After a summer of serious contemplation and consideration, I have so much to share with you that I hardly know where to start! I have procrastinated this post until I felt I had my head around things and now I finally feel like I can start to share. Over seven hundred of you shared your thoughts in our reader survey. (Wow! – I had a stretch goal of maybe 250 replies!) I am hugely grateful for all your thoughtful responses.
This was a lot of data to sort through, and in the end, the survey confirmed many things I already knew but it also surprised me in some exciting ways.
I already knew that I needed to change up things with the print editions of P+V.
The newspaper format hasn’t been working in a retail setting, and it needs to. The problem isn’t that readers don’t love it (they do!). It is that it looks and feels too much like the ad-driven local freebie papers that are often just that – free. A problem when a publication has an actual price tag and businesses need to make a profit selling it.
You might remember that my original business plan included having many localized versions of P+V. But two years later, I’ve learned that just isn’t financially or functionally feasible in the gardening world. I’ve re-confirmed what I know many other garden media professionals have found many times. The print advertising model doesn’t work that well in this industry. In fact, if you pay attention to such things, it is struggling to work in a lot of industries. A regionalized publication needs investment and upfront capital to establish a supportive subscriber base. After looking into what that might mean for me as a business owner, I’ve come to understand that it isn’t for me. I’m happy to remain a bootstrapping entrepreneur who continues to look forward to the challenges of organic growth.
These two points haven’t been easy to accept as so much of my original intent was wrapped up in these ideas. But what kind of business person would I be if I ignored the facts, as they are, and refused to make needed changes?
(Answer – I wouldn’t be a business person anymore because I’d be broke)
As I work towards putting out Issue #6, here is what I know:
- Content that was regionally focussed is being re-tooled or dropped. The whole publication will present stories that might be interesting to anyone anywhere.
- The newspaper’s format will be changing. It will be smaller and able to fit better on newsstands. I am, however, hopeful that it can still remain tabloid sized. It will have a different (more substantial) cover and paper weight. I’m inspired by the format of vintage LIFE magazines and many other beautiful indie publications. As I explore new print options, it will come to down to the best set of features out of a huge array practical and design based considerations.
- Each issue will be longer (double-sized!) but we will have only two per year. The practicalities of distribution and production have been too taxing. Minimizing that, while not sacrificing content is the clear way to go.
- And finally, this is iterative and there will always be more changes!
Sometimes you plan for change and sometimes, when you least expect it, change is thrust upon you. For the whole life of Studio ‘g’ and PITH + VIGOR, I’ve done 100% of the programming and design work to make this site run. I simultaneously love it and hate it. I cherish the control I have and love that I can fix things when I need to. But I hate that I have no one to to turn to when something goes wrong.
In the past few years, I’ve used a framework tool and I have relied upon the tech support 0f the software company that provided it. In mid-July, the website had a catastrophic failure and you might have noticed errors about database connection problems when you tried to visit. Abnormally, my support calls went unanswered and eventually, I came to realize that this software company had dissolved into the internet ether. (Major Bummer!). A broken site with no expectation of repairs meant that I needed to move on, as fast as I could. And that is what I have been doing.
With that in mind, this site will be migrating to a new theme and back end framework as early as this weekend. I’ve been working on it for more than a month now, so hopefully things will go smoothly. Please be patient if you come across broken links, weird pages, or times when the site is not available at all. Understand that I am feverishly at my desk fixing problems. I am probably panic-Skyping with my most excellent Italian software developer friend. I’ll let you know when I think it is mostly done – and then you can let me know if I’ve missed anything. Deal?
Thanks always for your support.
I’ll save it for another post on the new site to share more of the changes you will see over the coming months!