Monday, April 27, 2020

Where we've been, where we're going.

First issue - Jan/Feb '02 and our current issue - May/June '20
Act 2, Here We Come!!!
We at The Essential Herbal Magazine are getting excited now, for so many reasons.

For instance there are so many constraints to producing a print magazine that just don't matter for an online publication.  Things like resolution of files, scheduling windows with the printer, mail prep...  Files looking completely different in print than on the screen... Convincing the printer and post office how important a particular date might be to me... All the returned mail that must be tracked down and determining why they came back... Tight, tight deadlines and mail holidays... Lugging heavy boxes up and down the steps...
Turned out the regular carrier was on vacation.  But that didn't change the charge to have it returned OR to resend.
That only happened 10 or 20 times for each issue.
I'm proud of what we accomplished so far.  When we started investigating and planning in April of 2001, there were 2 main herb magazines, both pretty big time.  Of them, The Herb Quarterly still exists.  There was a smattering of online magazines, but they generally put out a couple of issues and faded away.
After we had a good decade under our belt, lots of other magazines jumped in.  Most have also faded away.  One - is a wonderful zine/course to teach children herbalism, and she's been around for a good long time.  I highly recommend that one!

Along the way we went from 16 pages using cover stock and all black ink, 32 pages, to color covers, to full color glossy print.  We have always ALWAYS been a grassroots magazine based on the welcoming and open sharing of knowledge.
We'll be able to teach or demonstrate how to do things - like this incense.
 In 2005, we started doing something called "list articles."  It was an original and, to my knowledge, new concept where I posed a question to our Yahoo! list, and we put together really great articles using those responses.  The list is gone, but in the current issue, we did it with the Facebook group.  We have always tried to find ways for those who don't have the confidence to write an article to be able to contribute to the conversation. 
We will continue to come up with innovative and original ideas.  We hope you come along!

So why are we excited to drop print and go strictly online?  Well, instead of only visiting you once every 2 months, we'll be sending something on the off months.  This will most likely morph on it's own - just like The Essential Herbal always has.  Right now we're looking at mini-mags, videos (not necessarily from us) recipes, interviews, puzzles - all kinds of things.
A good example would be that in the third issue back in 2002, I think I drew (!!!) step by step instructions to make lavender wands (and a few years later a photo tutorial on this blog and a couple years later, fancy ones).

It kind of cracks me up to think about trying to write a description of how to do this.  and then the drawings.

Now, we could just show you!  Some things are just not that easy to describe in print.  Even though I took some technical writing courses in college, it doesn't translate too easily to creative endeavors.
We intend to stick to 32 pages as much as possible because we know that quite a few of you will choose to print your own from the file we send.  32 pages is very manageable. 

We have gotten so many encouraging emails, and they are appreciated.  Most of us (though not all) are sad to see the print issue go away.  It's a new world, and we adapt to do our part to reduce our footprint.  Come with us.  It's going to be fun.



Ann said...

While technology moves along and offers some nice benefits, I think you'll be losing some of your older (and knowledgeable) subscribers, who need their paper. I'm on the cusp of that. I can deal with electronic, don't like it much - but I've got a printer and I know how to use it! I will never get used to reading at night with an electronic reader of any sort. But I look forward to where you go. As long as your sharing of all things herbal doesn't end!

Tina Sams said...

I'm sure you are correct, and wish there was a choice.