Friday, August 03, 2007

August 3, 2007
Hosted visiting dignitaries last night at Cartwright's next door. Fine meal and fine discussions about the future of True West. Very exciting.

BB—Phone Home!
"The Remington using the I-phone bit is not a good idea. I'm convinced it won't work and will have our regular readers scratching their heads and going, "What the f*** is this?!?!?"

"That's how I'd react.

"On the web? Yeah, probably. It's a different medium with different expectations.

"But on the magazine cover? With a readership that's pretty conservative/traditional? I think this will blow up in our faces, big time. It's not what they expect or want.

"There have been other occasions where we tried to be too clever--the Brokeback Mountain/Clint Eastwood issue being a prime example. People didn't get it (not just the movie, but the cover art). I'd argue it wasn't what they wanted--and the sales figures and p.r. reaction (nil) seem to back that up.

"We've known that folks like iconic covers, or those that feature classic images from the McCubbin collection. That's been proven time and time again. I don't think it's wrong to try to push the envelope in small degrees. But this one goes over the edge. Might as well show Wyatt Earp using a gps to find his way to Tombstone.

"Humor and clever are very hard to successfully pull off. And when they fail, they fall farther than the bottom of the Grand Canyon. People get turned off, thinking the idea (or the idea person) is stupid. And it damages their trust in us (which I'm convinced is what happened with the Brokeback cover). This is one of those cases.

"I'd argue that doing a cover with a Remington image is iffy anyway. He's not an icon. He's not a movie star doing a classic Western, a la Kurt and Val in Tombstone. Yeah, he's a well-known artist who did some well-known art. There are interesting aspects to his story. But a cover? I have serious doubts--unless we use one of his paintings, photos, or other artworks as the image. Something classic. That's what we're known for. That's a True West hallmark.

"I have no doubts, however, about putting an I-phone in his hand, as he takes a photo of an Apache woman. It won't work. It won't appeal to the core readership (or secondary or tertiary). It will be a setback that will take many issues to regain.

"Don't do this."
—Mark Boardman

Well put. And now I want to do the cover even more than ever.

”Never argue with a fool. Someone watching may not be able to tell the difference.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

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