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Re: Hostas Magazine

  • Subject: Re: Hostas Magazine
  • From: Andrew Lietzow <andrewl@hostahaven.com>
  • Date: Thu, 03 May 2001 09:29:05 -0500

Preston Littleton wrote:
RE:>>The Editor's Message states, "Hosta Magazine is in Trouble. That's right, unless Hosta
Magazine can make it financially, it won't survive the first year."
Yepper.  Every business endeavor sure 'nough has it's work cut out for it in the first year, to build the momentum in revenue required to justify it's continued existence.  The business founders must work extremely hard just to break even (very few businesses start out turning a profit in the first year, or even five years--maybe 1 in 1000).   Certainly, we can't expect the editor to dump all of his life savings into such an effort without some glimmer of hope that it will turn the corner toward profitability.  From my perspective, who will benefit more from such a magazine anyhow--the editor or the readership?   It's more work than almost any human being would want to do for what is likely a minimal return yet will provide hours of enjoyment for the Hosta gardening enthusiast.

I read 90% of the premier issue and I had a little different reaction than Preston--I was VERY impressed with the Premier issue.  I compared it with some of my archived copies of the "Hosta Bulletin" from the late 1970's and early '80's, a full ten (10) years after the AHS had been in operation, and I was AMAZED at what Len did in the VERY FIRST ISSUE!  Four-color pictures, a fair amount of information for either a casual Hosta gardener or even a collector, and even some very nicely laid out ads for sources of good quality plants.  What more should we ask of a Premier issue of a new magazine?

Sure, it had a little more of a folksy feel that the current AHS Journal, but maybe this is part of the niche that it can fill.  I think it would be VERY good if people would submit ideas and possibly articles to Len Phillips that could increase the readership interest in the magazine.  I KNOW this group has LOTS to offer, yet will we be like vultures waiting for the wounded to gasp it's last breath prior to our "I told you so" epitaph, or will we tell every gardener in our Hosta societies that they COULD be a helpful charter subscriber to what may one day become a value resource to the Hosta community?  (I'm not saying, Preston, that you're doing anything more than reporting a statement of fact--I'm just reading your posting and adding comments from a different perspective).

Recently, R. L. Donnelly announced that they were closing their Des Moines plant, where the Better Homes and Gardens magazine (the number one subscription magazine in the world w/7,000,000 subscribers) has been published since the magazine was run through the presses the very first time one-million years ago.  There are 775 employees at this plant who are more than a bit disappointed, yet who would have ever predicted just how successful that organization would have become, all based on that original magazine?  And are they going to stop publishing the magazine?  NO!  The technology in the plant is so antiquated that it is cheaper to close the plant and move the operations than to retrofit.  Yet in it's fledgling days, I'm sure they were challenged both day-in and day-out to make ends meet, to meet deadlines, to find enough some decents stories (like the Delaware Sentinel appears to be), and yes, even to survive.

The fact that a business is challenged to make a go of it in the first year is common knowledge and I'm sure all Len is saying is that if we want another magazine besides the main Journal, we should bite the bullet and send in our $25.00 to subscribe.  Or, if we're a vendor, maybe place an ad or two as a gesture of good faith.  And why not?  Even if he would later decide that the hill is too steep to climb, wouldn't you want to have been counted among those that tried to make it a winner? Like Irwin T. Johnson said, "it's a Hosta magazine and it's 25 bucks.   I don't have to know what's in it, I just wrote my check and sent it in!".   Holy smokes--send in your $25.00 and get on board!!!  Not much more than the cost of a decent pizza and at least you'd have some great collector's issues no matter WHICH direction the magazine turns.

Our industry--both the commercial one and the Hosta gardening hobbyist one--can benefit from more than one major publication about Hostas.  Shoot, maybe we'd even get Moira Sheridan to read a copy before s/he opens mouth to insert foot (I'm sorry Moira but I am simply not aware of the gender associated with your handle but I DO know you have got to get out more to smell them Hostas!)

So, to put my efforts and enthusiasm where my mouth is:
1) By the end of this weekend, there will be a new web site up that will help to promote the magazine, and allow a VERY easy means through which a person can subscribe to the magazine (they will even take payments through Paypal.com for those who like to use a credit card).  Unless I'm dead, you can bank on it that this site http://hostamagazine.com should be bookmarked for future reference and to place an order within a couple of days.
2) I'm going to give away two subscriptions as gifts to my top two Hosta customers from last year, before the sun sets tonight, or my name will be Dr. Mudd, and
3) I'm going to dig deep and find a way to run a few more ads myself this year because I just know they could use the revenue and I LOVE to help people find HOSTAS from good, reliable sources--not just Home Depot and Walmart, but some commercial growers who actually KNOW what a Hosta is, and that it sure as hell is NOT to be listed among the "invasive perennials" (perennials that qualify in that regard are ones like Cone Flowers, Lamb's Ears, Daffodils, Ground Ivy, some forms of Sedum, etc.)  Maybe Moira called Walmart for their advice about Hostas?

So, let's get busy Hostanuts, and help this magazine get launched!   Tell your friends, tell your local Hosta Society members; maybe  you should even tell your enemies--yeah, they like Hostas, too, slugsuckers that they are.

Get your local Hosta society to cough up $25 bucks for a subscription that you raffle off or give to your auctioneer to read or to auction off!.  And, Preston (and Dan), maybe you should give a complimentary copy to the Delaware Sentinel, or whatever.  They OBVIOUSLY need to learn more about Hostas.  (And, a membership form to the AHS to boot--they might need to read BOTH magazines, they are just that far out of touch!) 

Viva la Hosta Magazine!  And, of course, Viva la AHS Journal!
Andrew C. Lietzow, Hacker - The ACL Group, Inc.   
..Also #1 Plantsman at http://hostahaven.com ...
...1250-41st St Des Moines, IA 50311-2516 ......
....515-274-0300 V/F 515-238-6558 Cell .........

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