Monday, June 30, 2008

A Total Politics Update

Sarah Mackinlay, the editor of TOTAL POLITICS, and I have just been giggling like a couple of schoolkids. On our way home (she lives in Kent too) we stopped off in W H Smith at Charing Cross to see how many copies of the magazine they had sold. As we approached the shelf someone in front of us picked up a copy and started flicking through it. We dissolved into fits of giggles with me muttering under my breath, "go on, buy it then, you bugger!" Needless to say he didn't. Sarah then proceeded to 'tidy' the shelf and count how many copies were left. Rather pleasingly they had sold half of their copies in the first week.

I keep getting emails from people saying "Smiths in Liverpool Street haven't got it in stock" followed a day later by someone else saying "glad to see such a prominent display in Smiths in Liverpool Street!"

Feedback from the launch issue is generally quite positive, but we have tried to take all constructive criticism on board. I think looking back, fewer but longer articles is the one lesson I would take, together with the need for a leader column. All other feedback gratefully received.

You can now read the whole magazine online as an E-Zine HERE. Also, enjoy the Daily Politico feature, which is a 50 question lighthearted questionnaire answered each day by a different political figure. So far we've had Tom Harris MP, Mark Seddon, Mark Oaten, Robert Halfon, Jonathan Sheppard and tomorrow it's Peter Tatchell's turn. The Blog Directory now contains more than 1350 blogs, with a lot of new additions from overseas. Thanks to all who have submitted new blogs for inclusion. If your own should be listed in a different category, do let me know.

Anyway, Issue 2 is well underway. Hopefully, I secured the cover story today. If it comes off it should be a belter.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Iain,

A very interesting issue. I have not even read it all yet. My only complaint regards an aspect of the website design, and specifically the font size for article text. It seems to be a set size, e.g. 10 pts or so, which means that I cannot enlarge it to make it easier to read.

Usually, in Internet Explorer, I can alter the display options so that the text is displayed large or larger. How about setting the font in a relative size such as 'medium,' thereby allowing the user to alter it as desired to make it easier to read?

Best wishes,

M.C.

Iain Dale said...

MC, I have a meeting with the web people tomorrow. I think they are going to up the font size to 11. You can now read the whole thing on the E-Zine too.

Newmania said...

I have not seen it anywhere . Do you have to go to WH Smiths then?

Iain Dale said...

Newmania, Smiths have it at stations and airports. It's also in branches of Borders and Waterstone's as well as som eindy newsagents. Or you could, of course, subscribe!

FonyBlair said...

Iain,

just to let you know there are 2 WH Smiths in Liverpool St station. The one at the Bishopsgate end definitely had a few copies last week.

I have to admit being a lunchtime magazine reader i.e. reading rather than buying!! Sorry about that!

Good magazine though! :-)

Sue Luxton said...

thanks for adding the Green cllr blogs as requested!

Anonymous said...

Well done on the mag, but I was a bit disappointed..there's nothing in it that shouts out "must-read", and I found myself always confused about what's editorial and what's advertising. Not sure I'd fork out 4 quid for it again. Sorry.

Iain Dale said...

That has really confused me. The adverts, are well, adverts. The words are editorial. How on earth can you be confused? Do explain!

Anonymous said...

Not seen any in Smiths Kings X, and looked a few times over the past week. Are they stocking it?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9.44 a.m. said...
"It seems to be a set size, e.g. 10 pts or so, which means that I cannot enlarge it to make it easier to read."

If you have Windows XP (and I am sure this applies to other system as well) there is a zoom control alaways present at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. If you change this from 100% to 125% you should have no problem.

Anonymous said...

Had a look for it on Saturday in WH Smith in Swansea. No sign of it.

Perhaps they had sold out :)

Iain Dale said...

It is only at WH Smiths at rail stations and airports. We agreed a deal with them for High Street shops whereby we would pay them a £6,000 "marketing fee". Three weeks ago they reneged on that deal and they told us they wanted £15,000 instead. We told them they could go swivel on it.

Sir Ralph Perkins said...

Iain
I picked up a copy in Borders on Charing Cross Rd but didn't buy it. I was really looking forward to it given the hype you have created on here. I thought the overall production felt like a complimentary magazine on an airline. There wasn't as much content as I thought there would be. It's your first attempt so I will keep checking it. I'm also not sure why I would buy it then to find the whole publication available free of charge online.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

WH Smith need all the money they can get.

Can you imagine the size of Kate Swann's hairdressing bill?

The Heresiarch said...

An irritation with the blog directory is that there are no forward/backward arrows, just page numbers. So you can't easily flick forward and back between the pages, and if you forget which page number you pressed last, you're lost. This is particularly bad with the most populous categories, eg Conservative.

Iain Dale said...

Heresiarch, I agree and that is already in the pipeline.

Anonymous said...

I don't rate Ben Duckworths articles in the slightest. A boring aray of numbers and text about a subject I wanted to read.

I thought the rest of it was pretty good though. I'd buy it for a train journey.

Anonymous said...

you have not mentioned your appearance in the independent's diary, iain. why?

Iain Dale said...

What appearance?

Anonymous said...

Good content, but awful design - both magazine and website

mitch said...

I flicked through it and put it back. Not worth buying, sorry. (I wasn't your mystery shopper)

Anonymous said...

I can't find it in our Borders, but they might have sold out! I read it on-line, quality of writing is a little variable, Ben Duckworth as someone else pointed out needs to be a bit sharper. But for a first issue, looking good!

Anonymous said...

The WH Smith in Stratford station appears to have as many this week as it did last, and I haven't seen anyone pick up a copy yet.

To be honest, sticking a picture of Gordon Brown on the cover wasn't the smartest way to attract impulse sales, was it?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully there will soon be a balance of men vs women in the Daily Politico. I know I have submitted my answers but it is worth noting the first 6 were all men!

Anonymous said...

Iain, I agree with the previous point about ads/editorial. For example the piece by the Jonathan Sheppard was a good plug for his headhunting company - did he pay for that? Overall, I think the mag would be improved with more topical content that taps in to the current political agenda (some of the features seemed a bit random) and more comment from people such as yourself or other top notch commentators! And much better design - at the mo it's very boxy. I look forward to seeing the new few editions.

Anonymous said...

Get yourself a professional designer, rather than someone who looks like they've just found a John Bull printing set. It's woefully amateurish, ignoring basic design tenets. Has this person ever designed even a church newsletter? Looks like it's been put together a page at a time, starting at the front. If Brown interview is most important, why is it where it is, rather than right at the front or using centre pages? Don't assume the words are so golden that people will read 'em anyway. They aren't and won't. It's a great idea, but needs to get it right early on, cos readers are 10 times harder to attract back a secon d or third time.

peezedtee said...

My copy of the magazine only turned up the other day. My detailed review may therefore seem rather late, but that's not my fault. Read it here.