The Proof is in the Pudding

Shortly after I launched RodMaker Magazine, I got a call from a former magazine editor/publisher who wished to offer me a great deal of advice.  After listening patiently for about 30 minutes, I asked him how his publishing ventures had faired. He quickly admitted that all 4 of the magazines he had been responsible for had failed.

The proof is always in the pudding. The question for any publisher wishing success is this … “What do the readers want?” Give them what they want and you’ll succeed. Fail to give them what they want and you’ll fail. It’s that simple.

Many editors and publishers run into trouble when they begin reading their publications from a strictly personal point of view.  We all believe that what we write and/or print should be of interest to everyone else. Whether or not it actually is, however, is found in the subscription numbers. It makes little difference what you think they should like.  If your numbers are up and rising – keep doing what you’re doing. If those numbers are stagnant or falling, however, it’s time to do something different.

I speak with a lot of publishers. Some are experiencing hard times but few of them will accept the idea that what they’re printing may not be of particular interest to their readers. They don’t want to hear that what they personally feel is a tremendous story or idea, could possibly be of little interest to their readers. But let’s face it, if the majority of their content was of interest to their readers, they wouldn’t be facing a falling circulation.

The proof is always in the pudding. RodMaker has always been light on editorials and heavy on practical rod building articles – “how-to” type stuff. The renewal rate remains above 70% and the daily number of new subscribers more than offsets any attrition. That’s how I know RodMaker remains on the right track. The proof is always in the pudding. Editors and/or publishers that fail to understand this fall by the wayside sooner or later. Usually sooner than later.

Tom Kirkman



  1. RobertR on January 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I agree 100%. The worst thing is when the publishers do not seem to care what the readers want. The one thing I HATE to pay for in a rod building mag is constant pages wasted on reporting on somebodys rod building event. I know you cover the Expo but at least that is just one issue per year and only part of the mag. I ended up with a magazine that has coverage of somebody’s small town event on just about every page or page after page of editorial about how great the organization is. There is very little real rod building information. And they wonder why our numbers have tanked. Keep up the good work on Rodmaker and stick with the how-to articles. THAT is what we want!

  2. Shawn on January 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Ditto but for me the worst thing is when magazines just copy what has already appeared on the internet. Why pay for something that you’ve already seen somewhere on the web? Some editors just don’t get it.

  3. Phil Erickson on January 13, 2011 at 2:58 am

    Tom, you have continued to publish what we all want, introducing new and creative ideas along with the “how to”, to accomplish the tasks.

    I believe each of us look forward to each and every issue with the anticipation and excitement of learning something new in rod building.