Of Paper and Pixels
When I first started Mormon Artist, I was pretty sure the magazine would be primarily a print venture, since that’s what made it a “real” magazine, I thought — seeing it on someone’s coffee table somehow gave it a stamp of legitimacy. The web counterpart was just an afterthought, existing almost entirely to get people to buy a print copy. And I found what I thought was a good way to get there — print-on-demand through MagCloud. It all seemed like it was going to work out perfectly.
And, you know, it has — just not in the way I expected. A month or so after the first issue came out, I realized a few things: (a) nobody was buying the MagCloud edition; (b) to make a real print edition work, I had to have lots of money; (c) I didn’t have lots of money; and (d) everyone was reading it online anyway. So I decided (wisely) to back-burner the print edition and focus completely on the web.
You see, while I love the paper-and-ink nature of a magazine I can hold, there are definite advantages to publishing on the web. I can fix typos easily. It’s easier to reach people in other countries (and it doesn’t cost them anything). People can link to and quote from the content, generating more traffic and hopefully growing more readers in the process. Through comments, conversations that would never have existed in print (other than through letters to the editor) can blossom. And it hardly costs anything in comparison to print.
While I’m sold on keeping Mormon Artist a native web citizen, print still beckons to me. Maybe someday (with “when the economy is better” attached in small print ) it’ll become a reality. In the meantime, I’m entertaining the idea of printing a best-of book each year through a print-on-demand book publisher like Lulu or Blurb. That way I can have my cake and eat some of it, too.