Tag Archives: Peter DeHaan Publishing

Seventeen Years Ago

Seventeen years ago I entered the publishing world when I bought Connections Magazine from its founder, Steve Michaels.

The transaction was done in parts, that is the documents for the sale were not signed at the same time or at the same location, but on different days via fax and mail. As a result, I don’t know what day the sale was official, but what I do know is that the package of publication’s records and files arrived on September 10, 2001.As we remember the events of 9-11 and the people who innocently lost their lives, we can also celebrate the resiliency of our country and our ability to prevail and succeed. Click To Tweet

Early that next day, I dove into the treasure trove of information that would set my career in a new direction. I was understandably excited and wanted to quickly grasp the nuances of my new business.

My morning bliss, however, was interrupted by my bride who uncharacteristically popped into my office to inform me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center building. Assuming that it as a novice pilot in a single engine plane, I dismissed the news and resumed work. But not for long.

Soon I was drawn to the TV and the horrific events that would forever change life in the United States. For a time, my labors no longer mattered; ceasing all attempts to work, I watched the news in shock. I wondered what this would mean to the future of business and commerce—and the magazine operation I had just bought. Would I end up being a victim of bad timing?

For the rest of that week, I did only the work that was absolutely required. Then, life slowly began to reclaim a degree of normalcy, even if normal no longer existed.

As we remember the events of 9-11 and the people who innocently lost their lives, we can also celebrate the resiliency of our country and our ability to prevail and succeed. Personally, I can also celebrate Connections Magazine and the new path it has provided.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night.

Why Work Is Cyclical

In theory, my workload should proceed as a steady flow of predictable effort year round. In reality, it doesn’t happen that way.work

It takes five weeks from start to finish to produce one issue of one magazine, and Connections Magazine is published six times a year. Medical Call Center News and Answer Stat releases every other month, while TAS Trader releases every month. This means I’m typically working on two or three issues of one publication or another at any given time.

This results in a steady, expected ebb and flow of activity. In addition, are blogs which are updated weekly, and scheduled monthly duties. It would seem that my work should smoothly move from one day to the next, evenly paced throughout the year.

The reality is that my effective workload is quite cyclical. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, things are slow. Between Christmas and New Year’s, it’s extremely slow. It’s also slow during the summer. After Memorial Day, things drop off. And after the Fourth of July, it’s as if someone turned off a switch; it stays that way until Labor Day.

The times between New Year’s Day and Memorial Day, as well as Labor Day to Thanksgiving Day are my “busy times.”Secondary email messages result in a huge productivity drain Click To Tweet

Ironically, I have the same amount of work to do throughout the year, but it takes twice as long to accomplish it during my “busy times.” The reason is that during my “busy times,” I receive more phone calls and email messages (mostly email). These communications don’t directly relate to my work of publishing magazines or websites, but they are tangential to it.

The flood of these secondary interactions is so much so that during my “slow times” I can generally do all required work in 3 to 6 hours a day, whereas during my “busy times” it takes 6 to 10 hours to accomplish the same amount of essential work. In fact, during my “busy times,” some Mondays are so bad, that all I do is respond to email messages. Some Friday afternoons are like that as well.

My conclusion is that these secondary email messages result in a huge productivity drain—in my case about 50 percent. If I can just curb non-essential email, I could reclaim a great deal of lost productivity.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night.

Green Publishing

green publishingA growing trend in magazine publishing is “going green.” Green publishing means different things to different people and includes many facets. The most common and visible result of green publishing is digital editions. Digital editions are issues that are not printed on paper but read on a computer screen or reading device, such as Amazon’s Kindle.

For my magazine, we offer two options for digital reading. One is a PDF file of the complete issue, exactly as it will be printed. The other is a list of links to each article on our websites. This is a basic, first step that I have taken, while awaiting for the more advance digital publishing technologies to shake out and for a reader preference to emerge.Green publishing means different things to different people and includes many facets. Click To Tweet

Our digital editions are available a week prior to the magazine being printed and mailed, so our on-line readers get a huge jump on everyone else. We’ve been doing this the longest with Connections Magazine and some of our readers receive digital issues.  New subscribers tend to opt for digital over print. This is certainly a trend that we will see more and more of, which is being accelerated by the current recession.

Here are some reasons, courtesy of Folio magazine, from PennWell Digital Reader Surveys, about why magazine subscribers go digital:

  • easy to save
  • environmentally friendly
  • the ability to search issues
  • easy to forward
  • more timely than print
  • prefer reading on a computer

As for me, there is something about holding the magazine in my hand and not being tied to my computer that I just can’t shake.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night.

That’s a Lot of Blogging

I’ve been officially blogging now for 10 years. During that time, I have made over 500 posts in this blog.

Although I enjoy blogging, finding the ideal time to write has not been easy. Initially, I wrote in the evening, after my workday was done. This kept blogging from encroaching on vocation, but was also the time at which my writing prowess is at its lowest. In addition to that, I found that if I blogged just before bedtime, I had difficulty shutting my mind off and falling asleep.

Next, I tried ending my workday with a blog, but then didn’t work either as I was pushing to finish my workday with a flourish, which bogged down my blogging focus. Most recently, I tried to write right after a shortened lunch, but again work distractions abounded.I've been officially blogging now for 10 years. Click To Tweet

Actually, my best time to write is first thing in the morning; I’ve known that all along.  However, if I blog then, I’m not doing the writing for which I actually earn a living, but the kind that is merely fun. So my dilemma of when to blog continues.

I also intended to write about three posts a week, but with so many ideas bouncing around my brain, the desire to write has triumphed, producing five or more entries a week. So, to maintain a sustainable and manageable plan, I’m going to (try to) cut back to three times a week, while attempting to set aside mid afternoons for blogging.

On top of this, I have started other blogs.

That’s a lot of blogging!

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night.

My Summertime Schedule

For myself and many others, summer effectively begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.

This year the weather seems to concur that summer is over. Last Friday, temperatures in southern Michigan were in the upper nineties, with a heat index of 105 to 115. Today, the highs failed to hit 70, with a predicted low tonight of 45.

For the first time in months, I am wearing jeans and have donned a sweatshirt. It certainly feels like fall.

With fall comes a pledge to blog more frequently. If you’re keeping track, it’s pushing two months since my last post. It’s not that I have nothing to share — I’ve composed many a blog in my mind — it’s that I’ve not had a chance to write things out. So, I hope to begin catching up and write retroactively.

Another change is that the comments and trackbacks features are again reactivated. I had turned them off due to a high degree of spam, but with a software upgrade, things are again manageable.

Also, check out my other blogs, which I post to more frequently:

Going Forward

Regular readers of this blog (thank you, one and all) have noticed a decided decrease in posting frequency over the past six months. While Musings will remain alive and active, infrequency will become the new norm.

When I started Musings over three years ago, it was to provide a creative outlet, connect with others via the written word, and learn about the art of blogging. By design, Musings had no theme, other than to share the musing of my mind at that moment. While it was not a stream-of-conscience spew (that would be narcissistic and boring), it did bounce all over the place. No one would connect with all my topics, such as family, computers, nature, movies, politics, business, sports, weather, and even blogging about blogging.

Realizing the need to blog around a theme and for me to focus on areas of interest, I have begun to specialize. The result is that, going forward, I will primarily be blogging at:

I encourage you to pick the ones that interest you and follow me there, as well as occasional future posts here.

Thank you!

A New Blog: From the Publisher’s Desk

This blog, the “Musings of Peter DeHaan,” is about nothing, but covers everything. It is essentially a sharing of my stream of conscience. While this blog will continue unabated, I have started another blog, one with a stated purpose and goal.

It is a business blog, called “From the Publishers Desk,” and shares my tips and commentary about advertising and marketing. If this topic is of interest, I encourage you to check it out. Just like this blog, you can sign up to be notified via email of new posts or subscribe to a list feed.

[In 2013, the name of the blog changed to “The Book Blog,” and the focus became book publishing. All old posts were saved in the archive section.]

More News Than You Can Use

As a publisher, I receive all manner of press releases. Some are appropriately targeted and end up in one of my magazines, newsfeeds, or newsletters. Others are close, but slightly miss our focus, while many are seemingly sent to me without forethought or strategy. Here are the headlines that I have received in the past 48 hours; see if you can figure them out:

  • Prosodie Interactive Enhances the Max-Route Call Allocation Platform by Adding Ad-Hoc Reporting, Fulfillment and Contact Center Flexibility
  • Smucci: Make Your Pets Feel Like Royalty
  • Wilson Named to Kaiser Permanente’s Board of Directors
  • Confirmit Partners with Plum Voice to Offer Complete Data Collection Platform
  • GSA Smartbuy Geospatial Agreements Provide Maximum Taxpayer Value
  • Global Telecom & Technology Completes Acquisition of WBS Connect
  • FTC Privacy Roundtable Highlights Clash Between Consumer Advocates, Ad Industry
  • FCC Counsel Invests in XG Technology
  • LG Begins Global Hunt for Live Borderless Experience
  • Knowledge Networks Expands in Pharma Research with Acquisition of CMR
  • Researchers Announce Medical Breakthrough with Simple, Inexpensive Blood Test for Colon Cancer
  • Immune Cell Activity Linked to Worsening COPD
  • Hibernia Atlantic Acquires International Broadcast and Media Production Service Provider Mediaxstream
  • Isippy Networks Inc. Announces Unlimited Calling to 70+ Countries on iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, and Symbian Phones
  • In Age of ‘Sexting,’ Parents Weigh Options for Blocking Content
  • CSD Designated for State of California Disability Equipment Distribution Contract
  • U-M-Patented Nanotech Treatment for Cold Sores Gets Major Boost with Glaxosmithkline Licensing Agreement
  • About 25 percent of Arab adults in Greater Detroit reported abuse after 9/11, study says

Many of these make little sense to me — even after scanning the press release. Some, I comprehend, but don’t care about, while a few capture my attention, as in the case of the last two items  Nanotechnology has always intrigued me, though I never suspected it as a cold sore combatant. The abuse of Arabs after 9/11 is indeed sad.  Nineteen radicals needlessly subjected an entire race to unwarranted ill will and harsh treatment by close-minded and vengeful Americans. What else can I say?

Call Centers Can Aid in Healthcare Reform

I’ve spent most of my adult life in call center related vocations. I’ve worked in call centers and for a call center vendor, did consulting for call centers, audited call centers, wrote about call centers, and now publish magazines, newsletters, and websites about call centers.

Call centers are a vital part of the global economy, moving information and facilitating commerce by taking and processing orders, providing customer service, taking messages, and even assisting in and providing healthcare. Yes, healthcare.

Hospital and medical related call centers ease patient-practitioner communication, provide medical answering services, allow patients to schedule appointments, send reminders of those appointments, refer callers to doctors based on specialty or geographic location, and dispense medical advice. Even though I am aware of this, I’ve never taken the next logical step to see that medical call centers can play a vital role in healthcare reform.

Fortunately, Doctors Barton Schmitt and Andrew Hertz have. They recently completed a position paper regarding the role of medical call centers in health care reform. The position paper, titled The Case for Publicly Funded Medical Call Centers, offers as a premise that, “every citizen should have the right to reach a telephone care nurse at any hour day or night for assistance with illnesses, injuries or other acute medical problems.” Its content describes the primary functions of today’s medical call centers, an overview of their outcomes, evidence of their ability to reduce healthcare costs and recommendations for making these centers a critical part of universal access to health care. Medical call centers are used in many other countries and have been found to be cost-effective, so why not in the US?

If you agree with the premise, why not pass it on?

Magazine Goes Green – Sort of

A weekly (or almost weekly) magazine that I receive, recently announced that it was going to have four “green” issues this year, with the goal of being “carbon neutral” in 10 years.

I was curious how they would handle this “green” issue.  o their credit, they emailed me when it was ready and I went online to check it out. (Even though I proof the magazines I publish on a computer and online, I greatly dislike reading magazines on my computer.  To be direct, I don’t have a computer where I do my magazine reading.)

Upon clicking on the link, it took me to a sign in page, where I essentially requalified my subscription, which was a good idea on their part, as it will save extra work and effort for them later. Additionally, I didn’t need to pick a password and login, which is a good thing, too, as I have over 150 logins and passwords for the various sites I need to use and will thankfully be spared one for this site.

The presentation of the magazine was a PDF file (as I do with the electronic versions of my Connections Magazine and AnswerStat), with some hyperlinks in the table of contents to go directly to the articles. There were also links on the top and bottom of each page to speed readers back to the table of contents, to the next page, or to the previous page.

So, all is good — sort of.  The magazine had a green issue, it was relatively painless to access, and I could read it online — unfortunately, I don’t like reading magazines online.  More on that tomorrow…