I’ve got a great idea: I’ll write the “life history” I’ve been trying to write for my kids for the past 10 years as a living history of my final 10 years of life, peppered with little stories from my first 71 years.
That makes more sense, especially in light of the fact that I have had very little success making any headway with the various versions of the life history book. In fact, I’ve about giving up on that project. By writing instead a daily, or weekly, version of my current life until it’s conclusion in 10 years or so (if I’m lucky) from now, it’ll be much easier and interesting to write since I’m already actively and enjoyably engaged in near daily tweeting of my life using lots of photos.
You cannot do something well, or at least I cannot do something well, unless you enjoy doing it. I like to tweet using good photos and thoughtful prose, so I’ll just expand it using this blogging software which is already set up to accept photos.
So here I begin with a selfie at just past midnight on the very early morning of Wednesday, April 22:
The “Members” section on the website is due to go “live” Nov. 15, but I think I’m going to change it before it does. Instead of it becoming a “members” section, I’m going to make it simply a digital subscription to Backwoods Home Magazine with access to past issues.
We haven’t charged anyone’s credit card yet, and we won’t until we notify people of the changes.
In a nutshell, readers will be able to get either a print issue or digital issue subscription for $24.95 a year, which has been our print issue subscription price for quite a few years. If a subscriber then wants to add a digital subscription to his or her print issue subscription, or wants to add a print issue subscription to his or her digital issue subscription, he or she will be charged an additional $11.95 per year.
The digital issue will include access to all back issues, as we get them uploaded to our website. We have uploaded down to about Issue No. 60 at present and expect to get down to Issue No. 43 or so by the end of November.
We’re hiring Julia Denning, sister of our ME Jessie Denning, to help with the conversion and uploading process. Julia graduated a couple of years ago from Bard College in New York with a degree in anthropology, so we’ll be training her in a new direction. She’s another one of these whiz kids who learns very fast. Like Jessie, I’ve watched her grow up since she was a little kid and have a lot of confidence in her.
Our Self-Reliance magazine, which is our Kindle-only magazine, will no longer be part of the “members” club mix. In fact, we will no longer use the term “members” club. It’ll just be a digital subscription with access to back issues. Nice and simple.
Why have I abandoned the “members club” idea? Very little pre-launch interest, so I’m giving it up before it has a chance to fall flat. If there is no interest in a digital subscription, I’ll give that the heave-ho too and stick with Amazon’s Kindle. We’ll stay with Amazon’s Kindle no matter what. I like dealing with Amazon and think their Kindle issue helps small magazines like BHM. They market us to the whole world.
We’re doing a digital subscription because we assume it will be a benefit to our readers and make us a little extra money in the process. But I may be wrong on my assumptions. We’ll soon find out.
This is the Sixth Tee at Trysting Tree Golf Course in Corvallis, Oregon. I spend a lot of time here. . . but I’ll talk about that in another post. For now, let’s get to the point:
In a nutshell, BHM is going further into the digital age with the creation of a membership site on our website. It’ll be a button on the website that will be like a door in the back of the closet of the movie, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” where the kids go into the land of Narnia. BHM’s closet door will open into a whole new world: a digital subscription, access to all back issues, blogs, special articles, behind-the-scenes looks at key BHM personalities, significant discounts from participating advertisers, and daily doses of new material.
We’ll try to launch the membership site by the next print issue, which is Issue No. 150, the Nov/Dec 2014 issue. We intend to leave most of the present website “as is,” but some of the blogs will be affected. Just how will be worked out with the writers over the next few weeks.
There will be no ads on the membership site. Cost of membership will be $1.99 a month, which will include a digital subscription to BHM. For $2.99 a month, we’ll probably include our new Kindle digital magazine, “Self-Reliance,” and for $3.99 a month we’ll probably include our new Kindle magazine, “Chickens and Stuff.” None of this is set in stone (we have to make sure the Kindle inclusions are ok via Amazon, etc.), but I wanted to throw this framework out for discussion and feedback from readers. The print issue will no be affected.
I’ve been considering doing this for at least a couple of years, have discussed it at length with key BHM players like Tom McDonald, who runs our servers, Oliver Del Signore, our webmaster, Al Boulley, our Technology Manager, Managing Editor Jessie Denning, Annie, Lenie, etc. I’ve sought the counsel of Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast (http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/) and James Wesley, Rawles of Survival Blog (http://survivalblog.com/) because they have successful sites.
Why are we doing this? I think it’s a matter of future survival. We’re fine financially now with the print magazine (and, again, the print magazine will not change at all with the addition of this “membership” section to the website), but the writing is on the wall for all quality publications who wish to go into the future. Most of the subscription money we now get goes right out the door to pay the printer and the post office. If we can convince a lot of subscribers to go digital (or attract new subscribers who are already digital), we can use the money we must now send to the printer and postman to pay writers of good quality articles, which I think is the future of magazines like BHM.
This magazine is 25 years old in a business that has a very high mortality rate. (Just this morning I learned that BackHome Magazine out of North Carolina has ceased publication.) We have to adapt to the technological changes that people are embracing. — Dave
This time of year in Oregon, a lot of people burn off their slash and junk piles, which in my case includes left-over building debris and fallen tree branches I’ve retrieved from my own trees or the forest. Faces often appear out of my slash pile fires so I thought I’d share a few from my most recent fire. First is this face of a man facing left, second is a gorilla facing right, and third is a sitting dragon looking right. — Dave.
If you’ve seen the news today, you know New England was hit with a major snow storm that dumped as much as 38 inches of snow in some areas. Our webmaster lives in a Boston suburb and felt lucky to have awoken to a mere 18 official inches, although one drift in his yard topped five feet.
Most folks spent the day running snow blowers and wielding shovels. Below are two of his neighbors, who waited until late afternoon to begin shoveling, trying to figure out where to pile all the snow so it doesn’t collapse back onto their sidewalk or into their driveway.
And some folks, having spent too many hours moving snow, like the owner of the car, below, gave up and left their car buried until tomorrow.
This photo is from 1974, taken by Richard Blunt, who is now the Food Editor for BHM. Tony Lamb, then 69, is at left, and Dave Duffy, then 30, is at right. I was interviewing Tony to write a book called The Retirement Threat with him. It sold about 70,000 copies and had 7 different printings, including a hard back, soft cover, large print edition, special Penguin Books edition, etc. I couldn’t find it through a Google search. Now I am 68, nearly Tony’s age then. My daughter Annie, who was 9 years from being born when this photo was taken, is now age 30 and has been running the editorial side of Backwoods Home Magazine for 3 years. Where does the time go?
Here’s what the book looked like. These are, from left, hard back, soft cover, and G. K. Hall Large Print editions: