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I don't know if it is the frequency of the magazine is too erratic so I don't look forward to it, or that about half of the articles are just common information found on the internet these days, but I don't think we are going to renew this year. It might also be that the price per issue is high too.
I really love Cabin living...it has been a part of who I am since I was very young. We spend every weekend at the cabin in the summer and look for any way to improve the experience. For me Cabin Life wasn't enough about cabin stories, the life style or that "thing" that make cabin living unique. Articles about $50k pontoon boats just isn't relevant to me. I don't feel things such as this should be in the magazine. It should stories about old cabins, cabin towns, scenic routes, how to make cabin furniture/crafts, landscaping, wildlife directly related to cabins, games to try (Kubb! - loved that one)...etc
I was also hoping the forums and online would be a place to get more and become part of a community. The articles online are too much work to find and too little substance. Everything even full articles feel like teasers. And the forum is so badly organized that no frequency from users is seen.
I had high hopes for this magazine, but I think we will take a year off...Keep improving and we'll likely be back! Thanks for Kubb and cabin stories you shared with us.
Sad to see you go. As the publisher of the magazine, even one unsatisfied subscriber means we're not doing our job. A brand is, after all, nothing without its audience. Readers are the reason we do what we do.
You mention the article on Kubb. You enjoyed it and want more articles like it. We do, also. Write to us about your ideas, your cabin rituals, or your favorite things to do at the cabin. Those are the kinds of articles we're always looking for, but find it really difficult to eke out of people.
You get out of a community what you put into it, so keep that line of communication open. Let us know how you feel about the content in the magazine so we can keep improving everything we do for YOU!!!
Linda - from your reply I read that much of the content may come from readers? I have seen articles from posters here, possibly with that being the case maybe there is/was an understanding.
You mention "really difficult to eke out of people". What % of content do you hope for out of ideas from readers or literal from readers? What is the readership of the mag?
I, like cabin1, have always looked forward to the next issue arriving and at times have been disappointed with content. I'm sometimes reluctant to bring up discussions here on things that matter to me because I'm likely in the minority as we don't own the land, it is on Army Corps of Engineer land and our HOA pays to an annual lease for use of the land. I can't do many improvements that others have the ability to do. I still enjoy reading good articles on how people use their cabins, boats, etc. though.
I like Cabin1 and Blmeanie have noticed a sharp decline in forum activity. I have limited my activity on the forums considerably, hoping others may become more involved. I noticed for whatever reason the drop in activity coincided with the last change in format of the web site. Perhaps some have difficulty in navigating the new site. It is unfortunate as the concept of a Cabin Community online is something I truly looked forward to. There are many factors which contribute to this situation, competing publications are substatially larger and offer a more inclusive lifestyle. I recall summer activity so low on the forums that blmeanie posted all quiet on the forums.. is everyone enjoying the summer !! Emily or perhaps time permitting Linda should reach out to individuals on a one to one basis to examine concerns with the site and magazine. The online survey is not enough apparantly. I personally called Cabin Life stating my dislike of true names being used on the comments of articles placed online instead of the use of Pin Names. Ofcourse Cabin Life is a For Profit Business with a huge emphasis on BRANDING. BUT If you are losing your core subscribers a close look is called for. Please take this as constructive criticism, in todays world with the wealth of internet content and competition a business needs to be more responsive to its clientele. Magazine content like any book or novel has to draw it's readers into the story or in our case lifestyle. If someone is able to read the magazine in a single day and never picks it up again it speaks volume. Counting on readers for content is important but should not be the top priority. Originality and innovation is huge. The asking for potoon party shots seems not only repetitive but gaudy, I don't want to encourage a red-neck lifestyle. To me The Cabin Lifestyle has so much to offer, lets explore the possibilities.
Linda, I have tried to contribute. I replied to my follow members and even outlined a new forum layout, because this one isn't working. Postings are still in the wrong categories (and for over a year). This makes it nearly impossible to gain traction or to engage members to post.
As for the magazine. In the past four years I have only purchased books if they were related to cabins. The tops are Cabinology, Cabin, Your Cabin in the Woods, Waterfront Living, How to Build and Furnish a Log Cabin, etc. I researched about 20 architects websites that specialize in cabins or small structures and finally bought some land and built a small cabin. During the time of buying the land and building I looked to books, websites and even movies for inspiration (and sometimes comfort). I'd check out the magazine area each time in, but never found a Cabin magazine that captured the essence. They all seemed to be trying to sell something or review products. Sorry, but there is no better offering of product reviews than online...just look at amazon. Since content is king these days...why not own cabin life...instead of cabin products. Sure finding some unkown that makes unique items for a cabin is interesting, the alternative is not (big manufactures).
To own cabin life would mean capturing Cabin Life: stories of the many lake, back woods and mountain towns. Hightlighting one each issue. Little history of the town and what makes it unique. There are so many places in our own backyards we never get to see...and they have great history.
Old routes (with photos). I remember as a kid going to northern MN. We'd have to take the old route aound Millie Lacs Lake. That road doesn't exist as it did...you can' spot the vast lake between the trees anymore. There are great routes to our special places. These routes are what relaxes our minds and reminds us we are getting close to heaven. Stories of routes our fathers and grandfathers took.
Keep the quick facts about birds/wildlife.
Remove boat reviews. Options for alternate transportation while at the cabin good; compare- atv, golf cart, scooter, etc.
Avoid generic products like gas generators and put cabin/rustic products: outdoor shower, emergency cooking, water filter.
Compare building materials for the cabin. Have architects give you "cabin materials list". Shingles, siding, doors, beam sizes and any other things that make it feel like a cabin.
The magazine seems to be a lot about Water Life too. A lot of folks I know don't own lakefront property and in states other than MN, WI and MI the draw might be mountains or back country. Things that come up for these folks: off grid, propane appliances, building with trees onsite, dealing with rules and trying to building under the 200sft so they can avoid permits. To these folks it is about enjoying being away; chopping wood, hunting, fishing, building, adventure. Trying to make cabin life accessible and comfortable doesn't feel authentic. Our first cabin didn't have water or lights. We now remember those things as being what set it apart. Cabin Life is rooted so deep in the great escape. Life is even more difficult to enjoy now at the pace it races by. Teach us to renew with Cabin Life. Challenge us to make a Kubb set or walking stick or chair or firewood stand. Teach us how to survive the canoe flipping over in cold water. Tell us how others revive and relax.
I love the stories of people fixing their cabins...or how it was purchased or passed down. These are the things you can own, while no one else can.
There is a lot here...feel free to contact me via email. My goal was to have a go to magazine to keep bringing me closer in. So if I can help others get to that point, I'd be thrilled.
I agree with most of the comments. My wife and I bought a cabin shell and finished the inside ourselves. I did scour the internet to find ideas as well as looking through Cabin Life magazine for inspiration. I do enjoy articles about space saving ideas; the craze is SMALL now. Things like an article on pounding your own well for water, solar energy options, landscaping naturally so you don't have to mow or fertilize would be helpful. Camp cooking over a campfire or in cast iron dutch ovens can appeal to many readers. Of course decorating ideas with places to buy the decorations...
I also went to the Log Home Show this past weekend. while there were many booths for people who were looking to build a new cabin, there was only a small number of booths for us who already have one. (Nice to meet you Emily!)
Security at the cabin is also a growing area. I have seen people use trail cameras for security, I just don't know what to get.....
One place to see what people are looking for is to look at the questions posted here. Granted, ther eis only a limited number, but it is a start... Maybe a couple of full page ads so subscribers know that there is also a forum they can participate in...
As stated, the forums are for us and we can contribute... We just need to figure out how to get more members. Maybe a sale on Cabin Life items with a discount for forum members? I come here often, and look forward to each issue in the mail....
Well that sure lit a spark with everyone! Glad to see and hear that you're all passionate about the subject. You've shared some great ideas with us. Good timing, too, as we're in the process of yearlong planning.
@blmeanie: As a reader, you probably know that all of our "My Cabin" articles and "Photo Album" pictures come directly from readers. We use reader questions or discussions to fill out the "Q&A" section in each issue. We also feature short ideas and tips in our "Mailbox" section under the "From the Deck" umbrella.
Beyond those sections of the magazine, we welcome suggestions. But for the most part, our editors are working tirelessly to solicit content from a variety of sources—architects, designers, chefs, lake and land associations, building material suppliers/experts, naturalists, landscape architects and designers, environmentalists, and writers who have an affinity to and with cabin culture and lore.
In addition, we attend the Lake Home & Cabin Shows among other shows to meet and greet and get to know our readers.
@PGHPA611: Regarding the website reformatting (it was actually a software upgrade), I know Emily worked hard to accommodate all difficulties. But I'd say another change has been Facebook. More and more of our forum visitors seem to be migrating to that platform where posting and feedback are a little more immediate.
@cabin1: Not sure I remember seeing your outline for a new forum layout. I'll try to email you outside of this forum to get that information.
Thanks, everyone, for your input and suggestions. As I said, Cabin Life survives for its readers!!!
A wealth of great conversation and feedback here! Thanks to all for your suggestions and insight.
@tapone: It was great to meet you too! If you make it to the Milwaukee show, we'll have to have a longer chat. ;)
@cabin1: Even though you've decided not to renew, we do hope that you continue to have a presence in our online community. You have many valuable insights to share with other Cabin Life members, and you've proven to be great at sparking conversation. In the meantime, we'll be doing what we can to get you to subscribe again! :)
Hearing from our valued readers is my favorite part of being on the Cabin Life team!
Enjoy the weekend,
Emily HareEditorial AssistantCabin Life magazine