Stayin’ Alive

This is boring news but… we changed our business model. I want to explain why and, who knows, maybe some of you will be interested in this behind-the-scenes glimpse into an Escapological business practice.

In the old days of the magazine (Issues 1-13), we used a print-on-demand service to satisfy every single sale. Well, the first fifty or seventy copies were delivered to my flat and I’d personally ship those ones to subscribers. But after that, an order would come in for a single issue and I’d essentially forward that order to the printing service.

The main advantage of fulfilling orders this way was that I didn’t need to hold inventory. I was very mobile at the time, flitting between Glasgow and Montreal and also travelling a lot, so boxes of magazine stock would have been quite the encumbrance.

The main disadvantage, however, was that it didn’t make any money. The profit margin on a £6 issue was maybe £1.50. So if I sold, say, 200 copies, I’d “make” £300. This would usually go towards printing the next batch of subscriber copies. We always said “New Escapologist makes no money” and it was true.

This time around, I want to make a small amount of money from the magazine. For myself, that is, not for a company or anything. It’s very, very hard to make money from books or magazines and the effort I put into it all is stupendous. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it all, but I need about £6,000 of income a year to stay alive and it makes sense for that money to come from my bookish exertions and not from some stupid day job that would take time away from the core operation of book- and magazine-making.

So that’s my aim. To make the £6,000 (from New Escapologist and from my books) I need to stay alive. What a grubby little Capitalist I am, eh? In between my self-financed meals, I will be rolling in pence.

As such, the old print-on-demand model is no good. I need to print hundreds of copies in advance so that the cost-per-copy is about £2 and then sell them at £9 for a £7 profit. It might actually work, though of course it remains to be seen.

I expect to sell 300 copies of each issue. 300x£7 is £2,100. Twice per year is £4,200. The remaining £1,800 (and hopefully a little more) will come from sales of my books.

So there we go. That’s why we changed the business model (or maybe just the “printing model”) and why, eventually, issues from 14 onwards will eventually go out of print. Just like other magazines.

I don’t think I’ve ever spoken so candidly about money and how that works here at Escape Towers. But I wanted to be transparent for a moment, to show you where the money goes, to show you how it all works. I don’t get rich, I make just enough to live on. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Anything other than subsistence farming is, in my view, a waste of time.

Frugality and minimalism make things viable (and ethical) on the outgoings front, while these sort of exertions (writing, editing, printing, schlepping to the Post Office every couple of days) take care of the income. The rest of life involves recumbent positions.

Thanks to everyone who has supported New Escapologist‘s return and therefore my ability to carry on doing this. Here’s where to go if you’d like to subscribe or buy a single issue. There’s maybe 100 copies left!


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

2 Responses to “Stayin’ Alive”

  1. For what it’s worth, I’m really interested in this side of things! I’ve got a little spreadsheet that I mean to fill with progress towards my version of your £6000. (I made very little progress with it, and currently have a Normal Job).

    And I reckon it’s not capitalist until you start hoarding the cash!

    Cheers, and looking forward to reading the new issue, which is on my coffee table as we speak. Love the new physical format.


  2. You can do it Martin! And thanks for buying the mag. Hope you like it.

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