January 22, 2003
Staff meeting at eight. Very lively discussion about giving away mags at events like High Noon vs. holding the line and selling subs and issues. I can see both sides. The sales staff thinks we should get as many mags out as possible to anyone who is remotely interested in the hopes of reaching more readers. This is our competitors strategy (C&I and American Cowboy give out 1,000 mags at every show we have been at with them). R.G. counters this with the fact that each mag costs us 92 cents and when you give something away it has less value to the recipient. This also is true. I attended a writer’s conference in Gunnison last summer and got a packet with the usual bumper stickers, chamber brochures, Subway coupon, etc.. Also included was a Persimmon Hill magazine (which I happen to love), but when it came time to leave, I left everything in the room. The magazine became a throw-away. Or, as Thomas Paine put it: “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.”
The sell-thru seminar on our covers was also quite enlightening. After I laid out the magazines by date, I then pulled all the losers and put them on the left, and made two tiers: the four very best sellers and the second tier with the almost as good, but slightly lower sales. The effect was stunning. At the very top were: Wyatt Earp, Custer, Wild Bill and Doc Holliday. All four had a singular image and a headline that you could read across the room. In the second tier were The Alamo issue, The Scouts, Texas Rangers, Jesse James, Butch & Sundance.
Win Holden, the publisher of Arizona Highways, came out at 12:40 and took a look at our next cover. Daniel H. has designed two different cover options. One with a close-up of John Wayne’s face, and the other a full body shot of the Duke, from Hondo, and it is stark black and white. Win said he would go with the close-up on the face. In today’s market there is strong statistical evidence that the singular, closeup on the face is the image that sells the most.
Jana B., R.G., Win and I went to lunch at Tonto. Win talked about the calendar business. Very enlightening. We want to do a True West calendar, but we may already be too late for 2004. In fact, Highways is already working up 2005. That’s how far out front you have to be. Amazing.
Drove in for a dental appointment at two. Survived cleaning and X-rays.
Came back and finished roughing in Classic Gunfights layout. R.G. gave me the word that there is room for “The Duke Is Born.” Got to finish that artwork before Friday because I’m going to Tucson for a writer’s conference. I’ll be looking for new writers and teaching a seminar. Imagine.
“I had a terrible education. I went to a school for emotionally disturbed teachers.”
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