Friday, May 29, 2009

MMPA Conference

I attended the MN Magazines & Publication Association's annual Summit & Expo on May 21. This year's theme was How to Be Up in a Down Economy. The day was filled with four different tracks that include: Editorial, Circulation, Sales and Leadership. Deciding which sessions to attend was a difficult choice with so many valid options. I followed the advice of Hervey Evans, magazine consultant, who suggested I attend the sessions on advertising as I will need to start approaching advertisers at some point in the next year.

The Sales sessions focused on internet/web site sales rather than the print sales. I think it would have been beneficial for me to have more information on the print side, especially as a start-up magazine. But there was some useful information and the presenter, Wendy McHale of the Laredo Group, was an experienced sales professional and an excellent speaker.

The key to online sales is to know who your audience is and to understand your stats (unique views, length of visits, how viewers are getting to your site, what they're doing while they're there, etc). It's important to value the online advertising space and partnership opportunities because historically this space has been seen as less valued than print, when we actually have the potential to know more about our subscribers and viewers than we have with the printed version. Very interesting.

I have begun taking notes on the marketing information I need to gather so that I can put together a sales packet to help prime me for this new role- advertising sales. Definitely going to the National Stationery Show (NSS) this month also helped in that regard as I met stationery store owners and potential advertisers there.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Win Free Office Supplies TODAY

Time is almost out, so I will keep this brief. Click on this link to find out how to win $150 in Carolina Pad office supplies.

Good Luck!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Survey Help

Thanks to all who have taken my survey at I am still looking for more people to offer their input. There are 3 different surveys and each one only takes about 3-5 minutes. The surveys are for

Letter writers
Journal writers
Stationery store owners and/or designers

Thank you to the Missive Maven who promoted this survey in her blog!

Please pass this on! Thank You! I will post the results on the blog sometime in late June or July.


The photo is from a purchase I made at Pulp Fashion located in Stillwater, MN.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 4 at the National Stationery Show

Today's NSS show only went from 9-12 and it seemed much less trafficked than the other 3 days. I think a lot of people got their buying/visiting done in the first 3 days. The buses ran slower today and the waits were longer for them. I would not plan to go on the last day again. Also, I felt that a lot of the exhibitors who I visited were disappointed because I wasn't a buyer looking to put their product in my store.

I met fellow twitterer @JackiPaper at her gorgeously designed booth as shown in the photo. Jacki won the Think Green Award for one of her cool products (recycled fortune teller greeting cards). You can read about all of the awards here. Way to go Jacki! So nice to meet you. Jacki's web site is

Overall the show was a lot of fun. Met some wonderful new people and made a lot of contacts for potential advertisers for the magazine when that time comes in about a year from now. So much yet to do.

Day 3 at the National Stationery Show

What a busy crazy week it has been! We walk around the show and my feet get tired. We walk around the city and my feet get tired. I am beat! But it has been fun and worth every aching muscle.

On Day 3 I did not spend as much time at the show. My husband, Joe, and I had touristy plans for the city. But I did meet some more exhibitors and got some great pictures. When I get home and I have more time, I will add photos to flickr so that you can see more than the few I am putting on here.

This cute pooch was at the Hooray for the Underdog booth which makes and sells cards (and other products such as notepads) featuring great pictures of rescue animals. These cards were gorgeous and for a cause that is dear to my heart- animals. Every day I visit and click on the link to help the animals. Please check it out if you have not heard of it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 2 at the National Stationery Show

Day 2 at the NSS was fabulous! I met some more fantastic artists/business owners. Hello! Lucky (twitter name @helloluckycards), Two Trick Pony (twitter name @carriepony), Emma J Cards (twitter name @emmajcards) and Mary Ellen from M. Ellen Designs.

There is so much eye candy at the show it is difficult to keep your head from spinning. Today I did a walk of the length of the show to get a sense of how many booths/aisles there were. It was incredible! I don't know that there's a way to get to all of them. But what am I missing if I don't? I hate to think...

In addition to meeting all of these great people, it's enjoyable to see the wonderful and innovative designs of some of the booths. I did not have my camera with me today, so had to rely on my phone camera and many of this pictures I took were not very good quality. Will try to do better today.

There has been a lot of positive reception to my magazine, Letters & Journals - a quarterly magazine on letter writing and journal writing. Of course, I am talking to a lot of people who would call themselves paper enthusiasts, a key market to this kind of publication.
More updtates to come. Thanks for tuning in!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 1 at the National Stationery Show

What a great day! I got to the show about 10 a.m. and started an organized plan of attack to stick to one aisle at a time. The entire show is filled with such eye-catching and perfectly lovely displays, colors, cards, notebooks, stationery, pens and so on. I was here for the first time 5 years ago and what I learned from that was that I was easily distracted and could easily find myself going from aisle to aisle with no rhyme or reason. The next day it was hard to know where to begin so that I could visit new booths. This year I made a concerted effort to stick to one aisle at a time and not let myself be drawn to a pretty booth across the aisle until it was time to visit that aisle.

A modicum of self discipline is helpful.

Some of the super friendly people I met today include: Emily Carter at Peppertree Design, Rebecca Jay at Dodo-Pad, Erika Firm at Delphine Press. and the nice people at Gwen Frostic. Emily, Rebecca and Erika are all on twitter also, so I am following them there as well. If you have a twitter account (or even if you don't) you can do a search to see all of the discussions about the NSS.

You can do this by going to the bottom of any Twitter page and clicking on the word 'search' and then entering #NSS (you must have the pound sign followed by NSS) and that will display a page of the most recent discussions that used the term NSS. You can use the pound sign to search for any key term that you want to find out more about. Don't use the 'find people' search that is at the top of every Twitter page. That search is used more for when you know the name of the person you want to find. My Twitter name is Jafferty.

Thanks. Stay tuned for more news and pics tomorrow of the National Stationery Show. One thing I did not do today was write down the names and numbers of the booths where I took pictures, so I didn't want to include too many without being able to give them credit. Tomorrow I will do better. See you then!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Looking for People to Help Take a Quick Survey

This post is about the three surveys I created. One is for letter writers. One is for journal writers. And one is for stationery store owners and/or designers. Each survey is only 10 questions long and should take no more than 5-10 minutes of your time.

I'm really looking for some feedback on these hobbies and how the magazine Letters & Journals can be designed to appeal to these groups of people. Any help and feedback would be greatly appreciated!

The link to all of the surveys can be found here. Please take just a few minutes to complete any of the surveys that appeal to you. And I would also request, if you can, to forward this information to any and all of your friends, relatives, acquaintances, coworkers, etc. to have them take it too. Or, if you have blog that this would relate to, please feel free to link to the surveys from there. I will definitely return the favor! Thanks to all who can help!!!

I know your time is valuable, so I tried to make the surveys short and sweet, but left room for you to add your suggestions if you feel inclined to do so. Thank you.

Now I am off to pack for National Stationery Show. I plan to visit as many booths as possible, take lots of pictures and do some sightseeing while we are in NYC. And, of course, blog about it all.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

National Stationery Show

The National Stationery Show (NSS) is held every May at the Jacob K. Javits Center in NYC. This year it runs from May 17-20 and I will be there. Lucky me! I'm very excited to attend the pinnacle of the industry's trade show. There will be over 1,00 exhibitors and 14,000 attendees. Here are just a handful of some of the exhibitors:

Gina B. Designs
Russell + Hazel
Two Trick Pony
Emma J Cards
Whitney English
Sweet Letter Press

My goal is to talk to these people- many of whom could be potential advertisers for Letters & Journals- and find out how my magazine can serve them. Here is list of the products that are featured at NSS: greeting cards, invitations, imprintables, giftwrap/ribbons, stationery, bridal accessories, customized/personalized products, decorative home office products, writing instruments, papercrafting supplies, frames, journals, calendars and more.

I will write more about the show when I am there next week. Stay tuned.

In the next few days I will be finalizing the surveys I created. One of the ways I plan to capture information from these stationery designers and store owners is to ask them to take the quick survey that I set up on Survey Monkey. In addition to the special survey I did for this group of people, I also created 2 more general surveys that I want anyone and everyone to take. There is one on letter writing and one on journal writing. Thanks in advance if you can do this. I will post the details in my next blog.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Graphic Designer

I have hired graphic designer Kathryn Forss and she starts on June 1. I'm very excited! Her first task will be to design a logo for Letters & Journals and next will be creating a sample copy of the magazine. Our estimated time for completion- August.

The vision for Letters & Journals is that once it takes off, the magazine will be a quarterly issued magazine. In 2010 I will be looking for a managing editor, freelance writers, stationery and journal themed advertisers and, most of all, subscribers.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

So You Want to Start a Magazine

"I note what you say about your aspirations to edit a magazine. I am sending you by this mail a six-chambered revolver. Load it and fire every one into your head. You will thank me for it after you get to hell and learn from other editors how dreadful their job was on earth."
~HL Mencken to William Saroyan, upon learning his interest in publishing

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Magazine Update

April was an exciting month for progress on the magazine. I met with a magazine consultant and interviewed 2 potential graphic designers to create the logo and the brand for the magazine. I signed up for the National Stationery Show in New York that takes place later this month and I also signed up for the MMPA's (Minnesota Magazine Periodicals Association) 1 day conference also in May.

I started this blog in April and am pleased to see people finding it through searches, twitter, word of mouth.

I am working on creating a survey for potential advertisers (stationery designers and store owners, gift shop owners, pen companies, etc) on Survey Monkey which has free and paid surveys. I should be finished with the survey in the next week. I will also do one for letter writers and journalers as I think it would be beneficial to get their input as well.