Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

Review – The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Posted by shannonclark on October 12, 2012

Reading The Impact Equation at Blue Bottle Mint Plaza in San Francisco

Do you know how to make an impact? How to get heard? How to have your ideas shared with the world and have an impact?

My friend Chris Brogan along with his co-author Julien Smith have a new book, The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?, which will be published on Oct 25th, 2012. They sent me a preview copy and over the past couple of weeks I have been reading it at cafes and on the muni here in San Francisco. My copy is already dog eared and flagged with post-its for easy reference back to key points in the book.

TLDR review – pre-order this book and read it

First a few disclosures and admissions. One, Chris Brogan is a friend – not an old “grew up” with friend, but not just someone whom I follow on social media channels, he’s someone whom I have met in person many times and whom I knew years ago before he had books published and a speaking schedule that takes him around the world. Two, I haven’t (yet) read Trust Agents which is Chris and Julien’s earlier book. My stack of books to be read – for fun and for business including far too many by folks I know has been large and growing over the past few years and somehow I haven’t gotten to Trust Agents yet. Three, many of the people they write about in this new book (and I suspect in their previous book) are people I know friends from here in San Francisco and from the larger tech/social media/blog/podcasting world. Four, I don’t have the 1000’s of readers/followers/listeners of folks like Chris and Julien but I am as they say “a degree away” from many people who do – folks with millions of followers and a high impact on the world.

With all of that disclosed up front I have been inspired not just to write this review but to rethink a bunch of my personal projects (including this blog) and over the next few weeks and months I anticipate making many personal and professional changes inspired in no small part by the ideas of The Impact Equation. I can’t summarize their book in a few short paragraphs but I will summarize a few of their early and key points and discuss how I plan on addressing them.

To start with the equation itself (quoting from the pre-release copy but I assume this key part won’t change in the final print edition):

Impact = C x (R + E + A + T + E)

Yes, that is, not surprisingly, the simple yet key fact that to have impact now (and in the past) you have to create Рfrequently, often and well. The full equation defines each part and the book illustrates each aspect of the equation. Contrast Рa new idea has to familiar yet different enough to be noticed. Reach Рthe number of people you can get connected to your ideas. Exposure Рhow often do you connect with the people you can reach. Articulation Рbeing understood and clear in communicating your idea. Trust Рthe subject of their previous book but still not entirely figured out Рbut why will people listen to you? And finally Echo Рthe feeling of connection that great ideas and impactful people create.

Fairly simple, fairly memorable yet also complex enough to warrant a full book (and I’m sure many more talks and presentations in the future for Chris and Julien).

On a person level my biggest takeaways from the book is a reminder to get myself back into the ongoing, frequent content creation business – that if I want to grow my own personal impact I need to create more content, more often, and more thoughtfully. Furthermore I need to think about this whether I’m going to continue being an independent consultant or if I join a larger organization. That while I may have some impact in my tweets, comments, email list participation and even events that I create if I were more thoughtful about my online (and offline) activities I could have a much greater impact on the world. With more thoughtful (and literally more frequent) effort I can have a far larger impact on the world than i do today. That I can take the conversations I have one-on-one today and still have that impact but also bring it to a far wider audience.

For some of this I will have to get out of my comfort zone – write more content, experiment with new formats for myself (video? audio?) and generate this content far more frequently than I have been for the past few years.

In each of the chapters of The Impact Equation Chris and Julien cover a mix of specific tactics (and the occasional exercise to get you thinking) as well as stories that illustrate their key ideas. Some of these stories are from business people they have met others are illustrated with celebrities they admire. But in every chapter they also focus on asking you to think about how this applies to yourself – how would you evaluate yourself on this dimension of their equation. I think most of these chapters and the book over all are compelling but not every chapter is equally strong.

The initial chapters on Ideas – on Contrast and Articulation are very good and have a lot of useful exercises for everyone. In particular they have a lot of great exercises around how to evaluate your own ideas and how to communicate them clearly.

The middle chapters on Platforms – on Reach and Exposure – however are a bit weaker. In particular I think the chapter on Exposure is the weakest chapter in the book. In part this is because Exposure is in no small part outside of your direct control. They talk in this chapter about the exposure that someone like Jimmy Fallon has from his tv show but they also talk about the impact of frequency on your exposure but the links and what will work best for most people is not entirely clear from this chapter (and it is perhaps not an easy thing to answer). They have a lot of great questions and a few answers but this chapter left me a bit unsatisfied. Yes, participating in the communities you want to reach is great advice (it is what I tell my clients in fact) but it takes more than just that to get great exposure of your ideas.

The final chapters on Network – on Trust and Echo, Echo – are perhaps surprisingly among the shortest in the book. The chapter on Trust is a revisit (per what they wrote, I haven’t yet read Trust Agents) of the topic of their earlier collaboration. The chapter on Echo (Echo, Echo) is nearly the end of the book and very important but also fairly short. It is about how your ideas resonant and connect. Very important but I think if they could have gone a bit deeper here the whole book would have “echoed” for me even more strongly. But that said they make some really important points in this last chapter leading to the conclusion of the book.

Overall as I said above my recommendation is that you go out and buy this book – in fact that you go preorder it now to be among the first to read it. I hope for my friend’s sake that it is a huge hit and given the quality of the content I’m sure it will be a successful book. More importantly on a personal front it has many parts that I will be using myself to make changes in the coming weeks to my own professional habits and practices and online (and offline) content.

Posted in Entrepreneurship, geeks, networks, podcasts, reading, reviews, working | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

New podcast subscriptions for February 2010

Posted by shannonclark on February 10, 2010

At the beginning of the year I posted the state of my media diet in 2010 and based on that post have received a lot of great suggestions for additional podcasts and other media which I should add to my diet in 2010. ¬†I’ve also found a bunch of new podcasts through searches of iTunes directory and via referrals from other new podcasts which I have subscribed to recently.

Here is a list of new podcasts I subscribed to in January and earlier this month. In each case I have also added the feeds to Google Reader which includes many non-podcast blog posts.

  • Dragons Landing – One of a number of gaming related podcasts which I have subscribed to recently. I’m undecided about this show which while interested and well produced does tend towards being a bit long.
  • Robertson Games podcasts – One of a few podcasts I have subscribed to which are podcasts of live play sessions of role playing games. I really like the blog these podcasts are from, but am uncertain about the live play (in part because it tends to be, so far at least, just a single one-shot game)
  • Icosahedraphilia – a long running live play podcasts of a D&D 4E campaign. Very well produced and the game is interesting, if a bit a tame language wise due to the players & DM’s personal religious beliefs. Really fascinating for the detailed descriptions of the props and resources used in the course of each game.
  • The Tome ShowA reviews and interviews show about role playing games. Very well done though I have only listened to a few shows so far.
  • NPR Planet Money ShowA show I have been meaning to subscribe to for some time now as I have really enjoyed the episodes of This American Life which have featured the team behind the Planet Money podcast.
  • Studio 360 with Kurt Anderson (blog) – One of the two most recommended shows in the comments and responses to my initial post. So far I have enjoyed this show but have found that I listen to other podcasts before catching up with this one.
  • WNYC’s RadioLabThe other most recommended show in the responses to my initial post. A show about science but presented in a very intelligent and engaged way. That said, I also find myself listening to other podcasts before I catch up with this one.
  • Huffduffer (personal feed) – not a podcast in a traditional format but rather a service for handcrafting a podcast feed from audio content available online. My friend Marshall¬†Kirkpatrick¬†at Read Write Web wrote up a glowing review of Huffduffer and based on his recommendation I checked out the service and signed up. I have, so far, found it to be a great way to quickly and easily create a personalized feed of various bits of audio content I find online and want to listen to on my iPod.

So still haven’t found any tech podcasts to subscribe to but I have added a great deal of new content to my podcast listening diet. I welcome suggestions for other media I should add – podcasts, video podcasts, magazines or other media forms & experiments.

Posted in digital bedouin, geeks, iTunes, mobile, personal, podcasts, reading | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

the state of my media diet in 2010

Posted by shannonclark on January 5, 2010

As 2010 begins I have been taking stock of the media I pay attention to and am looking to add to my current diet, I’m looking for new flavors and cuisines, new forms to replace stale old ones.

At the moment my media consumption looks like:

No daily newspapers, no TV news of any form, no Radio (either over the air or Internet). I catch a few TV series, mostly at my girlfriend’s house (or via various means online) but not too many (mostly SF series & a few Food Network shows)

Magazines

  • The New Yorker magazine – I have been a New Yorker subscriber since college in the early 1990’s, however as I write this I am nearly two months behind and all year have found myself increasingly disappointed in the quality of the writing and the point of view of most of the writers for the New Yorker (Malcolm Gladwell excepted).
  • occasional issues of Monocle and even less often The Atlantic Monthly – I may subscribe to both magazines in 2010 even though I am currently months behind on my Monocle reading

And that is it. Years ago I had a dozen of magazine subscriptions (including free technical publications) and would supplement those with local free weekly newspapers and often one or more magazines purchased from a newstand. But that is no longer the case, even when I’m in one of San Francisco’s many excellent newstands with literally 1000’s of magazines available to me I rarely see one I have to buy. I feel there are, I hope, magazines out there I really should be reading – but I do not know what they are!

Podcasts and video podcasts

Mostly a mix of music podcasts & some niche focused podcasts. Here’s the roughly complete list:

  • Accident Hash – CC Chapman’s long running podsafe music podcast, in 2009 this was fairly irregular but usually enjoyable
  • American Public Media’s Sound Opinions – One of my favorites, I have been a listener since an earlier version of this show was on commercial radio in Chicago
  • CO-OP – a video podcast from Revision3 covering video games
  • Critical Hit – a newer audio podcast from students in the Game Design program at Columbia College in Chicago
  • Critical Hit: A Dungeons & Dragons podcast – from the website MajorSpoilers.com a podcast of a group of players playing D&D 4th edition – a bit of a nostalgia trip for me – but also it has been catching me up on the new rules of a game I played years ago
  • Doctor Who podshock – for my occasional Dr. Who fan discusison
  • Dungeons & Dragons podcast – an occasional podcast from Wizards of the Coast, I subscribed for a series of episodes they did with Wil Wheaton & folks from Penny Arcade playing a series of D&D games. The website archive is a bit clunky – subscribe to this podcast via iTunes.
  • Games with Garfield – an occasional podcast from Richard Garfield on game design (inventor of many great games – including Magic the Gathering)
  • The Geekbox – a group of B ay Area geeks – fun even if I’m a bit older than many of them and have slightly different tastes
  • iFanboy – I subscribe to two audio and one video podcast by the iFanboy team (the video is with Revision3) these cover the Comics industry exceptionally well
  • KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic – one of the best music radio shows anywhere – live in studio sets of great music are what they include in their podcast, but every show is available for streaming on demand.
  • Major Spoilers – another comics (mostly) but also all things geek discussion podcast from a great comics review website
  • Monocle (videos & audio podcast) – great short videos and audio podcast series from one of my favorite magazines, Monocle
  • Murmur.com podcast – from the folks who do iFanboy an occasional podcast on movies & TV & other things geek
  • NPR All Songs Considered podcast – amazing music podcast from NPR – almost always stuff I really enjoy
  • NPR: Live Concerts from All Songs Considered – videos and audios of amazing live concerts
  • Only A Game – NPR’s sports weekly podcast
  • Radio Free Burrito – Wil Wheaton’s personal podcast which he has recently restarted after his recent Memories of the Futurecast series
  • This American Life – another series I started listening to on radio, when it was first broadcast but now catch (occasionally) via podcast

There are a handful of other podcasts I still subscribe to but which haven’t been updated in months so are mostly archives in my iTunes.

It is worth noting that I no longer subscribe to any tech industry podcasts – I’m sure there are some which are engaging & well edited enough to be worth subscribing to? What are they?

Online Blogs & websites

I mostly use Google Reader – currently I have 211 RSS feeds I subscribe to, but looking at Google’s stats, I mostly only read a very small number of feeds – a few customized feeds (Craigslist searches and the like). They break down as follows.

for Politics:

  • The Daily Dish – Andrew Sullivan’s Atlantic Monthly blog along with a few other Atlantic Monthly political blogs
  • Jack and Jill Politics – an African American focused political blog friends of mine run

for Tech news:

  • Techcrunch – I subscribe the main, full feed but am annoyed by the partial feed elements from other TechCrunch sites
  • Mashable
  • The Next Web
  • Scobleizer – I have been reading Robert Scoble since before he joined Microsoft
  • Venturebeatfull disclosure – I wrote for Venturebeat in 2009
  • Boing Boing
  • and really that’s about it – I don’t get to or read many other blogs and of the above I average only about 25% at most of any one of them – and usually closer to 10% or less of their posts. I subscribe to many other tech industry blogs, but these are the ones I read the most frequently.

for Food

But again I have some 150+ other feeds I subscribe to yet rarely, if ever, get around to reading. If the feed isn’t a full text feed, even if from a very close personal friend, I will almost never, ever read that feed. Since I read on my iPhone over 50% of the time I’m reading RSS feeds, a non-full text feed requires a crapshoot of loading another site which is rarely well designed for an iPhone (or which breaks the links as far too many mobile site’s versions do) vs the easy navigation between stories when all full text and in Google Reader which has a great iPhone interface.

So clearly I am missing a great deal – what would people suggestion I add in 2010?

Please leave suggestions as comments below – for print publications, podcasts, video podcasts or other forms of media I should pay attention to on a regular basis ¬†in 2010. Please include areas I am missing as well as media in fields I am already following (so suggestions for business/econ focused podcasts are welcome). Even media which is niche & seemingly not likely focused for me – but which is a great example would be welcome suggestions. I’ll listen to or read everything suggest – at least once on the web.

Posted in digital bedouin, Entrepreneurship, futureculture, geeks, internet, iTunes, music, personal, podcasts, politics, reading, San Francisco, web2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

tbnl Magazine – call for stories continued

Posted by shannonclark on February 11, 2009

I have written about the types of stories we expect to publishin tbnl Magazine before Рand have mentioned that a likely overall theme for the first issue is Inaugural now I have some more specifics about what we are seeking for the first issue and some specific details to, I hope, inspire friends old and new to submit stories (or in some cases as detailed below proposals for stories).

First the main thing to keep in mind is that tbnl Magazine is not a blog or an online only magazine, what we are seeking first and foremost are stories Рfiction or non-fiction Рwhich are intened to be read and thought about Рwhich likely took time to write and will take some real time and thought to read. 

Not that stories should be obscure or obtuse – but rather that they should be focused with care taken on both the content and the form. Shorthand or simplifications such as linking to Wikipedia or writing as part of an ongoing and linked discussion (as I did in the first paragraph of this post for example) do not work as well in print. Print demands a more self-contained work, one which stands alone – while also engaging with the world and prior works (more the case for non-fiction than fiction though much of fiction contains echos and allusions to works which have come before)

Second, we are looking for original stories, stories which cannot be found elsewhere (at least prior to publication in tbnl Magazine, all authors will retain the right to sell their stories in other forms or to publish the stories to the web, including under a cc license). This does not mean that in the case of non-fiction we require only original research, indeed new stories which build upon prior coverage and study of an area are quite welcome Рespecially where the longer timeframe of tbnl Magazine allows for a different and new focus to a story. 

By “longer focus” what I mean is to keep in mind that every issue of tbnl Magazine is intended to remain in print for at least 2-3 years and very likely to remain in print indefinitely (and as I wrote earlier this morning our intention is to pay rates which include ongoing royalties) so we are seeking stories which are written in a timeless fashion. Not stories covering a news event just or about to happen, but stories which are analytical or which could be read and engaged with years after they are written. The features of a more typical magazine versus the news or reviews.¬†

We also welcome fiction from any genre (or no specific or clear genre) though I do have a bias towards Science Fiction and Fantasy (followed by Mystery) and will ocnsider stories which are part of an ongoing universe, though everything we publish should be complete and self-contained. We do not expect to publish stories of greater than 8000 words very often and almost never anything over 10,000 words. 

So what are we looking for? What should you my readers and friends be thinking about submitting?

  • Stories of your passions¬†– explain in a clear and relatively consise way an interest you have pursued for years, your passions, the thing which you have been a “geek” about for years, the interest you perhaps rarely share with others or conversely share too often. At the BIL conference this past weekend the closing speaker spoke on the classes she has taught for the past eight years on giving blow jobs. While we probably would illustrate that particular story with care and tact, we are open to stories covering a very wide range of topics – especially when they are written with passion as well as expertise (or the knowledge of your lack of expertise and the story of how you are learning).¬†
  • If you are blogger a story you need to tell but your blog is not the place to do it. ¬†Probably a story you have hinted at on the blog or which a series of blog posts have referenced and discussed but which is better as a single, timeless, written with more care story. If your blog is often writen with an eye to that day’s traffic and DIGG/Techmeme and other rankings, tbnl Magazine is a chance for you to expand upon topics and stories in greater depth and with a longer time horizon. Remember, however, that tbnl Magazine is intended for lovers of great stories – we will include stories from many genres and on many topics – sports, fashion, sex, economics, business, technology, food, design, history and much more are all welcome.
  • Specifically for Issue #1 stories about a start, an Inaugural.¬†Think back to important personal firsts or look back at a first in a field you care deeply about – wither a business or a sport, politics or gaming. Again we are open to a very wide range of topics – for the first issue we want to start with an exploration of many starts (as well as other creative interpretations of the term Inaugural.¬†

So please, be creative and surprise us. 

On a technical note in general we prefer to receive the full story as a submission instead of a story proposal, though we are open to proposals for longer non-fiction stories. That said, we will likely only accept such stories from authors whom we have strong reasons to assume will be able to deliver the story on time and both well written and well edited. Very likely we may accept proposed stories for Issues #2 and following (especially once we settle on overall themes for those issues) but are less likely to accept a proposal for the Issue #1 as we are looking to publish that Issue as quickly as possible. 

Watch this blog for more details and announcements in the coming days and weeks.

Posted in geeks, personal, reading, tbnl | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

tbnl Magazine – rates experiment for the first issues

Posted by shannonclark on February 11, 2009

This past weekend I led a small discussion about tbnl Magazine and the process I’m undertaking to publish a new print magazine today at BIL 2009.

One of the ideas which I’ve been thinking a great deal about is how to set the pay rates for tbnl Magazine – for the first issues and for later issues. How can I do this in a manner which is fair to all, sustainable as a business model in the long term, sufficient to attract (and reward) great writers, and inclusive of the rights of photographers and illustrators as well as writers?

First some background based on rates based on my research so far – please update/correct this in the comments below!

Fiction Rates:

  • Over $0.05/word is considered fairly “high” with few publications offering >$0.07/word
  • Many fiction markets pay a small, flat per story rate or pay only in copies of the publication
  • Even with these low rates, open submission policies garner 1000’s of submissions to many publications
  • Rates for poetry considerably lower than for short fiction with a per poem fixed rate most typical
  • Few markets accept stories of >7000 words

Non-fiction Rates:

  • “Low” is, at least in some markets, considered $1.00/word with $1.50-2.00/word more “normal”
  • Flat per-article rates are also not uncommon for smaller publications but are often something like $500 for a ~750 word column
  • However there are also many markets which pay $10-50/article for non-fiction (yes ~10x less than “low” rates)
  • Unclear how rates vary based on wordcount, many current publications have very low wordcounts for most articles (<1000 words, often <700 words) with long form articles being exceptions
  • Rates for web only writing (“professional” blogging) considerably lower than print non-fiction rates

Academic Rates:

  • In general academic writers expect to PAY (not be paid) for publication (costs typically born by research grants)
  • Academic “payment” is more accurately in the form of peer review which in turn leads to more grants and tenure
  • Some academics may be restricted from accepting payment
  • Others (business school professors, economists etc) may be paid for non-academic writings (for business publications etc)

Photography & Illustration Rates:

  • Varies considerably by genre of publication and use of image i.e. cover photos pay more, fashion photography pays more than music or sports, news photography/photojournalism varies widely
  • Competes with stock photography which is often used for illustration purposes – and which can be as low at $1.00/image from online stock photography sources
  • Online image rates tend to be lower than print image rates (at least for photography)
  • Different categories here – photography, illustration (artistic), and illustration (charts & informational graphics) with somewhat varying rates (but which I need to research in greater detail!)

So where does that lead tbnl Magazine?

I think the typical approach today is to have highly variable rates based on the type of content, though often publications focus on just one (primarily) type of author (only fiction w/small selection of reviews or other low rate non-fiction for example). I suspect, but do not know for sure, that magazines such as Granta pay for fiction & non-fiction at similar (relatively low) rates.

The relationship between rates and the number of a given issue which is printed is also unclear to me at present – other than the obvious that high circulation publications typically pay among the highest rates, low circulation publications pay among the lowest rates.

Ideally I would like to pay all contributors at a relatively similar rate – though I also recognize that the word counts for great writing differ from type of writing – I’d rather reward a non-fiction author for writing a short but very compelling story over an overly wordy article which is less compelling to read. Likewise I want to get fiction which is the length needed to tell the story – but also short enough to be read comfortably at one sitting – i.e. tbnl Magazine will not, at least initially, be publishing novellas or other longer forms of fiction writing.

I also feel strongly that one of the virtues of a great magazine, of the magazines I prefer to read, is that the images in the magazine enhance the experience of that magazine – they add to the stories they are a part of and serve more than just a design portfolio purpose.

At the same time I also want to focus on great typography and a consistent look and feel from page to page and issue to issue – if reducing the amount of photography & illustration helps to achieve this I consider it a worthwhile decision. My goal is NOT to have a heavily “designed” magazine – ala Wired or indeed many current magazines which offer different layouts and visual design for nearly every story and feature they publish.

Instead my model is magazines which have a more consistent, focused on the text, look and feel but where illustration and images used spareingly do serve a valuable purpose for individual stories.

Keeping all this in mind here is my current – and very much subject to change – thinking about rates for tbnl Magazine’s first few issues (at least issues 1 & 2, perhaps also 3 & 4)

  • All contributors will receive one payment based on the first 2000 copies of tbnl Magazine to be printed
  • All contributors will then receive further payments (royalties as it were) based on additional sales of that issue (print-on-demand or digital) in multiples of 1000 copies (or on a pro-rated basis each year until the issue is no longer in print)
  • Contributors can choose not to be paid (either at all or after some amount) directing instead those payments either to a charity or back to tbnl Magazine
  • This will apply to all contributors regardless of genre of submissions

So what rates is tbnl Magazine going to pay for the first issues?

My current thinking is as follows, this is based on an assumption of ~30,000 words of writing in each of the first few issues (for an approximately 80 page, magazine sized publication).

Base rate of $0.10/word for Fiction & Non-Fiction (i.e. $100/1000 words) with a $75 minimum (so even articles shorter than 750 words will get $75) + 5 copies of the magazine for all contributors.

Base rate of $200/image for photos or original illustrations (including info graphics) we commission. If we decide to use images on the cover (I’m considering a typographic design) then that work would likely be paid at a higher rate, probably at least $400.

This means that for a typical issue of tbnl Magazine the words in the issue will cost us ~$3000/issue and assuming at least one image per article another $1000-2000/issue for images & cover artwork. Thus, roughly speaking, a per-issue content cost of about $5000 for the first 2000 copies.

This is a very high rate (relatively speaking) for typical fiction markets, it is a low rate, relatively speaking for at least some non-fiction markets. For a given issue I may rethink my balance of types of stories based on what has been submitted or proposed – some issues may have more than 1/3 of the magazine as fiction for example. For non-fiction I realize this rate may not be high enough to cover some of the expenses of covering a given story or the time and research certain stories take – we will welcome writings on topics a writer has published about elsewhere – provided that what is submitted to tbnl Magazine is original and not restricted by that prior sale (i.e. the research was not done as work-for-hire for example).

For every 1000 additional copies sold (print-on-demand or digital) we would then pay an additional $0.05/word to all authors and $50/image to artists.

This is, of course, assuming that the margin we can fetch on a per-issue basis for print-on-demand (as well as the net proceeds from each digital copy sold) allows for those payments. For this to work the net margin per issue sold will have to be at least $4.00/issue most likely.

Unfortunately this likely means that though I like their model in many ways the numbers don’t add up to use magcloud. An 80 page publication at $0.20/page (assuming they do charge per side of a page) would have a base cost of $16/issue, to net at least $4/issue would require that we sell each issue for $20 + shipping as print-on-demand. My gut tells me that the price needs to be closer to $10-12/issue with probably an upper limit of $15 to be workable.

I am also assuming, at least for the moment, that advertisers will not pay us on a per 1000 additional copy basis, though that when we consistently reach higher per-issue numbers and have more detailed demographic details about our readers we will be able to raise rates for advertising.

As I said, these are only initial thoughts – I welcome feedback and reactions. My underlying goal is to be able to publish a magazine every story of which I would want to read myself – and which as a whole tells a story every issue – one which rewards reading the issue cover to cover and which stands a test of time – being interesting and relevant for at least many years.

I do not expect tbnl Magazine to pay anyone enough to make a full living, but likewise I do want it to be a part of a comfortable living on the behalf of every contributor – I want tbnl Magazine to garner great works from many contributors.

Based on an estimate of $5/copy short print run costs, a 2000 issue initial print run, and $5000 in content costs, this suggests that we need to raise around $20,000 to publish issue #1. Suggesting a price of $20/issue and a target of 1000 issue #1 subscribers. (this only leaves about $3000 for design & other startup costs assuming ~$1500-2000 in shipping costs). ~100 issues would be given to contributors leaving about 900 issues for promotional purposes (or sale at select retail or at events we hold in the future). $25,000 would probably be a better initial target (very achievable with 1000 subscribers at $20/issue for the first issue + 5-15 advertisers at ~$500/ad.

Of course I will be researching printing costs in greater detail and will be looking for <$5/issue options and we could look at even lower initial issue numbers (both for cost of content & number of copies printed) to keep startup costs even lower.

What are your thoughts about these numbers?

Posted in geeks, personal, reading, tbnl | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

tbnl Magazine – Inaugural

Posted by shannonclark on January 29, 2009

A few days ago I ran into a good friend of mine on the streets of San Francisco, he was walking home, I was waiting for a bus. We got to talking about tbnl Magazine and I noted that my intention was to pick a topic for each issue then to publish a mix of fiction & non-fiction which relates to that topic. 

I may still also publish a wide range of other stories and content but at least for the first issue I have picked a broad topic, appropriate for Issue #1.

Inaugural 

So if you are interested in being in the first issue submit or propose a story related Inaugural. It could be your first love, a first contact with aliens, presidential politics or a tale of your first business. It doesn’t have to be a personal story, it can be reporting, but as you submit, include a brief explanation of how what you submit relates to Inaugural.¬†

And please be creative.

Posted in geeks, personal, reading, tbnl | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

tbnl Magazine – more on types of stories we want

Posted by shannonclark on January 16, 2009

Earlier this week I posted a long post on the first thoughts on submissions, subscriptions and advertising on tbnl Magazine. In this post I will outline more about the types of work I will publish in tbnl Magazine and, I hope, will inspire submissions (or proposals).

tbnl Magazine is about great stories, stories that took time to write and time to read

That said, tbnl is also intended as a magazine for readers. In many ways I am thinking of each issue of tbnl as a small book. Since every issue of the magazine will remain available (via print-on-demand and digital sales at a minimum) for a year or longer, the goal is to only publish stories which will remain of interest and relevant even years after they were published.

There are at least three main types of writing I expect to publish in tbnl that fit this criteria.

  1. Great fiction. I define great fiction as being great stories – not as being limited to a specific genre. Specifically I do not like the majority of the fiction in The New Yorker and I will be very open to publishing great science fiction, fantasy, mystery and perhaps even romance. I’m also open to being surprised by a work with features of other genres. I expect to also publish non-genre fiction but I will be biased towards stories that engage me, that have a plot, strong characters as well as great writing. We may also publish some poetry.
  2. The “new” non-fiction. Non-fiction with a strong voice, often with some of the features of fiction writing. Think “This American Life” or the collection of writings in “The New Kings of Nonfiction” edited by Ira Glass. Many of the stories, though not all, in The Atlantic and in The New Yorker fall into this style of writing (Malcolm Gladwell’s stories for example). Writing where the voice of the author is strongly present, where the focus may be on a personal story, or it may be on more traditional reporting. But it is also writing which is passionate about the topic – far more than just reporting on the “facts” – and a style rarely found in newspapers these days. I’m open to an extremely wide range of topics – in fact one sign of great writing of this form is that it can take a topic I wouldn’t normally think I’m interested in (indeed may have never thought about or may be actively negative towards) and make it engaging, draw me into the the story about it and show me a new perspective.
  3. Academic writing for non-academics. In every issue I intend on publishing at least one piece of great writing by (or on) serious academic topics. Again these may be wide ranging – a deep history of pop music in one issue, a new theory of the universe in the next. Here think of the content of the talks at TED – wide ranging, serious, yet intended for a non-academic audience. An important criteria for these works is that they should be written for a non-academic audience, yet should also meet all the usual academic rigor and requirements. Indeed we may do peer review for articles which cover emerging areas of research and we expect to link to and publish on the web many additional resources for each issue’s papers. Given my own personal interests may of these works may include research around the study of Networks. I will also be strongly biased towards reporting on (and supporting) research which is interdisciplinary in nature. The authors will be paid for these works (or equivalent amounts donated to their institution or the organization(s) they select). We will seek to strike a balance with these works between being highly readable by a lay audience and with adhering to a given academic field’s standards which differ from field to field.

Initially my intention is to publish about 35,000-40,000 words in a typical issue of tbnl Magazine though the exact amount will depend on the final typography, page count (anticipated to be 80 pages for the first few issues) and other factors. This includes an expectation of including at least one, or more if they add value images with each story (photographs or illustrations).

Roughly this will probably mean the following range of works in each issue:

  • short fiction stories totaling about 15,000 words (typically 2-3 stories of roughly equal length and rarely any works over 7000 words)
  • one or two academic reports on research totaling about 7,000 words (typically one long and one or two shorter reports)
  • five or six works of the new non-fiction which are relatively short form (so totaling about 7500-10,000 words)
  • one or two long form works of the new non-fiction (also totaling about 10,000 words)

In any given issue one of the above categories will be shorter to make the page count, the plan is to publish about 10-12 different authors in each issue. Some stories may be <1000 words and we will edit everything to ensure that it is highly readable and focused – but that said we will err on the side of more writing vs less.

We are still working out the rates and minimums (and perhaps maximums) which we will pay and the pay for a story is for the words & related images (so may be split amongst multiple people). Roughly we will look at the number of pages as an important criteria. We also will be working towards being able to meet the definition of “professional” market (as determined by various writer’s unions/groups).

For non-fiction works of over 5000 words we will probably accept proposals and may occasionally include some expenses in our pay – but at least initially we won’t be “assigning” stories. We may work to match up artists and authors.

This is all still in flux – and I’m open to proposals of works that are not in the categories above. But note that the goal is always to publish works which are timeless – so reviews, time-sensative reporting, “exclusives” etc are unlikely to be published.

Posted in Entrepreneurship, geeks, personal, reading, San Francisco, tbnl | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

tbnl Magazine – call for submissions, subscribers & advertisers

Posted by shannonclark on January 14, 2009

Over the weekend I posted about the magazine – to be named later – I’m thinking about starting. Now having gathered feedback from many folks – in response to my blog post, to email exchanges, and personal conversations I’m ready to announce the next steps and to issue a call for submissions, and ¬†pledges to subscribe or advertise.¬†

First a simple announcement – until someone suggests a better name (and pending various trademark & domain searches) my working name for the magazine is, in fact: tbnl Magazine. And yes, that stands for “to be named later” and yes, my intention is to refer to it in the lowercase form at least for now.

I wrote a lot about my impetus behind starting tbnl in my first post, having now talked with many people here is a quick summary of the types of works I’m looking for, as well as my intentions around the scale of the magazine (at least initially).

Size:¬†My target, primarily due to practical matters of the technology of magazine printing (multiples of 16 pages offer advantages as most magazine printing presses print 16 pages at a time) is for an 80 page magazine + cover, on a relatively heavy, recycled paper stock (ideally with green inks etc) probably with full color inside and out. The physical size will be close to 8 1/2″ x 11″ (slightly smaller when printed on demand), saddle stitched (i.e. staples not perfect binding). Inside I plan on running advertising (more on that below) with a target of 12-16 pages worth of ads (some will be partial page ala New Yorker small format ads) and will keep the housekeeping pages (table of contents, colophon, staff, writers & artists bios) to a minimum. That leaves around 60 pages for content each issue. The design I’m leaning towards will take inspiration from The New Yorker and the redesigned Atlantic Monthly¬†with somewhat more images (and likely heavier paper) than The New Yorker and probably somewhat (but not by much) less overt design than the new Atlantic Monthly. ¬†Very roughly this means around 35,000-40,000 words per issue (depending on ratio of images to text, final font & font size decisions and other factors).¬†

In turn this means that published pieces will likely range between 1000 to 5000 words, probably a bit longer for the one or two fiction pieces in each issue (at least one of which will likely be a ‘genre” piece – probably Science Fiction or Fantasy but I’m open to great mysteries or even romance if done very well, probably still less than 10,000 words however).¬†

In researching current rates in the market, it appears (not entirely surprisingly) that rates for most markets are quite, quite low. Lower than I expected. For fiction it appears that higher than $0.05/word is considered quite “high paying” with $0.07 being considered a premium rate. Non-fiction rates are harder to view publicly but I know many writers in various genres so I will be checking with them to determine what would be good and more than fair rates.

My intention is to be a “high” paying market, I want to get the best possible work from the best writers I can find. While I don’t expect what we pay will (at least for the first few years) be high enough to be lifechanging or a significent income, I do want it to be more than just the cost of a nice dinner out somewhere.¬†

Submissions:

Initally they will be EMAIL ONLY.  

For the first issue(s) I will start with an OPEN submissions policy. However I reserve the right to publish works from people I as for pieces and we may close or somewhat restrict submissions in the future to manage the flow.  A few guidelines

  • Submissions MUST be original, complete, unpublished works.¬†This means no previously published pieces (which includes blog/web published works). Complete means no parts of longer works (i.e. part of a novel for example). See “proposing a story” below for guidelines if you have a nonfiction story you want to propose writing vs. have in a completed form.
  • Submissions MUST be in a standard format.¬†This means: in the email text (with clearly marked beginning and end), as a txt attachment, or as a well formated PDF attachment (well formatted means 12 point font, double spaced, with page #, title & author on every page). An estimated word count should be included, along with a SHORT author’s bio & website link(s)
  • Submissions of nonfiction should, if possible, also include related illustrations.¬†Every story in tbnl¬†will include at least one, in most cases more than one, related images. For nonfiction where possible these should be photographic (or relevant illustrations). For fiction these will be either carefully selected photographs or art. If you submit artwork you MUST¬†have the rights to those works (or show that they are Public Domain works). Creative Commons licensed works which allow for COMMERCIAL USE will be considered.¬†
  • The payment for a work will in most cases be for the BUNDLED written work and related images.¬†Thus if you do not own the images (i.e. you took your own photos) a split payment will be negotiated between the writer and the photographer or artist for that particular piece.¬†
  • tbnl will be buying “FIRST PUBLICATION” rights. This means that you are free to sell or publish the work in a collection after it has been published in tbnl. NOTE that issues of tbnl will remain in “print” via Print-on-demand for at least a year and likely longer. Also tbnl will have a “digital” edition for sale to ebook readers which also will remain in “print” for at least a year. tbnl will be purchasing these related digital rights (for first publication) and the right to keep the issue in “print” via Print-on-demand.¬†The intention is to keep every issue in print for as long as possible – but also after some threshhold has been met to pay additional royalties to all contributors to an issue. The specifics of this are to be determined, if you are uncomfortable with this level of uncertainty, do not submit a work for publication in our first few issues.¬†
  • Deadlines for the first few issues will be announced, with a limited amount of grace period around each (but since submissions are initially “email only” the expectation is that deadlines should be met. Works submitted after the deadline for a given issue MAY¬†be considered for future issues – but a note will be sent (likely autogenerated) noting the missed deadline. Requests to not consider the work will be honored.
  • tbnl will NOT accept simultanous submissions.¬†This is to keep our process as simple as possible for the first few issues. In the future, especially for fiction submissions we likely will change this guideline. This means that if you are submitting a work to tbnl¬†you do NOT currently have the same work being read at another publication.
  • tbnl encourages but does not require CC licenses for the works we publish.¬†Done well we think that CC licenses make a lot of sense for most authors and allow for works to see wider distribution & creative reuse.¬†
  • The type of writing being submitted MUST be clearly defined. The best way to do this is to include a short (as in one paragraph) introduction to the work. Clearly noting if it is FICTION or NONFICTION.¬†
  • For a good example of the type of nonfiction tbnl is seeking see the book The New Kings of Nonfiction edited by Ira Glass. Also listen to the stories told on This American Life or on stage at shows like Fray or The Moth. This means a strong, personal voice and point of view, a wide range of topics, and strong writing which can incorporate some of the techniques of fiction writing.¬†
  • Authors who do not wish to be paid will have options to reallocate their pay. Some writers may not wish to be paid for work they submit. Options will be available to reallocate these payments – likely ranging from donations made in the name of the author to one of a select group of charities or to raising the rates for the other authors and artists in that particular issue.¬†

tbnl is NOT a forum for “breaking news” or for time-sensative reviews.¬†The print schedule for tbnl is still being determined, at least quarterly though the plan is to go to bi-monthly or monthly as soon as possible. ¬†While we may publish some long form non-fiction which is not in a “personal” voice it will always be with the focus on writing which will be relevant and worth reading for many years so reviews of a new movie, restaurant, play, book, album or product will likely not make the cut. Nor will discussions of topics “in the news” (pending elections, business moves etc).¬†

tbnl is a forum for great, timeless stories. 

Topics.

In no particular order the following are some (and by no means the only) topics we expect to publish in the first year of tbnl:

  • Serious food – especially looking at “Slow Food” and being a foodie/locavore
  • Hacking – in the original, positive sense of exploring the limits of technology and of creative ways to do things
  • Serious design – especially of the worldchanging variety¬†
  • Networks – I am the founder of MeshForum, a conference on the study of Networks so not surprisingly I expect to publish works exploring a range of network related topics in tbnl
  • Art – especially emerging art including digital art. Also ways to view and “read” art that illustrates the power of great art
  • Music – not reviews of new albums but rather stories of and about music – about a personal history around music, about the art of making music, about the history behind specific works. Especially of interest is writing that crosses musical boundries – I’m personally a fan of Opera as well as Mashups, Folk music as well as Electronica.¬†
  • Economics and “smart” business – timeless, great writing about Economics or business are rare and difficult to do, but tbnl will look for great, engaging stories
  • Games – again not reviews of particular games but stories about games, about the game industry, about game design or the mindset of game playing. Everything from computer games to chess to live action role playing games are welcome
  • Much, much more.

The primary focus of tbnl is timeless, great stories presented in a highly reader friendly form.¬†“Great” is of course subject to debate but the goal will be to publish a magazine which you read cover to cover and which introduces every reader to a new perspective, to a way of engaging with topics they might not think are of interest.¬†

I am a geek Рbut a geek with a very eclectic and quite wide ranging set of interests tbnl will reflect this eclecticism. 

Subscribers

Pledges to subscribe are being sought now. Exact costs will depend on the number of issues we decide to publish in the first year and we are exploring a tiered model as well as a range of publishing options. tbnl Magazine¬†is intended primarily as a labor of love, as such it hasn’t yet been decided if the underly organization will be non-profit or for-profit. In either case tbnl will be run as a business seeking to generate sufficient revenues to pay all parties and contributors and to put out the highest quality publication possible.¬†

Here are some, very rough, initial thoughts:

1st year (at least 4 issues) subscriptions: $50-75 (less for US subscribers, more for overseas). The planned print-on-demand rate will be between $15-20 + shipping per issue. The retail price, if copies of the initial print runs are sold at retail at all, is likely going to be $15 at least for the first few issues (will probably be lower when/if we move to a more frequent publishing schedule). 

1st year SUPPORTER subscriptions: $150, includes some range of bonus/special features to be determined. This level (or higher) will mostly be supporting the existence and formation of tbnl Magazine. The plan will be to have a range of ways of thanking supporters Рthis will likely include special events w/author readings, limited editions of art, bonus items and more. It will also include public (unless the supporter wishes to remain anonymous) thanks on the tbnl website.

1st year DIGITAL ONLY subscriptions: $30. Probably around half of the print subscription rate. Individual eBook copies of each issue will also probably be available, likely at around a rate of $10/issue (though exact pricing will be decided based on feedback, costs incurred via the ebook sales partners etc)

Print-on-Demand.  The plan is to make each issue of tbnl Magazine available on a print-on-demand basis. Most likely via MagCloud for a price of between $15-20 an issue. This is, however, limited to US orders only until MagCloud exits beta. As such, the plan is to have a small, limited edition print run for each issue for subscribers (including non-US subscribers) prior to the release via print-on-demand.

Advertising:

From the beginning tbnl Magazine will accept advertising. The initial design allocates around a total of 12-16 pages for advertising out of the expected 80 + cover pages. The full page cover inside & back will be highest priced ad pages. Interior ads will be accepted in full page, (half or 1/3 page Рdepending on if we settle on a two or three collumn layout), 1/4 or 1/8 page ads (think the ad formats found inside of The New Yorker for examples). 

All ads will be included in all editions of tbnl Magazine including digital editions. If we decide to make some or all of the content of tbnl Magazine available on our website this will include advertising from a given issue so advertisers are requested to include a target URL for those ads.

Like the other content of tbnl Magazine advertising in the magazine should be Timeless in nature. That is, it should remain relevant to readers for at least the next year and preferably the next two years from the date of publication. Thus advertising for brands and ongoing ventures is preferred to the promotion of specific events (i.e. a movie studio vs. a new movie, a publisher vs a specific book). 

The audience of tbnl Magazine is obviously still being determined, but the expectation is that it will be a diverse, highly literate, and deeply engaged audience. Likely small, but also influential and passionate.

Advertising Rates:

These are very much still being determined and to a degree will depend on the initial print runs. But here are some, very rough and subject to change, estimates. Discounts for prepayment and multiple issue committments will be made and agency fees may be extra. Discounts for some types of advertisers may also be made (non-profits, publishers, startups, galleries etc). These are also all based on expectations of relatively low print numbers (<10,000 per issue) when/if demand raises and/or retail distribution is determined these rates may go up. And remember that in addition to the subscriber only print run, the ads will run for 1-2 years (or longer) in the print-on-demand and ebook editions. 

  • Cover (inside, back and inside of back)¬†– $5000/issue. This may be glossy, will definitely be color
  • Full Page – $3000/issue
  • 1/2 page (or one column if a three column layout) – $1500/issue
  • 1/4 page – $1000/issue
  • 1/8 page – $500/issue

As I noted – these are just initial, rough estimates. And they are negotiable. Priority will be given to advertisers who are willing to preebuy and to presupport for the full 1st year of issues (which ensures that those issues will be published).

Email me at shannon DOT clark AT gmail DOT com with submissions or advertising inquieries. Please include tbnl in your subject in all such emails!


Posted in advertising, Entrepreneurship, geeks, networks, personal, reading, San Francisco, tbnl | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Idea for a new magazine – to be named later

Posted by shannonclark on January 10, 2009

I recently learned about a very interesting new service, MagCloud, which prints magazines on demand and handles all subscription features (mailing, payment etc).  They are currently in limited Beta and have some limitations (the biggest of which is the cost for buyers Р$0.20/page though the publisher can set the price for any given issue at a higher rate to make some profit. 

For a long time I have been thinking about creating a media outlet of some form and at the moment I am serious leaning towards a magazine of some form. This post is an exploration of those ideas, it is a stake in the ground as to the shape of this new publication. It is also a call for submissions and volunteers.

The Name – to be named later

My working name for the publication was going to be Mesh (or The Mesh) but it turns out that there was a MeshSF magazine here in SF a while back (appears to be out of print now) and there is another Mesh magazine in Jacksonville Florida. Thus to be named later Рthe name has to be highly inclusive and evocative of the range of topics to be covered, while also not being too long or hard to remember or use (and yes this includes requiring that there is a good domain available). 

The Format

My thinking is that to be named later will be more akin to a series of books than a monthly (or more frequent) magazine, though over time it may evolve into a more frequent publication. Thus I am torn about a number of physical formats Рleaning between a book like size such as that used by Granta (or many University literary magazines), a slightly larger format such as that used by Foriegn Affairs, or a more traditional magazine size such as The New Yorker or Monocle (which is more booklike in format). 

That said, while a perfect bound format (glued edge) creates a more booklike publication, I personally find that format less conducive to reading Рas quite literally it makes it harder to read the publication (since you can fold the magazine to only view one page at a time as you can with a traditional magazine). That said, it does create a more archival publication which has some advantages. 

Years ago when I was the editor of a literary magazine (in high school, we won an award) we decided to go with a half size format which had some advantages especially for the publication of poetry as it created a highly readable format (if small).

However for to be named later¬†my goal is to have a publication which stays in print for a long time (so “back issues” remain available for a long period of time), which eventually (and as soon as possible) pays highly competitive rates for photos, art and articles, which supports a lot of very interesting writing, and most critically is a publication which I want to read myself.¬†

The Guidelines

  1. Articles must have a point of view, but may not be purely opinions.
  2. Every article will have illustrations – photos or art
  3. Every article will be bylined
  4. A very wide range of topics and types of articles will be accepted – no subject is out of bounds IF the writing is good, consise, and well written.
  5. Serious as well as non-serious writing is welcome and encouraged, including in most issues at least a few articles that meet peer-reviewed academic writing standards (footnotes and all)
  6. The physical form & design matters.
  7. Every issue will have at least one work of fiction (clearly identified) – genre writing not just welcome but encouraged (Science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance etc).
  8. Every issue will be meant to be relevant for at least a year, usually longer. Thus timely articles will not be printed, nor will reviews which are timelimited (i.e. of a limited run of a show – though movies which will eventually be on DVD may be accepted)
  9. While the focus may include regional and city interests – underlying to be named later will be a global perspective (though initially at least all articles will be in English)
  10. CC-licenses for the content will be encouraged (though not mandated) and while to be named later will retain a right to keep each issue “in print” for a long duration, authors & artists will have the right to sell their work for other publications (i.e. they retain all rights – but to be named later has the right to keep an issue “in print”, including via print-on-demand for a long duration – ideally perpetual). Much of to be named later (perhaps all) will be published online as well as in physical form – though the PRINT edition is the primary focus.

So what do those 10 somewhat random points mean?

First I am imagining a publication which will have a seriously broad range of articles Рfrom writing about food, to serious academic exploration of economics, to science fiction stories, to photographic coverage of art and hacking. 

That said, the focus of to be named later¬†will also be on timeless writing, on writing which is first and foremost eminently readable and engaging – which you want to turn back to and could pick up anytime after it is published and enjoy (i.e. this will not be a publication trying to cover breaking news or trying to get “exclusives” or scoops).¬†

to be named later will have advertising

Even if to be named later is wildly successful in generating interest and subscribers it will include commercial content from the beginning. Advertisers who welcome the timeless nature of to be named later and want to support the publication of high quality, challenging, intelligent writing covering a wide range of issues with a high focus on being enjoyable to read and experience. 

My tastes are wide ranging and eclectic Рa magazine I publish will reflect these interests Рand thus, I hope, will be of interest to an audiance that share some traits with me. In turn, I hope that there are (and I believe there are many) advertisers who want to reach this audience. Some may be local, some national, some global. All will be welcome (with some limited exceptions) specifically political or advocacy advertising will probably not be accepted as it would be discordant with the tone and focus of the magazine (which is inclusive not exclusive). 

Curation will be key. 

I may technically be the publisher, may also be an editor, but first and foremost I will be the Curator of to be named later Рit will be my tastes and decisions (or my choices on delegation) which will determine the content of the magazine. 

Topics to be covered

  • Food – especially from a Slow Food and serious foodie perspective
  • Local businesses – not reviews persay but stories about local businesses but with a global perspective
  • Hacking – especially from an Arts perspective
  • Science Fiction – both via publishing great stories (including perhaps Fantasy or other genres) and also articles about the field & genre
  • Science – especially reports from the frontiers of research
  • Business – if written about in a highly engaging manner and in a timeless manner
  • Non-fiction storytelling – think This American Life style stories – which can cover any topic imaginable but are written with a point of view and story to tell
  • Design – especially highlighting intentional design applied in innovative ways.

Topics which will not, mostly, be covered:

  • Breaking news – i.e. current events, pop culture etc
  • Politics – while great stories about campaigns might be published, “stories” which are more manifestos will not
  • Activism – I am a CENTRIST. I am neither “left” nor “right” and my magazine will reflect this. While we may, occasionally, take (and publish and clearly label) an opinion on important matters, my magazine will not be a forum for activism, nor will it mirror the articles found in most Free weekly newspapers around the country (indeed in spirit we will likely be more capitalistic)
  • Time sensative reviews – stories about the arts (movies, theater, music, books, gallery shows or events) will definitely be published, but reviews of specific events or limited availability content will not
  • Product reviews – the focus of the magazine will be on stuff people want to and will enjoy reading, reviews of products rarely meet this criteria – nor do they usually meet the criteria of remaining relevant for years to come (since most products today are only sold for a limited time and replaced later with newer/better/cheaper/faster versions)

I intent to be named later to be eclectic, to be personal, to probably not be for everyone. That said, for those to whom it resonates I want it to be a publication which is read cover to cover. The focus will be on being reader friendly first Рhigh design second (we will not be akin to Wired magazine in terms of design aesthetic)

All of this is tentative – now I am looking for:

  • Submissions: email submissions or ideas for articles/stories to shannon DOT clark AT gmail DOT com, please use a SUBJECT line of “Submission for to be named later”. Include a short bio of yourself, as well as the publication history (if any) of the article (preference is for unpublished writing). For the first issue(s) payment will depend on advertiser and subscriber targets so be prepared to only get a token initial payment (but the goal is to reach “professional” levels as quickly as we can. If you will only sell the story for a specific ammount include that, but realize that may impact our ability to accept the article/story for the first few issues
  • Volunteers: while in the future all staff will be paid (if only small amounts initially) to get going will be a labor of love, not money (unless we obtain financing or serious advertisers/sponsors quickly). Copyediting, “slush pile” reading, and pre-press layout help are initial core needs. Quickly as well help with advertising sales, distribution and more will also be needed.
  • Advertisers: From the first issue the plan is to have advertising. Rates almost certainly will go up as we grow the audiance, but the advertisers in the first few issues will be set – even as those issues remain (as is the plan) in print for at least a year, likely longer. So the first few advertisers will, we hope, get a bargain over the long term. There will be a limited number of full page ad opportunities, as well as a handful of partial page opportunities (think New Yorker style part of page ads). The back of the front cover as well as the back pages will be the highest cost ads. Rates are still to be determined, preference will be given for advertisers who are willing to commit to a full year of issues (at least 4 but the goal is to get to probably monthly). Advertisers will also be part of the online presense as well as the print publication – so should include a URL to link their ad to online. As a new publication ALL aspects of the readership are yet to be determined (including the size, demographics etc) so early advertisers must be interested in the mission of to be named later¬†and willing to support it. Exact dollars are hard to determine (and to a point go up as the number of copies printed go up) but my initial “gut” guess is that for the first 4 issues something close to $100,000 is needed to pay all writers & artists, to physically print the magazine, and to pay staff (even just a token amount). So a target of about $25,000/issue is the goal though more may be needed for the very first issue.
  • Investors – My plan is to bootstrap. Even in the absense of all the advertising support I might like, the goal is to use a service such as MagCloud to enable us to put out a first issue (or two) and build up the audiance over time. To learn by doing and to thus incur as little costs upfront as possible. But if the right investor or sponsor/grantmaker were to offer I would listen. My goal is first to get great stories published, secondly to make money doing so (mostly I want to build something which is self supporting at a minimum). I also want to test my theories about how a new media publication could more than just made do but also prosper even in the Web 2.0, “the media is dying” world.¬†

So that is the idea – very rough, may not happen, but I hope it will. Please leave a comment, blog about this, link to this or at least contact me if you are interested!

Posted in digital bedouin, Entrepreneurship, futureculture, geeks, internet, personal, photos, reading, tbnl, working | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

My goals for 2009 a bit in advance

Posted by shannonclark on December 9, 2008

Yes we are only just into the holiday season and as 2008 ends and 2009 begins we face a rather dismal economic outlook around the globe.

That said I have a number of personal goals which I have been thinking about (many for well over a decade or more) which 2009 is, I hope, the year I accomplish most of them. So here is a list for me to refer back to over the rest of 2008 and 2009, these are not in any particular order, these are highly personal and all subject to adjustment and changes. I’m not going to rate myself at the end of 2009 by whether I have achieved all of these goals – but I hope to look back on this list with pride.

If I remember to – as I accomplish goals in the future I’ll update this post by scratching off that tast and linking to some posts on the subject.

  1. See an English Premier league game, preferably a Hull City game as I’ve been following them from afar all season. (and yes, this requires that I make it to England – see related goals below)
  2. Spend around a month or more outside of the United States. A few weeks in Europe (England, France, and hopefully Spain and perhaps elsewhere). One or two weeks in Turkey. Hopefully another trip to India and ideally China, Hong Kong and Japan. I’d also love to get to Africa where I increasingly know people I’d like to visit.
  3. Eat at The French Laundry, el Bulli, or at least one slightly insane bastion of serious food. I am a foodie, my cooking is serious (and quite good), my local restaurants in SF are decent, but I want to eat a few serious meals in 2009. Preferably in the company of one (or more) fellow foodies (ideally one of whom is a female I’m dating)
  4. Buy an original work of art and hang it in my home. Preferably not from a painter on a street corner (unless his or her work really moves me) but a somewhat serious work that moves me, that I want to have in my homes into the future. I want to start buying art that appeals to me.
  5. Turn my own work into art for my home. I’m a serious photographer with my own style and viewpoint. Yet I haven’t printed out a photo of mine in many years. In 2009 I want to print out and hang a large number of my favorite works to share with my guests and enjoy in high resolution myself.
  6. Resolve my various dental issues. If you follow me on twitter or if you know me and wonder why I haven’t been at as many events in the past month+ I’ve been getting a lot of dental work (with much more to go). Not fun, definitely not cheap, but around 8-9 months from now (or so) I’ll be much, much happier (if also poorer). Too long delayed, not fun to deal with but well in progress already and will continue throughout 2009.
  7. Lose weight. I’m not setting a specific goal but to lose weight I need to eat healthily, avoid eating excess calories, and exercise on a regular basis. I’m not a gym rat (far, far from it) but in 2009 I plan to do a few things. First, walk a few miles almost every single day (more on the weekends). Second, find a great pool here in SF and start swimming a few times every week. I love to swim – a good at it – and it certainly would be good for me to do on a regular basis. This won’t be free – and it won’t feel entirely comfortable for me for many, many months, but I’m going to try (I may have found the pool I’ll join – looking at a few options)
  8. Have a serious fling (and ideally a relationship) in 2009. This means something more than just a first date, more than even a second date. The last time I was in a relationship was in early-2006. I’ve only even kissed (beyond a quick peck goodnight) one woman since 2006 – and nothing else. And yes, this is not much fun. So I’m setting my goal relatively low – would be happy if I far surpass it (either with a few relationships over the course of 2009 or better yet a serious and long lasting relationship – as my longterm goal is not just a relationship but to start a family sometime in the next few years)
  9. Write a book (or two). In November and so far in Decemeber I have been working on a new novel (I say new because back in 1995 I started two different novels, neither of which I have finished). So far it is going well and I’m enjoying the writing process – still in the first draft, don’t look back, don’t edit, just keep writing stage. But so far it is fun to write and flowing well and my goal is to get a lot of writing done in the otherwise relatively quiet month of December. I also have a non-fiction book on Economics which I would love to finish (though there I would start by writing a book proposal – sell that – then write the book)
  10. Pay a lot of taxes. Okay this may seem strange – but in order to pay a lot of taxes I have to do one or more things that generate a lot of income (or other – say capital gains – forms of revenue). I look forward to having to pay a lot of taxes – as it means I have earned a lot of money. I’m a bit agnostic as to the sources of this income – indeed my expectation would be that I have multiple streams of income from different efforts – but my goal for 2009 is to have to pay a lot of taxes.
  11. End 2009 with nothing of mine in boxes and all the rooms of my home furnished (if never quite finished). I have too many boxes holding too much random detritus of my life. Piles of unsorted papers (in no small part because I don’t have enough file cabinets). Many boxes of books (including a few hundred still at my parent’s home in Illinois). My upstairs is mostly furnished – though there is still a lot I want to change about it (need a standing mirror, some rugs, need to hang art, get a real buffet, wine rack, and china cabinet, etc. My downstairs, however, is horribly unfinished – and my goal is not to end 2009 with it still in that state.
  12. Attend an art festival. Could be a film festival which I purchase a full festival pass and just watch tons of films, could be a design or arts festival I fly to, attend (not just the main show but also parties, galleries etc). In short I want to enjoy art & design in a way I haven’t allowed myself for far too many years. Back in Chicago I would attend a few serious art festivals (at least the show) every year. I also made it to many festival screenings – if not usually to the whole festival.
  13. Read more books than I buy. Or more accurately work down and put a deep dent into my large stack of books to be read. I seem to buy more books each week than I finish. In 2009 my goal is to catch up a bit on my to-read piles (including editing them down by removing books I’ll never get around to reading). I will certainly continue to buy books (my many friends who keep publishing at a torrid pace will insure that) but I want to catch up the many books I own but haven’t yet read – that loom over my bed as reminders that I haven’t yet read them.
  14. Get a massage. And then repeat. The last time I had a massage was many, many months ago – and that was one, short massage at a conference. My shoulder and back are, I’m afraid, more knots than muscles. Best would to again be in a relationship which included massages (though the last time that was the case for me I was also in college – yes that’s depressing, not sure why I’m reminding myself). But this may also be in the category of things worth spending some money upon for my overall health and comfort.
  15. Plan ahead more than a few times in the course of the year. This is highly personal and bit complicated to explain. But for nearly two decades I’ve had an aversion to buying tickets to events in advance, to making any type of plan more than a few weeks (heck more often more than a few days) in advance. One large reason is that to attend an event (a concert, a convention, a trip) I’ve wanted to do that with someone else. But having been single for 90%+ of my life I’ve rarely assumed I would have a date to go to any event which I might want to attend. If I bought just one ticket then I’m guaranteeing I can’t go to the event with a date – if I bought two tickets pretty much every single time in my entire life that meant I didn’t end up going at all (and usually the tickets went to waste). I said this was a bit complicated. Working for myself (and not having a lot of income) certainly hasn’t helped either – even when I know there are events I want to attend (SXSW for example) I’ve rarely felt comfortable making plans for them all that in advance. Yes, this in the end probably costs me money (though more often than not it means I don’t end up going to the event at all). Nothing about this is good – and it is intertwined with earning more money (and paying more taxes) and with not being single. But it is also a factor of I need to get over my fear that money will be wasted if I plan in advance in the least.
  16. Buy a car. Or less likely (since it is rather inconvienent for me) start using Zipcar. I haven’t owned a car since the end of 2004. In that time I’ve barely driven a car at all (<2000 miles in 4 years total). But not having a car means I don’t do far, far too much. This weekend I’m not in Sonoma with a bunch of my friends who are there celebrating a friend’s birthday and doing wine tastings. In fact I’ve NEVER been to Napa or Sonoma to do the wine tastings (not before I moved here and not since I moved here in 2006). I don’t go across the bay to Marin where my grandfather lives. I don’t drive down to Santa Barbara to visit my grandmother (neither of whom are getting any younger). I rarely if ever go down to Silicon Valley for events or to connect with friends who live there. As much as it pains me, I need to get over my distaste for owning a car and need to buy one. It MUST be an automatic (I refuse to learn to drive stick) and it has to be reliable (I have zero interest in paying much attention at all to maintaining my car – I want to just get the oil changed and tires rotated occasionally). I’m not a car person. But I will need to rejoin the masses of car owners in 2009. And yes, this also hinges on that whole paying more taxes… My tastes are for quality – but don’t need a lot of flash – just reliability and utility as well as comfort when I’m driving (very much for me this means amazing – not just okay – sightlines which are my primary complaint about the majority of current cars I’ve driven, including the Prius which I HATE to drive). Zipcar does not work well for me because I also hate deadlines – and as critically the nearest zipcars are a significant distance from my home. When I drive somewhere I don’t want to have a deadline – I’m not going somewhere for a single purpose – generally I want to be able to change my mind and do a lot of things at once (plus many times when I want to use a car I’ll need to drive pretty far distances).
  17. Throw frequent dinner parties. I love to cook and to entertain, in the past year I’ve had many dinner parties at my home. In the upcoming year my hope is to have such parties on more regular basis. For some the focus may be food, for others it may be discussions. I also, equally, want to have many more games nights at my place – get a bunch of friends together (both old and new) and play a bunch of games – board games, role playing games (perhaps) and even the occasional poker night.
  18. Hack. I’ve joined Noisebridge which is a new hacker space here in San Francisco. Now, my interest is not in the nefarious forms of hacking – rather I want to stretch myself, break out and use my collection of most issues of Make magazine, remind myself of years ago when I built electronics, install Linux in more of my systems, perhaps build a few new computers, and more.
  19. Game. For most of my life I have been a gamer – it has kept my brain sharp. But for the past few years I have played fewer and fewer games. In Chicago I played regular games of chess at the North Beach chess pavilion in the summer and at local cafes the rest of the year. For years I also played LARP (live action role playing games) in Chicago with a large group of friends, even traveling to other states to play the game. Somehow, however, though I’ve long been interested in gaming I have never been a computer gamer or a console gamer. Indeed now I do not even own a TV or monitor on which I might play a console if I were to have one. But professionally and personally in 2009 I want to actually see what I’ve been missing. This means trying both PC (and/or Mac) and probably console games, which may also mean getting a monitor or a projector on which to play them. On the one hand I probably don’t have the time for this, but on the otherhand games like WOW are in many ways the golf for my tech peers, by not playing them, never having ever played it in fact, I am truthfully missing out on a deeper understanding.

So that’s a few (okay a lot) of the goals that I have for the upcomming year. I’m sure there are many I’ve missed that at this time in 2009 I’ll look back and wonder why I missed a few big goals and may not weigh all of these goals quite the same (and indeed some of them are far more important to me than others). Family, friends, health all come first.

And this is very personal – but I’m curious what you readers have as your goals for next year. Write your own blog post and either link here and/or leave a comment. I look forward to helping you achieve your goals if I can.

Posted in digital bedouin, Entrepreneurship, geeks, personal, reading, San Francisco, working | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »