Alex Ogle and Kickstarter Success

Alex Ogle is one of our favorite artists, comic book makers, and illustrators, and he recently financed an art book through Kickstarter. We were lucky enough to catch up with him and chat about his success.

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First things first, why do a Kickstarter for a print-on-demand comic book project?

Depending on your success level, print-on-demand can be a great resource. Comics are traditionally printed in the largest numbers possible to lower the cost of each book. With my first successful Kickstarter, I had 214 backers and my lowest level to include books was $18. That is many times higher than the current comic book cover price. This helps cover costs on a quick-turnaround, small run that can be shipped out immediately to your backers. Traditional printing minimums are often around 500 copies and take much longer to get the books in-hand.

The nice thing about on-demand is I can get extremely small runs like 50 copies before my next convention within days, not weeks. I feel like now is a great time to be making indie comics this way.

How did you determine your reward levels?

You should always take into account shipping the books to yourself, printing costs, packaging, and shipping to your backers. This can give you a real cost-of-production per book. But the best way to start is to write out your levels with what feels right to you as a consumer and what would appeal to you. Then, run the numbers and make sure you are covered on all your levels. The most important thing is to make an interesting and fun product.

How much overall planning and number crunching did you do?

I go over the numbers until I feel comfortable. I think it is important to make sure there is enough profit (above cost) to cover the unexpected. If you are prepared, then your project has the greatest chance to be an amazing experience.

Getting backers is key, of course, to success. The big question is: How do you get them?

Do something interesting and tell everyone! I made postcard-sized announcements and gave them out at several comic conventions. I posted on message boards about my art and included info about the campaign. I shared images on social media and even tried some paid social media ads. (I’ve never had much return on any paid ads, so it’s probably not the way to go from my experience.)

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You’ve done four Kickstarter campaigns, and three were successful—which is a pretty good success rate since the overall Kickstarter success rate is reported to be about 40%. What did you learn from that first one that didn’t get fully funded?

One thing you should know about Kickstarter is that you can’t delete the campaign if it fails. My first campaign was about getting back into creating comics. I made a simple campaign about that only. The problem is I didn’t focus at all on the produced product of the campaign. It’s pretty much a perfect example of what not to do.

It seems like you’ve used practically the whole MagCloud arsenal. How many formats have you used, and which is your favorite?

So far, I’ve used Standard, Digest, Tabloid, and Poster. My favorite is Tabloid. I love showing off the 11×17 version of “The Changing Tales” at conventions. It really looks like something special in that scale.

Did you use our Group Ship option for any of your backer levels? (This is the ability to send out books to multiple addresses through a single order)

In the past, I have preferred to hand-sign all the books which have held me back from using the service. Possibly in the future, I’ll give an option for an unsigned, directly-shipped version.

Any parting tips for others looking to Kickstart their projects?

Be entertaining and you will do well!

How to Publish a Bestselling Magazine

This month we bring you an interview with Colored Pencil, one of the bestselling publications on MagCloud. We asked them about the keys to their success, their favorite formats, and what keeps them going. And they really impressed us with their use of adwords, Facebook, MagCloud’s messaging platform, and the MagCloud app. But it’s not just their business acumen that we like; Colored Pencil is a beautiful and high-quality monthly publication that offers readers exactly what they’re looking for: Expert drawing instruction and inspiration.

Q: First, congratulations on being a MagCloud bestseller! Can you briefly describe COLORED PENCIL Magazine?

A: The mission statement for COLORED PENCIL Magazine is “inspiration for the passionate colored pencil artist” and I think that sums it up best. Our goal is to produce a monthly magazine that will excite artists enough to pick up their pencils and create!

Q: How many people are involved in each issue? What’s your production schedule like?

A: We include on average about 12 contributors per issue. We have a 20 day turn around to design, edit, proof, and print.

Q: How do you market your magazine?

A: Most of our audience has found us through word-of-mouth but we also do a lot of contests and giveaways each month—partnering with other companies to cross-promote brands. We also try to optimize our ranking in the search engines in part by using Google Ad Words and taking advantage of Facebook’s target marketing by using their advertising tools and insights to track our progress. Social Media plays a big part in customer acquisition so we try to stay active and involved where we think our artists are.

Our goal is to produce a monthly magazine that will excite artists enough to pick up their pencils and create!

Q: How many different MagCloud products do you use, and is there one that’s more successful for you?

A: We basically order the Standard 8.25×10.75 Saddle Stitch binding magazines. We love that we can have our readers buy direct, link, and even pin our products to their social media pages like Pinterest! Not only are we available in the MagCloud store but also on the MagCloud iOS app. It is great to be able to view all our Sales Statistics to see exactly how much our profit is and where our revenue is coming from.

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Q: Do you keep in contact with your customer base? Any tips you have for others?

A: One of the first things we do when we publish is send a notification to our MagCloud followers so they are among the very first to know when the issue is out. We also produce bi-weekly newsletters to promote our magazine and let our readers keep up with all our news, contests, and updates.

Social Media plays a big part in customer acquisition so we try to stay active and involved where we think our artists are.

Q: How do you decide on pricing?

A: Comparative pricing at first was difficult as many magazines at the newsstands were being offered at lower prices then we could but in recent years, as digital has become increasingly popular, not only does it give us a competitive level playing field when it comes to digital sales, but we have seen other print publication prices rise allowing us to compete in print as well. Being a niche magazine also gives you the advantage of having limited competition and being able to pack our pages with content that is highly desirable, giving it a higher value all around. I must note also that the high quality of MagCloud print on their thick 80# paper also makes each of our long lasting issues a collectable!

Q: What do you do besides publishing COLORED PENCIL Magazine?

A: Our Editor-in-Chief, Sally Robertson, started off as a BlurbNation book designer, then turned publisher. Currently we have all of our focus on our successful monthly COLORED PENCIL Magazine.

Q: Any parting words for other publishers?

A: We have heard all the statistics of failed magazines and the difficulty facing the publishing field but with companies like MagCloud assisting you, you can really compete in ways never before possible and take lower costs risks then you ever dared to dream. If you start with a good idea and a passion to pursue it, anything is possible!

Q&A with Erika Pitera and Lynne Webb of ZEST Magazine

Q-and-A-Series-header-ZESTBack in 2008, when mother-daughter duo Lynne Webb and Erika Pitera launched their recipe and food blog MyGourmetConnection.com, becoming magazine publishers was not on their radar.   The blog offered a wide variety of recipes with a particular focus on creating simple and delicious everyday meals – the kind you can easily make on a weeknight after coming home from work. As the website grew in size and popularity, and as the digital magazine trend gained momentum, they began looking for a way to highlight their special holiday and celebration recipes and menus. A seasonal magazine with a focus on entertaining would be the perfect companion to MyGourmetConnection.   Both Erika and Lynne have graphic design backgrounds, and it seemed like a terrific way to bring specialized content to their audience in a new, accessible and aesthetic format. And so ZEST was born in the early part of 2011.   We asked Erika and Lynne to share their insights and lessons learned in the world of print and digital publishing.

Zest Past Issues

What got you started publishing through MagCloud?

Erika & Lynne When we started ZEST in summer of 2011, we were publishing in digital format only. The service we were using worked well enough, but we’re always looking to improve and expand our options. When we found the MagCloud platform, we were attracted by the high-resolution capabilities it offered. Erika’s husband Tom is a professional photographer, and he works with us on all the shoots for ZEST. Between the amount of work we put into styling the food and table decor, and the professional quality of Tom’s photos, we want our work to be displayed at its absolute best, and we love the way ZEST looks on MagCloud.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when you made the transition from bloggers to magazine publishers?

E&L First, finding a platform with an interface that worked smoothly and easily for our readers required some trial and error, and we ended up experimenting with a few before settling on MagCloud. The bigger challenge, however, was determining how to present this new format to our existing audience in a way that was simple and appealing. We’ve found that showcasing snippets of content from each new issue on both the magazine website and MyGourmetConnection is an effective way of introducing people to the format and attracting new readers.

Why print and not just digital?zest-and-ipad

E&L We were thrilled to be able to order printed copies of ZEST through MagCloud. Printing wasn’t on our minds when we first started ZEST, but now that we’ve gotten a few issues printed, we plan to utilize the service more in order to help our audience on MyGourmetConnection discover the magazine. It’s amazing how with just a few tweaks you can create a single publication that looks great in both digital and print formats.

What’s your favorite feature on MagCloud?

E&L From the publisher standpoint, we really like the upload tool on MagCloud. It works flawlessly and makes it easy for you to spot any errors in your layout that could result in a less-than-satisfactory printed copy. Armed with this information you can correct the problem, upload again and be certain that your publication will print the way you want it to. From the consumer standpoint, we like the shop. It’s well organized, the search works well and it gives us an opportunity to discover some great reading from other small, independent publishers like ourselves.

What tips do you have for someone new to self-publishing?

E&L It’s important to have a plan laid out for your publication – whatever type it is. You should have a good idea how many photos you’ll need, a logical order in mind for the various features and a relatively uniform look throughout the publication. Keep your goals within reason and if you’re working within a time frame, allow yourself enough time to complete the job without rushing.

If you could invite anyone (living or dead) over for a casual dinner who would it be and what would you serve them?

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E&L Julia Child, of course! She was and always will be a wonderful inspiration – not just from a culinary standpoint, but as a symbol of what women are capable of achieving. We share her love of good food and the process of creating it, and that approach makes what we do seem a lot less like work. As far as what we’d serve for dinner – it would have to be a few of the Hungarian recipes that have been handed down in our family for several generations. Family recipes are part of who you are and probably some of the best in any home cook’s repertoire.

Hot Reads for Car Enthusiasts

In honor of this weekend’s Indianapolis 500, we’re highlighting a few of the publications on MagCloud dedicated to cars of all shapes, sizes and speeds. Whether your interest is electric vehicles or race cars, vintage collectibles or kit cars, you’re sure to find a publication in the Autos & Cycles category that fits your interest. And if you don’t, you can always create one yourself!

Speed News May 2013NASA Speed News Magazine

Speed News is the official publication of the National Auto Sport Association. The May 2013 issue presents a primer on racing driver fitness, with exercises designed specifically for racers, as well as tips for eating right on and before race day. The issue also details the ins and outs of aerodynamic devices and what they do on a racecar, highlights the art and science of passing, and describes a step-by-step installation of a halon fire system.


FJC Magazine April 2013FJC Magazine

FJC Magazine is dedicated to Toyota FJ Cruisers. Their quarterly issues cover performance, modifications, product reviews, trip reports, and FJ Cruiser related events. In the April 2013 issue, they test drive their new Manley Explore Off Road Trailer, Paul from Last Great Road Trip tells his Baja Story, a Maya Rally FJ Cruiser, and a few new installs.


Performance TunerPerformance Tuner Magazine

Performance Tuner Magazine is a magazine written by import enthusiasts for import enthusiasts. They cover all makes and models of import cars, import shops, import culture and import events.


True Grip March 2013True Grip

True Grip is the quarterly magazine of the Subaru Impreza Drivers Club (SIDC). Each issue is packed with the latest club news, members articles, event features, product reviews, reader’s rides, technical advice & reports on all things Subaru – particularly the Impreza! The March 2013 issue looks at Subaru UK’s announcement in December that they had imported their final Impreza. The internet has been abuzz with rumors and speculation ever since so in this issue True Grip asks, is this the result of market pressures or has the death chime tolled – is now the time to say ‘sayonara’ to Subaru in the UK?


Muscle Car MilestonesMuscle Car Milestones

AutoTrader Classics continues the MileStones tradition with a focus on the most American of automotive traditions…the muscle car! This publication celebrates a time when automakers were busy finding new ways to shoehorn big horsepower into normal cars, all while keeping ahead of each other. These were the machines that powered a generation of gearheads and launched the horsepower wars!


Custom Vanner Issue 6Custom Vanner Magazine

Custom Vanner Magazine is a magazine about custom vans, published by a member of the Bluegrass Vanners Of Louisville. The most recent issue features DIY builds, including two in-depth how to articles on fiberglass and collision repair, an article on Deez crew van shop in Japan, and more.


Tacoma Magazine March 2013Tacoma Magazine

From the publishers of FJC Magazine, Tacoma Magazine is dedicated to all things related to the Toyota Tacoma. In the March 2013 issue Kurt Williams from Cruiser Outfitters begins his retrospective on his first gen Taco build, Jim installed an iPad Mini in his truck, the long-awaited hidden winch mount article is here, Bob finished his snorkel install, Wyatt concludes his 2WD to 4WD Tacoma Conversion. In addition, there’s something new from Stay the Trail, a couple of great New & Noteworthy items and Jim has an update on his Discount Tire wheels & tires.


Rallycross WorldRallycross World

Rallycross World is a monthly publication that reviews the news and events of the month past and offers in-depth reporting and analysis as well as top class photography covering current issues in the sport of Rallycross. Their most recent issue covers the launch of the 2013 FIA Rallycross Championship and has the first part of their unrivaled review of the 2012 European season.


Chevrolet DriverChevrolet Driver

Chevrolet Driver is a new enthusiast publication for Chevy lovers. Their premiere issue features a cover story on the return of the Chevy Stingray, and has a retrospective of 95 years of Chevy trucks.


Automotive TravelerAutomotive Traveler

Automotive Traveler includes anthologies of automotive and travel features. Their most recent issue focused on the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.


KustomKustom & Hot Rod Models

Kustom & Hot Rod Models magazine has been called the best model car magazine by some in the scale model industry and Kustom Kulture world. In the most recent issue, they cover of some of the world’s best scale model car builders.


Prieta Post May 2013Prieta Post

Prieta Post is the monthly newsletter for the Loma Prieta Region of the Porsche Club of America, highlighting upcoming events and member stories.

What’s your favorite automotive publication on MagCloud? Share it with us in the comments!

Q&A with Holli True of Holli True Photography

Q-and-A-Series-header-HolliTrue2The words Young & Free come to mind when you mention the name Holli True, and it’s not just because that’s her business’ tagline. The Oregon-based high school senior portrait photographer manages to keep a free spirit and a young attitude finding inspiration in the teen-world around her. In 2010 the savvy businesswoman decided to specialize her business from general photography to a very specific market: high school senior girls. While it may seem like a small niche, Holli has made a name for herself in the region amongst high school girls and in the photography community worldwide. Over the past two years, she’s begun hosting workshops across the US and has spoken at a number of photography conferences and events. Now she’s furthering her reach with a new magazine, set to launch in May of this year.

How did you get started publishing?

FieldNotes

Holli True When I was planning my first workshop, I decided to create books for each of my attendees. I didn’t want them to have to scribble notes, so I provided each of them with all of the workshop content in a book. Following the first workshop, I received a dozen emails from other photographers that had heard about my workshop book. While they weren’t able to attend my workshop, they wanted to buy my book. I decided to revamp the workshop book and offer it to the public for purchase, calling it Field Notes: Workshop in a Book. Since then, I have also released Body Language: The Pose Book.

What exactly are your Young & Free publications?

HT Traditional studios offer proof books with printed images in a leather album, but I am not a traditional photographer. The Young & Free Look Book is my version of a proof book, in magazine format. Needless to say, it was a huge hit with my clients and got everyone buzzing about my business. While albums tend to be more of an heirloom product, our Young & Free look books are intended to be toted around and shared with their friends.

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How did Young & Free come about? What inspired you?

HT In 2012, while planning for my senior photography season (which peaks in late summer and fall), I looked at my assortment of products and decided to simplify. I stripped down my products, which used to consist of photo boxes, signature books, mounted prints, gallery prints and more. Having too many options for clients can be overwhelming, so I decided I wanted to focus on a small handful of items–keeping my brand in mind–I ended up with Albums & Metal Gallery Prints. I quickly realized that I was missing one thing: a key product that my clients would love, that would do constant advertising for me. My solution: a Look Book.

I absolutely love looking at designer look books, they are different from magazines, as they are filled with just pictures. I adopted the same format and dedicate the entire look book to my clients, filling all of the pages with their beautiful pictures. It is a unique product that other photographers in my area aren’t offering, which allows us to stand out, while remaining true to our brand.

Tell us about your newest publishing adventure.

HT Earlier this year I joined forces with Heather Dunnigan, of TheaCreative, to create a new magazine publication for photographers called Denim+Grace. As a workshop instructor and business mentor, I am very passionate about teaching and sharing. I was craving a creative outlet and new platform to connect with other photographers in the industry and create something beautiful–a magazine was the natural choice. We are so excited about our premiere issue launching on May 1st, 2013!

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Why did you choose MagCloud?

HT I have been a dedicated MagCloud user for over a year now. I turn to MagCloud for all of my printing needs in terms of magazines & books, it was a no-brainer for us when it came to Denim+Grace. We absolutely love the print quality, quick turnaround time and impeccable customer service that MagCloud offers. Thank you so much for creating a product that makes our hard work look gorgeous!

How has MagCloud made a difference in your business?

HT I think the biggest difference I have seen in my business because of MagCloud is with my look books. Our Young & Free look books sell themselves, we always have them on hand when we are out and about, which has been a huge marketing piece for us this year.

What software do you use to design your publication? Do you have any special tricks to make it easier or well designed?

HT I am a Photoshop girl, so it’s my go-to for design. Due to the number of look books I had to create, I wanted to make it as simple as possible to get them designed, so I made an assortment of templates that I can mix and match easily. Due to the popularity of the look books, I recently wrote a blog post about how I created them and now offer templates for purchase to anyone looking to create similar publications.

What tips do you have for someone new to self-publishing?

HT Do it! MagCloud makes the entire process a breeze, just commit and go for it! Oh, and before you order a large number of copies, make sure to do a test run, just in case! When you start designing, it’s easy to forget to leave enough cushion on some pages, a simple test can give you peace of mind!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what one book would you want with you?

HT Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer. I am obsessed with the Twilight Saga- Eclipse was my absolute favorite! I could read it and reread it time and time again. I’m not even ashamed to admit it! ;)

Q&A with Cory Ann Ellis of SD Wedding Style

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When Cory Ann Ellis moved from California to the Midwest to study Physical Education in college, she never imagined that she’d one day have a booming photography business in South Dakota and her name on the masthead of two magazines.

Her first headlong dive into publishing, SD Wedding Style, is focused on wedding information and ideas for couples with both an annual print publication and a regular blog-site.

  What lead you from photography to publishing?

Cory Ann Ellis It was really a natural progression. While I love magazines, I am a horrible writer but I found my images are a wonderful visual compliment writing and so it just made sense to create a publication where there wasn’t one previously. The on-demand printing made it possible for us to bring SD Wedding Style to life without looking for financial backers to help with the cost of printing.

There are many magazines to choose from for wedding inspiration–the greats like Martha Stewart and Real Simple–but my partner Leah (a graphic designer and wedding coordinator) and I had never seen a single South Dakota wedding or vendor featured. Therefore it was time to create one and showcase all of the great options couples have right here.

My partner on Wholesome Magazine came to me to pick my brain on launching her idea of a South Dakota-based food magazine. Shayla is a wonderful journalist, talented graphic design and amazing cook. It made sense to join her in the endeavor and now our first issue is due out in Sept 2013 and it will be a bimonthly publication. I’m excited for it’s release, although my waistline is a little less excited–you know I have to try all the foods I photograph…

  What sorts of publications do you publish?

CA With MagCloud I print for AC Ellis, SD Wedding Style, Wholesome Magazine and The Cake Lady. I use MagCloud to print magazine publications as well as collateral material and lookbooks for multiple businesses. SDWS uses MagCloud for both our print and digital distribution and media materials. Wholesome uses MagCloud for our collateral materials. With AC Ellis I use MagCloud for everything I can. My product catalog, proof magazines, client handbook, rate guide, vendor magazines, lookbooks and more. For home projects I like to use it for image catalogs of all the images I want to reference without going to the computer.

The many publications of ACEllis

  How did you get started publishing through MagCloud?

CA A friend originally told me about MagCloud and I immediately was excited about the idea of short run magazines.

  How has your business evolved with on-demand publishing?

CA In my photography business MagCloud has allowed me a new means to put my images in print. In the age of digital too often images do not leave the computer. Heirloom quality albums and many lab produced products are incredibly expensive and aren’t ideal for quick distribution and lots of handling/updating. My images are in more hands thanks to MagCloud and that means more exposure, bookings, and income. The number of my referrals turned to bookings has increased since I’ve used MagCloud to print materials specific to the venues and coordinators I wanted to work with. This year about 42% of my weddings are based on these referrals versus about 10% the previous year.

  What software do you use to design your publications? Do you have any special tricks to make it easier or well designed?

CA I use Adobe InDesign® for all of my design work. When I found layers it opened up a whole new world.

  What tips do you have for someone new to self-publishing?

AC ELLIS Photography Product Catalog

CA For someone new to self-publishing I have three main tips.

1. Research.

In order to produce a great product you need to research all aspects of the business. While this may be a creative outlet or a small project there are certain legal steps to take for your business. For example if you are going to sell advertising or the publication itself, things like obtaining sales tax licensing and filing, business registration, EIN number, etc.

2. Protect.

Your work is worth something and you should protect it. Either submit the entire publication or all of your images and text to the copyright office. While your work is copyrighted the moment you create it, registration allows for the recovery of damages in the event it is illegally copied. You can also trademark your name and logo. Not only federally, but in your state. Business names can also typically be registered in your state. Get your ISSN number so that your publication is searchable and citable. Lastly, put a copyright disclosure in your masthead or somewhere in your publication.

3. Partner.

You may be good at one skill like writing, but not design, editing, photography, or business operations. Find other professionals to round out your team. Either as partners in an LLC/Corp or as paid professionals and sub-contractors. A great team will make for a great publication.

  What are your business resolutions for 2013?Farmer's Market Calendar

CA I’m not a resolution gal, but I am a huge goal and list maker. And since I’m also into SMART goals I typically have a list of about 70-100 items designed to help me achieve about 10 main goals. This year’s largest undertaking is a complete business re-branding. Lots of fun and work.

  Are there any blogs or publications that you use for business advice or guidance? Which ones?

CA Surprisingly I do not read many business blogs, but I do follow some great people on twitter and love to read their posts and links. A few are Whitney Johnson @johnsonwhitney, Lucas Marcus @lucymarcus, and Oliver Blanchard @thebrandbuilder. I do always recommend small business owners read the book E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber.

How MagCloud Publishers Leverage Instagram

Instagram on iPhoneVisual storytelling is nothing new in the realm of business. Content consumers love the power of an image portraying “1,000” words that leaves enough to the imagination while alluding to a larger point. To that end, MagCloud is running a #MagCloudHearts themed poster giveaway through Instagram.

But what makes Instagram an improvement over the time-tested and standardized visual element? To answer these questions, we continue our chat with Cory Ann Ellis and Trey Hill. This time, we’re shifting our focus from Pinterest to Instagram, and the best practices for leveraging the platform for publications and small business.

MagCloud: Are your businesses using Instagram for business purposes?

Cory Ann Ellis: Yes we are on Instagram (@coryannellis), and like Instagram for private use, it’s immediate and visual nature. It is free and clear of long posts, soapboxes and other negatives that can fill other social media platforms.

Trey Hill: My agency (@squarerootof9) specializes in image driven storytelling, and for most people, I am the agency. I’m an avid Instagrammer & use it to tell my story, which spans the professional, experimental and personal.

MagCloud: What’s your favorite element of Instagram, and why do you think it can help your publication?

Cory Ann Ellis: Instagram has the ability to show a steady stream of interesting content that can keep the reader’s attention between publication dates. With behind-the-scenes and feature teasers, viewers can get excited to pick up or download the next issue.

Trey Hill: It’s a craft that’s always been about contextualizing and sharing our world. Instagram, for me, has made it so the time between seeing and sharing is almost zero. In that way, I think it’s perfect. Used well, Instagram can help anyone craft an ongoing story that reveals who you are and what you’re about. Just because you’re on a mobile device doesn’t mean that you can’t take time to learn the craft of photography. The tools have changed, but the aesthetic that draws people to a photo – good composition, proper exposure and a unique point of view – will never change.

MagCloud: What are your top Instagram tips for publishers?

Cory Ann Ellis: Show images that are graphically interesting and fun. Go easy on the filters. Focus instead on the framing and lighting so that you don’t need to use filters to distort from poor photography. Yes it’s just a camera phone, but you can use it wisely. Try hinting at an upcoming article by showing a tiny detail or abstract from the set without showing full setups.

#panogramtastic
#panogramtastic

Trey Hill: I don’t think my tips for publishers would be any different than the tips I’d share with an individual. I am three-quarters of the way through a four-part series on my blog about mobile-photography. I think, more than anything, I’d point people there as a great place to start:

In Part Three, I talk about how to push the medium of Instagram by highlighting something I created called #panogramtastic. Basically, Instagram is all about the single square image. For a while, people have been using apps to add white to the background of their images so they can post circles, or more traditional photo crops. I thought, “What if you could take the constraints of the app and use them to create something interesting?” I began by using my profile’s grid view to merge a single panoramic image across three frames. They come out like what you see on the left.

MagCloud: How best can publishers promote their publication using Instagram?

Cory Ann Ellis: I think one of the best ways is to use the hashtags to create contests or followings for a specific feature or event. For example, if you create a hashtag and promote the most recent publication by saying, “Where do you read your xyz magazine? – show us through Instagram. Hashtag your photo #xyzmagread.” Then you have a steady stream of everyone reading your magazine in different places and parts of the world. These can be fed into your websites, blogs and even shared on Facebook. This is a great way to show that others are enjoying your publication and they might also.

Trey Hill: One of my clients is the Dallas Stars, an NHL hockey team. One of the initiatives we’ve done for the past five seasons is inviting the fans behind the curtain. I think Instagram is perfectly suited to show people the raw, unpolished parts of who you are. Fans love it because they feel like they are part of the team. For a publication, I would say, use Instagram to show people things they wouldn’t otherwise see – an image that didn’t make the final edit, but is still evocative – a layout sketch or anything from the process. Just because it’s not “for real” don’t let that mean you don’t treat it with respect. Make sure you take time to art direct the frame or fuss over the treatment you put on the image. It may not be part of the publication, but every Instagram becomes part of your story.

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We’d like to give both Cory and Trey a special shout-out and thank you for showing us some of the magician’s tricks, so to speak.

Do you too have insight into how Instagram improves the story-telling strategies for your business? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to join the #MagCloudHearts Instagram poster giveaway!