Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Atlantic Business: Powerful Women

Posted by Scott On February - 23 - 2021ADD COMMENTS

Here’s what Atlantic Business magazine’s Editor Dawn Chafe had to say about her latest issue:

Thematically speaking, March is Atlantic Business Magazine’s annual energy issue. Meaning oil, gas, hydroelectricity, wind, etc. However, during our editorial planning for this issue, we realized that the publication date is the same week as International Women’s Day.

Inspired by a wave of global leaders like Kamala Harris, Angela Merkel and Chrystia Freeland, we decided to include an article that recognized powerful women in Atlantic Canada’s business community. We settled on ‘powerful’ because it’s synonymous with energy. And 25 because it was a number large enough to impress but still manageable from a print perspective.

Impulsively, we put out a 24-word post on social media: “If you were working on a list of Atlantic Canada’s most powerful women, who would you expect it to include? Asking for a friend.” Contrary to all social media wisdom, we didn’t include any photos or hashtags. We didn’t expect a lot of feedback, but we hoped we might get a couple of suggestions. We were wrong.

Within a handful of days, that post had over 25,000 views (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter combined) with hundreds of comments and even more recommendations. Even before the magazine was published, we felt we had a winner.

Strategically, we used the coveted top right corner of the cover to announce this was our 25 Most Powerful Women issue. Next, we put three of the most recognizable faces in Atlantic Canada on the cover – the three women public health officers who’ve been leading the fight against Covid in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. We felt this would both capitalize on their public personas and maximize the cover’s appeal for audiences in three provinces. We even examined photos of our magazine on newsstands to measure how much of a cover is typically visible – then we made sure that enough of each health officer’s face was showing so as to be immediately recognizable.

Moving to the story lines at the bottom of the page, we deliberately referenced the name of each province covered in the story – really hammering home that we are Atlantic Canada’s business magazine and leaving no one in any doubt what we mean by that.

Next, we looked to the physical presence of the magazine. What could we do to show readers that this is something special? With the newsstand in mind, we opted to replace the red ink in our logo with red foil. We felt this would catch the light as people perused the newsstand – whatever it takes to stand out! Then, we considered our thud factor and tactile appeal. For that, we invested in 80 lb soft touch matte cover weight paper, with a 60 lb soft matte stock on the inside pages.

To really take it over the top, we booked front page advertising in newspapers across the region for Monday, March 8 – International Women’s Day. The ads direct people to our website, where they will find instructions on how to purchase an individual copy or subscription via the website and lists every retailer in Atlantic Canada that sells our magazine:

Will March 2021 be the best-selling magazine we’ve ever produced? That’s yet to be determined. But it won’t be for lack of trying on our part.


National Bird & Wolverine

Posted by Scott On February - 3 - 2021ADD COMMENTS

Check out the two covers from Canadian Geographic in 2021.

The National Bird cover goes on sale Feb 15th, 2021.  The Wolverine cover is on sale now.

In 2016 Nov/Dec issue we also featured the National Bird, and it was the best-selling issue that year.  So, if it works keep doing it.

We also always do well with predators on the cover, and this is the first time we’ve ever featured the elusive Wolverine. Art Director Javier Frutos used a crisp clean white background and one of our boldest main sell lines ever on this one.  Plus the skybar tribute to legend Alex Trebek was a nice touch.

Two Good Ones From Toronto Life

Posted by Scott On January - 28 - 2021ADD COMMENTS

The January and February 2021 covers of Toronto Life are good examples of how to keep it positive despite the pandemic.

We all know its been brutal, so no need to be-labor that obviously depressing reality. These covers offer some desperately needed hope for a better 2021!

Bravo Toronto Life!



Posted by Scott On January - 26 - 2021ADD COMMENTS

The Feb/Mar 2021 issue of Canada’s History is set to hit newsstands on Jan 25th, 2021.

Art Director James Gillespie has created a powerful, eye-catching cover, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the discovery of the lifesaving drug insulin.

The crisp white background works well to create the multi-layered effect of the bottle and Banting and Best.  The hot orange logo and the bold type treatment also work hard.  Four additional hooks in the skybar area offer readers additional reasons to pick up a copy.

Look for this one to sell.


Day One

Posted by Scott On January - 22 - 2021ADD COMMENTS

Time magazine’s latest cover.

Fanning the flames of division.  I’ll bet it works.

Great Navel Battles

Posted by Scott On January - 22 - 2021ADD COMMENTS

The Legion’s first SIP of 2021 is set to hit newsstands on February 1st, 2021.

Art Director Jennifer McGill has created a strong visual for this year’s cover.

Unlike most magazines, the Legion has found that illustrated covers perform quite well.

Look for a promotion at Shoppers Drug Mart.




Posted by Scott On January - 22 - 2021ADD COMMENTS

The Mar/Apr 2021 issue of Legion magazine is off to press, and will hit newsstands on February 22nd.

Art Director Jennifer McGill has created an action-packed, energetic cover. This cover checks a lot of boxes.

  • Strong skybar treatment
  • Bold type for main sell
  • Starburst
  • Plus Sign
  • UPC in lower right corner
  • And most importantly a subject that will have broad appeal to our market

Master Your Router

Posted by Scott On January - 19 - 2021ADD COMMENTS

The Feb/Mar 2021 issue of Canadian Woodworking hits newsstands this week.

Art Director Jonathan Cresswell-Jones has hit another homerun with this action packed cover.

The skybar area continues to be a dynamic selling tactic for Canadian Woodworking.  And the button technique adds punch too.

Perfect placement of the main sell line, good use of numbers to highlight benefits, so look for this to sell.

Canadian Woodworking just completed 6 years in a row with sales growth!


2020 Swimsuit Issue…and the verdict is?

Posted by Scott On December - 16 - 2020ADD COMMENTS

The 2020 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue results are in.  This year’s issue was pushed by the SI spin doctors as important and groundbreaking, in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.  Why?  Well, because the brand was going to be featuring their first transsexual bikini model!  Plus, as an added bonus, their PR team pushed their coverage of obese women in bikinis.  So how did that work out?  Did the gushing, free media coverage earn them legions of new customers lining up to plunk down their hard-earned cash?  Or did it send their core audience of red-blooded pig dog dudes running for the hills?

You be the judge.  In chronological order from 2015 to 2020…

“The 23-year-old Brazilian beauty was just named a 2020 Rookie for the upcoming issue (on stands July 21), which marks the first time the iconic magazine has featured a transgender model.”

Valentina Sampaio was photographed by Josie Clough in Scrub Island, BVI. Swimsuit by TRIANGL.

And for the third year in a row Sports Illustrated featured the “world’s curviest” plus size model.

In Canada the sales were:

2015:  33,059 copies sold, worth $297,200

2016:  28,770 copies sold, worth $258,600

2017:  30,986 copies sold, worth $309,550

2018:  18,239 copies sold, worth $182,208

2019:  15,795 copies sold, worth $157,792

2020:  7,063 copies sold, worth $77,622…down 55.3%.



Toronto Life Quiz (Pick the Best)

Posted by Scott On December - 10 - 2020ADD COMMENTS

Take the Quiz.  Guess which of the 3 top-selling covers of 2019 was the best for Toronto Life.

Answers will be provided below.

Pan down to get answers.  No cheating now.


Jan 2019                                       Apr 2019                                   Jul 2019

Answers Below.

Don’t look yet.

Are you sure of your guess?




If you guessed Jul 2019 was the best you’d be correct…Juicy Gossip on High Profile Family…so much fun.  Irresistible!

If you guessed Jan 2019 was second best you’d be correct…Self Indulgence…count me in.  That sounds like fun too.

If you guessed Apr 2019 was third best you’d be correct…Mouth-watering food…yum…a staple for Toronto Life fans like me.



About Me

Scott Bullock is a veteran circulation expert with over 38 years experience in both Canada and the United States. He has worked on trade titles such as Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, School Library Journal and Small Press in the USA. In consumer magazines, Scott was the Circulation Director for D Magazine (the city magazine of Dallas, Texas), and in Canada he was the Circulation Director for Toronto Life, Fashion, and Canadian Art. From 2000 to 2004, Scott was a partner at Coast to Coast Newsstand Services. Scott has also held the post of VP Sales & Marketing, for CDS Global, Canada. Currently, CoversSell.Com is Scott’s circulation consultancy. Active clients include: Fly Fusion, Canadian Geographic, Canadian House & Home, Canada’s History, Canadian Real Estate Wealth, Canadian Woodworking, Canadian Cycling, Canadian Running, Canadian Scrapbooker, Legion, Harrowsmith, SkyNews, and SuperTrax.



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