The original idea to fill a magazine with contributions from our readers was not mine. It came from another editor… and the notion was shockingly unconventional. I’d never heard of it being done in the automotive industry before. (You should know that trade magazines are not generally known for reader involvement.)
But from the start, Canadian Technician readers have been extremely supportive of the magazine, and contributions have never been in short supply. We thought it might work… and it did, better than we had any right to expect.
Our Reader’s Issues have become so popular that many of you say it’s the highlight of the year. The Reader’s Issues have given you a chance to hear from literally hundreds of shop owners, service managers, and technicians – all of whom have ventured out of their comfort zones to put their thoughts down on paper.
As I said, this was the brainchild of another editor. So, four years into this, I’m finally going to get my hands dirty. I’ll be the one wading through the stack of submissions and putting them into something that resembles a logical order. And I expect to have another bumper crop of submissions this year.
If previous issues are any indication, here’s what you’ll send in:
* Management advice. Are you doing something new that has really helped organize your shop or streamline your business? Are you marketing your services and connecting with your customers in some unique way? Tell us the secrets of your success!
* Technical articles. Tackled an interesting job lately? Learned some new short cuts? Every technician – from the first year apprentice to the hot dog in the shop – loves to learn a new trick.
* Industry analysis. What do you see when you look at our trade? Are we making progress? Do we have a long way to go? What do you see on the horizon? The changing fleet, the advancing technology… how are we going to keep up?
* Political action ideas. We face some big challenges ahead. If you were king of the industry, what would you decree? What would you tell government… or consumer groups… or other shops?
* Opinion pieces. Whether it steams your butt or makes you glow with pride, tell us what you think of the state of the industry, the economy, the OE manufacturers, and your suppliers. Dollars to donuts there a plenty of people who agree with you!
* Funny stories. Give us a laugh. Lord knows we could use it some days!
* Personal histories. Why did you get into this business? What have you loved most? Who was your biggest influence? Who was your best customer?
* Unusual photographs. Everyone loves the EyeSpy pictures we run. Do you have one to submit? Do you have a “wall of shame” or a unique marketing tool? What about your innovative customer waiting area or your comfortable employee lounge? (Yes, some shops have them, and they’re awesome!)
I’m looking forward to receiving all of this and more.
It’s a little daunting to run a magazine that so many people feel personally invested in, but it is also extremely gratifying. Thank you for being not only a great audience, but a great industry!
If you’d like to be a part of this year’s Reader’s Issue, send your contributions to me at email@example.com, or by snail mail to 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, Ont. M9W 5C4.