And then came September… A Flurry of New Launches

September 17, 2008

Back when I was a student at The University of Missouri-Columbia in the early 80s, I had my first chance to meet the legendary magazine editor John Mack Carter. Mr. Carter has launched more new magazines than anyone I have met. So, needless to say meeting him was like meeting the candy man in the candy store. I was introduced to Mr. Carter and was amazed by the vast knowledge and wisdom he possessed when it came to magazine editing and new magazine launches. Later in life, I was fortunate enough to work with Mr. Carter and learn a lot from his style of publishing and editing.

The reason for this lengthy introduction is of course a sentence that I still remember he told me back then. He answered my question regarding “when is the best time to launch a magazine?” Mr. Carter looked at me and without hesitation he said “September, and if you miss September then October.”

His prophetic words are as true today as they were in the early 80s. September is proving to be a great month for new magazine launches. From the mass 9 million giants like Spry, to the mass luxury 800,000 circulation WSJ., to the monster 360-page Michigan Avenue in addition to the tens of other titles that have appeared, so far, on the nation’s stands for the first time this month.
September, so far, has been a breath of fresh air when it comes to new magazines. All of sudden we are witnessing the media (yes the media, and the print one in particular) increase their doses of publishing the prophecies of those “end of print” doomsayers and the future is for every thing pixels.

Try telling that to the publishers of the aforementioned magazines or to those select few mentioned hereafter that have seen their birth in “the best month to launch a new magazine: September.” Magazines like Wing., BBC Knowledge, Flash & Flex, debbie bliss knitting magazine, Tinker Bell, LA, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Distill, Manhattan, Arkansas Life, Home Theater Design, Yoga Mom, iPhone Life, Strategy, Signatune, Scientific American Earth3.0 and Fine Champagne.

Yes, I know the newsstands are facing a lot of problems, and some say that one of those problems is the overcrowded magazine field and the host of new titles that keep arriving on the nation’s stands. To those I say, new magazines are the life line of our industry, they are the ones that add new and fresh blood to our body and keep us ticking. Without new magazines our industry will be as stagnant as it can be. We need the new magazines for two main reasons: one to keep our industry fresh and lively, and two to show those prophets of doom and gloom that the magazine industry is still, and will continue, to be well, alive and kicking… and not only in the special interest, limited circulation arena, but in all aspects of publishing form the mass to the class, there will continue to be new magazines published.

Thank you John Mack Carter for your 80s advice, and thank you to all of the aforementioned magazine publishers who indeed are willing to take up yet another gamble on a new magazine. Sorry, my friend Bob Sacks, the new magazines, in all shapes and forms will continue to appear on our market place; and guess what, they will continue to be in ink on paper. Cheers.

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