Monday, March 24, 2014

Innovative NYOP Pricing

For the month of March I have rolled out an incentive that I think is unique in the horse world: NYOP pricing. It means Name Your Own Price, and it is exactly that. I have invited stallion owners to place an online ad - a Stallion Profile on - and they can name their own price.

It's a good deal. The ad is the full stallion profile: facts and description of your stallion, four photos of the stallion and four of his offspring, a pedigree chart, and a link to a YouTube video if you have one. The ad runs for a full 12 months - through the end of this breeding season and most of the next.

I read about a taxi driver in DC who starting letting his customers pay what they felt they should. In his experience, on average he made about the same or a little more. A cabbie's business model doesn't necessarily translate into publishing, but I always wanted to try it. I decided the online option was the place to try it - simply because the overhead is so much less than print. In our current economy some stallion owners are facing a money crunch - and online I can say I'd rather have them at a lower price than not at all.

We'll see how it goes! I think in some ways I have made it harder on my advertisers - putting a burden on them they're not used to. Everyone in DC probably knows how much is reasonable cab fare for a given trip - but stallion owners don't necessarily know what is reasonable to pay for an online stallion ad.

But I've had a few takers, and I'm nearing my goal of celebrating 100 stallions with Stallion Profiles on the site. I have 99 as of today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Twenty-One Years of Publishing Horse Magazines

I started my publishing business in 1993, and I think I’m getting the hang of it. :-) I am down to only one publication per year, the annual stallion magazine, Warmblood Stallions of North America

It’s funny. There was a time when I published a bimonthly magazine plus a bimonthly sales flyer, so I had a deadline every month. I had some part-time help, but I did at least some of everything myself. I wrote articles, did layout, ad sales, marketing, bookkeeping, maintained a website starting in 1995 - and for the first few years I sorted the magazines for mailing and dragged them to the Post Office in my little Escort wagon. I called myself a micro-miniature business.

Things have changed, but in many ways they’ve also stayed the same. Both magazines grew and evolved, but were not noticeably profitable. I stopped Midwest SportHorse Journal in 2002, after eight years. I was incredibly proud of what I accomplished with it, and I still get people who tell me they miss it. I do too. It was wonderful to interview people who were doing worthwhile and interesting work with horses. Even then I did a lot with breeders; in my area there wasn’t a lot of recognition for breeders, and it has never been an easy business. After 2002 I concentrated on the National Sport Horse Sales List, which grew and eventually became Sport Horse Marketplace. In 2010 I moved it all online and in 2011 I sold it.

Now I’m down to one magazine, and you’d think that would be manageable for a single person. I wish! I am still doing articles, and layout, ad sales, marketing, bookkeeping, as well as supervising production and mailing to 15,000 people. But now I also maintain a Facebook page, run online ad campaigns, write email newsletters, and constantly try to improve my website. I still have some part-time help, especially in the fall when we’re actually building the print magazine, but it’s still mostly me wearing all the hats. I’m still a micro-miniature business.

It’s great, though; it suits me. It’s overwhelming sometimes, but I do still enjoy learning new things.

The job has changed, and grown. No one is simply a publisher - or simply a breeder or stallion owner, for that matter. We are all denizens of the world wide web, with everything that encompasses. I still believe that there is a place for a good print magazine, especially one like mine that is an annual showcase, compendium, and record. But my job is not just publishing, it is connecting stallion owners and breeders - and these days print is just one part of that.