Publishing Confessions--What is my job?

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At the current time, I oversee seven publications under the aegis of Shooting Star Media, Inc., where I am partner and group publisher. I am also President of the Running Network LLC, where I represent 34 of the finest regional and national running publications in North America. So, what is my job?

Today is the second day I have been in the office in the past week. Before that, I had spent three days at the World Shoe Association (July 30-August 1) in Las Vegas, represented the Running Network at the memorial service for Mike Long, a dear friend and partner in elite racing, inc. the destination marathon company ( July 29), and then spent two weekend days with my sister Lou and her husband, Gervais in Las Vegas, resting up for the trade show.

In managing two companies, there is always something going on. Shooting Star Media, Inc. is really an example of how smart, independent people can get the job done. With four designers, seven editors and about two dozen writers, we manage seven magazines. I set up a general schedule and the magazine teams work from there, with my input on advertising, production, and general feel of the publications. My partner, Christine, really does Cal Track as a one person show, but besides that, the other titles have editors and designers who work together, hand in hand, and get the magazines done and done well.

Our sales staff for Shooting Star Media, Inc. consistes of me, Brook Gardner for Cal Track, Peter Koch Weser for ATF, Athletes Only, and I am working with a couple of other freelancers. I handle about 85 percent of the advertising, but am frustrated because I do not get time to pay attention to the small advertisers, who are our future. I am looking for a good sales person for Mo Runner.

I spend most of my time on our flagships, American Track & Field and Athletes Only, one is a professional title and the other is a youth title. Both are doing pretty well. The discipline needed with magazine publishing is to keep costs down no matter what, as the shoe can fall at any time. Last year, the cutting of our costs by $400k and an nice increase in sales brought us a small profit for the first time in a few years.

Running Network is my day job, and Shooting Star Media, Inc. is my night job. I am selling ads during the day, managing accounts or calling accounts and dealing with collections. There is always a need to collect money as we pay our books once a month, based on the collections that come in through that month. The staff of four we have in accounting take the payouts pretty seriously, as they know our publishers are little guys and each check helps them grow and pay bills.

My biggest frustration? The bureaucracy that comes with forming a company that can handle 34 magazines's financials and ad materials. Our CSR department keeps tabs on the ad materials, ad proofs and gets them out. That is Mary Atwell. Mike Lukich is our ad production manager, and he sizes ads for print and web, coordinates al web ads and reports to the books on ad problems. Brenda Barrera is our web goddess and she oversees 22 websites plus our five sites at this time. She is also managing our move to a new website, which has been nuts.

Our reporting for advertising, which is the toughest part of the business, is managed by Tom Mack, who developed a smart series of reports that gives publishers their future ads in adfinitum, their current payouts, and their still owed payouts. Great tools for publisher and rep!

The part of my job I like the most? I love selling, and I love writing about the sport. I think that my knowledge of the sport, from athlete to coach to publisher, has deepened my understanding of the sport and my love for the sport. It is great getting paid for something that one likes to do. However, the challenging part is, like in all professions, when to stick to the task and hand and when to evolve. I find myself evolving alot right now.

I was supposed to head to London this weekend for the Grand Prix and to meet with some advertisers. Two things happened-shoe review deadlines and a problem with ATF magazine. One ad down and a computer crash for one of my enduring designers. All is fine now, but there was a crisis for awhile.

I decided that Osaka is more important in three weeks, so that is my focus. I have two new advertisers to meet there, write about the World Championships, meet with the regular coterie of footwear advertisers at the event, and also reach out to some international assocations. Osaka takes priority, and the magazines building up to there are very important. So, I missed London and now am focused on Osaka, Japan.

But, before that, one more little trip to Salt Lake City for the OR.!

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