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Author Topic: Who Would Want To See Another Printed Bus Conversion Type Magazine?  (Read 4250 times)
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« on: February 15, 2012, 05:21:27 PM »

I've seen many post here and on other forums where many busnuts hate not having a printed version of their beloved magazine...or even an online version as a matter of fact. I know that many lost some hard earned money in the process. If someone else started and published a PRINTED Conversion Type magazine, would any of you be interested?? Also if you would be interested, what type of material would you all like to see in a new magazine. Let me be real clear and say that "I am NOT starting a magazine"...  I have NO plans, No way, No funds, and NO experience in publishing a bus magazine nor any other type of magazine nor do I have the time to do so. I'm just putting the question out there in case someone with the experience and time to do so did, would they be supported by the Busnut crowd. Some of the TOPICS I would like to see in a conversion type magazine would be:
1)Bus Conversion Tips and Ideas For Those On A Smaller Budget.
2)How To Articles for Newbies that are not over their head.
3)Featured Buses from $5k buses up to 100K buses.
4)A printed Version
5)Modest Subscription Cost

Again.. I am NOT starting a magazine... just wondering how much support would be out there if someone did decide to..
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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 05:30:56 PM »

I certainly support the idea, primarily based on the points cited.
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Mike AKA; Red Rider 4106-1885
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 05:50:00 PM »

Being one that loves strays, I enjoy reading of someone who rescues a project and returns it to glory. I quickly get bored with the ultra elegant whatevers because I know they are forever out of touch for me.

Magazines should be in print, and oh if you're interested, it is available online deal.

I don't want to convey that price is no object, but if a magazine had to go up $5 a year on subscription rates to be profitable, would it kill anyone?
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Boyce Rampey
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 06:05:24 PM »

I for one do like the printed Mag, and I would support any such endavor. With that said can one assume the said BCM is dead?
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 07:58:25 PM »

If I hadn't enjoyed and wanted a printed version I wouldn't have bought a 3 yr subscription!

Oh yeah and several yrs ago @ Christmas time I sent a gift subscription to my uncle as well! Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 08:29:42 PM »

Jimmy, I love the ideas you have listed for another magazine! I too really enjoy having a hard copy lying around the bathrooms and coffee tables. I enjoyed the bus mags that I did received, probably more than any other magazine out there. If there was another bus magazine out there, you could count me in.
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Gary Seay (location Alaska)
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 09:16:46 PM »

Personally, I would like to see BCM continue... even considering buying it if in fact it is for sale. i hope they are in the process of  restructuring BCM.
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Mike & Rosemarie
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 09:30:27 PM »

Folks, it is easy to ask who wants a magazine.  The real question should be: who wants to step up to the plate?  

For the life of me, I can't imagine anyone with any common sense attempting it.  Who is going to sell the advertising - but more importantly how would you sell the advertising?  We are a very limited market with very poor potential for circulations that would justify advertising.  Advertisers generally measure their advertising investment by looking at income impact.  Talk to any of the advertisers in the magazine.  I suspect that the vast majority will say they did not get a good value/impact.

Then, where do you get quality content?  A few of us really worked hard to provide content in order to give the new owners a fighting chance.  You simply can't develop a quality publication with good content by relying on a hand full of contributors whose compensation is extremely small.

Magazines with much larger markets have been dropping like flies the past few years.  It is a terrible business to be in if you are going to try to make a profit.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 09:47:21 PM »

I am very new to this hobby and my thirst for knowledge seems to find no end. Trying to find information about the most complex to the extremely simple procedures can be very daunting for those without the skill set to find it. This board has accelerated my education in this area beyond my expectations. I too would like to see the BCM continue with more technical articles and perhaps some comparable products put up against each other. My background is in the Custom Motorcycle and Car Fabrication Business, of which I am finishing up my career of 35+ years. Perhaps even some submitting of some articles from members of this board would make the knowledge that all of you have more accessible. I will say that I was mesmerized by the videos of the two Scenicruisers being brought back to life, I cannot wait to see more! Thank you in advance for all that you are teaching me!

Tracy Spencer Cool
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Tracy Spencer
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 03:45:17 AM »

After being in charge of a specialty publication some years ago, owning the bus conversion magazine would not be something i would like to do.. would be, all work - no pay" . Rv safetyman was right of course...

Something that Could be done and published at a very reasonable cost is the small specialty newspaper.. It does not cost much for small runs if everyone contributes a reasonable amount, but you still would need enough circulation and misc advertising to pay for the expenses... Lots of local printers can do this.  Then some good hearted nut could mail them all out...
 
Just a thought.
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2012, 06:08:29 AM »

    When we had our first bus conversion in the mid 80s, there were no bus conversion magazines or internet, only an occasional article in the Family Motor Coach Magazine. We were out of bus conversions for several years raising 2 teenage boys (motocross and rodeo). When we got our current bus in 99, we immediately subscribed to BCM. We also subscribed to Coach Builders Bulletin and Private Coach. Both of those pblications are already gone. Coach Builders Bulletin was a very simple "low budget" publication that had no color photos and was was almopst entirely "how to" articles.
    For better or worse, the "information highway" world is changing. Look how many major magazines and newspapers have closed their doors. I saw last week that Kodak has filed bankruptcy. It is becoming a digital world and that is causing a lot of change. Not sure all the change is for the better, but it is and will continue to change.  JMO, YMMV  Jack
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 07:01:25 AM »

Let me also just add another voice to this. If there is anyone out there considering publishing a magazine, do it because it's what you love and what you want to do. Do it because you have money & time to burn and would rather sink it into a hobby like publishing a magazine, than spending time with your family, work, bus or other interests.  Drop any pretense of it being a profitable business idea, or even coming close to breaking even.  

Acquiring & publishing quality content on a routine basis is a difficult task.  If you have a limited budget, you have to get your best contributors onboard with the ideal and hope they're happy to write for you with little compensation. (And thank you to those who have done so.. you rock!).  Most articles you read have easily 30-60 hours of writing and editing involved with them.  And that's just for the short ones. A lengthy technical one?  It's quite an investment on the author's part, and the publisher needs to use every social networking grace they have to find those authors and keep them motivated to stay onboard. Because not only is the author investing their own time and efforts into writing, those writings will be under microscopic scrutiny from people who think they know better (but yet don't write publicly themselves) - and they will either need to have incredibly tough skin to just grin & nod and/or invest dozens more hours arguing their case.  

Don't provide quality content?  You have no magazine.

Then there's the technical aspects of putting a 'zine together. There's expensive software, training and needing computer hardware up to the task.  Page layout is an art form. You must be proficient with typeface, graphics, colors, pagination, orphans, widows, margins, columns, etc.  

Then there's trying to fund the physical costs of printing and distribution.  Subscription fees don't even come close to covering those costs (let alone the time involved in writing content & laying it out).   Your subscribers have a number in their head that they're willing to pay for all the efforts involved, exceed that - and they stop subscribing.  And that number is nowhere near close to what it actually costs to deliver the product.  

$5 extra per year? Doesn't even come close.  Truly want to fund your share of producing this sort of magazine?  Let's start talking in the $30-50 range. Per issue.  Per copy.  

Oh, and bonus - you get to learn all about the inner workings of the postal system and become your own bulk mailing center!  Whee!

So you must seek funding elsewhere.  Either your own personal bank account and/or a few benefactors chipping in. But usually, advertising dollars is essential.  Which is a huge operation to find advertisers, and keep them.  And the majority of your readers?  They'd really rather prefer you didn't show them advertising at all, after all, they're "paying" for their copy.  Most will try to use adblock software to avoid seeing the ones on your website - which your advertisers know - and thus are less willing to help fund you in that venue.    Heck, we got chewed out for even *talking* about one of our own products on our own blog -  gasp we're such 'evil advertisers'.


So.. let's add this up.  Publishing a magazine like this means finding someone who wants to pour countless hours and money into providing a shiny magazine so that people can set it on their coffee table for years to come.  And they don't want to actually pay for the costs & efforts involved to have that product, and few will be up for contributing in other ways - such as writing quality content.  And don't meet expectations of providing high quality content, great print and enough shine, too much advertising or start missing deadlines?  You'll get the honor of being bad mouthed on the forums you provide.

Yes, it's a nice legacy. But that's about all it is. Be very clear about this if anyone is even considering it.  Talk to anyone of us who has ever been involved in a niche magazine - and I think you'll find that none of the above is an exaggeration.  

 - Cherie
(Who has been deeply involved in every aspect of the above, and long ago learned my lesson)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 07:05:10 AM by technomadia » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 07:09:32 AM »

I went to a talk a couple of evenings ago by a guy involved with a new music website (not my thing, but 2nd biggest in the UK apparently), which has spun out a very successful print magazine - ie. digital evolving into print, not the other way round. Having said that, their target market is 18-25 years old early-adopters, so they have advertisers throwing money at them.

I do believe that a new bus converter's print magazine would be viable, but only if it was combined with other related topics to increase the reader and advertiser base - realistically, the bus-converting bit would be one of the smaller elements of the magazine. I don't think it's something for amateurs to consider if you expecting to produce a profit-making 'news stand'-quality magazine though. But an enthusiastic busnut looking for a retirement-project could probably make a success of a low-production-value newsletter-type publication.

Jeremy
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 08:28:23 AM »

The wav of the future is e-content. The world has been moving that direction since the mid-90's. A successful venture would be to convert the whole operation to internet only, but for folks that want a print magazine, offer the content in a format that could be printed by the user. There is nothing too daunting about that and the overhead is minimal.

I haven't done web content in years, but way back when setting up streaming video or audio was not hard. Setting up a flash presentation or content delivery via flash wasn't hard either. I really had no knowledge of how to do it going into it. I am no genious either.  Roll Eyes Much like a regular magazine, once you have the foundation built, you just change the content for the current publication. overtime you develop several different formats and vary it from time to time to keep things fresh. Once you have this setup, it is just a matter of plugging in the content. That process can be automated. The process requires some coding and that is time consuming, but it's not hard.

I have been pondering doing this since I was told that BCM is for sale. However, I do not want to be seen as trying to do a run around the current developers of BCM NOR do I want to be in a race against others that may be considering doing the same thing.

Personally, I would rather see BCM evolve into the future. If there are issues with keeping the website going or no interst in developing it into the format I mentioned, I am willing to help with the hosting and development. I got the impression from what Mike wrote that he is moving that direction. If there is no plans for that, then I would like to build an ezine to replace it. I am willing to fund that effort and do some or all of the development for it. I am not against others getting involved and developing it as a group. In fact, that would be better. However, the intellectual content would need to come from the users and experts. If I (we) took on the project it would NOT be to make money. It would be to support this hobby we all love. In the end, the financial goal would be to break even and profits put back into the ezine.

Anyone that has thoughts on this PM, email (mike4106txATgmail.com), or call me. Or post it here.
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Mike & Rosemarie
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 08:29:46 AM »

Me, me.
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