...no, I haven't definitively decided to make a webzine, but I'm collecting data points. And they've been interesting ones -- not entirely consistent with what I predicted.
I used the 1-5 disagree/agree scale on as many questions as I could; there was a method to that madness, in that it let LJ give me median, mean and standard deviation. (Can you guess that I did time in a marketing department analyzing survey data?)
- Most people think such a webzine should openly associate itself with furry fandom, or at least not shy away from the association. This was a 1-5 scale question, and while 3 and 4 tied, 4 was the median response.
- There's a bias toward paying contributors, although this response had the highest deviation. A third of the responses were neutral, with the balance slightly tilted toward payment.
- The definitive answer from "would you pay for access" is that nearly everyone hates the idea of micropayments. The other three answers -- traditional subscription, free current content but paid archives, and no payment for reading at all -- were equally split.
- Nearly everyone wants to see both fiction and non-fiction, with nearly as many people interested in artwork and reviews. Despite the conventional wisdom about online community, the ideas of forums, ratings, user-maintained lists were much less popular.
- A clear majority of people do like the conventional wisdom about the web freeing you from publishing schedules, and think a webzine should post stuff when it's ready on an ad hoc basis.
- The idea of being "canted" toward a genre was greeted with active antipathy -- nearly three-quarters disagreed with the idea, and only one person agreed with it.
I'll explain the last question a little. The last magazine that I attempted to do was a revival of Mythagoras, in its second incarnation billed as "New Tales and Animal Legends" -- I was specifically canting it toward a magic realism/urban fantasy feel, while remaining relatively furry. (We didn't want to advertise it as a "furry" magazine, however, feeling that furry fans would recognize it as such without the name, while people who might be put off by the word might pick up the magazine and realize they liked it.) I'm wondering if I should have chosen a word other than canted, or if in fact, what I was asking was perfectly clear and that people by and large just didn't think it was a good idea.
Despite the payment question, I'm not entirely sure that if I do such a thing I could pay contributors, so it's good that people are somewhat neutral on the idea! Seriously, if it happened and there was payment, it would be very small payment indeed, although I'm not sure exactly what that would be. I'm aware that there's something of a qualitative difference between paying markets and non-paying markets, even if the paying market is only paying you a token. Being a paying market may mean I'd be required to be a real company, though, which could be more of a headache than I'd want. (Or more accurately, when I go through that headache next, it's going to be for something I hope to actually generate a real profit.)
The next things in idly thinking about this project would be, then:
- Coming up with a name, which would manifestly not, repeat, not be any form of wordplay involving a variation on the word "fur."
- Finding software to run this.
- Coming up with the design.
- Quietly soliciting a first batch of original stories so it could be announced with content.
- Lying down until this stupid idea leaves my head.