We have been thinking a lot about just how it is that you make a poetry magazine viable. That probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
Obviously a great way is for somebody – an outside force – to pay for everything and leave you alone to do whatever you like. I like that option, but sadly it seems a little unlikely for us as we’re horribly old fashioned and cynical and like to walk on our own legs and anyway, not very good at asking for help at the best of times. If this all is to crash and burn I’d rather it was only our Zeppelin on the line, as it were.
From there the next on the list is to sell subscriptions, so that people stump up for whatever it is you are selling and then you deliver. Hopefully they will like it enough to renew their subscription however long it was for.
Being as we are starting the press with the proceeds from flogging a second-hand guitar, this is where we are going to go. Hobson had a choice too, apparently.
That is all pretty mundane, I’m sure you would agree, but I guess the thing that is taking the brainspace is more, how do you keep it going?
How do you make sure that people keep on subscribing, or as in our case where we will be going for pre-orders for each individual issue rather than an annual subscription, how do we make sure that the reader wants the next issue?
I mean, the obvious way is to make sure that every issue is fabulous and that the reader can’t wait to read some more, and if that doesn’t work, maybe we could have a have a cliffhanger at the end that keeps people coming back.
It is something to think of.
That could work.
Or perhaps, we could put half of a poem in one quarter and the rest the next.
OK, not so good.
I guess for me the answer is to just make it something so cool or interesting that people can’t help but want another dose of Vitamin Arfur.
So basically, we have to try and create a sense of community or addiction, who knows.
I guess where I’m coming to is that any poetry magazine, from Poetry Review down has to create its own tribe, a group of readers that see themselves as part of it. Family, even, and that in truth, it isn’t something you can plan for as if you do it will just be artificial, a flavour of the month and as transient as some kind of advert.
So we need to find a way to create a Tribe Called Hedge if we are going to get past the first issue or two, the only slight tricky thing is to work out just how we do that, isn’t it? I guess you can only be yourself and see what happens next.