Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I occasionally get asked to talk to editorial interns about circulation—you know, to round out their “education”—and inevitably it always goes the exact same way. Either they fail to show up (yeah, that happened), or they very kindly pretend to be interested but inevitably nod off by the time I get to insert card codes and eight series renewals. I’ve even tried to entice unpaid interns to do their learning at the bar, with the promise of a pitcher or two to compensate, but the reality is that in the glamorous world of publishing, circ doesn’t really produce the lauded superstars and the exhilarating rush that is publication.
It’s the common circulator’s song that no one cares what we do as long as it gets done, but rather than blame that sleepy, overworked bright young thing for my own inability to make the talk of response rates more exciting, I thought I’d take it to the blog and see what circulation information best benefits the burgeoning young editor. The thing that always surprises me is how little some of the best and most talented magazine types actually know about the how the world of circ works. I think the problem lies in the conflict between how interesting we think our jobs are and how interesting they actually are to the general magazine-creating culture. While I’m blessed to currently work with people who are genuinely interested and passionate about my field, my circ past has been littered with editors who didn’t even know why renewals were important.
Fact is, when someone talks enthusiastically about something that is excruciatingly boring to you it’s hard to even act interested. So what does an industry newbie really need to know about the world of circ to keep them interested? If you could give a fresh-faced editorial intern a primer on your complex passion, what key notes would you include? What does editorial really need to know about circ?