To hard sell or not to hard sell?

Oct 29th, 2010 | By | Category: CG Blog

We strongly dislike asking for money. This is a major failing for a business.

Having been on the wrong end of the hard sell far too often, we balk at pushing too hard when Crossed Genres comes out with a new publication, or has a sale. We don’t want to alienate readers, especially since the real point of CG is to get good work out there – we don’t want to discourage people from coming to read what we publish by making the reading experience unpleasant. We even keep ads completely out of our print and ebook publications, and have minimal ads on the website. We want people to buy our publications because they want to, not because they’re over-saturated with advertisements about it.

But the results of these attempts to be user-friendly is that we’ve got a good and growing reputation, and not even close to enough revenue to cover expenses. As I mentioned in another post, we’re over $1600 in the hole for 2010 alone. It’s not that we’re expecting to get rich doing this – we’re not delusional – but $1600 is a lot of money for two working stiffs to lose every year.

And when that other post went up, asking people to please consider supporting us by making a purchase, the results were… underwhelming. There were plenty of retweets on Twitter, and a few wonderful people did buy something, but it was mostly friends and family, and the total was pretty small.

So the question is: do we push harder? Like I said, we don’t want to alienate readers, but we do need some stronger sales if we’re going to keep doing this publishing thing. How would you, as readers, feel if there were more constant sales pitches? If there were more ads on the site, or even in the magazine? Would this cause a negative reaction? Or would you accept that it’s a necessity for us? (Would it encourage you to make a purchase? 😉

Please let us know in the comments. As consumers and readers we know what we think, but as publishers, we want to know what you think.

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  1. Yes, I believe you are going to have to push harder. I know that I try to RT anything that you or other small press put out there but as I don’t always see it, I can’t help spread the word, and I often forget to come back here and see what is going on.
    Perhaps form a task force to help spread the word. Try some pod-casting or bumps on things like ShadowCastAudio.
    You have a great magazine, I just wish I could buy everything, but I can’t. But I am willing to help out all I can.

  2. I would hate to see such a fine magazine go under. Marketing isn’t one of my strong points. However, I’ve noticed your Facebook account is somewhat bare compared to those of other small publishers. Perhaps you could start there. Just a thought.

  3. shadowflame1974, you’ve already done a lot to help and we appreciate it! We are working on spreading the word better, and a “task force” is an interesting idea. We really need someone to take on the Promotions/Marketing role we’ve advertised. We’ll see how that goes.

    Awoken, the Facebook account is definitely something we want to develop. It’s on the list of things that our new Social Media Coordinator Shay will be working on. For most of the time the FB account has existed it’s been nothing more than a place to forward blog posts; that will change over time.

  4. Glad to hear it. I really hope you continue to expand as well as meeting your budget goals. As I said before, you’re too fine a magazine to go under. Oh, and I’m looking forward to the year two anthology. I’m sure it will be awesome.

  5. One more think / thing. Once you do get the facebook account updated, could you make sure it has pictures of past issue covers? That way, I and others can copy the covers and post them on our own pages, along with the link to your site. The cover art alone should draw some interest, along with the interesting themes each month. I actually planned to do this some time ago, as I have with some of the other magazines I enjoy, but you didn’t have a single cover I could bring over to my page!

    Oh, the injustice!

  6. Awoken – great idea re the covers! 🙂
    What else would you like to see on the FB page (or elsewhere in the social media sphere)?

  7. What else?

    Hmmm . . . Since you ask . . .

    How about a monthly contest instead of yearly Crossed Genres writing contest? I know for a fact writers love to add a contest win to their credits. You could charge a small fee, part could be used for prizes and the rest to help supplement costs of running the magazine. All of which you could explain in the contest rules. If you’re worried about the potential workload, you could make it a flash contest and limit the number of entrants, which might just inspire people to sign up early every month.

    If that fails, there’s always the media stunt route. There are a number of tall buildings that need climbing. Do any of your editors have experience as a human spider, and do they own a Crossed Genre T-shirt?

    That’s all for me, guys. Best fo luck and keep up the good work!

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