Will there be any more Mustard mags?
Following issue #04's editorial (see bottom of this page), people have been asking whether there’ll be any more issues of Mustard – and if not, why?
Well, imagine a tiny plant breaking through the surface of a muddy field, slowly unfolding a millimetre at a time, stretching up to the sun – and then, SPLAT, a car park lands on it. The plant is Mustard and the car park is, of course, the recession.
THE ORIGINAL MASTERPLAN
Putting the new colour Mustard mags together over the last 18 months has been wonderful and it's been crazy. I'd made a plan to take a pay cut in my day job to work only three days a week, so I could spend the other two days on Mustard. It’s was an insane workload, as Mustard is the equivalent of two or three full-time roles and I was doing it pretty much on my own, part-time.
I decided to do it for a year and see if I could get four issues out, then see what happened; if that’s all I managed, fair enough, but if it was successful enough to get an investor or a publisher interested, great, I’d do more.
But there were two requirements: 1) I had to make enough money doing the day-job three days a week to pay the bills;
2) I had to cover the print costs by selling ad space in the magazine.
And, for the first three issues, I just about got away with it.
Unfortunately, then the recession hit. The ad sales market collapsed (we only sold 15% in issue #04), my day job got a kicking too (like most people) and I was spending much more time looking and pitching for work. By the time I got issue #04 to the printers, I'd been working 7-day weeks for two months, often 16 hours a day.
That said, Mustard was a totally worthwhile experience; I’m really chuffed with how the mags turned out, and everybody’s work on them. But continuing in the current circumstances would be asking for a ticket to the nuthouse.
THE NEW MASTERPLAN
So my new plan is: a) return to full time work (if possible in the recession), and b) after a bit of a break, start to slowly put together issue #05, just in my spare time – this could take six months or a year, depending on how much paid work I get. Then, if issue #04 has sold enough to cover that issue’s print run AND enough to print issue #05, I can print the new issue.
I’ve also considered publishing a compilation of Mustard issues #01 to #04 for the ever-popular Xmas comedy-book market, a bit like The Onion and The Chap books — either by getting a publisher interested or doing it myself as print on demand.
UPDATE: as of November 2009 (seven months after issue #04 came out) Mustard has been semi-resurrected as two pages in every issue of Alan Moore's Dodgem Logic. I'm still hoping to do another Mustard mag and the compilation book in 2010.
OVER TO YOU
So, if you want to be informed if/when I get the new issue out, add yourself to the Mustard mailing list. And please tell your friends about the mag: mention it in your blog/twitter/facebook update etc. – the more we sell the quicker I can afford to print the next issue.
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