Question: Kickstarter Group Buy or Amazon?

We’re publishing quarterly print issues this year.

The question going out to the GBXM Q&A Crowd soon is, should we try doing a pre-sale group buy and own the process, or just put the issue out on Amazon for on-demand purchase?

Kickstarting a group-buy: PROS
+ Our audience is familiar and comfortable with this format.
+ Pre-sale commitments allow us to pay less per issue.
+ Lower unit price means more people might buy.
+ We could include a special decal with orders.
+ A small stack of back issues would be nice.

Kickstarting a group-buy: CONS
– We need at least 100 units sold to have any legitimate affect on unit price.
– It can be hard to get people to pay for something a month before it ships.
– I’ll have to get another decal designed and ordered.
– I’ll have to pack and ship every order myself.
– Inventory takes space.

Amazon: PROS
+ Even people who don’t buy the issue can leave us positive reviews.
+ Amazon brings potential for massive exposure to new readers.
+ Amazon handles printing-on-demand and order fulfilment.
+ Amazon issues are available to anyone anytime.
+ It’s the smart, passive income play.

Amazon: CONS
– Per unit price might be more than most people want to pay ($20?)
– We kinda lose the ability to share free issues elsewhere (Issuu.com)
– It feels a little cold, commercial, corporate to me.

Granted, a lot of variables go into issue pricing either way. Size of the issue. Number of pages. Full-color. Paper selection. Etc. I mean, I’ve even toyed with doing full-color broadsheet (newspaper style) issues for a while to balance cost and content.

I’d like to distill this question down before sending it out to the GBXM Q&A Crew (if you’re a subscriber, you can opt into this by updating your preferences).

What do YOU think?

It’s all one big story

Here’s a neat content marketing strategy.

What if, instead of endlessly publishing derivative works, you treated the month, the quarter, the year—the entire lifespan of your publication—as a serial, as an ongoing story? I’m talking complete with characters, exposition, plot devices and twists, climax, and denouement.

If you know your ideal customer, what’s stopping you from outlining his or her story, then writing that story over a set period of time?

Instead of writing something you think might be a good idea, why not, ask yourself, ”What’s my ideal customer doing right now? What’s she most concerned about? How did she get here? Where are they going next?”

Then start writing that story. Make it up as you go from the best insights you’ve got.

Show your customers you truly understand them.

Reduce, re-use, recycle—rerun

Reruns get a bad rap.

I’m not talking about the old-timey way of airing a television show again at a later date. I’m talking about going back through the entire catalog of published articles on Gearbox Magazine and determining which ones shine, should be saved, or should be shit-canned.

Quality beats quantity.

The latest check of the GBXM DAM reveals 747 total published articles since August 2009.

And 263 of those are flagged “shit-can” and will likely vanish over time.

It’s what all the cool kids are doing these days in content. There are still places out there where daily posts are required, even multiple times per day—but GBXM isn’t there. And I don’t really see us getting there, either.

If I think about it too much, part of me is a little embarrassed that 35% of the stuff I’ve published over the years is forgettable crap. But there’s a part of me that knows a lot of that content will find its way into a number of useful programs we’re going to be rolling out in the coming years that make a remarkable difference in the lives of our subscribers.

And besides, it’s really neat being able to go back through your body of work and reflect on all the people you talked to—especially right before you interview them about their startup seven years later.