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Desert Rat
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Discussion Starter #1
I recently submitted an article to Todd Kaderbak for consideration in a future issue of the Toyota Trails. I wrote the article in response to a thread that was started on PBB. While I wouldn't have minded posting my thoughts directly to the board [like I usually do] I remember learning the hard way, along with Georg Esterer and some of our Rubithon crew, that TT will not consider using material that has already been posted to the Internet. Since I thought that it would be nice to see my name in print, I decided to hold off on posting and see what Todd had to say. The problem is, the more I think about it, the harder it is to justify waiting 6 months or more for the chance to be 'published'.

I started making a list of some of the pros and cons of printing an article versus posting a thread, and thought that it would be a good idea to find out what you guys think as well. One of the cool things about PBB is that it is not a tool of the TLCA, and while there is some overlap in membership, there is also a great deal of independence. This thread is NOT an opportunity for you to flame TLCA; if you've got the need, start your own thread. But if you have some specific comments about posting versus publication, bring em on.

A. Pros of publication

1. Ego. It is just nice to see your name in print, in something more permanent than an Internet thread, which is here today, gone tomorrow

2. Permanence. Again, as opposed to the here today, gone tomorrow nature of a thread, the article is there every time you open the Trails again. Maybe that's a factor of ego as well.

3. Insulation. A thread is immediately open to direct review, criticism and outright flaming. An article may stir controversy, but that controversy is not aired out in the Trails. An article will always stand in a somewhat insulated position, stating its case in a forum that is free from direct controversy. If you feel the article has merit, then you appreciate the fact that it is freed from the direct pressure, the will and whim of a BBS community to amend or delete it. If you feel the article is without merit, then this is just a source of frustration

B.Cons of publication

1. Timeliness. TT, like TLCA, is staffed by volunteers. It is an unavoidable result of this that it usually takes 6 months or more for a submission to hit the mailbox, assuming it is accepted for immediate publication. If your submission has much to do with current events, then it can be downright embarrassing to see it six months later, when the events have taken a whole different turn. For instance it would be pathetic to write an article about the 'upcoming' election, lets say in October, to see it in your mailbox in March '05! This reality pretty much means that TT is not an appropriate forum for ANYTHING where time is of importance.

2. Review process. If Dan Rather and CBS can have problems with the appropriate review process, it goes without saying that the review process in a volunteer organization is far from formal. The criteria for review are ambiguous, and are not likely to change. While every organization needs structure, too much structure in a volunteer organization leads to ...............no volunteers! When was the last time you went to a club meeting that strictly adhered to Robert's Rules of Order? We're all here to have fun, so if the standards of review for TT seem a little arbitrary, you'd have to think really hard about how to design a system that was not so structured that it would take a YEAR to review submissions. Look at how long it takes for the BOD to even get a quorum to discuss important business! Sheeesh!

3. Favoritism. The lack of structure I just spoke of leaves the editorial staff with a great deal of discretion as to what is ultimately published. Many who have been passed over for publication consider this discretion favoritism. Other than 'rewarding' the Association president with a little soapbox every two months in exchange for agreeing to be the point man for EVERY controversy, I don't think anyone is 'guaranteed' a spot in the Trails. I do however think there are several more subtle forms of favoritism, and I do not think they are likely to change. That's as much as I'd like to say about that.

I know that if I were the editor of the Trails, I would have two forms of favoritism. First off, I would personally favor those who have a better grasp of the English language over the run-of-the-mill BBS posters [and you know who you are] who abuse a keyboard because they can! I would also favor those who have technical mechanical experience AND trail experience over those who only have trail experience or mechanical experience. [walking the walk and talking the talk]. This would make me lean towards guys like Mark Whatley and Nolen Grogen, who already contribute regularly, and to a loyal following. Problem is, I don't know how many other guys JUST LIKE THEM are being passed over. And I wouldn't want to lower my first standard to try and make TT into another politically-correct-diversity lovefest. :flipoff2:

C. Pros of posting.

1. Immediate ego gratification
2. Immediate peer review
3. The ability to amend or delete
4. TIMELINESS
5. No issues about review processes or favoritism

D.Cons of posting

1. No insulation from flaming
2. Very few threads survive the test of time [including this one!]
3. Threads can be hijacked

So I'm thinking that maybe one way out of this whole mess is to have an online TT, where ALL the submissions that have been passed over get published IMMEDIATELY. That way the community will have the benefit of the writer's contribution, in a more timely manner, and all of the volunteers in the review process are freed from the air of suspicion that surrounds a closed-door decision-making process. We can all see what they passed over, and decide, as a community, if the appropriate choices are being made. Then we can all end up second-guessing the editorial staff like Monday morning quarterbacks, and piss them off until they quit! :eek:

Of course another option would be for us to all vote on what goes into the Trails, which would turn the publishing world upside down. Then EVERYTHING would be published to the Internet FIRST, and publication would depend on balloting. Then we could have new controveries about ballot stuffing,our own version of internet hanging chads [well so and so had better chat, while so and so had better pics] and yes, more charges of favoritism. :shaking:
 

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I am trying to decide if you got a rejection letter, or you do not like something or some one inTLCA or TT. I can not say anything about TT. My tlca #was 3366 I think, but when I started rock racing in 1999, I stopped having time to enjoy the hobby or TLCA. I do not think the idea of an unregulated online TT would work verry well. I could only imagine the misinformation that would come from that. PirateBB works well because no one is afraid to call bullshit to anyone here. I do not know what your idea of an online TT would do. I mean no disrespect, but are you serious.
 

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I will flame if it is appropriate.

I honestly believe that a publication like TT is always going to be next to my crapper...


Mark, I think you might be overreacting..
 

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I have never recieved the mag and may soon be seeing them on my door step but would welcome a article every issue by a new name. Yes like anything, the articles can get stale and new blood is always a welcome departure from the norm.

The idea of a not so great or properly written article is very interesting as long as it was written from a true cruiser heads heart.
 

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Desert Rat
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Discussion Starter #6
heavytlc said:
I am trying to decide if you got a rejection letter, or you do not like something or some one inTLCA or TT. I can not say anything about TT. My tlca #was 3366 I think, but when I started rock racing in 1999, I stopped having time to enjoy the hobby or TLCA. I do not think the idea of an unregulated online TT would work verry well. I could only imagine the misinformation that would come from that. PirateBB works well because no one is afraid to call bullshit to anyone here. I do not know what your idea of an online TT would do. I mean no disrespect, but are you serious.
Actually Jason, I should make it clear that there is NO SPECIFIC PROBLEM. Todd has actually agreed to print the article, and I have no problems with TT or TLCA. No hidden agenda. Just asking for some thoughts.

My point is, if you wrote something good, and wanted to share it, would you wait 6 months or more to see it in print, or would you just post it.

Considering that I posted this to an audience that is used to the instant gratification of a BBS, I may get some skewed answers. At least they will be entertaining tho! :D
 

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Man, and I thought I think too much! :D

I think TT is better than we should expect for an 4x4 association newsletter. I find the mag quality sometimes makes me expect 4x4 mag quality, when, in fact, the editor does well on less pay than at a prof mag. And the contributors selected do a fair to good job. Still, you are right, Mark, that TT could pull from a wider range of contributors, but I would have to see what TT's editor receives in the way of contributions, esp. unsolicited ones. Don't forget that TT must cater some to advertisers to cut down on costs thru accompanying ads. I'd like to see more product reviews with the idea that contributors would not be biased towards the adverts since TT has fewer ads than TLC products available. Maybe some Cruiser shop work articles with pics, since the 4x4 mags would rarely bother to find Cruiserhead shops. And more how to rig a Cruiser like Nolen's great article on Woody's axle. Even little things like using an SST to set a preload on a knuckle.

Some good points, overall, Mark. I wonder if such a discussion couldn't be presented to TT's editor or thru regional reps. Might see some improvements in an otherwise good newsletter.

Edit: Forgot to say: I think well thought out, thorough examinations of any topic relevant to TLCs belongs in TT where its edited clarity can be savored. And Mark, sounds like you have experienced a writer's angst after letting go of his work. You don't like losing control of your thoughts in words. We are our thoughts, whether written down or not, so this is no trivial matter to our psyche, just to the world at large. As something of a writer, I understand all too well.

Walt<><
 

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65SWB45 said:
My point is, if you wrote something good, and wanted to share it, would you wait 6 months or more to see it in print, or would you just post it.
Well them, I guess you could count me out. I am sharper than the idiot I look like when I type. I wish I could just talk to everyone over a phone or with a beer. I see your point.
 

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Mark,

Here's a major PRO of publication to add to your list:

=> Helping support the TLCA and its cause.

The TLCA and the Toyota Trails reaches a different audience than the on-line forums. The purposes of the venues are not the same.

For example, I always recommend the TLCA and TT to any cruiser owner I meet. However, I think twice before referring them to this forum. :flipoff2:

I hope every TLCA member would consider submitting an article. The simple motivation is to help other cruiserheads. The association and its members are devoted to "champion the history and tradition of the Land Cruiser and other Toyota 4WD vehicles." This is a wider audience than the on-line forums. The fact that it overlaps with the on-line forums is reason enough to strive for separate and unique material.

How many times have we heard the primary reason people join the TLCA is to receive the Toyota Trails? Submitting articles helps the TT, which helps the TLCA and in turn helps "the cause."

I think it's worth sacrificing immediate gratification - once in while – for the chance to support the TLCA.
 

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I dont see an online TT working. It would become just another BBS eventually. I could "maybe" see an online article posting but it would require yet another volunteer to act as editor and decide what gets posted, when and how. The issue you mentioned would be the exact same in the online mag.

TT acts as the visible end of the TLCA. Many members do not get to go to events or particiate in clubs and their only real connection to the club is through the mag. That is why every issue has a little bit for everyone but not a lot for any one group.

A few ideas:
1. Make TT larger. Bigger issues with more info in them. That means more cost and more time to set up. If the size were to double I think we would need a full time editor and that wont be cheap :flipoff2:

2. Do what Chris is doing and get more advertisers; that gets you more money.

3. Consider selling the TT as just a mag not as part of the club membership.

4. Do theme issues. You would have all the standard info in the issue then a theme of FJ 40 stuff one issue, hardcore one issue, resto one issue etc.... this could backfire on you quickly

I am amazed at the quality of the TT as it currently stands. I cant see any way to really address Marks' issues without increasing the size and frequency of the mag.
 

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I think you are under the impression the TT Editor has a vault of material that he passes on each month that gets pushed farther and farther down the line. He really doesn't and before Todd took over there were times that Henry would call around to "the usual suspects" asking for a contribution.

Man, I PROMISE that if the submission you submit is well thought out, not a grammatical nightmare and has good accompanying shots it will get published.

Also, if you know of something coming up and the magazine needs to run it at a certain time (like the announcement of the first annual Lone Star Cruiser Roundup), you let the Editor know way in advance so he can reserve space in that issue.

I just saw a trail run in 4Wheel and Sport Utility publised in October 2004 that I attended in October 2002!!! You think the pros are "Johhny on the Spot?" TT gets stuff out amazingly fast and that is a tribute to Todd and his hard work.

As for non-timely articles, Todd has said it 100 times here, on IH8MUD and in TT that if it is a good article, it will run. Just be patient and he will tuck it in where it is needed. That awesome story by Reddog about the girl and the 45 in Vietnam was submitted almost a year before it was published.

As for me, man, I love it when I get a suggestion on an Outside the Box article that will take my eyes out of Texas. Problem is, most of the stuff I see is either here or at a TLCA run, so I am sometimes limited, HOWEVER, I am always open to suggestions of vehicles or items to cover. So if you see something cool on the trail, send me the info or better yet, write the entire OTB yourself and I will turn the column over to you on that issue. That is what it is for!

Anyway, good discussion. Yes it sucks holding your great pics for a mag article, but as it was stated above, do it for the mag and do it for the TLCA.
 

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Actually, you'd likely be surprised at the large numbers of people who aren't online, or who don't get out of their inbox. Wisconsin is FULL of those people...lol

What has worked well a few times is the publication of the article in TT, and the followup with additional information online. I've got quite a few things on 'MUD that were published, then posted with a great deal of additional photos, and some additions/corrections to the print article.

IMO, an online-only newsletter/magazine is NOT a good idea...the big advantage to print is that it comes TO YOU once every two months.

I'm working now on linking forum discussion threads to many of the articles linked on 'MUD, so people with questions can ask them in one place, and help others with questions they may have.
 

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I submit my stuff to TT, patiently await it's rejection, then start a thread on here, www.nwcruisers.com, or send it to North West Cruisers of Idaho's newsletter. It's a fairly timely process since rejection usually comes quick. It would be interesting to see what others are writing in but I don't see a ballot process working.

An online TT would be nice, but that would take more time and $$ and we're already sliding down the slippery slope of "TT must cater some to advertisers to cut down on costs thru accompanying ads"
I don't think we need more overhead.

Submit your stuff, if it's good, be patient and get your ego fix, if it's crap, put it up here the instance you're rejected and recieve some "timely" flaming and ridicule.
 

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Mark,
I understand the feeling of "hey I did something Good, I want to see what others say". That's human nature, nothing wrong with that. I agree with everyone else and would not change TT to be online. I guess if you have something that you have to get out, then TT is not the best medium. That's whats so great about technology, we have so many choices now. Just think, a few years ago you wouldn't be debating this.

I think thats great that you wrote an article for TT. I can't wait to read it. Of course, after publication, we can still flame you. "Geeeezzzz Mark ... What were you thinking . . . ." Until then we will just have to be patient waiting for your literary premier!

Ken
 

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I see no problems with the speed at which stories make it into the Trails. The most recent is a perfect example... Nolen and Slee went to the ARB run in, what, June? and the story showed up in my mail box at the end of August. That is a pretty quick turn around. I also know the write up of the Round Up was lightning fast.

I have no complaints or qualms about TT. Keep up the good work :beer: Now I just wish I had time to actually sit down and read it. :(
 

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I was a TLCA member back around 96-99 or so... Haven't seen a Toyota Trails since then. Wasn't a bad rag back then, I would have scored it better than any of the conventional 4xrags of the day.

Maybe one day I will re-up my TLCA membership and see how it looks today :)
 

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i too would love to see a larger tlca printed more often, but i doubt it's possible. have you ever tried to get people to write stories, articles, etc for you? it just doesn't happen. it was bad enough that at one point, tt was paying for articles to get people motivated more. and, as has been stated, it has far better turn around than the big rags...i usually read about may runs in october there, while the tlca events are in tt's next issue. i've been reading tt since 1990 or so and have watched it grow from an 8 page xeroxed newsletter to a coor magazine and am amazed, but at the same time ashamed that in that time i have contributed so little. remember, tt's success comes from the tlca members, not just it's staff.
 

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One thing to consider is that some articles go in particular issues due to timing. Cruise Moab articles happen right after CM or just prior to a Cruise Moab. Winter runs go in the winter months. Etc... And sometimes an article my suit going with an advertisement that is coming up. 6 months isn't that long for a bimonthly publication. Remember that at the time of your submission one issue is probably ready to be printed. The next issue is getting the last few polishing touches. And the issue following that is probably in the middle of a layout. Also, some articles might not go too well with other articles in the same issue or they may work well with other articles.

I've been rejected quite a few times. But that is OK. I've also realized that I have to have something special to make it worth the space. Not everyone wants to read about Creig and Eric's Most Excellent Land Cruiser Club. Even though we think it is cool, it might have a real limited audience. It isn't our fault that the LC Community doesn't revolve around us like the Earth around the Sun.

One thing that I've always thought was strange is the photos that have been chosen for articles. I know a little about the process. Like a vertical shot is more likely to be chosen for a cover. LCs should point towards the inner seam on the page. And then some photos that I thought were really awesome didn't make it but some of the crappier ones (my opinion) did make it. The worst instance I can think of is when Henry did the members' rigs issues. I had sent a picture of a my 60 parked on the street to him to show 33s on a non lifted 60. It wasn't for TT, it was about a discussion that was happening on the LCML. The members' pages came out and that was the picture of my 60 that appeared. I was really bummed because I had a lot of cool pictures of it that I had enclosed with the description.

It is tough being Patient these days. We live in a world of now Now NOW! We have Cell phones to talk to people instantly, we use the internet to shoot letters almost instantaneously, we post our pictures on the net or email, there is very little waiting in the world today. I find myself being impatient too. After Sean posted the note about the article in 4wheel Adventures about the Truggy I had to wait 3 days for my issue to arrive. It seemed like a year had passed. I think a lot of times our expectations are too high for timeliness.
 

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Just to confirm, I have entrusted Todd with full responsibility for Trails. To be specific, He is the Man! Period. He has full control of Trails regarding format, content, 'cover shots' and everything that goes into producing the publication.

And a lesson I learned when Henry B. was editor, if you want to get published, cater to the editors wishes. for instance, as noted, good grammer helps, good content is needed and good photos are a must. If you provide those, you will make Trails.

Everyone has noted good points here including Mark. Eric was correct about timliness (spelling?), and Jim hit upon an excellent Pro, helping the association.

Now as noted, I have submitted stuff and after it did not show up in 6 months, I then went on and moved into the club newsletter or forums.
Remember, if you submit just one article, don't be bummed if it does not make it. Keep submitting. Avoid 'blow by blow' articles and focus on people, surroundings and trucks. However, I must admit, I'm writing a blow by blow article now... a bit tough to avoid it from sounding like every other article.

and as noted, change is good.

DRM, hit me offline for a sample issue, you'll be impressed.

but if you want to get printed every issue, simply accept a nomination for President. Since becoming President, I've managed to get my writing and photo in every issue of Trails! (joking around of course)

Good thread, good info about Trails articles and How To.
 

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TJK
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The review process for editorial submissions to Toyota Trails is far from arbitrary. I review it, if I deem it worthy, I publish it as soon as I can. There is absolutely no favoritism involved. Submit a quality story in a usable format with some good photos, you're in. Heck, I don't even know 99% of the people who submit, how could I play favorites? There are regular contributors, yes, but they get in because they have a relevant and interesting contribution to make, on a regular basis.

As to the time line, let's take your story as an example. You submitted it at the point the Nov/Dec issue was complete in terms of editorial selection. Basically 6 weeks in advance of publication (which is the time table that puts it in your mailbox on time, every time). As I said, I would then consider it for publication in the Jan/Feb issue, so at the earliest 14 weeks from date of submission. Not six months, although I will concede that by its very nature the print publication process is slower than the web publication process. Nothing I can do about that.

Trust me, your idea to publish everything that doesn't print in Trails at an online Trails site is a flawed idea. That said, one of the initiatives for 2005 is to publish archival and teaser Trails materials at tlca.org. And Nolen is correct, we're not exactly overrun with submissions.

I appreciate your input and would only request that if you do decide to post your article to the web, please let me know. I have it in the publishing queue here at Trails, but will remove it if you want me to do so.

At the end of the day, Toyota Trails is only as good as what people submit. And in my opinion, what you all submit is pretty damned good.

Now if you all will excuse me I need to go to Haiti and do something of actual importance.

TJK
 
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