paprback - a literary journal for readers who value writers | Skillshare Projects



paprback - a literary journal for readers who value writers

Stories are great, especially short stories. But they're hard to like becuase so many self-published stories are awful. I want to start a journal that pays writers - that buys their best work and puts it infront of smart readers.

I've had an idea for a few months and have been turning over ideas for how to get it going. I'm going to use this course to build a marketing plan for the journal.


<Update September 2014>

After a short break, I've decided to tidy up another project I have so I can focus entirely on this project in the new year. I'll also be able to channel my profits from the other project into the budget for this one!

I've settled on a name for my journal: Paprback.

Here's the tagline: a literary journal for readers who value writers. (Or 'For readers who value writers')

Let me know what you think about the name and tagline in the comments, I'm still excited to share this with everyone and have alredy been through the course. In a few months I'm going to go through the course point-by-point and use it to plan out my marketing and product.



<October 2014>

3-5 sentence description of the business

paperback is a literary journal for readers who value writers. paprback brings readers the best new stories from exciting new writers. We do this by paying writers good money for publication. Readers of paprback support new writers by paying for their stories. In return, paprback readers get 48 amazing stories a year.

Feels cool to get these thoughts posted somewhere and to start the class for real. Reading this back, it's clear I have some work to do to refine the concept and how I present it to my readers. Hopefully, by the end of the class I can come back and write a brand new version.

Appreciate any and all feedback on the business, the idea, the marketing, whatever!



<November 2014>

11 Questions - Part 1

1. What is marketing for?

Marketing is to increase the reach of our story, to find people who identify with our mission.

2. What can we touch?

Absolutely everything.

3. What can we measure?

We should measure:

  • User growth
  • Revenue growth
  • Churn
  • Plus, anything that we learn makes a difference to revenue

4. What can we change?

We need to change the way readers perceive the value of short stories, by tying the amount they pay to the amount a writer receives and what that means to a writer.

5. What is our promise?

We promise our readers:

  • that everything they read will be excellent
  • that we will pay writers the best rates we can

We promise our writers:

  • we will support their art
  • we will remove all barries to submission (inlcuding fees, themes, dates)

6. What is the hard part?

The hard part will be convincing readers to pay more for writing than they are used to. We need to convince them that not only is this right for paprback, but that other publications begin to feel wrong to use.

7. Should we be making trends or following trends?

We are embracing the trend for online and mobile device reading.

8. What is the risk?

  • To me - wasted time (so I need to learn from everything)
  • To the brand - we don't live up to our promise and have no value
  • To the customer - feel stupid for backing us and don't recommend

9. Who is in charge?


10. Marketers spend money. Where are we spending the money? What is it for?

We will have a very small marketing budget. Some will be spent on creating a social presence to enagage prospects with short story news and reviews to position ourselves as experts. We will also experiment with ads, especially when we know our customer lifetime value and can convert new customers at a profit.

11. How should we be spending our time?

In the early days most of our time should be spent on creating the product and iterating based on customer feedback. Cuatomer feedback and support must always take up at least 20% of our time. This includes contacting customers and running meetups and webinars so customers are engaged and talk about paprback.

Recommnedations will be a striong part of our growth plan and we will treat every customer as an ambassador for the brand. We'll launch a referral program offreing free months for each referral.

Great to start thinking more indepth about how things like time and money will be spent when paprback is live. How is everyone else getting on with your projects - share them in the comments and I'd be happy to check them out.

Until next time,



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