Part of the fun in publishing our first-ever book is watching it come together, page by page, step by step.
If you aren't yet aware, “Cartoon Canon: An Illustrated History of Pittsburgh Sports,” a beautiful coffee-table-style assembly of 52 of staff artist Rob Ullman's finest pieces — is being offered to anyone buying a gift subscription at zero additional charge. The shipping is free, too.
In the past week, I wrote a foreword, and Rob has begun assembling the contents, order and more of the presentation, including designing and completing his final few original pieces. (I'm hearing that'll be heavy on Steelers.) Once that's all done -- in a week or so -- it'll get sent to the printer for both hardcover and softcover editions, similar to Rob's sample copy seen above.
From there, it's all about the push and the promotion ...
... in our attempt to sell ... wow, who knows how many gift subscriptions?
We haven't really come up with a numerical goal for this, if only because we've got no precedent, obviously. We are hoping for the biggest December we've ever had from a revenue standpoint -- that was set in 2016 -- but that's a number that's ... ambitious. Just estimating here, but we'd need to sell somewhere in the range of 600-plus gift subscriptions to pull that off.
Here are the three ways to get one:
• One-year gift subscription: Same price as always, $39.99, and you get a softcover version of the book. Shipping is free.
• Three-year gift subscription: Same price as always, $87, and you also get a deluxe hardcover version of the book personally signed by Ullman. Shipping is free.
• Ultimate gift subscription: This one is nuts. It'll be $225, and the recipient gets a five-year subscription, the deluxe hardcover version of the book personally signed by Ullman, a separate autographed bookplate of an Ullman sketch of Pittsburgh's all-time greatest athletes, plus one of those foam Lunatic Bricks (yes, we still have 'em), plus one of the DK Sports hoodies. Even here, shipping is all free.
We hope you've noticed Matt Sunday on the road more often. It's not an accident. There are so many additional dimensions he brings to our coverage that, in a few cases over recent weeks, he's been assigned to an important trip rather than a second reporter. He can take pics, obviously, but he also can write, analyze, and he's been awesome on those new Road Team videos we've been doing.
That's why, beyond doing all Steelers road games -- he's always done those -- he's made recent hockey trips to Toronto, Brooklyn and Newark, and it's why he'll be joining me all through this coming Denver-Winnipeg-Denver trip this week. The Steelers play in Denver first, and then the Penguins play in Winnipeg, followed by Denver. We're doing the whole thing. (Dale Lolley will also be in Denver for football, obviously.) We hope to have a blast with the whole thing, especially in Manitoba.
It's nice having Sunday around. Just so many more ways to tell you the story when he is.
Because of our business partnership with Fanatics.com, the industry leader in sports merchandise, we're able to offer you that company's excellent discounts -- and almost-always free shipping -- right here through our site/app. And the dual benefit, at least if you're among the readers who kind of like what we do here, is that our company gets 15 percent from every purchase. So if you buy a $100 jersey, $15 of that comes to us.
That might not sound like much, but every little bit bolsters the bottom line here, so we're always looking.
Thank you in advance if you choose this route.
OUR OWN HOODIE, TOO!
We're also selling, on a separate platform, our own DK Sports hoodie, if only because we legitimately have a lot of people asking about these. It's charcoal gray, it's super-soft and comfortable -- I'm pretty sure I live half my life in one, you might have noticed -- and it's available in all sizes from small to 2XL.
The price is $49.99, with free shipping.
• We had a rough go of it tech-wise on Thanksgiving, with the site/app going up and down for several hours. Our friends at Build In Motion gave up a big chunk of their holiday to straighten it out by around midnight. It's appreciated. We're convinced it's been solved and, even though it was our first outage of 2018, we're taking steps to ensure there won't be another.
• One of the many goals of the overarching, ongoing project to improve logins/alerts is to streamline and speed up all processes. We honestly believe that'll help avoid messes like Thanksgiving, as well.
• Can't stress this enough, but use the app. It's where we put almost all of our tech resources, it's got the best version of our Live Feed, and it's free:
SEEKING BUSINESS PARTNERS
Currently available for sponsorships: (Some) Steelers, (some) Penguins, Pitt, Duquesne, Penn State, West Virginia, Carter's Classroom, Friday Insider, Stats 'N' At, Wilkes-Barre Watch and Wheeling Watch. This is our updated media kit for much more detail. If you're interested in connecting with our large, passionate following, email me at Dali@DKPittsburghSports.com. -- Dali Kovacevic
BACK TO BUSINESS
• Subscriptions are at 37,451. That's minus-5 over the past week.
• We had 500,832 page views over the past week. Our most-hit article -- exempting live files -- was DK's column on the Steelers' huge rally in Jacksonville at 7,785. The Penguins accounted for 96,721 of our page views, the Steelers 82,172, the Pirates 26,725, Pitt 22,841, Penn State 3,645, Duquesne 2,018, West Virginia 1,511, and all the rest were below 1,000.
• We're at 29,217 (+2) page likes on Facebook, we're at 29,061 (+23) followers on Twitter, and we're at 9,062 (+24) followers on Instagram. These figures are just for our official company account on each platform, not for us as individuals.
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