In the continuing stream of independent publications springing up in the area, we have the emergence of The Maryland Home Improvement Guide. This new entry is a sharp-looking, all glossy, freely distributed magazine about all things involving fixing up or dressing up our homes. In my opinion, it’s a very good idea in a market that, to this point in this region, has been largely unexplored in such a high-quality way.
Best of all, to me, it’s being done by some people I have had long-standing working relationships with, so I know that their goals and intentions are beyond reproach. Heading this new mag is Dave Bielecki. I worked with Dave when he was a salesperson for The Mariner during my first term of service at that magazine back in the late ’90s, and then later on at Nor’easter Magazine before my departure in 2007. The editor of The Maryland Home Improvement Guide is none other than Wendy Gilbert, who has worked with me and for me at Nor’easter, my own publishing venture of a couple years back, Pet Companions Magazine, and most recently, during my last abbreviated stint as Editor of The Mariner. After a conversation I had with Dave yesterday, I am certain he’s got the right approach (I was very happy to hear that he was avoiding some of the missteps I myself had made with Pet Companions) and is on to something good.
It’s always encouraging to me to see new competition arise as it keeps everyone on their toes. There is no more taking your audience or your market for granted, plus, one of my pet peeves, as I’ve repeatedly stated, is the over-corporatization of publishing. In today’s atmosphere, and for the foreseeable future, those large chain publishers have a problem that will have to dealt with sooner than later. With every new entrant that comes along, the overall market pie gets divided more and more. And where a small independent publisher can survive and thrive on 10 or 15% of the pie, these great corporate chains with their massive overhead need to keep 75% or more or they starve.
It’s been said that nature abhors a vacuum. Well, free markets abhor a monopoly, and as the costs and barriers for entry continue to fall, the publishing market is getting more and more free every day.
The Maryland Home Improvement Guide is available monthly at drop locations in Harford and Baltimore Counties and in select locations in Cecil County. If you see one, pick it up. It’s worth a look. They also have a digital version of the magazine online here for you to check out.