I receive lots of promotional emails, and many are not worth reading. They often convey an inappropriate sense of entitlement, as in ‘we’re print / commercial / broadcast media and you’re a mere blogger, so you’ll be desperate to promote whatever shit we send you’. I don’t like it.
Below is an unedited exchange between myself and a magazine publisher. I’ve changed only his name and that of his magazine to deny them any publicity. I’ll call him ‘Rug’ and his magazine ‘Wheelbarrow Quarterly’.
Rug’s first email:
My name’s Rug, and I’m the editor of a new and totally independent quarterly publication called Wheelbarrow Quarterly. It’s run out of a small creative space in Fitzroy, with the help of a bunch of incredibly talented people who take photos, make art and write things.
Broadly speaking, Wheelbarrow Quarterly focuses on art, culture and design, but we take things a little further. With a perspective unlike any other art or design publication, Wheelbarrow Quarterly focuses on the oddity found in the detail of even the most normal topics, presenting familiar subjects in strange and novel ways. Each issue highlights photography, art and writing from new and established artists, designers, architects and a range of other cultural commentators who are either from Melbourne or have ties to it. It is about the detail, design and distraction that underpin our lives.
Although we have an online presence, we believe that the tactile nature of magazines, the beauty of a well-designed object, and the unmistakeable experience of sitting down with a nice cup of tea and a good read, will always be of value, so for the meantime, we are printing physical copies. I’d love to send you a free copy if you’d like to give me a mailing address.
Naturally, we are always looking for cross-marketing opportunities, but honestly, we are just keen to share our baby with as many people as possible.
In the meantime you can check out our site at wheelbarrowquarterly.com or our ISSUU page at issuu.com/wheelbarrowquarterly.
I wish you well with your magazine, but I don’t ask for freebies and don’t need a copy sent to me.
I think perhaps you have misunderstood me. I have lived in fitzrroy for 30 years. I am 33 years old. I attended North Fitzroy Primary School, Princes Hil SC, etc. I am finishing off a masters degree in publishing and editing at melbourne uni, where I have done the majority of my tertiary study. I Am local.
I have put roughly 10G of my own money, with no help from any company, board, or benefactor into creating the first (and possibly only) 2 issues of this magazine. I have no ties to any other publishers whatsoever.
A clear majority of the artists / writers involved in the project are friends of mine who are also from Fitzroy and have been for at least 25 years. Whilst we are about making a profit of some sort, beyond trying to maybe break even financially (For the costs that is, no one is drawing any salary or benefits whatsoever) we have little expectation.
I am not trying to scam you, or involve you in some sleazy advertising, nor am I asking you to go against your moral aversion to having anything possibly blur the lines between paid content and true journalism. I have read both you address to media and your call to locals and feel that, if anything, I fall into the later category.
I just want to share my fitzroy produced magazine with people from fitzroy.
If you dont want a free copy, then you can buy one from either Hemley Skateboards, The Red Triangle, Brunswick St Bookstore, or a selected number of newsagents – or you can just take yourself to any number of cafe’s around fitzroy (I recommend Min Lokal for a quiet atmosphere) and read one of thiers. Or you can get sense of what we are about by folliwing the links I have previously mentioned.
I suggest you reread your initial email. You informed me about your magazine and offered me a free copy. I replied by wishing you well with the project and politely declining your offer.
You did not ask me to promote your magazine on my site in your initial email and neither have you in your second one. I am not a mind reader, and reading between the lines is tedious. You appear to imply that you want me to promote your magazine, but it’s not my job to clarify your intentions.
I would be interested if your magazine is about Fitzroy. The fact that it is made here does not, on its own, make it locally relevant. I’ll be absolutely clear: I’m not going to promote your magazine on my website.
Also, while I understand that Issuu is developing an iPad/iPhone compliant HTML5 reader to replace their dysfunctional flash reader, their technology is still rubbish and I can’t honestly recommend anything that uses it, as I wrote recently about Farrago – http://indolentdandy.net/fitzroyalty/2012/08/15/farrago-sasha-burden-and-the-future-of-student-journalism/
See more about the problems with Issuu – http://www.devangoldstein.com/934/issues-with-issuu-open-letter-to-literary-magazines/
Firstly you weren’t polite in your initial declination, which is the only reason I sent you a follow up email. I’m sure you have many confrontations and disagreements in your life and it’s a very poor way to behave and/or live.
Secondly, although in my first email I was tentatively sussing out whether or not I wanted to be featured on your site, you’d have to be a total fucking imbecile to think that I would still, after such a rude response, want to have any affiliation with you.
Thirdly, reading between the lines is what intelligent people do – for everything.
Lastly, if something happens in Fitzroy, it is relevant to Fitzroy, but to clarify even further, parts (not all) of the magazine are in fact about Fitzroy.
Additionally, whilst issuu may or may not be perfect, I don’t care that you dislike it, and my magazine is still primary print, so it has no relevance – you have wasted your time trying to share your views with someone that doesn’t give a shit.
You’re a fucking idiot.
That’s quite a lot to think about. Don’t lecture me about how I live my life. Don’t tell me what is relevant to publish on my site. You have no control over what I publish. Rug’s claim that he was considering whether he wanted to be featured in Fitzroyalty is deluded: he had no choice in the matter. I choose what to publish and the manner in which I publish it.
Regardless of how I learn about something, I only write about it if it interests me or I want to share it with other people. Fitzroyalty is not comprehensive. It is not exclusive, authoritative or exhaustive. It is fragmentary, incomplete and subjective in what it publishes because that’s how I choose to do it.