On "Hazlitt"

Produced and published by Random House of Canada, Hazlitt is the publisher's "new flagship digital habitat, a general interest magazine that examines culture and current affairs using books as the fulcrum."

The magazine's title references the great essayist and critic William Hazlitt. It's interesting that he is now a relatively obscure figure. The editors explain "what the hell is a Hazlitt?" in a lengthy section of the magazine's FAQ.

Submission policies and editorial guidance

Hazlitt uses a submission management tool ("submittable") to collect and screen what comes over the transom: hazlitt.submittable.com/submit. The editors write that they are "now accepting freelance pitches, query letters, and story ideas for consideration (we will also look at unsolicited non-fiction manuscripts)." The magazine publishes in many media, but the focus in their FAQ and submission pages is on writing (not audio, illustration, or other formats they produce.)

The magazine publishes writing in two major categories: blog posts and features. The blog is for shorter pieces (800-1,00 words or less). Features demand a higher word count (1,000 or more words) and "some amount of first-hand reporting and/or research." Features might include "journalism, personal essays, think pieces, travelogues, cultural criticism, memoir, and profiles." Apparently, the editors "are especially looking to add more long-form pieces of 2,500 words or more."

What is the target market for this magazine? 

The audience is literate and a part of the global online conversation about books and ideas. There is, of course, a strong Canadian undercurrent throughout the magazine's offerings, but it is clearly directed to an international audience as well. Those who publish to the web are making their work "World Wide" after all, but the cosmopolitan tone may be a reflection of the large proportion of non-Canadians visiting the Random House of Canada website. According to the online traffic monitor [Alexa.com](http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/http%3A%2F%2Fwww.randomhouse.ca), 37.5% of the publisher's web visitors are from the United States. Hazlitt seems to be both a cultural ambassador for Canadian writing and an introduction service for outside authors to connect with Canadian readers.

What makes this market unique? 

From the TLS, New York Review of Books, and the New York Times Book Review down to champion Goodreads commenters and Amazon reviewers, it seems there are now as many outlets and voices talking about books as there are people who buy books. In that crowded market Hazlitt seems to be banking on sensibility and perspective. It is literary, yet unpretentious. Global in mind, but rooted in its Canadian soil. It is also a well-designed website with very browsable content. Based on a quick survey of the editors' and staffers' savvy social media presences, they seem adept at blending book talk into the atmosphere of cocktail party chatter that sets the tone on Twitter, for instance.

What is their online strategy?

Hazlitt has an impressive battery of online weapons. Though the magazine is based at a branch of Random House, the coverage includes a spectrum of writers who publish with other houses. Most of the content appears to have nothing to do with the latest crop of titles from Random.

* "The Arcade" podcast: it sounds a lot like an NPR show. It features interviews (formal and "in the field") accompanied by well-edited sound and music. The podcast is housed in an "A/V" category, which suggests that there may be other audio or video work in their plans. http://www.randomhouse.ca/hazlitt/podcast

* Cartoons/short comics with a satirical edge. This series of illustrations riffs on an apparently real novel entitled Bear.  A cultural landmark of 1970s Canada, the novel details a woman's love for a bear and its consummation. The comics are occasioned by a story about the book, "There’s More to ‘Bear’ Than Bear Sex," which was itself prompted by the rediscovery of the book by a bemused Twitter/Imgur poster. Paired with the written piece, the illustrations seem like excellent fodder for posting to Tumblr or Pinterest. Facebook and Twitter give a lot of prominence to imagery, so the Hazlitt staff seems to be banking that entertaining art or photography is key to shareability and virality.
* There is also a series of ebooks under the banner "Hazlitt Originals." The imprint extends the brand of Hazlitt and Random House of Canada into still more media, while allowing for some experimentation without the high risks of traditional publishing.

Where does this magazine fit in the marketplace? What are their competitors?

In addition to trillions of other bits of content swirling around the internet, Hazlitt seems to be swimming in the same waters as American-based media that cover culture, e.g., National Public Radio, Salon, Slate, Bookslut, and so many others. However, Hazlitt has distinct personalities that shine through the site, namely its individual writers, producers, and illustrators. A fresh, clever voice with a disarming Canadian accent can stand out from the crowd. Especially if there is serious long-term backing from a major publishing house, Hazlitt can be a well-differentiated "brand" in the online media marketplace.