Online Publishing Book Review: How Not to Start a Magazine by B. Ann Bell

Note: This review is part of our Top 20 Online Publishing Books to Read in 2009 series.

Consider doing an online magazine before print or even instead of print.

So, your favorite hobby has spurned your creative desire to start a new magazine.

How do you decide if print or online publishing is best? After all, “Starting your own magazine is expensive and time consuming. If you don’t have the right information before you begin, you risk becoming one of the 95% of new magazines that fail before their fifth anniversary.”

Don’t despair, author B. Ann Bell provides words of wisdom from her personal experience in the book, How Not to Start a Magazine.  Bell starts with the #1 reason for failure – poor budget planning.

Beautiful, four color, glossy magazines with real substance aren’t cheap. Typically, the three major expenses when publishing a magazine are:

  1. Printing
  2. Postage
  3. Marketing

When publishing a traditional magazine, printing costs can depend on so many variables (paper, color, cover, photos, and the list goes on). Then, there’s postage. You will need to get estimates from your printer to calculate postage.

These two costs can put you over budget and out of business before you even get started.

Are your dreams of a beautiful magazine fading? Don’t give up.

The advantage to online publishing is you virtually eliminate printing and postage. Website hosting and email broadcasting cost far less per subscriber per year than print, postage and fulfillment associated with traditional publishing. This leaves marketing as your largest expense.

You have a multitude of options when it comes to marketing your new online magazine, many are low or no cost. Consider these options:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Email Campaigns
  • Banner Ads
  • Online Yellow Pages
  • Link Directories
  • Portal Sites

There’s a good chance that the revenue generated from your online magazine will pay for your expenses in a relatively short period of time.

Consider doing an online magazine before print or even instead of print.

Another advantage to online publishing is that you can try out your idea on readers and yourself.

You may soon discover you have found your niche. It’s a low risk way to produce a magazine. Discover more online publishing secrets when you read How Not to Start a Magazine by B. Ann Bell.


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