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About Writing Right: The Blog


If you're absolutely serious about starting a publishing company, I have to say I don't know why. But, after that, I do have a few ideas for you to consider. For example:

  1. Identify your market and how many potential readers there are based upon a factual analysis. How many will there be when you bring out your first issue two or three years down the line?
  2. Identify your competition. It doesn't matter how big your market is if your competition is flooding the field. If you have the field all to yourself (highly unlikely) and you have plenty of potential subscribers to pitch (also highly unlikely), you're looking good.
  3. Decide upon publication frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) based upon responses to the above.
  4. Identify the areas of talent you'll need to recruit/hire to make your publication a reality.
  5. Hire a good attorney specializing in publishing law.
  6. Purchase a potential targeted subscribers' list based upon subject area and interest. And then, buy a second one from a different vendor. And a third. And fourth. And fifth.
  7. Hire someone to work up a direct-mail campaign, and target your e-mail and direct-mail subscriber lists.
  8. Hire someone to tabulate the results.
  9. Hire an accounting firm to keep track of your subscribers, money received, and accounts billable and payable.
  10. Set up your own circulation department based upon the recommendations you receive from your accounting firm, or outsource to another company.
  11. Identify your initial vs. your potential profits.
  12. Identify potential advertiser categories and potential advertising revenue.
  13. Hire an agency to produce targeted ads for multi-media and direct mail.
  14. Estimate and set realistic ad rates per ad size and guaranteed or estimated circulation per issue.
  15. Purchase a potential advertisers' list based upon targeted manufacturers/distributors and send out a dynamite sales letter.
  16. Decide upon publication frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) based upon responses to the above.
  17. Identify the areas of talent you'll need to recruit/hire to make your publication a reality, from mail boy to executive editorial director and everyone in between.
  18. Assemble a list of talented professionals working on a freelance basis for you to hire on an "as needed" basis, including graphic artists, photographers, designers, proofreaders, etc.
  19. Determine salary costs per issue.
  20. Determine freelance costs per issue.
  21. Determine overhead, including equipment, office space, licenses, supplies, rentals, phones, misc., etc., per issue.
  22. Determine printing costs, based upon your issue page size, paper weight, color vs. black-and-white, and other variables per issue; get quotes from numerous printers and compare.
  23. Assign a per-issue subscription cost based upon known and anticipated expenses vs. unanticipated expenses plus a profit margin of 25 - 40 percent.
  24. Arrange for a distributor; if you can't get a distributor to agree to handle the distribution of your publication either regionally or nationally (depending upon your publication and your market), forget the entire idea and get into plumbing.
  25. Total up all the costs, and add 15% to the total. Then double that. Then double that again. Then double that once more.
  26. Hit up all your wealthiest friends whom you know to be looking for tax write-offs, and ask them to invest. And don't forget your mother (-in-law).
  27. Get new friends, and repeat number 25above.
  28. Shoot for getting at least six months' worth of expenses in the bank prior to going to press with Issue Number One.
  29. Arrange for a bank to handle your accounts and fund your short-term loans, of which there will be plenty.

Analyze all the data you have assembled over the previous two-to-three years (that's how long it will take to get this far, minimum), and decide whether or not your publication is a "go."

Once you've made your decision, take the first steps necessary to get your plumber's license, and forget about all this publications' nonsense.

And all that is just for starters, by the way. Sorry if I sound the least bit pessimistic here, but that's about what you're facing. I know. Been there, done that, almost. It's not a one-man operation. It's not a project for the feint of heart. And, it's not 1953 and Playboy all over again. Unless, of course, your name is Hugh Hefner and you happen to own rights to a previously unpublished nude photo spread of Marilyn.


In which case, go for it! And give me a call. I'm interested.

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D. J. Herda is author of the new ebook series of writing advice, About Writing Right, available at amazon and at fine booksellers everywhere.

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