Jun 122010

Except for a brief visit from my daughter Tiffany yesterday, and a break to go to dinner with Greg and Jan White, I spent most of the day at my desk working on the new issue of the Gypsy Journal.

Since I am in the process of switching production from our antiquated Adobe PageMaker computer page layout program to the current InDesign program that most of the newspaper industry uses these days, there is a learning curve that I am trying to master.

That being said, I really don’t have much to write about for today’s blog, so instead, I thought that I’d post a blog on frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Gypsy Journal. We get some questions over and over about how we produce the paper, and why we do things the way we do. Here are some of our most often asked questions, and an explanation of the whys and wherefores of how we do what we do.

Q. How do I know when my subscription is due to expire?

A. We send out a renewal notice with your paper two issues before it is due to expire, and again with the last issue before expiration. For subscribers to our digital issue, we send an e-mail alerting them when it is time to renew. There is also a number on the top line of your address on the envelope the paper arrives in. That number is the issue your subscription expires with. The issue number is always in our masthead, at the bottom right of Page 2. For example, I am working on issue 67, so if the number on the top line of your address block is 70, you have three more issues to go before you are due to renew.

Q. What does the letter C, G or R after my expiration number mean?

A. The C is a code we use to tell us you have a courtesy subscription (usually given away as a door prize at a rally). G means you have a gift subscription. R means you are a customer that has renewed in the past. You may also see a series of letters after the expiration number. LOW means you first subscribed at Life on Wheels, OW means you came to us from the old Out West newspaper, and TLR means you were a subscriber to Two Lanes Roads before that publication shut down.

Q. Why do you use different printers and mail houses around the country, instead of just having one place you use to print and mail each issue?

A. Because we travel all of the time, and because we always print several thousand extra copies to pass out at rallies and RV parks, shipping those extra papers to wherever we may be would be both expensive, and cause travel delays that we can’t afford.

Q. Why don’t you just go to an all electronic format instead of a printed publication?

A. While we do have a digital issue available, the great majority of our readers tell us they want the printed format. I’m a dinosaur who loves the feel and smell of ink and newsprint. Besides, it’s too hard to carry your laptop computer to the bathroom.

Q. Why don’t you have very much outside advertising in the Gypsy Journal?

A. I have sold millions of dollars worth of advertising in my newspaper career, and even though I’m pretty good at it, I hate sales. I’d much rather spend my time searching out new things to write about. Also, when you have advertisers, they sometimes want to dictate what a publication can say. I’m too stubborn for that. If I think a particular product is junk, I say so. Not many companies want to spend their advertising dollars with a publication that may tell the truth about their products. If we could find an experienced, energetic salesperson, we would probably let them try to build up our ad count a bit, but we’re not trying to make a fortune, just get by, and our business model has worked so far for us.

Q. Why isn’t your telephone number included on your masthead on Page 2 so I can call you if I want to?

A. We do not have an established office; we run our business from the road. We check our e-mail several times a day, and we usually receive snail mail every week. Those are the best ways to reach us. At one time we did publish our telephone number, and it became a problem. We got calls at midnight when we were on the East coast from people on the West coast who were looking for a campground for the night and wanted recommendations. When we were on the West coast, we got calls at 6 a.m. from people on the East coast wanting to tell us about a funny sign they had seen and should include in the paper. It just became too much of a problem.

Q. Why do you have other websites, such as your Honor A Veteran or the Bad Nick Blog?

A. We have several websites, GypsyJournal.net, MotorcycleTravelOnline.com, Publishing4Profit.com, HonorAVeteran.com, and the Bad Nick Blog. I started them partly because they cover topics I am interested in and saw a need for, and partly for economic reasons. Each time someone clicks the ad links on our websites, we make a small commission. It all adds up to help us make a profit.

Q. What happened to your Today’s Hero Blog?

A. While I really enjoyed Today’s Hero, and it is still online, though I haven’t updated it in months. People just stopped sending in new nominations and I ran out of heroes to write about. I’d like to revive it someday if there is enough interest.

Q. Why is your main website GypsyJournal.net instead of .com?

A. The .com suffix was already taken when I started our Gypsy Journal website and the .net was the next best thing available.

Q. You seem to be going in a dozen different directions at once, between the paper, your rallies, speaking at RV events, and your websites. Where do you find the time for everything?

A. Everything in life takes some sacrifice, and one has to set priorities. In my case, I have given up dieting and exercise to squeeze in the extra time I need. Seriously, I’m pretty much a Type A person and I thrive on all of this. After a lifetime of publishing daily and weekly newspapers, having a deadline come around every two months is like a permanent vacation, and I need to fill the time.

Q. You do an Eastern and a Western rally every year. How about a third, floater rally, maybe in the Pacific Northwest one time, in the south another time?

A. This has come up before, and Miss Terry assures me that if I add one more event, she’ll be sitting under a palm tree on a beach somewhere when it happens. We can only stretch ourselves so far.

Q. I have all of your books. Are you going to bring out any more?

A. I have a couple written now that still need to be proofed and formatted. I hope to be able to announce them very soon. And there are several other writing projects I am also working on.

Q. What do you see in the future for the Gypsy Journal and for yourselves? Any long term plans to settle down someplace in the future?

A. Terry and I are both in agreement that we’ll continue to do just what we are doing for as long as we possibly can. We’re both in pretty good health, we’re having fun, and we’re happy. Why would we want to do anything else? As long as we can physically continue, and as long as our readers keep on wanting what we produce, we’ll be out here exploring America’s small towns and back roads, and writing about our travels.

Click Here To Register For Our Eastern Gypsy Gathering Rally!

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  8 Responses to “Gypsy Journal FAQs”

  1. Great post. We appreciate reading your stuff and meeting you at the final LOW conference. Keep up the good work!

  2. Great Information, especially the last Q & A. We started our RV life in 1997. We didn’t know how long we would want to do this. We can definitely say we love it. We are in our fourteenth season of travel and while we have removed some items from our bucket list we have added many more. We plan to do this until forced to hang up the keys.
    We love the newspaper form rather than the on line format. I love to read in bed in the evening and your newspaper plus other RV magazines have made the end of many of my days very pleasant. We look forward to you two continuing for many years. Keep traveling and learning. Hugs, from Canada (which you would love, by the way), Connie B.

  3. Hey Nick:

    I have no thoughts today because you forgot to write one for me??

    Please do not do that again.

    Love your thoughts!!

  4. What you are doing is working for all of us in one way or another or we wouldn’t be here. Thanks for all you do to add to our enjoyment of this great life!

    Linda Sand

  5. Don’t know how you do it, I don’t have that much to say! Glad that you do and you can travel and share it with all of us. Due to that pesky financial thing we park host most of the year and travel when we can. We hope, in the future, we will be able to travel more. In the meantime, I “work” as a park host and most campers would love to do what we are doing, so my glass is definitely half full!

  6. “I’m a dinosaur who loves the feel and smell of ink and newsprint. Besides, it’s too hard to carry your laptop computer to the bathroom.”

    You’ve got an iPad now. This proves you are no longer a dinosaur and it’s easier to take to the bathroom. 😉

    Love your blog and publications, Nick. Keep up the good work!

  7. We have been looking, planning, researching for two and a half years and have finally got in the game. You guys have inspired us to quit looking and start doing! We are looking forward to meeting you in Elkhart in Aug. Thanks for all you do!!
    Rod and Carolyn

  8. Hi Nick,

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and just wanted to tell you thanks so much for all the information you’ve shared. My husband and I are planning to full-time in about two years (wish it could be sooner) and I know the information I’ve learned here will put us ahead of the game.


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