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Off Topic.... I need your input, please.

Discussion in 'JK Handmade Knives' started by Tahts-a-dats-ago, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. Tahts-a-dats-ago


    May 25, 2011
    I’m looking for some input on an idea that I’ve been tossing around for sometime now. There are no wrong answers and it won’t hurt my feelings (not even a little bit) if you think my idea isn’t a good one – in fact thoughts like that will help me make a decision.

    First a little background:

    I have chronic Lyme disease and am disabled because of it. Speaking frankly: I hate being disabled and would far prefer that I was able to work again. At this point I don’t know if that will ever happen and even if my health improved to the point that I could go back to work, it isn’t likely that I’d find a decent job (after being ill for so many years). There is also the age factor – I’m not getting younger and I really doubt I’ll ever have the ability to work 12-15 hours per day again.

    I do have sporadic times when I’m feeling better and can do something, although any physical activity makes me ill for days at a time. Sometimes these “good” times are for several hours at a time, and sometimes they are only for a few minutes. I have no way of telling when I’ll feel better… or how long that feeling will last. I should also add that it is still very common for me to feel horrible for days on end.

    Another issue is that my sleeping patterns are a total mess. Sometimes I just cannot sleep, and others I will sleep for 18 hours straight. It is a royal pain in the you-know-what, but not a major issue when one isn’t able to work.

    That said, I’ve long searched for a means of being productive, while allowing for the fact that I am not who I once was. I have no choice but to work around my illness – if I am capable of doing even that.

    Because of that simple fact, any feasible means of garnering an income is going to be limited to self employment of some sort. No company would put up with my illness for long, and I don’t blame them. I don’t like putting up with it, but I don’t have a choice.

    This is not about my illness though; I’ve long accepted the fact that I now have limitations and am constantly trying to figure out a means for getting around those limitations. So onto the idea….. and your thoughts.

    Electronic literature seems to be here to stay and is growing fairly quickly. I don’t recall the latest stats, but it seems as though E-books (and E-magazines) are taking a bigger chunk out of the sales pie each year.

    I am familiar with the difficulties in selling a book, as I have authored a book that was published. It didn’t do well – if money and sales is the goal – earning me a few hundred dollars or so. I just don’t have the money to put in an advertising campaign and no publisher is going to spend a lot on someone unknown – it just doesn’t happen.

    Still, there are success stories of some unknown person doing well with electronic media and there are built in advantages with the success of things like the kindle reader.

    It is very inexpensive to publish an electronic book; in fact I believe I can publish (through Amazon) for free.

    The author’s margins are much higher when self-publishing through Amazon (or some of the others) – since the author sets the price (of their book/magazine) and the source (Amazon) collects the sales amount and deducts the author’s cut and sends that cut to the author once it totals a specific amount.

    The physical book I wrote had a cost of $16.95 brand new. Of that amount, I received something along the lines of 80 cents (or so – I forgot the actual amount).

    It is my understanding that an electronic book is sold for the price that I set and the source takes their fee from that price. Supposedly, a price of $6 would net me something around $2 (for each item sold). I do need to update my research into this portion of the idea, but I believe that is probably still close to being accurate.

    So here is the idea…

    I love photography and happen to live in southern New Jersey. I live within an hour’s drive of some of the more famous beaches on the east coast and Atlantic City. New Jersey gets a ton of visitors every year – mostly during the summer time and mostly along the coast.

    So I was thinking of publishing an E-magazine, probably one issue every two-three months, featuring pictures of southern New Jersey. There is a lot to see in NJ and most of it goes unnoticed by the tourists as they’re heading to the vacation spots on the shore.

    I’d also like to do one or two articles (each issue) on local areas – perhaps a famous location, perhaps some of the local lore. I’d do some research for the article and a few interviews if needed.

    I’d also like to feature one or two Mom & Pop style restaurants – complete with pictures of their signature dish. I’d like to interview the owners and do a small write-up about the business.

    I want to include the restaurants because I believe it offers value to the magazine, and I’d like to get the restaurants to let me include a coupon (printable) in the E-magazine. I’d prefer that the coupon be for a percentage (or amount) off with the next purchase from that restaurant.

    I would not charge the restaurant for the write-up, nor would I have advertising. I want this to be a very easy sale (to the restaurant) and I don’t want to clutter up the magazine with advertisements.
    I would be open to including other types of Mom & Pop businesses for a write-up and a coupon; providing they fit within the south jersey concept.

    Most of the magazine would be pictures with just a short write-up describing the picture and the location.

    That sums up my intent for the magazine.

    There are roughly 8 million people living in New Jersey, with several more million living in the surrounding area. That doesn’t account for the areas further away, but the shore area (in NJ) draws a significant number of people from distances of hundreds of miles.

    The target audience should be fairly large; assuming that anyone with an interest in southern New Jersey is a member of the target audience.

    Assuming a potential target audience of just 10 million people, and assuming that only 10% of that targeted audience is willing to purchase an online magazine, we still have a fairly well targeted audience of 1 million people. If we assume that 10% of that 1 million actually stumbled upon the opportunity to purchase the magazine, I’d have the opportunity of selling a magazine to 100,000 people. And if I actually sold a magazine to 10% of those who had the opportunity; that would be 10,000 magazines sold per magazine release.

    That all works out to a possible $20,000 every 2-3 months if the numbers (above) are remotely close. (Based on earning $2 for each magazine sold)

    Not too shabby for doing something that I love doing, and I think I could do during those times when I’m feeling better. I’d be thrilled if the numbers were half that – only 5,000 copies sold each edition.

    Is it possible?

    I don’t know. It seems possible and the state does have a large draw. Pictures remain popular and I suspect people will pay to see nice pictures of things they are interested in.

    Other possible benefits – as far as I am concerned:

    With sales of the magazine, I increase the opportunity of someone wanting to purchase one of my photographs. I haven’t accounted for any numbers, but I would assume that some people would inquire about purchasing some of the pictures: especially if I specifically mention that the pictures can be purchased.

    The positives:

    Very low start-up costs. I don’t believe this would cost me anything other than gas. I already own the cameras and the software and the computer. I also have contacts within the restaurant realm and am very familiar with the area I want to concentrate on. The area is fairly small – about 6 or 7 of the southern counties in NJ. There are a lot of opportunities with regards to Mom & Pop style businesses and I’m not asking them for anything but their time and the opportunity to photograph a signature item.

    The negatives:

    My illness is a big one, but I think I can manage to work around that – since the only deadline is my own.

    Getting heard is another big one. That could be somewhat overcome by the fact that the state is a big draw so there are a lot of searches for New Jersey and south jersey.

    The timeline; I will have to stockpile pictures so each new edition isn’t outdated by the time it arrives. For example: a fall edition would likely feature a local winery, so those pictures would need to be taken earlier in the year. The other fall shots would have to be taken either at the last possible moment, or the prior fall.

    Legal issues: I don’t know of any, but I’m certain there are some.

    I think I’ve covered the basics as far as I can tell.

    I’d really like your input – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tell me what you think; does my idea have merit, is it doomed because I’ve overlooked something? If you think it will work – please tell me why. If you think it won’t work – I beg you to tell me why.

    I’d like to have as much information as I possibly can, and I’d like to take a look at everything before I make a decision to jump (or not).
  2. mqqn

    mqqn Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Hi Mike -

    Your photography skills are great, so I believe you could put out a great product.

    I think that maybe your anticipated percentage of market might be a little high, but you certainly have a very large market base in which to participate.

    It seems to me like you have a lot to gain and little to lose in the venture - go for it!!


  3. KYenglish


    Nov 26, 2010
    I think Mqqn covered the highlights of my thoughts. I know it ca be difficult, my wife has a condition which basically places the same kind of restrictions on her.

    It's new to us though (she was actually a travel writer and thats where she met me to bring me back to the states and now just can't do that kind of thing now, and it's been a hard blow as you can imagine.). We have been trying to get used to the idea that there isn't a "after this" in our future ad learning to work around it.

    I think your this sounds good, but always plan not to make money for a while in any new venture. Importantly I think it sounds like something you could do, and maybe would want to do illness or no, so I'd say try it, it's always worth trying something you want to do.

    Rebecca now works for herself as well (still writing but more providing ghost and copy the writing novels and travel books though she does still plan to write the novels) and she has been earning more then healthy old me for a while, so there it is possible to "make your own job" as it were, and she wouldn't trade it now either.

    FYI she knows a lot about the publishing/self publishing world and divide and might have some info if you want me to ask her something. You info looks right to me, the big advantage of self publishing is you can keep more of the money, ad control, the downside is distribution but with ebooks and the internet taking of the way they are a lot of writers are finding they dot' need that anymore. Rebecca was telling em a story the other day about a novelist who chose not to accept a offer forma big publisher after her book got good internet sales because she was making more then they could offer her and as an ebook she didn't need them. Kinda cool. although as someone with writing hops myself ad someone who doesn't use online media but for a certain knife forum it makes me think my own prospects are somewhat. Ho hum.

    I'd buy in just for your pictures anyhow, :)
  4. JK Knives

    JK Knives Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 6, 2001
    I think it sounds like a good idea, so give it a shot.
  5. JK Knives

    JK Knives Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 6, 2001
    As a side note, I love finding little out of the way restaurants. We found a great one in Fairbury, it used to be a bank in the late 1800`s, and one in Dwight that is in an old mansion. Great food at both of them, and very reasonable.
  6. Magnaminous_G


    Jul 13, 2011
    I just went and looked at all of your pics on BF. As an amateur photographer myself, let me say that you have an amazing sense of light. The first thing that jumps out at me in your pictures is the beautiful use of light. I would love to see your pics of New Jersey. I definitely want to see more of your art. Do you do street photography?
  7. outdoorsfan


    Sep 30, 2009

    First off, not a bad idea to turn the negatives of your situation into a positive opportunity at an income that also includes activities you enjoy and would do anyway. You know what they say, love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life!

    I wonder though about how large the market would truly be for a magazine, centered on a relatively small geographic area, that is mainly images. It sounds like something I personally might browse through but I don't know that I would actually purchase. The editorial content you mentioned sounds intriguing though. Perhaps a kind of "Unknown New Jersey" centered magazine, with articles about all those out of the way type spots, restaurants, bars, beaches, trails, local festivals, etc. supported by your excellent photos might find a larger audience. There would be more work for you of course to produce more content and, perhaps, this is not the direction you'd really like to head. You can always put something together and let the readers decide what they like and dont like based on sales.

    Like many of us, I have always enjoyed discovering out of the way places that don't look like much but offer unmatched local fare. My family frequently leaves the interstate in favor of the backroads for just this reason. It may take longer to get to our destination, but the trip is just so much more enjoyable. It was this kind of attitude that gave us the chance to find that little seafood stand in upstate New York or the real cheese factory in Wisconsin that had the 7 year old cheddar or the converted gas station in Florida with those delectable clam bellies. (I just made myself very hungry!) :)

    We do several long distance drives every year, mainly to Florida and New York, and the increasing homogenization of our country you see from the interstate is frankly rather disturbing. The stores are the same, the restaurants are the same and that is a shame. A magazine that celebrated the local flavor of any region I might visit or travel through would be a welcomed sight.

    Don't know if this does but hope it helps.

    Best of luck with your new project!

  8. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod Staff Member Super Mod

    Apr 6, 2000
    Definitely an interesting prospect. Your photography skills make success a real possibility.
  9. Tahts-a-dats-ago


    May 25, 2011
    Thanks for the comments.

    I've decided that I'm going to pursue this venue - but probably won't do anything until the first part of 2013. I just have too many irons in the fire for right now. I still have lots of little details to figure out, but the general idea seems to be a good one (I think).

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