There are hundreds of options to consider when starting a magazine, and among the most significant is the question of whether to produce a full color publication or some combination of color, two-tone, and/or black-and-white. The biggest factor involves pricing, the cost of printing directly affecting the price of an issue and therefore a subscription. There is also the important question of presentation, what the magazine will look like and how it will be perceived by its readership, reviewers, sponsors, and potential advertisers. Remaining competitive to similar magazines is important, both in pricing and in the quality of content and appearance, not only to attract readers but to also attract potential writers, who are the lifeblood of any publication.
Another point worth consideration is a little more esoteric, and that is the respect earned and deserved by history itself. I like to think that as an amateur historian I have a very high regard, almost a reverence for history, and I want that to shine through the pages of Alaskan History Magazine. For that reason I have chosen the full color option, with an understanding that it brings a daunting cover price of $10.00 per issue if the magazine is to be profitable, and profit will be necessary to pay writers and, eventually, a small staff.
I can ameliorate the per-issue cost by offering a discounted subscription price of $48.00, saving $12.00 over a year, but that is still steeper than I’d hoped for. So I’m offering a couple of compromises: A black and white printed edition will be available at around 50%, and an online version will be accessible for even less. I am also exploring less expensive options for printing and distribution.
I understand that advertising is an important element for most publications, and while it would potentially provide the financing for lower cover pricing, it would add complications which I do not want to handle right now, so Alaskan History will be advertisement-free at this time.
For now I want to concentrate on creating the best magazine I can, and that means focusing on the history, the writers, editing, proofing, photographs, graphics, the website, social media and everything that will go into producing each issue. Once the production is running smoothly I may reconsider the advertising option, or, more likely, seek a different way to lower costs.