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Model Cars Magazine? Will it Survive?

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Model Cars Magazine appears to be struggling for some time to get on track with their subscriber deliveries. Don't know what is happening, but my article about the Duel Rig that went to press in November 2015 remains unpaid for. I guess they must be having some really persistent cash flow problems since Golden Bell Publishers closed their doors.

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Chased up my authors fee recently for the Duel article in MCM that went to press TWO YEARS AGO! Still not paid! Got a fairly negative response back, so I am not hopeful of getting any payment whatsoever although their debt for a considerable sum of money to me still stands.

Hopefully they will survive, but who knows the way things are with them at present.

I certainly will not be submitting any more articles to MCM at least until my invoice is cleared.

Any other MCM article writers out there apart from myself awaiting payment(s) for articles that went to press a long time ago? Or am I the only one?

Edited by noelsmith

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I really feel for you Noel (my son's name too). I know from experience just how difficult and time cinsuming it is to write articles for magazines. Also, as a publisher I can't understand why anyone would treat thier authors/lifes blood so badly. The FIRST expense on my list to pay is the author. Lord knows you certainly aren't going to retire with income writing for a modeling magazine, so the least they can do is pay in a timely manner. Another thing to consider as a publisher is that modeling authors are a VERY small group and they all know each other. So burning a financial bridge to your businesses life's blood makes no sense whatsoever.

 

I can only hope this will be cleared up and is an honest misunderstanding so the magazine can continue publishing. Good luck to you.

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I wish you luck too...

 

Back in the day I wrote for Scale Modeler magazine and there are legions of stories about them, and their parent company Challenge Publications. Challenge publications was the "legit" side of a porno publishing company (still not clear which publishing side made money and which was the tax write off!).

 

My first article was published before I was ever contacted. I had to call them to get paid; and that was pretty much how SM worked....you didn't get paid unless you called and squawked, where upon you got several excuses for the "oversight". I know of at least one guy who lived close enough to their offices to go there in person to ask for his money...they tried to pay him off with porno mags and XXX rated tapes! This arrangement continued until they decided they didn't want any more articles from you, and after that you're call wouldn't be put through and you never got paid.

 

This is not to cast aspersions on MCM...It's got to be tough to continue to publish any mailable, paper, model magazine in this internet age; but model magazines in general have a history (with the exception of Fine Scale Modeler) of being "iffy" in paying on time or up front. I know of at least two other aviation model mags I subscribed to (and wrote for one of them) that folded due to finances in the last 15yrs. Hopefully when they get things straightened out they'll follow Rusty's advice and pay you for your work, which they DEPEND on to sell mags help keep them in business!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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Rusty and Gil

Thanks for your responses. Model magazine publishing is a fickle business to be in, even before the internet days. Like you guys I have seen many come and go over the years. Since Golden Bell publishers in Denver closed their doors, Model Cars Magazine is now being run virtually as a one man band based in Hawaii trying to put out a commercial magazine with all its inherant risks and costs such as editing, layout, printing and distribution, both to direct subscribers and to retail outfits who probably have magazines on sale or return only. I guess that is why things are as they are right now, unless they can get a publishing company to take them on and get the magazine back on track.

I agree with you both about authors should be paid in a timely fashion as a magazine's life blood. Writers tend to know each other or who's who on the writing circuit, and what is happening generally. I would imagine other writers like me are also holding back submitting for the time being.

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Gil, Rusty and Noel,

 

I also wrote for Challenge Publications and the stories about them are legion. Not only did I write for Scale Modeler, but also Scale Aircraft Modeler, Military Modeler, Scale Ship Modeler, Scale Auto Modeler and a couple of other 'Modeler' titles that I don't remember. It was a constant battle to get my money, some of which I never received. The only reason I made enough money to continue writing for them was agreements with kit manufacturers for $XX per page whenever an article featuring their product appeared. That kind of agreement doesn't exist anymore since most kit manufacturers are overseas. As anyone who freelances in the hobby field knows, not only will you not get rich, you frequently wonder where your next meal is coming from! The MCM situation sounds like they're between a rock and a hard place and being squeezed tighter with every issue.

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I am truly sorry to hear that many of you aren't receiving due compensation for your hard work - that's frustrating at the minimum.

 

This little hobby itself has become more and more devisive and I believe is in a slow process of some level of self-destruct with editors and writers jumping ship.

The writing appears to be on the wall.

 

Hobby shops are losing customers who buy model cars and model car clubs are losing members by the droves because of the constant in-fighting, back stabbing and

unfair practices at contest events as well as the whiners and complainers who make the contest less and less of an enjoyable experience.

 

And most of the forums are struggling to keep interest alive and their magazine counterparts are struggling to keep publishing there smaller and smaller numbers of magazine issues.

 

Over the next 10 years I think you will see major changes in this obscure little hobby that commands little of the GNP and adds little else to the economy.

If it disappeared completely I don't think anyone of importance would notice. Most people think it's a pretty silly hobby for grown men anyway.

 

There is just too much negativism in this hobby with huge ego's, and a rampage of arrogance and the insaitable desire for recognition.

 

"The times they are ah changing" as time moves on.

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FWI, when I send my "writing for Flagship Models" to all my new authors, I go out of my way to tell them they won't get rich writing for Flagship. Even I take the hit when the CDs go into production, because I still have to make back my intial investment, which at $12.95 each takes some time depending on how well the CD sells. The good news is fame (not fortune) still awaits since there are so many Internet sites that will snap up your work to publish so that it can be enjoyed world wide.

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Dave, I can only assume that your primary focus involves model cars. If there is that much negativity in your particular circles of activity, then I would agree the hobby has a serious problem. Negativity exists in every endeavor. We wouldn't be human if it didn't, but what is really important is how it is handled. In the local contests I've been around, as well as the one IPMS National I was able to attend, I saw no evidence of the negativity, whining and complaining that you describe. I've spent 50 years as a freelance writer/professional modelbuilder and I have yet to see the intense level of problems you list.

 

As for the magazine problems...particularly the print magazines...the simple fact is that writing/publishing is a cutthroat business. Always has been, always will be. Titles come and go like mushrooms after a rain. I used to write for numerous print publications that no longer exist and finding publications/publishers that actually pay for the type of material I produce is tantamount to a snipe hunt. So what am I doing? For the most part, self-publishing in the form of how-to e-books and aviation history/photo gallery CD-ROMs, along with build-up commissions.

 

Regarding "...the insatiable desire for recognition", everyone wants to be acknowledged for what they do. This is simply human nature. Of course, if you prefer not to be recognized, that's your choice.

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Dave, I can only assume that your primary focus involves model cars. If there is that much negativity in your particular circles of activity, then I would agree the hobby has a serious problem. Negativity exists in every endeavor. We wouldn't be human if it didn't, but what is really important is how it is handled. In the local contests I've been around, as well as the one IPMS National I was able to attend, I saw no evidence of the negativity, whining and complaining that you describe. I've spent 50 years as a freelance writer/professional modelbuilder and I have yet to see the intense level of problems you list.

 

 

Regarding "...the insatiable desire for recognition", everyone wants to be acknowledged for what they do. This is simply human nature. Of course, if you prefer not to be recognized, that's your choice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Your fortunate in regards to never experiencing the negativity I mentioned. It's a constant issue on forums at times even now, but in the past even worse, and it's a constant problem in my area that has driven people from many clubs and local contests. Simply no fun anymore.

 

As far as being human I understand that, but being human doesn't make it right or excuse poor behavior.

 

Just accepting it and justifying it by saying it's human nature adds no remedy for the problem of being inexcusibly mean and a diversion that keeps people from enjoying themselves.

 

That being said I do appreciate you responding to my post and your imput. Glad you don't see any of the problems many of the rest of us deal with constantly and have tired of it.

 

All the best, and have a good holiday season,

Dave

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Dave,

 

I have been to many National conventions and I have NEVER experianced any of the types of people you describe. If this is common on the forums you frequent, I would suggest better moderation to the web master. Being a moderator here, I take it pretty easy on the comments made. As long as the folks here don't start flaming each other and follow the rules, everything runs pretty smoothly. If I see things getting heated (potentially), I'll ask that everyone should reconsider what they say before they post. 99 times out of 100 that's all it takes. Just my opinion.

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The replies to my posts make interesting reading. What will happen to Model Cars Magazine in the future, nobody knows. I cannot see how it will be able to go on like it is now with subscriber deliveries appearing to go further out. Many subscribers I guess

have been very patient, but how long will it be before their patience wears a bit thin? Hopefully they will get a grip on this soon. Also if many authors that have not been paid like myself stop writing, then their material will dry up. What then?

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While the paper magazine may (probably over time) go the way of the dodo, the modeling articles will go on. In fact, they already do, on line and in magazines like the Journal. And, "authors" do this for free!

 

The only mag I currently subscribe to is FSM, and I do that more out of habit than any need for what I read, however much I enjoy it still. I actually rate the IPMS Journal as good as or better, as it usually has just as much "content" and has been raised to an almost equal level aesthetically. The Journal will go on in print form until it becomes economically untenable and/or it's possible to have an e-mag where the content is protected and cannot be seen for free. It's supported by the good will of its members, who contribute to it simply to help do their part for "IPMS" and their fellow members. I see no reason for that to change whether it's printed or downloaded.

 

But, if you think about it, this also happens on almost every modeling web-site you may already frequent! Consider all of the work-in-progress builds you can find, let alone the finished pics of model builds. You don't just look to admire a model, you look to see what you can learn. And the GREAT advantage to these on line pics, builds, and blogs is that you can do more than just "read" the builders remarks; you can ASK specific questions that cannot be asked of a magazine author! The feedback is both more personal and much faster, allowing for the faster dissemination of modeling techniques and model building than print articles ever could. Another plus is that contributors get personal feedback (good and bad) that's nearly immediate; which is something most magazines can barely offer, if at all. And, it's all done gratis! NO ONE is getting paid to put their stuff on line. But, as Rusty pointed out, since there was never any chance of becoming rich from writing about modeling, why bother to try? You can STILL get the "fame" from doing it online.

 

It's nice to see your work in print. It lends a certain gravitas to your modeling to be able to hold a magazine in your hand with something you wrote in it. But I think it's also a dying business model. Magazines used to be THE way to get modeling info to the building public at large. The plethora of on-line modeling sites has changed that. Now, they're simply a luxury and a hold over to the way things were traditionally done.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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Gil, there's a lot of truth in what you say. However, there is still a market for specialized how-to publications that pay. There'd better be since that's how I make at least part of my living! I would suggest that print publications will ultimately transition to e-mags...as you predict...when a way can be found to make money from them. As for all the free build series out there, they are great and have all the advantages you describe. But I would suggest that there is still a place for an expanded ebook version...that carry a price... of many of those build series. This is because there is much more information that can be described in writing to support the build series photos. Case in point is my series on the Williams Bros C-46, If I tried to add all the text to go along with the photos, instead of 10 installments, I'd be up to 20 or 25.

 

And let's remember something else. The IPMS is always looking for ways to expose the Society to modelers who have never heard of us.. What better way than to have a promo for IPMS in a how-to e-book that focuses on a single subject! I'm planning that for my C-46 e-book as well as several other e-books in the planning stage.

 

Print publications...books & magazines of all types....will never die because there's something about kicking back with a good book or favorite magazine that simply can't be found with a digital publication. But they will become rarer and less popular.

 

Finally, my eleventh installment of my C-46 build series will be online shortly. In a couple of hours with any luck or tomorrow at the worst. Don't hesitate to post comments and I'll be sure to respond.

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Dave,

 

I have been to many National conventions and I have NEVER experianced any of the types of people you describe. If this is common on the forums you frequent, I would suggest better moderation to the web master. Being a moderator here, I take it pretty easy on the comments made. As long as the folks here don't start flaming each other and follow the rules, everything runs pretty smoothly. If I see things getting heated (potentially), I'll ask that everyone should reconsider what they say before they post. 99 times out of 100 that's all it takes. Just my opinion.

Rusty,

It's nice to read your comments and your dedication to keeping this a safe place for modelers to come and enjoy themselves. That's much appreciated Been kinda watching under the radar how things go here. Maybe I'll post something here in the future :m1helmet: .

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Hi Richard

Your idea about a single subject eBook to publicise IPMS is admirable. As IPMS is a multi subject society it would be good to encourage other writers to set up free of charge IPMS ebooks about their pet subject so that the society is not percieved as one subject orientated.

 

However, getting back to crux of this thread, Model Cars Magazine is a commercial magazine (ie a business) so it should be run accordingly. My not getting paid for an article that went to print in November 2015, two years ago is now a really totally unacceptable situation. Regarding the problems with their subscribers deliveries having gone well off track, I can see many not bothering to renew next time around. It will be interesting to see if they manage to survive 2018 if they do not quickly get their act together.

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Noel, nice to hear your opinion about single subject how-to ebooks. And yes, it would be an excellent venue for publicizing the IPMS to modelers who have never heard of us. It could also encourage those who have heard of us but haven't joined to reconsider and join. As for your comment that it would be good to encourage other writers to set up free of charge IPMS ebooks about their pet subject, that requires a slight rethink.

 

Rather than free ebooks, those who are interested enough to learn how to create and publish their own ebooks (check out Smashwords for extensive information on that subject) need to consider selling them instead of giving them away. There's no reason why they can't post a build series on this forum for free, then an ebook with expanded/more detailed information for a relatively modest fee. That's what I'm doing with my C-46 series and will be doing with others. And no, not all of them will focus on aircraft. To get an idea of some of the things I've already done, take a look at my umbrella site that can be found here.

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Hi Richard,

 

Looks like I misinterpreted what you meant with regard to producing ebooks with regard to promoting the society, so my apologies. My mistake in thinking that you were suggesting ebooks be done for free, so I stand corrected. Thanks also for your links to your site and Smash words.

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Hey Noel,

 

No apology needed. Hope you found my site interesting and the Smashwords site informative.

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Dave,

 

I have been to many National conventions and I have NEVER experianced any of the types of people you describe. If this is common on the forums you frequent, I would suggest better moderation to the web master. Being a moderator here, I take it pretty easy on the comments made. As long as the folks here don't start flaming each other and follow the rules, everything runs pretty smoothly. If I see things getting heated (potentially), I'll ask that everyone should reconsider what they say before they post. 99 times out of 100 that's all it takes. Just my opinion.

Rusty,

It's nice to read your comments and your dedication to keeping this a safe place for modelers to come and enjoy themselves. That's much appreciated Been kinda watching under the radar how things go here. Maybe I'll post something here in the future :m1helmet: .

 

 

I find this site helpful and friendly, but very sleepy. Not a whole lot of movement here, but if everyone posted more, there'd be more activity.

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Not sure Robin what you mean by this site being sleepy? Do you mean this thread or the forum as a whole? This thread has elicited quite a few responses, so not quite sure from what angle where you are coming from.

The crux of this thread is whether Model Cars Magazine will survive or not. I guess that your main interest is model autos like myself so have you any views on this topic?

Unfortunately I have been unpaid for two years by MCM for my Duel article that went to press in November 2015, so I have a vested interest in the magazine surviving to have any chance of getting paid. What are your views on writers payments being stalled or not getting paid by magazines? All too often, hobbyist writers do not appear to be taken seriously by some editors. Although we write for fun and to share our experiences in a commercial magazine, it must be remembered that when a piece of work is accepted as a commission a business transaction is taking place.

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I have to agree with Rob about this site being a bit sleepy. This is the first site that I check in the morning and MCMs is second. I always check the "unread posts" It appears that MCW gets more post in an hour than this one gets all day. It also appears to have about 10 times the membership.

 

I did not renew my subscription a couple of years ago, because I was very tight with money and the problems they were having getting the magazine in my mailbox anywhere on the regular schedule concerned me. I also had several friends who wrote articles and shared your experience for getting paid for their work. I subscribed several years before to support them, but as the editions became more and more erratic I really felt that I was throwing my money away. I wish them no ill, as I have always enjoyed the magazine and buy it at Barnes & Noble when I find it.

 

I am a frequent contributor to the MCM website and find is exceptional for the most part. Very busy and full of information. If the magazine dies, I really hope the web site stays up. I wish them well but have contributed enough money to them for now.

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Not sure Robin what you mean by this site being sleepy? Do you mean this thread or the forum as a whole? This thread has elicited quite a few responses, so not quite sure from what angle where you are coming from.

The crux of this thread is whether Model Cars Magazine will survive or not. I guess that your main interest is model autos like myself so have you any views on this topic?

Unfortunately I have been unpaid for two years by MCM for my Duel article that went to press in November 2015, so I have a vested interest in the magazine surviving to have any chance of getting paid. What are your views on writers payments being stalled or not getting paid by magazines? All too often, hobbyist writers do not appear to be taken seriously by some editors. Although we write for fun and to share our experiences in a commercial magazine, it must be remembered that when a piece of work is accepted as a commission a business transaction is taking place.

 

Pete gets it. I mean this site as a whole. Very little movement in any topic. Yes, this particular thread is getting a number of good responses, but you can count new responses across the forum on one hand. In many online forums, if you miss a day, there's a lot of reading to catch up on. Here, you could miss a week and catch up in just a few minutes.

 

My main interests are armor and sci-fi modeling, but I have recently ventured back into car modeling that I had not done since high school over 35 years ago. I am not familiar with that particular car modeling magazine; the last time I read a car modeling magazine was the old Challenge Publications Scale Modeler and only when Military Modeler merged with Scale Modeler during my subscription and eventually ended production.

 

I don't know if the magazine will survive. I subscribe to Fine Scale Modeler and also receive the Boresight journal which is an armor modeling magazine that comes with membership in the Armor Modeling and Preservation Society. The advent of the internet and facebook have hit modeling publications hard. Once upon a time, model magazines were the main source of new model news, model kit reviews, articles on how to "fix" or convert a particular model and other such tasks.

 

Today, there are plenty of blogs, model websites with reviews, even Youtube videos with reviews for the casual modeler or advanced modeler to access without the need to spend money on an actual magazine. I have received kits from manufacturers and retailers in order to review them and post online.

 

It is unfortunate that MCM has failed to pay authors for their work already received and published. I hope you find some positive resolution in this matter.

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Robin, Pete, Noel, et al,

 

The points all of you make relative to print publications of all kinds are in large part the result of the digital revolution. At the present time, ebooks claim at least 20% of all publications. Even the best sellers written by big name authors are available in both hard copy and ebooks. I've written three print books on modelbuilding and will probably never do another. Instead, my focus is now on self-publishing single focus ebooks and CD-ROMs. They sell for much less than hard copy books and I make more per copy that I did on a print book, but they come with their own problem in that you also have to do all of the marketing and publicity for each one you produce. Interactive websites, such as the one MCM has, is great, but those sites have costs as well. If MCM goes belly up...since it has now become essentially a one man operation...you have to be concerned if the funding will be available to support the website.

 

Some model magazines that focus on specific niches are still surviving, but pay rates generally run around 10 to 12 cents a word with no payment for photos. Others pay a decent amount...like $50 - $80 a printed page...but pay on publication, which can be anywhere from two months to two years after submission. Still others pay on acceptance based on their estimated publication space, then pay the balance...if any...after the article is published and if it takes more space than originally estimated.

 

I've been writing as a business since 1967 and if it weren't for my parallel business as a professional modelbuilder...primarily kit buildups but also any other subject up to and including architectural...I would not be able to write in the hobby field.

 

Hope some of this helps.

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Pete and Robin are right, this site is sleepy. I try hard to add to it whenever I have something to show, but not too many people respond to a lot of the posts here.

 

Noel, I do hope you can get this resolved. Nobody should be stiffed like that. I for one enjoy having magazines in the hand to read; but I can see why they are having difficulty staying in business. Other than that, I have nothing else to contribute to this.

 

Now back to the workbench.

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