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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.