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.

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