This week I received a flyer seeking my support for the publication of a monthly electronic magazine targeted at care-leavers. The editorial team seem to be bursting with enthusiasm at the "new" business model they have come up with and they seem convinced that a subscription paying readership of 250 is achievable within 12 months.
When I first read it I assumed it was a wind-up spoof written by Ella or Didi but now I think they are serious. Oh dear! Quite a few of us have been down the monthly magazine route before - unsuccessfully - and I think the editorial team have seriously under-estimated how much hard work is going to be required to generate the proposed 16-20 pages of content per issue.
Perhaps the strangest aspect of this proposal is that potential readers will have to pay £12.00 per annum to receive the magazine. This, of course, makes its success even less likely. None of the ideas for regular content are original and my immediate concern is that once the initial energy and enthusiasm has drained away the magazine will quietly fold. For a freebie that wouldn't matter overmuch but once you start accepting paid subscribers then non-delivery of paid-for issues is quite serious. Any subscriber is going to expect around 200 pages of content (16 pages x 12 issues) for their money and creating that isn't going to be either quick or easy.
I know Theo, the #2 in the organisation, who was last seen by me tied to a lamp-post in Manchester (don't ask, it is a long story!) but the other names on the flyer are unknown. That isn't either a good thing or a bad thing but it is interesting. I have often wondered if there are many organised groups of care-leavers scattered around the country totally ignorant of the existence of other similar groups?
I cannot believe with all the thousands of care leavers in a place like London there isn't somebody with the drive to set up a self-help group. But none of my circle of friends have ever seen proof that such a group exists. If they do they must be operating in semi-secret, perhaps by invitation only?
I emailed the promoters to wish the new magazine well but also explaining why I wouldn't be subscribing. I wasn't even slightly surprised not to get a reply!