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Monthly Pet Sim Magazine - Ideas/Feedback Wanted

Discussion in 'General Marketplace' started by Cayda, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Cayda
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    Cayda Member VPL Member

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    I was contemplating the idea of starting a web-based, sim-game centered e-mag or newspaper or something. It would include articles written by the sim-game community and would include things such as:


    - Development Tips
    - Administration Techniques
    - Community Building
    - Programming Corner (would provide snippets, tutorials, etc)
    - Art Corner (same as programming, only for art)
    - Classifieds (both for hire and looking)
    - Newest Games in Development
    - Ads for Games (both in-development and currently running/pre-existing)
    - Contests and Events
    - Game of the Month
    - Interviews with Staff/Game Owners
    - and Many more!


    If you guys would be interested in something like this, speak up! I'd be willing to host/manage it and run the entire thing with the help of a team of writers, etc.

    Also~It was suggested to tag a few of you guys in this for input :) @vplspride, @Neon, @Avalanche, @design1online, @SpottyWolf, @Corleone

    NAME IDEAS:

    Virtual Games Unplugged (URL: vg-unplugged.com or vgunplugged.com)
    Behind the Keyboard/Keys (URL: behindthekeys.com - behindthekeyboard and behind-the-keyboard.com are taken)

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
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  2. cpvr
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    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    So would this include pet sites/virtual worlds as well or just sims?
  3. Cayda
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    Cayda Member VPL Member

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    It would be primarily pet sims. I may include a section on general sim games/virtual games that don't involve pets as well.
    Corzeir likes this.
  4. kami
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    kami Moderator Moderator

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    You could include advertisements of not newly made sims. I'm sure sims that are already up and running could use love too ;P You could also include monthly contests. I would stick something involving art in there too as art is a big part of sim sites. Maybe an interview as well with staff/owners?

    I think it would help to look at what published (online or physically) magazines have to help give you ideas. This seems like a fun project c: Good luck with it!
  5. Cayda
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    Cayda Member VPL Member

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    Thanks for the advice! I'll add that to the first post as well :) And it really is a good idea to look at already published mags -goes to look-
  6. Ardy
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    Ardy Approved Artist Approved Artist VPL Member

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    I would definitely contribute to something like that.
  7. Cayda
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    Cayda Member VPL Member

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    Thank you!

    Does anyone have suggestions on what to call this?
  8. SpottyWolf
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    SpottyWolf Approved Artist Approved Artist VPL Member

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    Sorry, just got back from a rough week of dealing with illness. I'm all better now.

    Everything you already posted seems ok, but for advertising I would but a general section in instead of just only having something for new sites like suggested above. This really isn't too bad of an idea. :p
  9. cpvr
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    cpvr Owner and Founder Administrator

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    I support this fully @Kaeloa, I'm also open for a partnership with you as well - such as, we link to one another. I can't wait to see you get this off the ground and running like I told you over PM!:style
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2013
  10. Cayda
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    Cayda Member VPL Member

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    Thanks for the support, both of you! I'll be looking into ways to format it now. And @cpvr, that sounds great!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2013
  11. Micky
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    Micky midterm madness Approved Artist VPL Supporter VPL Member

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    WALL OF TEXT COMING RIGHT UP!

    I really love the idea of a Monthly Pet Sim Magazine - I was thinking about starting one in the future, too!

    I'm always willing to help out - the ideas you've got sound really great to me. Also opinion pieces work WONDERFUL, including ones about entrepreneurship/management for pet sites and sims! (It'll go under your 'Management Techniques', probably). I already can think of quite a few investigative articles; what about editorial columns? They work wonderfully. I currently run my school's magazine and will be going into my second year doing the publication. I received one of my city's young business / entrepreneurship awards for the school magazine, too. If you ever think about having me on board, I would love to help you out! :) Huge block of text coming right up -- if you want clarification or have any questions, just PM me... I'm always glad to help.

    Some advice I can offer right now:

    1. Establish Departments, Deadlines, and Meetings.

    Departments are really efficient, so consider establishing departments and assigning heads to them. Four our school magazine, we have three main departments: Writing, Editing, and Design. Underneath Design though, are Photography, Magazine Design, and Web Management (IT / Webmaster). We do actual print runs, and because we strive to improve our members' skills we put a lot of emphasis on Editing & Design Training and Tutorials. Research might be a good idea too, for a department, but don't have too many departments because they'll be hard to manage. Keep everything simple. Then, if needs arise, only then, expand. For how to organize departments, take a look at actual magazines and see their credits page, and pick important areas where you might be interested in starting a department.

    Establishing Deadlines is another biggie. Make sure they are clear, concise, and that when you give assignments to your team, make sure they know what they're supposed to do. A simple mis-communication can affect release dates and team motivation. At school I always make sure, telling members their assignments, get them to repeat them back at me. Also, I list important things down for them - and get them to repeat them back at me. It might take a while, but it's better than them forgetting what to do. Because you'll be assigning quite a lot of work, and chances are you won't remember specifically what you told who. Make a set writing / editing / revision deadline for the entire team, and if they need to change, they should be noticed in advance. Some of these things are just common sense. :)

    Communication is really really vital. As the owner (or the editor-in-chief, if you will; I'm just the president & design department head in my magazine) make sure to meet with your department heads individually (Skype/etc.) and then together with your team. I meet with my department heads once a week, and general meetings for the entire team are twice a month. Each department head holds weekly department meetings / pep talks with their team. That's what we do, but I'm not sure how they do it in the magazine business. xD I'm just going by what works, haha. I also host tutorial sessions on design and my department heads do the same for writing and editing, so the team learns more ... which means they can apply their new knowledge and make their future articles 10 times better.

    Other than just trying to produce content, you have to really work at motivating your team (especially the writers). Writers can easily get into writing blocks and also have procrastination/deadline issues, and you have to be patient and help them out of it... Chances are they've tried maneuvering past them on their own, but have failed, or need assistance. You've really got to work with each team member carefully... I think what's special about our magazine is that I make sure I get to know everyone and make myself accessible to them. If they have problems, I sit down one-on-one with them to work their situation out, and really devote my time to helping them. :)

    I'll just say it here... Things will get very busy and hectic when it draws to publication dates. Articles come in quickly, and you really have to know which ones are completed and which ones are still in progress. The worst thing you can do is get a photographer to take pictures of an article that hasn't even been started, which won't appear until a much later issue. Or you're supposed to have a themed issue, and half of the articles don't come in on time. Worse if it's seasonal, because you won't be able to really reuse the articles. During this time, the team could be doing work that's needed - so avoid overlaps and confusion as much as possible.

    For photography, establish some themes or criteria for the photographers at the same time articles are assigned, and have the photographers work closely with the writers. Let the photographers see what's being written, or you can list some keywords for them to follow-up on. You can do the same thing too for writers, or give them a prompt or ask them what they're passionate about. We got writers writing about women's rights and international news opinions, which we don't see usually getting written at our school -- unless it's for marks.

    Believe me, things get really hectic when publishing date draws near; at school we make a bi-monthly (every two months) magazine, but our members have other priorities (which I think your team would too), so meeting deadlines is not that easy. We've pushed back release dates a few times before, even if I planned ahead of time and allowed a two week buffer to complete an issue and ready it for print.

    2. Freedom! Sometimes, instead of giving assignments, let the writers choose what they want to write, and provide them tips and pointers. Why not give them a theme to work with, or a problem for them to solve creatively? Also, once you've established a connection / trust with your team, don't keep worrying they won't hand things in on time - plan ahead if you're worrying, but most of the time you'll be good and your team is reliable. Sometimes articles take a while to write - a student who's our health/sports columnist is doing an active research, so it'll take him a few months to gather the data and write a report. We're going to be publishing an article on binge drinking, so we have writers investigating the problem in our school doing polls and interviewing teachers and staff. Interviews take time, especially during research stages. :)

    TL;DR

    LOL if you manage to read through this, I assure you, the feeling you get from publishing a magazine is just fantastic. There's no word that can accurately describe it. For all the hassle, deadlines and stress that comes from putting together an edition, it's well worth the work. It's not easy, it's not simple, but the results are extraordinary and it's worthwhile to make a magazine. :) The first edition will always be rocky, because you'll be testing the waters and figuring out an efficient system. But afterwards, as you fall into motion (as does your team), you'll find it easier to publish, as long as you keep the material coming and your team inspired. ^^

    End wall of text. :p

    If you have any questions just pm me. Glad to help!!
    Note: I didn't add anything about community relations & handling accusations and controversies, but I might just make a blog about running a magazine and put that part in there. ~
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
    StarRot, Amethysttiger, kami and 2 others like this.
  12. Nebula
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    Nebula Approved Game Owner Pet Game Owner VPL Member

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    If any of you two need some professional help, I used to be a journalist for several magazines, newspapers and newssites for over 8 years. So feel free to pm me any questions you might have.
    cpvr and Micky like this.
  13. Cayda
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    Cayda Member VPL Member

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    Thank you both for the offer of help and for the wall of text haha :) I'll be getting things in line and figuring out a good start date and such tonight.
  14. Micky
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    Micky midterm madness Approved Artist VPL Supporter VPL Member

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    No problem, glad to help. <3

    Good luck!
  15. Cayda
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    Cayda Member VPL Member

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    hm. Well, I've also been presented with another problem. I've no clue WHAT to call this...any suggestions?
  16. Amethysttiger
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    Amethysttiger Approved Artist Approved Artist VPL Member

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    I like BehindtheKeys as a name. :D
    This is a really good idea! I would definitely read and try to contribute to it.
  17. Cayda
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    Cayda Member VPL Member

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    I think I'm going to stick with Behind the Keys :) Thanks for the help all :)
  18. sunandshadow
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    sunandshadow Approved Artist Approved Artist VPL Supporter VPL Member

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    I'd hope there would be a monthly look at one classic or unique sim game of the past. :)
  19. Cayda
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    Cayda Member VPL Member

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    I really like that! Thank you for the idea!
  20. design1online
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    design1online Member VPL Member

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    I know PSU had something going but they closed it because people weren't helping out. I could be wrong, you might want to talk to Frivi on PSU.
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