Monday 23 September 2013

Soapbox. On-Line Magazines - the future?

This is a post I have thinking about for some time. Earlier this year - March in fact, I was given a voucher for WHSmiths (a stationers and book seller in the UK) to spend on model making and wargaming magazines, with the very best of intentions I am yet to spend it. This is not because of the lack of magazines available, there are many available. It is more about the fact that I am still searching for a 'perfect magazine' for me - my individual interest in model making and wargaming. For some background see this post.

This frustration has led me to On-Line or electronic magazines, Think Ancible, Portal and Figure Painter. However once again I'm not sure this is for me. I know I'm a fussy bugger!

Then there are Yahoo Groups. Yeah, with all the changes in the Yahoo Group page layout, even this has been a pain to follow. "What about TMP or The Lead Adventure Forum?" Well these deliver great content, but still not the focused content that I am craving for. "What about Ragnarok?" (The in-house magazine of SFSFW) Once again not what I'm looking for although it is getting closer to my ideal.

"So is there an answer to my search?" I'm not sure there is. Previously I had looked to Barking Irons Online and Orcs in the Webbe for some suitable articles, but both have been quiet recently (although Craig assures me that the OITW 2013 Advent Calendar will be going ahead.)

In searching for a Battleplan I ask myself. "Is the answer On-Line magazines, or have Bloggers and Forums already made these forms of writing obsolete?"

In the words of the song, "I'm holding on for a hero". A hero that I am not sure is coming.

Final question.....

"Do you know of a magazine, on-line or otherwise where my cravings can be satisfied?" "Do you know of a Forum or Blog where this content is being squirrelled away?" If you do, then join in the debate and post a comment.



Varangian said...

I do a bit of "all of the above". I end up having to filter almost two hundred blogs, a couple of forums, and some online magazines. The thing is, gamers and modelers are so unique in our tastes. We are all "niche", which makes generating targeted content a royal pain in the rear.

I think that often the best specific content is created for people playing a game or games from a single company. Outside of that it comes down to writing for genres and articles written for those publications often end up targeting games over time themselves.

So now, I have to turn this around on you a bit. I've followed your blog for a year or two, I bought your book, have followed you to Barking Irons to read your articles there (while freely admitting I'm not interested in the game/games there) and feel that you create fantastic content yourself.

Why not find a couple of other like minded generators and do your own project?

Tony said...

To Varangian,

Firstly, thank you for the comment, secondly thank you for buying the book and thirdly following the Blog.

In truth this is a conclusion that I was already coming to; if you want to see a book/blog/magazine that appeals to you then write it yourself (or at least with a group of like minded gamers).

I have found that I work well with Craig Andrews of Orcs in the Webbe, Rob Alderman see his you tube channel and a couple of others like Steve Blease of SFSFW. It therefore follows that I am not alone in my particular choice or choices of game, genre or writing style. Here is the issue as I see it;

My Blog is more of a record of my modelling and gaming activities - as I have stated before I am a modeller first, a figure painter second and a gamer third. Oh and I enjoy writing gaming fiction and scenarios.

What I believe is needed is a group, lets play with the idea for a minute. A group that would include a modeller - me, a gamer, definitely someone who plays at least once a week (and ideally a range of games rather than one or two). A couple more like-minded individuals and then an experienced editor. Finally a method of bringing these together in a format that could be delivered to others.

I think that - Barking Irons Online + Orcs in the Webbe + Ragnarok + a Yahoo Group etc. might be enough if there was agreement to move forward. I'm thinking Ragnarok Online rather than a paper edition. Updated at least once a month with one, two or three articles an issue. Think Orcs in the Webbe Advent Calendar for an example of what I mean.

Would there be enough interest to fund such a venture? I'm not expecting this to be a huge money making enterprise - just enough to cover costs. Similarly could such a publication maintain interest over the long term or different gaming genres?

At this moment this is all pie-in-the-sky, however North Star are trying a similar approach with the Kevin Dallimore magazine, so maybe there is a market/audience after all.

These are just some thoughts that others might like to comment on.


Ubique Matt said...

Very interesting blog post Tony. "My Blog is more of a record of my modelling and gaming activities - as I have stated before I am a modeller first, a figure painter second and a gamer third." - snap. If you spot a gap in the market and have the ability to produce a product to suit then you're onto a winner, the hardest part is often identifying that gap in the first place.

The problem with finding a perfect magazine tailored to your own tastes is probably going to be impossible unless you actually make it you yourself. This is why I imagine blogs seem so popular at the moment. You can 'pick and mix' the blogs you follow and create, in a sense, your own online magazine.

My friend Ade (Wargaming For Fun) is attempting a online project based on similar principles after recently losing his job. You would imagine producing online battle reports would be easy - that is until you try to make one yourself and then quickly realise why few other people even attempt it. For instance a very modest and simple video for making pin markers for Bolt Action I made took several evenings to record, edit and make presentable, all of which effort resulted in a little over 5mins of video for YouTube.

Following comments and reactions on his videos and website you soon learn how diverse peoples tastes are. The old cliche that 'You can't please everyone all the time' is true so you have to concentrate to making what you enjoy and hope enough people feel the same to follow, read and/or watch.


PaintPig said...

Strangley enough my comment has already been writte by Varangian, almost word for word. Of course he can spell and use proper punctwation.

I like your thinking as far as setting up your own collctive is concerned and would encourage you to take it further. I might be able to help with providing some tools and will contact you via the email address provided for book purchases?

Tony said...

Thank you Matt, and thank you Dave.

I'm currently looking at ways to proceed. I'll be back. No really I'll be back.