Saturday, June 7, 2008

yep, it's been a while....

Sorry for the lapse in communication. There's been a lot that's been going on that has kept me from wandering over here to drop a note. BrickJournal's change from online to print has been a challenge, but a fun and exciting challenge, to be sure.

I've been very happy with the state of things with the mag for some time - I still expect a call from the publisher cancelling the mag, but the calls I get are mostly positive. The only negative calls are those about bad proofs, which I fix and send off.

I should take some time out to talk about the publisher. John Morrow owns TwoMorrows, the publishing company that my mag is under. The other Morrow is his wife, Pam. I have known them for over ten years, when we met as volunteers for a political party. It was fun times then. At that time, TwoMorros was an advertising agency and I checked about freelancing then - they really didn't need extra help at that time.

Fast forward to about two years ago. I happened to notice on a visit to a comic store  that TwoMorrows produced some books, so I call up to get some advice from John about possibly printing BrickJournal. It turns out that TwoMorrows became a publisher when John decided to start publishing a fan magazine he started up called The Jack Kirby Collector.

His story is much like mine - he started a small mag that was copied and mailed out and for there built up the foundation to go to print. Since then, he has gotten more magazines started (Back Issue, Draw!, and Write Now) and has branched out to books about comic artists and writers. I showed him the first and second issue of the Journal, and he was impressed and interested in printing the mag immediately. However, it took me a year to go forward.

Why? His deal did not sound all that impressive to me, and it took that long before I got hit with a 2x4 of common sense that told me that his proposal was actually VERY good. My business sense sucks. But papers were shuffled, notes were passed, and BrickJournal was set to go to print.

One of things I have learned is to make sure each step that is taken in a project opens up new possibilities. That usually means looking and playing with not only the project, but looking at the consequences of that. Going with TwoMorrows has proven to be a very good decision, because the consequences have been far-reaching and  very positive.

could not have made it without John's business guidance - he was able to get the mag in newsstands, and also in comic stores. He is also willing to take some of the risk in getting the mag off the ground. And he is willing to promote it where he promotes his other mags.

Which includes comic conventions. BrickJournal was sold at New York Comic-Con. John brought along 25 copies to this event, and while there were no sales during the convention only time, the public bought almost all of them - as in 2 or 3 left. There's a nice indicator there. And both of us are happy.

BrickJournal's impact has been pretty positive all around. Orders from the distributors have been steady, so that is good - there has been no reason to warrant a change in orders yet. That will most likely happen with Issue 3. The US LEGO stores did pretty well with their mags, so they increased their order, and LEGOLAND California joined.

The first Brickjournal Compendium (Issues 1-3 of the online version) will be coming out in July (it was supposed to be earlier, but I sent a trainwreck of a file to the printer) and work will be going on Issue 3.

So where's Issue 2? Good question. According to my schedule, it should be on its way out - it's not. I approved proofs earlier today, so that's a good sign:-). What happened was a combination of two things - I turned in the files later than expected, and we switched printers, so that slowed things down. I apologize for that, but the good news is that Issue 2 will be out pretty soon. They just got to print the books now...

There's more really neat news. One challenge has been to get exposure to BrickJournal. The subject matter is a a little tough to sell to a 'mainstream' audience, so different ideas are being looked at and considered. Some of you might have seen the BrickJournal ad in the LEGO Magazine. That was done thanks to the help of Tormod Askildsen at the LEGO Group.

But the neatest thing so far is that BrickJournal will be doing a presentation at San Diego Comic-Con! Just got confirmation a couple of days ago, so I am happy and a little nervous. The exposure here will be really high, not just for the presentation (which will be in a room that seats 280 - that's pretty much a LEGO fan convention right there!) but at the TwoMorrows booth. And total attendance including public is - get this - 127,000. Yes, 127 thousand.

Yep, I got a presentation because of TwoMorrows. They have done some great panels at the con, so we got in. Like I said before, I try to pay attention to the possibilities, and so does John. The LEGO Group will also be there with some neat statues (and exclusive stuff!!!) so I'll be wandering...

And I'll be at Brickworld in Chicago in a couple of weeks - taking pics and doing a presentation. It'll be fun and exhausting...but isn't it always?

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