Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Alphabet Soup


Today my visitor is Rebecca Newman, publisher of 'Alphabet Soup' a magazine for 6-12 year old readers.


I was interested to learn about the magazine and it's genesis.


1. Is Alphabet Soup Magazine available both online and in print?

Alphabet Soup is currently only available as a printed version. (There is a sample copy of the magazine on our website though. So you can see inside an issue.)

Occasionally we will offer snippets from the magazine online as well. We currently have our Q&A - with author Mark Greenwood - on our blog (www.soupblog.wordpress.com). In the magazine we print our author interviews over a double page spread, and we have to edit the answers down to fit the space available. Mark’s answers were so interesting that we decided to post the full interview on the blog, so you can read all the extra stuff there!

2. How do you promote the magazine?

We’ve walked a fair few kilometres putting flyers in letterboxes, but our best promotional tool so far has been word-of-mouth recommendations (thanks everyone!)

Other promotional tools:

Blog Tour

This interview is part of Alphabet Soup’s first Blog Tour, which is very exciting!

Review copies

We send copies out to reviewers and have had reviews on a number of websites: Aussie Reviews, The Book Chook and Busy Mothers.

Promo copies

We send a number of promotional copies of each issue to Australian schools and libraries, medical waiting-rooms etc.

Radio

I’ve been interviewed on Radio 720 in Perth (very nervous I was too, but Geraldine Mellett was a fantastic interviewer!).

Social networking

We have a blog, a facebook page, and we’re on twitter. So if the magazine is reviewed somewhere, or we have news, book reviews, or details of kids’ writing competitions around Australia, all that will go up on those sites.

3. Who is your main readership?

Alphabet Soup is aimed at children aged 6 to 12. The bulk of our subscribers are families with children around ages 9 to 10.

4. How is it available to readers? i.e. Where can they get it?

You can subscribe (and purchase single copies) online from the ‘subscribe’ page of the website. (Paying by credit card online, or downloading an order form to post with a cheque or money order.) The website also lists prices for delivery to overseas addresses.

We offer special rates for Australian libraries and schools who wish to subscribe.

In Western Australia, single copies of the magazine of the current issue are currently available through Westbooks (Victoria Park) and Zero to Ten (South Fremantle). We are in discussion with stockists in other states.

5. What are you offering that you felt wasn't available elsewhere?

When I was growing up, our family joined the Puffin Club (run by Penguin). Membership included a quarterly magazine, Puffinalia, with book reviews, writing competitions and author profiles. We read every issue cover to cover!

Now I have a daughter who is an avid reader, and I thought of subscribing to Puffinalia for her as a birthday present – but discovered it was no longer available, and there wasn’t anything similar published in Australia. There were several magazines publishing solely children’s writing, but nothing like the old Puffinalia, which had a blend of quality adult-written material, children’s writing, and extras like interviews with children’s authors and illustrators, and writing competitions.

So Alphabet Soup was born. We aimed to publish a magazine for children (and their parents) who may not be interested in what the commercial ‘tween’ magazines are offering.

In a typical issue you’ll find:

· Q&A with a children’s author

· Interest article (in this issue we talk about backyard gardening)

· Stories, poems and book reviews by adults for children

· Stories, poems and book reviews by children

· Writing competition for kids

· Crossword or word puzzle

· Writing tips for kids

6. What is the best part of producing a magazine?

Well, the best part about producing this magazine would be reading through all the submissions for the ‘Write On!’ section (stories, poems and book reviews by children).

Kids are writing some fabulous stuff, and they get a real thrill out of seeing their writing in print. One parent wrote to me and said that the day their first issue arrived, her daughters had played publishers all afternoon and made their own magazine in the style of Alphabet Soup. I love hearing stories like that!

I also love meeting the amazing people who work with children’s books – authors, illustrators, booksellers, publishers – so far everyone I have approached has been delightful. There must be something about people who work in the children’s book industry!

7. What is the biggest challenge?

Marketing is definitely our biggest challenge! As Alphabet Soup is a small home-based business, we don’t have a huge marketing budget. Luckily we weren’t in a screaming hurry, and planned to take things slowly for the first year or two. So we’re marching on, and the feedback has been very positive and encouraging!

It’s been great visiting Let’s Have Words. Thanks for having me around!

Rebecca


Here are some Alphabet Soup links:


Alphabet Soup website: www.alphabetsoup.net.au

Alphabet Soup blog: www.soupblog.wordpress.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/alphabetsoupmag

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?id=1098133106

Other stops on this tour:

1 September Dale Harcombe (Write and Read With Dale) http://www.livejournal.com/users/orangedale
2 September Sally Murphy (Sally Murphy's Writing for Children Blog) http://sallymurphy.blogspot.com
3 September Claire Saxby (Let's Have Words) http://www.letshavewords.blogspot.com/
4 September Mabel Kaplan (Tales I Tell) http://belka37.blogspot.com
5 September Dee White (Teachers Writing Helper) www.teacherswritinghelper.wordpress.com
6 September Robyn Opie (Writing Children's Books) http://www.robynopie.blogspot.com
7 September Sandy Fussell (Stories Are Light) www.sandyfussell.blogspot.com


3 comments:

Mabel said...

Nice work, you two. The interview reads beautifully.
Thank you!
Mabel K

Claire said...

Thanks Mabel. It's always nice to have visitors! Alphabet Soup is a great read.
Claire

Dee White said...

Thanks Claire and Rebecca; it's a great magazine, Rebecca and certainly fills a need.

Dee