Jay Speyerer and I published our first issue of This Awful Awesome Life in March 2017. We decided to create an online magazine, so people from all walks of life would have access to our publication. We liked the idea of online vs. print because of the cost savings and the environmental benefits. Our publication would save trees and never end up in a landfill. Articles can be saved on a computer/memory stick instead of taking up precious space in someone’s home and adding to the paper clutter we are all trying to eliminate. In a time when print magazine and newspaper subscriptions were declining in favor of their online versions, it made a lot of sense. Also, being able to know which articles were being read and how many people were reading them would help us plan future issues. We didn’t know what to expect, but it’s been life changing for me.
I learned so much from him during the short time we worked together. Jay told me in June he was bowing out because of prior commitments and a recurring back problem that hindered his ability to sit at the computer designing each issue.
It was a huge loss, but I believed in our magazine and with his blessing, I decided to redesign This Awful Awesome Life and keep going. Terry Kish agreed to come on board as a regular contributor and she was an immediate source of ideas and support.
We were using Jay’s software which didn’t have the ability to keep back issues of the magazine on the website for readers to access. Jay planned to save each issue as a PDF. I moved the magazine to Squarespace and adopted a blog style format which would allow me to save back issues. The August issue debuted about two weeks before Jay passed away unexpectedly.
I lost access to many of the articles he wrote and some photos for the March-June issues as well as articles that had been sent directly to him from other contributors. I also lost all circulation data for our first four issues. I have been able to recreate and post the March 2017- May 2017 issues. The June 2017 issue is on my ever increasing “To Do” list.
Though it’s not complete, I have some information about our 2017 circulation to share. We picked up 3,000 readers in our first year - not bad for a free publication without a major sponsor and a very limited Facebook advertising budget.
Our readers were primarily from the United States and I’m excited to say in addition to a strong readership from Pennsylvania, we attracted readers from most states. This Awful Awesome Life 2017 was read by people in Canada, India, Ireland, United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, France, Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Georgia, Mexico, Maldives, Singapore, Russia, Republic of Korea, UAE, Azerbaijan, Thailand, and Colombia.
For 2018, I have more complete information. We released an issue every month and our readership has grown to almost 5,000 readers distributed throughout the United States and Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, India, China, New Zealand, Philippines, France, Russia, Australia, Japan, Germany, South Africa, Italy, Netherlands, Brazil, Singapore, Indonesia, Belarus, Denmark, Turkey, Nigeria, Ukraine, Norway, Hungary, Israel, Panama, Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Cape Verde, Curaçao, Slovenia, Iceland, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Malta, Cambodia, UAE, Kenya, Portugal, Somalia, Spain, Mongolia, the Hashemite Kingdom of Amman, Vietnam and Macedonia.
Jay and I wanted to give people an escape from politics with an impartial publication that encouraged people to read and explore the diverse culture of their communities – where ever they may live.
In our first two years, we featured articles on censorship, Black History, Native American History, Women’s History, green living, accessibility and popular culture. We also reviewed books by authors from around the world and featured quizzes to keep those neurons pumping. From restaurant reviews to recipes and tips for including seasonal locally grown vegetables into our diets, we’ve enriched your holiday table and your brown bag lunch. We’ve embraced holiday traditions and offered a few tips for celebrating on a budget.
We have a talented collection of regular contributors to the magazine and exciting guest contributors who keep our content fresh and exciting.
For 2019, we hope to double our readership and acquire a major sponsor to allow us to pay for submissions and hire a sales manager. We hope to feature more small businesses, authors, artists and volunteers who are making a difference in their communities. Sign up for direct delivery of this Awful Awesome Life on our home page and don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook.