X-Message-Number: 278
Date: 13 Feb 91 18:56:01 EST
From: "Russell E. Whitaker" <>
To: <>, <>
Subject: Putting Cryonics on the Street
Message-Id: <"910213235601 71750.2413 EHE53-1"@CompuServe.COM>

The following is a post to cryonet, and a 
submission to Alcor's house organ, *Cryonics*.


I've just finished several interesting days putting *Cryonics* magazine
on newsstands in the southern California area.  It's been an interesting

A couple of months ago, Ralph Whelan (*Cryonics* managing editor) and I
sat up all night and discussed ways we could increase circulation of the
magazine.  At the time, only 700 or so copies were being produced per month.
Less than 200 were mailed to to Suspension Members, with roughly twice that
number additionally sent to Associate Members.  The remainder - then as now -
were kept as archive copies and extras for mailing.

It was obvious to both of us, and to Saul Kent in later conversation, that
the magazine has not been treated as a serious tool for recruitment.  Assuming
that the magazine can be used to reach new markets, Ralph and I hashed out a
plan to "take the magazine public".  

The first order of business was advancing the existing trend toward a
professional look.  Anyone who has had a subscription for more than half a
year will notice the glossy cover, topical table of contents, columnar format,
and the complete substitution of clip art with striking, information-rich
graphics, illustrations, and photographs.

Other changes give the magazine a standard, mainstream, "marketable" flavor,
such as the recently acquired ISSN number.  This last is essential for
library and distributor re-ordering.

Having in hand a stack of the magazines, I approached the manager of an
all-night newsstand in Hollywood, California.  I offered a consignment deal,
wherein I would leave a number of issues - in this case, some of January and
February '91 - and pick up Alcor's cut of the proceeds, plus unsold issues,
at a later date. He accepted, and I found myself in the embarrassing position
of hand-scratching a bill of consignment on notebook paper.

I had forgotten that detail.

The same day, I drove down to Alcor Riverside, to weasel Ralph into typing
and laser printing a standard-looking bill of consignment, and returned to 
the Hollywood/Santa Monica area, where I dropped issues at two more newsstands.

The next day, I racked *Cryonics* at strikingly similar vendors in the south
San Fernando Valley area, just north of Hollywood.  I ran out of issues at
this point.  

I won't peg all my hope for increasing circulation on these first efforts.
What I do hope to achieve is to collect some useful marketing data, and set
a precedent upon which others can build.  I have some observations about the
the retail end of the magazine market which may be useful for others who'd
like to sell *Cryonics*: 

1.) Focus your efforts on newsstands, particularly those which carry, almost
    exclusively, newsdailies, tabloids, and magazines.  Forget bookstores,
    for now... even those with large magazine selections.  Bookstores, in my 
    experience, are more rigid about their distributor requirements, and seem
    to be much more biased against small, specialized periodicals.  Newsstands
    will generally take anything they can sell.

2.) Offer the magazines on consignment.  This removes the financial risk to
    the news agent, and places it on Alcor.  At present, Alcor doesn't lose,
    as I'm placing issues only from spare stock.  and Alcor's cut is enough
    to cover production expense.

3.) Help the news agent place the magazine where it can be seen.  Suggest
    that he place it in the same section as other science magazines.  As in
    real estate, "... location, location, location..."

4.) Service your account.  This means checking the stand to see if the
    magazine is moving, collecting proceeds, removing remainders, and
    restocking with the most current issue.

I offer those suggestions to any Alcor member who wishes to make similar
efforts in his local market.  I don't yet claim any sales success - I'm new
at this - but I'm collecting quite a bit of interesting data.  Ralph and I
would be delighted to help any member out there who would like to promote
the magazine in his or her community.  

Russell E. Whitaker

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