Home > The Vaccine Times > Introducing The Vaccine Times

Introducing The Vaccine Times


LAST UPDATED 10/21/2010

For a while now, I have been hinting at a Super Secret Project I’ve been working on. It is finally time to unveil the secret. I give to you the first issue of  The Vaccine Times, a quarterly newspaper-like publication, for parents, by parents.


The goal is to get The Vaccine Times in front of as many parent eyeballs as possible. Nevertheless, that is not an easy task. Most parents don’t read skeptical blogs, or follow skeptics on Twitter. After much thinking, I’ve come up with the strategy that I think offers me the best chance to make The Vaccine Times successful: pediatricians.

Most parents will go to the pediatrician’s office on a regular basis. Most of them will be waiting in the waiting room and perusing whatever magazines the office offers them to peruse while waiting. So, all I have to do is to get the printed version of The Vaccine Times into the pediatricians’ offices. I have to get pediatricians to subscribe to the printed version of The Times, in order to expose parents, my target market, to this information. In the real world, it turns out that is much harder to achieve than it sounds!

The Vaccine Times, will always be available for free in PDF format to individuals. I hope to be able to use the subsciption-based, printed version as my ongoing source of revenue to fund the whole enterprise, but the main goal is to get this information to the parents, for free in electronic format, or for a fee if they choose to subscribe to the printed version.

That will not be easy, nor cheap to do. Printing publications such as this one, can’t be done on one’s home printer. Presentation is everything; if it doesn’t look professional it won’t be picked up. This first issue will be my test issue. I need all the feedback, comments and recommendations you can get me, about anything you can think off: design, layout, revenue generating activities, advertising, marketing, printing, editing and on, and on. And I am going to need support.

How can you support the Vaccine Times?

1 – Subscribe to get the Times for free, via e-mail. All you have to do is send a blank e-mail to vaccinetimes@gmail.com with the title “Subscribe”. The more subscribers we can get, the easier it will be to sell advertising space, which is sorely needed if this experiment is to succeed.

2-If you are an individual, spread the word.  Print copies and leave them hanging around on the copy room at work, give them out at church, give one to your baby’s pediatrician and tell them you’d better have this available as reading material than People in their waiting room. Tweet about it; post an update on Facebook.

3 – If you own a Kindle, an indirect way to provide financial support is to subscribe to the Kindle Version of the Vaccine Central blog. It cost $1.99 per month, and I get a portion of it, although I’m not sure how much of that makes it to me yet. That money will be used to finance The Vaccine Times. And even if you don’t want to subscribe, leave a review of the blog at it’s Amazon Page.

4 – If you have any expertise with publishing, contact me at vaccinetimes@gmail.com, and let me know how you can become involved. If this is to grow, I’m going to need help. I have already found 2 editors who are very graciously donating their time and services to the cause. What I need help with at the current time is advertising/marketing and some sort of design (logos, pics etc) to use in the publication. Anyone with the skills, and desire to help, please send me an e-mail to vaccinetimes@gmail.com.

5 – If you work for a major skeptical organization, you can help. You can order a batch of 25, for about $200. That will allow me to print 50 copies. Your organization gets 25, and I get another 25 to send around to market The Vaccine Times to other organizations who may sign up for another 25 copies at the same price and so on. This way, your organization gets to support this enterprise and gets a few copies to give out at your local skeptical events. Yet another way your organization can help is by buying up some add space. Do you have a skeptical event, or something else you want to advertise? Send me the add in JPEG format and I’ll include it in the next run of the Times. I haven’t figured out a pricing structure yet, but as a starter I’ll go for $25 for a one-time quarter page add, or $50 for a one-time half page add.

I don’t have a price for a full page add. Since I am not setting up a not-profit, and cannot accept donations legally, I am thinking of using that option as a way for a sponsoring organization to support The Vaccine Times, without flat out donating money. Anyone who is interested in supporting through a full page add, contact me via e-mail and we’ll work out a reasonable price.

6 – If you are  a podcaster, plug the Vaccine Times in your podcast. If you are a blogger, link to this entry. If you are a commercially succesful podcaster or blogger, then you can support The Vaccine Times, by buying up a quarter-page, or a half-page add.

7 – I am using the free, open-source Scribus Desktop Publishing software to design The Times. If you can provide a copy of the Scribus manual, which sells for $45 on Amazon, that would help immensely. If you have a copy lying around that you no longer need, you can mail it to me. Contact me at vaccinetimes@gmail.com for arrangements.

8 – I am currently not soliciting monetary donations. I think that if this idea is to work, The Times will have to be able to stand on its own two feet. People have to get something for the money they give, be they individuals who are getting a blog they enjoy reading on their Kindle, or organizations who are willing to pay for a batch of the printed copies, because they enjoy the material.

9 – I need advice about Customer Relationship Management, best software for managing subscriptions, cheapest ways to accept Credit Card subscriptions from prospective customers and such. Free rules, for obvious reasons.

The next step is setting up the second issue by mid-December or so, and figuring out how to run a print publication in the mean time, from advertising and marketing, to CRM, to figuring out all the services that need to go in place to support the Times. This is going to get very messy, very soon, and unless I get some support from those of you in the skeptical community who have experience with this sort of thing, I will not succeed. And this is going to require a little start-up cash, in the range of at least $5,000 I estimate; and I have no idea where that will come from.

You can get in touch with me in various ways. E-mails can be sent to vaccinetimes@gmail.com OR leartshaka@zoho.com. You can leave a comment here on this blog entry, or you can send me messages on Twitter (@Skepdude). Please give all the feedback you can think off, especially I am interested in constructive criticism. We learn from our mistakes, not our successes so don’t hold back, point my mistakes out, ALL of them. You won’t hurt my feelings, I promise you that.

I will soon have an update with instructions on how to purchase add space, subscribe, mailing address, payment options (most likely it will initially be limited to Paypal and check or money order), and all that nice stuff. Until then, please spread the word about The Vaccine Times.

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  1. Charley
    October 10, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    For start-up cash, consider http://www.kickstarter.com/

    I’d contribute some money for this, and I’m sure lots of other people would too.

    • Skepdude
      October 11, 2010 at 8:43 AM

      Thank you Charlie, will definitely give kickstarter a chance; sounds like it might work.

  2. KSturgess
    October 11, 2010 at 7:08 PM

    Hello – as a podcaster, one of the things that makes it really easy to advertise you is to have a thirty to forty second ‘advert’ that we can use on our show. Do you have the ability to make one or would you like me to make one for you? Just a few suggestions in terms of ‘what links, main info, contact details’ would suffice in getting the message across to people listening. Do you have a particular slogan, for example? Kylie S.

    • Skepdude
      October 12, 2010 at 10:18 AM

      Kylie, unfortunately I don’t have the equipment, or the voice, to do an audio advert, so anything you can come up with would be much better than anything I could come up with. The slogan I’m going with is “One Shot, One Life”, kinda cheesy but we’ll see if it catches on. So far as contact info, the email is easy to remember: vaccinetimes@gmail.com and the blog is Vaccine Central. People can help with their time; I’ve had two individuals with editing experience offer to help. Now I need people with advertising/marketing experience to help spread the word.

  3. KSturgess
    October 11, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    Can I also suggest – take three articles from your publication. Particularly if they are ‘feature article style’, like an interview, or a recent news investigation. Submit it them to as many online parenting sites as you can, particularly those that are looking for contributors – with the statement at the end that this is part of an ongoing publication that they can get.
    That way, you’re getting content out there on several sites that are directed at parents, and urging them to check out more of your writing. There’s a few ‘parent contributing blogs/infosites’ out there that may welcome a fresh eye on a topic. It may also draw in more people who do not necessarily identify as skeptics, but are willing to lend a hand in terms of funding, ideas, new content.

    • Skepdude
      October 12, 2010 at 10:22 AM

      Definitely will try, but my strategy is not to go after skeptics. Pediatricians are my target market, because that’s where all the parents go. I’m trying to get the next issue to look a bit more professional and print it professionally to try and get pediatricians to subscribe, but I haven’t figured out a minor issue yet: funding. I tried setting up a project on a fund-raising site callled kickstarter, and they rejected my project. Apparently, they felt it wasn’t a good fit for their site. If I cant’ figure anything in the next few months, I may have to set up a non-profit and ask for donations, which is something I’m trying to avoid. Thanks for the advice.

      • KSturgess
        January 18, 2011 at 12:43 AM

        Yes, but building up contributors might be useful too, which was my point.
        Regarding funding – talk to the people behind ScienceWeek? They fund projects and it might help get it moving. It is usually run later in the year though, but check out what they offer.
        Can you also send me a short script that I can record for you, if that will help?

  4. November 8, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    facebook does allow causes to collect funds. I can help you set this up, or do it for you.

    As far as accepting donations, see Paypal donations (https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/xcl/rec/donate-intro-outside).

    My son can get you a payment system (at no-charge) and install it on your web page, if you have one. He will even help you set up a web page, if you need him too. Again, he will do it for free. His email address: ezbtyler@hotmail.com

    good luck.

    • Skepdude
      November 9, 2010 at 10:07 AM

      Thank you Al, I might just take you up on that, if need be. At the current time I’m inundated with getting the next issue ready and a couple of other unrelated projects but I’ll keep your advice in mind. Thank you.

      PS: I have set up the proper website already. Check it out at vaccinetimes.com

  5. Peter M B English
  1. November 8, 2010 at 4:34 PM
  2. June 7, 2013 at 10:57 AM

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