While many of you love to turn to my little space here every month to hear me rant about this or that, I decided I would take the time to answer some of your questions. I seem to get many letters asking many of the same questions, so I decided to take the time in our twenty-fourth issue to get some of these out of the way.
Q: Who are you people?
A: We are a collection of Mac users from all over the globe. Currently, all writers reside here in the United States, though we have had guest columnists from other countries. In fact, we did have a monthly column called “My Mac International”, which was a page designed to let Mac users from other countries write in with their Mac stories. While I still love this idea, response to it from writers was low.
As to who we are individually, take a look at the last page. Each of us has a short “bio” there, and lists our e-mail addresses. While I myself get many letters a month, the rest of the writers tend to get very few. I guess everyone figures that they must write to the publisher himself in hopes of getting their e-mail printed 🙂 But I ask each writer to send any e-mail they feel should be on the e-mail page for publication. So be sure to write those writers! They would absolutely love to hear from you!
Q: I am thinking of starting my own online magazine. What advise can you give me?
A: This is a question I get all the time. Of all the non-article related questions/comments, this one is the most asked, by far. Everyone wants to start their own magazine. And I think this is great! The more, the merrier!
My advice is simple. Get help. And get it before you start. The first ten or so issues of My Mac were nothing like what you see today. Back then, it was pretty much just me doing all the work. Most (80%) of the writing in each issue was mine. All the graphic work, all the editing. Simply put, when My Mac started, I was My Mac. And while it was fun, it was also very tiring work. And the quality was simply not very good.
First of all, you can’t edit yourself. It simply can’t be done. You must find someone else to do the editing. And this someone must be better in many ways than you are, as far as grammar goes. I was very fortunate to get Russ Walkowich to become the editor of My Mac. Seriously, if it wasn’t for Russ, this magazine would have ended a year ago.
But an editor is simply not enough. You must offer more than two points of view if you want many people to read your magazine. (Unless, of course, you’re writing a technical type of magazine, in which case “point of view” should be a moot point) You should get other writers. Once again, I was blessed with what I think are some of the best writers around. Yes, I publish My Mac every month, but I look forward to reading all this great stuff as much as you do. Many of our writers, I believe, could have a future as a full time writer for a major magazine if they really wanted. They are that good.
Make your magazine as diverse as you can. If you want to write a Macintosh type of magazine, such as My Mac, try to come up with something new or original. This is hard to do, yes, but remember that people will invariably compare you with something else out there. “Hey, you are just like MacAddict!” While you may like MacAddict, do you want your magazine to be a rip-off of MacAddict? Of course not. By the same token, it’s okay to let what else is out there influence what you do, but don’t copy what you like. You may not only offend someone, but readers may not like it. I have seen a few electronic Mac-based magazines that did nothing but swipe everything but content from other magazines, and call it their own. Not cool.
Q: How many people read My Mac?
A: I’m not sure why people want to know this. I suppose a company thinking of advertising would like this information, but why would anyone else care? And truth be told, I really don’t know. There is no way I can trace this, nor do I really have a desire to. How many Web hits, how many subscribers, how many reprints, and the like. Don’t know. I can say that as of this writing (March of 1997) over nine thousand e-mails are sent out each month to those who “subscribe.” Is that how many people are reading? Maybe. Maybe even more. Possibly even less. Perhaps you’re the only person this month to read My Mac. You and us staff members, of course!
Q: Can I use your logo on my Web page for a link?
A: Sure. But please don’t reprint our covers without permission from me and Mike Gorman.
Q: Can I write for My Mac?
A: Hey, if we let Pete, Grant, Adam, and the rest write, you sure have a chance! (Just kidding, guys!) Seriously, My Mac is always looking for anyone wanting to write. At the moment, in fact, we are looking for more reviewers.
Q: Why the name “My Mac“?
A: The name My Mac was a last minute decision. I had written most of the first issue, but had left blank all the places I was to put the name. I had no idea what to call it, and almost settled on “CyberMac” until I decided it sounded like something served at McDonalds in the 24th. century. After batting around a few different names, I was stumped. All I wanted to do was write reviews of software I had on my Mac. Hey, My Mac… And of course, I could always change it at a later date. :-\
Q: How do I change my subscription e-mail address?
A: Drop me an e-mail anytime, with both the old and new addresses, and it’s done!
Q: Do you get paid for this?
A: Nope, at least not yet. We are looking at advertisers, as well as sponsors, but nothing definite yet. We’ll be making some very cool Mouse Pads, as well as possible T-shirts, to sell very soon, the proceeds going to the staff (not me). With luck, we’ll have both available this summer.
Q: What happened to the Deluxe edition?
A: It is on hiatus for the moment, though all Deluxe subscribers will receive (free) the mouse pad mentioned above. The reason the Deluxe edition is on hiatus is because I simply ran out of time to do it every month. That has changed now, and the Deluxe edition will be back in full swing in May.
Q: Hey, I’m on AOL, and haven’t received an issue in a few months! What gives?
A: AOL software 3.0. But letters were sent to all AOL readers, and the problem has been corrected. Simply put, I thought the issues were making it to you. So, while some AOL readers were getting issues, many weren’t.
Last question: What’s in store for My Mac Magazine?
A: Much, but I don’t want to spoil all the surprises right now. Some things I can tell you about. The Web site is going to get much bigger, with more back content. And we will soon start selling the “My Mac” mouse pads and T-shirts I mentioned above.
As for me, I hope my writing continues to improve. I hope that all the writers with My Mac remain with us for a long, long time. And, of course, I hope you continue to enjoy My Mac as much as we enjoy creating it every month!
Tim Robertson (firstname.lastname@example.org)