somewhere in the $1.50 range domestic (which is baked into the price; international shipping will be added on afterwards, which is the side of things I need to sort out), and I've yet to determine what if any tax burden will need to be applied to the price. The cost of mailing envelopes and postage labels are also yet to be determined.
There are a whole bunch of fixed expenses as well, which don't scale with readership but therefore loom larger now, in the beginning when only a relative few of you will be subscribing. Fees for the website builder, layout software, shipping software and probably something else I'm not remembering right now add up to about $1000 a year, while each issue carries hundreds of dollars in costs to adequately pay our contributors for their time, efforts and expertise.
So yeah. The good news is that $15.00 an issue should be enough to allow us to do all of this and bring you a vibrant, inspirational magazine that you can actually flip through on the couch, while still remaining less than the cost of a wooden spoon. As our subscription base grows, this price point will also allow us to expand the magazine and make it even better without having to change the price.
I've been asked many times why I didn't just start an electronic magazine, why I felt like we could pull this off. Didn't I know that print was dead?
The thing is, I wanted to make a magazine that lingered, that sat next to the couch (or the toilet, no judgement) and that you could read while keeping your partner or spouse company. Our phones and computers are fraying the fabric of our relationships in a way that a book or magazine never will. I wanted Spoonesaurus Magazine to be part of the solution to this most pressing problem of our times, not part of the problem.
So if you are with me in wanting to have a spoon carving magazine, I hope you will take a moment to subscribe. If you are with me in believing in the power of the physical printed word, I hope you will put down your phone, pick up your computer and subscribe. If you are with me in believing that spoon carving scratches the modern itch to be present in the world, to do something tangible, meaningful and beautiful, I hope you will tell a friend to go subscribe. If you are with me in believing that the printed word, like spoon carving, might be written off as dead but is most definitely NOT extinct, I hope you will subscribe, right now.
Thank you for all your interest and support and inquiries over the past months about the magazine. Now let's make this happen!
My blog has evolved into a series of short essays on the nature of entrepreneurship, craftsmanship, and their overlap. If either of these topics is something you think about, you will probably like this.
One idea is as worthless as another until you actually do something about it, and then it is the action, not the word that matters. --Orson Scott Card