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'Chicken Soup' for the Magazine Reader

Hold the tears for Chicken Soup for the Soul magazine.

The bimonthly title, which has the same warm, fuzzy, feel-good sensibilities as the inspirational “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, collected more than 80,000 subscribers toward its 150,000-copy rate base even before launch next week.

“The difference between the book and the magazine is that the readers speak to the book and the magazine answers back,” said J. Mignonne Wright, president of Modern Media LLC and publisher/editor in chief of the magazine in Memphis, TN.

Subscriptions were generated from e-mail blasts to databases belonging to Beliefnet, Elvis Presley Enterprises and the “Chicken Soup” book series. Partnerships with marketers like Mantis Tiller offering the magazine as a giveaway and thank you to their customers also helped, as did direct consumer visits to the site at www.chickensoupmagazine.com.

Consumers pay $15 for six issues, or $3.95 at newsstand, to gain a similar mix of wisdom, motivation, memories and soul food available in more than 100 million “Chicken Soup” books sold in 36 languages and 100 versions.

Plans call for two issues this year. The matte-finished glossy-type magazine's first issue next year is February.

The debut issue's split covers feature Memphis' favorite son: Elvis Presley. One with a black-and-blue coloring theme, created for subscribers, shows a jaunty Elvis. The other, with a pink-and-black cover for newsstands, has a laughing Elvis. Al Wertheimer's never-before-seen photographs of the rock 'n' roll giant underpin the cover story.

Other topics in the inaugural issue focus on a miracle diet for a debilitating disease, grandmothers' favorite recipes, vintage clothes for pregnant women and a vacation in Miami. The magazine is divided into sections like Spotlight, The Good Life, Eclectic Wisdom, Home Front and Memories. The magazine's tagline is, “Changing the world one story at a time!”

Charter advertisers include Camp CMT, Singer, Michael C. Fina, Choice Hotels, Sony BMG's “All Shook Up” musical based on Elvis hits, Bush's Best baked beans, Tower Records, Hallmark Channel, ashford.com, Merck & Co. Inc.'s Singulair, New Orleans, Rhode Island, Amtrak, Roman Meal, Proflowers.com, answers.com and Kibbles 'n Bits.

All told, the 9-by-10 7/8 inch magazine begins life with 112 pages. It will be available on newsstands and stores like Barnes & Noble, Walden and even Wal-Mart.

Wright, formerly founder of best-of-life title American Magazine, shut her own book in February 2004 and launched the Chicken Soup magazine after being approached by Chicken Soup Enterprises. The Chicken Soup people saw a kindred spirit in her, appreciating the uplifting nature of her editorial focus.

Investors in Chicken Soup magazine include Southern stalwarts in management consulting, banking, architecture, medicine, manufacturing and real estate. They, like Wright and the Chicken Soup franchise owners, feel that the market is ripe for a title resonating hope and positive energy.

“There is a very intellectual aspect to the publication, but it brings out the inner child in the reader,” Wright said. “There are stories in the magazine that bring a tear to your eye, and there's things that are fun.”

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