Publisher Spotlight: Sell With Your Ears

President Obama once asserted “small businesses are part of the promise of America.” At MagCloud, we wholeheartedly believe this statement and strive to provide small business the opportunity to market their products with style and quality without demanding a hefty investment.

One such small business owner who relies on MagCloud is author and sales strategist Bill Zipp who published his publication, Sell With Your Ears, through MagCloud as a way to market his business and provide a valuable resource. Sell With Your Ears presents Zipp’s unique approach to the marketplace and resource and tips for uncommon ways to build a smarter, more profitable business. It represents Zipp’s thought-leadership in his industry among business owners and key stakeholders responsible for generating revenue for their business – large or small.

As a business owner himself, Zipp is responsible for promoting his brand at all times. His publication is a conversation generator in networking settings and helps spread his message to even wider audiences. “I give my publication to clients to give to their friends, essentially serving as a sophisticated, and powerful business card.”

One element we are proud of at MagCloud is the quality of the printed materials we produce every day for publishers and readers. Time and again, we hear from our customers that the quality of the printed magazine, brochure, flier, etc. exceeded their expectations and that of their readers.

Additionally, when customers like Bill who publish with MagCloud, they are take advantage of the print on demand feature which affords customers the ability to fulfill orders as they come in vs. having piles of magazines or books in their homes and offices waiting to sell and ship. (Or as Zipp explains, “I don’t have to store thousands of books in my garage.”) Bulk printing is no longer the standard in publishing thanks to print on demand.

We encourage you to learn more about Bill Zipp’s publication here, and hope that you are inspired to become an even savvier marketer with MagCloud.

Have you ever considered publishing a book through MagCloud? What marketing materials are you publishing using MagCloud? Let us know by posting below.

2 Days Later, Let’s Welcome Longshot Magazine Issue Two

One theme, five challenges, and a plethora of writers, editors, artists, photographers, programmers, videographers, and other Creatives from all around the world and you have a magazine.   This past weekend Longshot Magazine published Issue Two focused on the theme, Debt, in just 48 hours with help from a global community of literary zealots.

On Friday, July 29 at 3 p.m. EDT, contributors were given 24 hours to fill in the blanks: “I owe ___ for ___.” Through short essays, long-form articles, photographs, illustrations, the Longshot Magazine team narrowed down all the 672 crowd-sourced online submissions on Saturday to produce a 68-page paper magazine and a slick digital edition by Sunday evening.

Headquartered at Gawker.com’s New York City office and with satellite offices around the U.S. and Europe, the team was able to accomplish their goal through various tools such as SubMishMash, Kickstarter, Google Docs, and of course, MagCloud.

Check out Longshot Magazine’s Issue Two in all its glory. If you want to learn more about their very intense weekend, visit their Tumblr blog or follow @LongshotMag on Twitter. We hope Mat, Sarah and Alexis and their crew are getting some rest today.

Publisher Spotlight: Overland Sourcebook

With more readers accessing their news, schedules and more on the go, having a publication available in print and digital is gaining importance and publishers are noticing.

As the Overland Expo team was developing their expo guide, they knew it was essential to use both print and digital formats when reaching out to their thousands of global attendees each year. They needed a service that provided online and print-on-demand resources for their readers.

That’s where MagCloud comes in.

Founded three years ago in Arizona by Roseann Hanson, the Overland Expo is held every spring and tailored to adventure travel enthusiasts. As part of this year’s Expo, their team published Overland Sourcebook, their first MagCloud magazine, because they saw that 34% of their email news subscribers access their news via iPhones with now iPads becoming another source. “We must be ready to provide material to this market,” she exclaimed. “We see the ‘writing on the wall’ to provide digital as well as print materials.”

As a 60-page listing for all things adventure – vehicles, motorcycles, accessories, camping equipment, services, information, trip planning, business consultants, fabricators, and much more – the Sourcebook became a convenient and well-received guide for the Expo’s attendees.

Hanson attributes their Sourcebook’s success to their marketing plan which combined traditional and social media efforts. “Word of mouth, in today’s high-paced, noisy world, just doesn’t work any more,” said Hanson.

Hanson noted how MagCloud “is so easy to use” for both their team and customers. Pointing out the speed and ease of uploading their digital files to MagCloud’s timely support, Hanson advised new MagCloud publishers to “test, test, test and give yourself plenty of time to get things right as well.” The Expo team also loved how easy it was to integrate the Sourcebook with iPad. “[Our readers] were very impressed and the quality is wonderful.”

If you love the outdoors and are always on the lookout for adventures that await in the unknown corners of the world, you can also own the inaugural issue of Overland Sourcebook for $13. Overland Expo donates a good portion of their proceeds from the event to support ConserVentures, a program in place to promote the exploration of the planet and conservation of its natural and cultural resources.

Publishers In Their Own Words: Shinn Photography

The Summer Camera Camp manual is a guidebook I put together for my first Summer Camera Camp photography workshop.  It’s all about falling in love with your camera.  The subject is photography, but it approaches photo from a very camera-centric perspective.

As a photographer, authoring a book-type document is something new for me.  I used Adobe InDesign for the layout, and (of course) included example photos.  I was thrilled that MagCloud made InDesign templates available to help me past some of the complexities of formatting a magazine.

The manual isn’t meant to stand alone – it’s accompanied by a PDF document that I used as an instructional slide show.  I left some space for taking notes so that my workshop attendees had a tangible take-home piece to study after the workshop.

Thanks for MagCloud for helping me take my instructional presentation to a much more classy and useful level!

To find out more visit our website.

Publisher Spotlight: Broadway Magazine

Jude Law as Hamlet. Catherine Zeta-Jones in A Little Night Music. Stephen Sondheim’s Sondheim on Sondheim. Or how about American Idol favorite Constantine Maroulis in the ’80s rock-and-roll tribute, Rock of Ages?

With a long and growing list of classic and new performances to choose from, the neon lights can become overwhelming bright to the more than 12 million theatre fans who flock to Broadway each season.

Luckily, theatre goers from the budding novice to the savvy and sophisticated can turn to the beautifully designed and informative pages of Broadway Magazine for guidance.

Launched by Carousel Brothers Communications in March 2007 and edited by actor Christopher Moore, Broadway Magazine began as New York City’s only free, hand-distributed tourist guide, recapping what’s playing where, who’s in the leading roles — along with in-depth interviews with the actors — what the shows are about, what the critics are saying and even including a theatre district map.

“We are to theatre lovers what Sports Illustrated is to sports fans,” Moore says. “We deliver the information and knowledge New York City residents and visitors alike need to help them pick the shows that they’re likely to enjoy most. It has been so exciting to see people walking around with and reading our magazine in Times Square.”

Popularity, however, doesn’t always result in profitability. Because Moore was using traditional printing and publishing methods, the costs associated with ordering, say, more than 100,000 copies at a time were becoming prohibitive. In fact, Moore and his team began focusing more of their efforts on the associated website, Broadway.tv, where visitors can read about the shows, watch video snippets and even buy tickets and make travel arrangements.

When Moore heard about MagCloud’s print on demand service, he felt a renewed excitement for the magazine. With print on demand, Moore no longer has to order a minimum number of copies — he can order as many or as few copies as he wants. In fact, anyone in the world can go to the MagCloud website and place orders — the magazine’s distribution can now reach far beyond Times Square.

“People love the website and it’s certainly a great way to get information out there quickly and inexpensively,” he says. “But there is no doubt in my mind that people will always want to experience an actual, tangible magazine in their hands, especially one as beautiful as ours. With access to print on demand, MagCloud has enabled us to return to what we hoped we would be — a comprehensive magazine that celebrates Broadway. While the magazine is no longer distributed for free, the cost is low and the quality of each issue is remarkable.”

Pricing for each issue is $5. President and First Lady Obama’s trip to Broadway is featured on the cover of the first MagCloud-produced issue, June 2009. Covers since then have featured Jude Law, Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schrieber, Stephen Sondheim and, most recently, Green Day.

“The great thing about Broadway is that we have access to great photography and interesting topics to cover with each show,” Moore says. “We also have wonderful access to the actors, so we’re able to run about 20 or so in-depth interviews and features on the website. We incorporate the best of those in our magazine. I couldn’t be happier with the issues. The paper quality, the photo reproduction — MagCloud offers the same high-quality that we experienced in traditional publishing.”

Moore publicizes the magazine on Broadway.tv, with links to MagCloud where readers can preview and purchase the issues online. MagCloud handles all the order processing and shipping.

He also promotes the magazine via Twitter. And he’s currently experimenting with newsstand sales.

“We’ve always wanted to sell our magazines in select newsstands for greater visibility — we just didn’t have a way to do that before because, initially, newsstand sales conflicted with our former free distribution model,” Moore says. “But with MagCloud, we can offer a quality product directly to the local market on the newsstands at a low price without having to commit to overwhelming print runs.

“I love that MagCloud has made us less reliant on ad sales and large circulation numbers. We’re taking this time to collect our online and newsstand sales numbers so that we can better prove to advertisers the true value of our magazine.”

In fact, says Moore, MagCloud has eliminated barriers for anyone interested in launching a magazine. “This is an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in publishing,” he notes. “All you need is the passion for a subject. For us, it’s the celebration of live theatre. I’m so impressed with what we can do with MagCloud. It’s such a great innovation.”

Check out the latest issue!

Publishers In Their Own Words: The Thistle & Clover Diaries

The Thistle & Clover Diaries
By Rand Niederhoffer & Camilla Gale

Thistle & Clover, our Brooklyn based fashion boutique, features the work of young, up and coming jewelry, clothing and accessories designers that are not easily found elsewhere. Because the store’s focus is on designers who are still (at least for now) relatively unheard of, we make a concerted effort to editorialize our designers wherever possible.

To that end, we implement a quarterly Open Call program that is used to highlight a handful of local design talent each season; we plan a monthly Tailored Event Night, where different designers are invited to the store for cocktail parties (meet and greets); and we utilize a wide variety of social media to interact with our customer base both in Brooklyn and abroad.

MagCloud provided an affordable, easy-to-use means for us to further create a narrative around our clothing collections. The Diaries act as an informational showcase for the fresh new talent that the boutique promotes. Every season 10-15 new designers are highlighted within the quarterly. Each designer receives a full-page spread that includes a headshot, a brief interview, and a photo layout on the facing page, displaying collection looks on sale at T & C.

We really believe that every single collection that debuts is its own entrepreneurial success story. And the Diaries have helped us relay those tales. It’s been a very special experience for us. We’ll be launching our 3rd Thistle & Clover Diaries on September 10th 2010 to a packed house full of the stores designers, friends and family.

Publishers In Their Own Words: Bowery Lane Bikes

Bowery Lane Bikes
By Michael Salvatore, CEO

Bowery Lane Bikes, based in Manhattan, produces hand-crafted, American steel, vintage-inspired bicycles at a family owned factory in Queens, New York. While we do have a small showroom, we sell most of our bikes via our website or word of mouth. So I’m always looking for new ways to reach potential consumers. This means tapping into online communities and setting up at bicycling events; in short, it means connecting with people in any way I can.

I use MagCloud to put together a tasteful, professional catalog. I enlisted friends who work in photography and design, and the finished product looks like it was made by a company 10 times our size. I hand these to everyone I can – it sure beats giving out business cards with a web address on them, and yet it still drives people to our website. I also leave them with anyone who displays or sells our bikes for us — whether that’s a bike store, a hotel or a clothing store.

When running a small business, you’ve got to be creative. Our catalog has helped us get traction with clothing stores, boutique hotels, and press.

Publisher Spotlight: LIFE.com

With 9 million photographs and 3,000 more added daily, LIFE.com features the largest collection of professional and archival photography available online. The website provides visitors with a visual cascade of news, celebrity, travel and classic photography just as its print predecessor, LIFE magazine, did for 70 years before going Web only in 2009.

“We like to think of our Web site as the destination to explore your world in pictures,” LIFE.com’s Jeff Burak says. “Photography lovers, LIFE fans and anyone who wants to see their world are drawn to LIFE.com.”

As the site’s business development director, Burak is constantly on the look out for new and different ways to create revenue streams using the famous LIFE photos. He learned about HP’s MagCloud print-on-demand magazine service during a business meeting over a year ago with HP staff members. The idea of creating special print issues certainly wasn’t new to LIFE.com staffers, but the ability to do it quickly, easily and with no upfront costs was.

“Not having to forecast and buy paper, not having to schedule press time, not having to facilitate fulfillment — those are three big benefits that caught our attention right away,” Burak says. “Now we can simply upload our artwork and MagCloud will print and mail the issues to readers as they order them.

“We love the idea of a print magazine — it’s how we started and it remains a great medium by which to bring attention to unique content or to emphasize a topic,” Burak adds. “It’s also a great way to provide our readers with a more intimate experience because they can have something to tangibly view and reflect upon.”

For their first issue, Burak and LIFE.com editors reproduced one of LIFE’s most popular issues, the definitive special edition documenting the legendary Woodstock concert. Originally released 40 years ago, the issue contains more than 100 photos of the performances and festival revelers. The magazine is now available again for $9.60 on both MagCloud’s and LIFE.com’s Web sites.

“Our editors love the simplicity and capabilities of using a MagCloud template and filling in with captions,” Burak says. “It’s like having a production department in a box. It allows us to create special issues and get them to our readers and fans in just days.”

That’s exactly what happened when LIFE.com was granted exclusive access to Avatar director James Cameron and actors Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldana and Sigourney Weaver during a European premiere building up to the film’s Hollywood premiere. It, too, is available for purchase on MagCloud’s and LIFE.com’s sites, $4.95.

“Our photographer was invited to follow the cast on a Tuesday and Wednesday, gathering special intimate moments that fans rarely see,” Burak says. “Our editor went through all the images on Thursday, we laid out the magazine on Friday and uploaded it to MagCloud on Saturday. It was in everyone’s hands at the premiere three days later.”

Burak is so pleased with MagCloud that he’s launched 75 more special issues. Subjects in the works include Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Pablo Picasso and Jackie Kennedy — with each issue featuring rare and never-before-seen photographs.

“We’re picking topics from our photo galleries that attract the most traffic on our website,” Burak says. “People have passion points that guide their navigation on the Web and in print. We know from our traffic that people continue to have a passion for Marilyn Monroe. By publishing special issues like the one on Monroe, we’re giving people the opportunity to express those passions. They want to collect anything with Marilyn Monroe on it.”

As special issues become available, the staff promotes them by positioning links and promotions adjacent to the LIFE.com photo galleries from which the issues are created. The issues are also promoted via LIFE.com’s Facebook Fan page and other social media outlets. LIFE.com’s various promotional efforts all lead visitors directly to MagCloud’s website where they can order their favorite issue and have it mailed directly to them. MagCloud handles all the order processing, printing and shipping, freeing LIFE.com to focus on editorial and content rather than production and distribution.

“We’re thrilled to be able to provide consumers with special print issues on their favorite topics,” Burak says. “MagCloud allows us to deliver unique and relevant content for those with niche interests.”

And that, Burak believes, will eventually attract advertisers who will want to be included in the special issues. “Thanks to MagCloud, we have an additional platform, offering our advertisers and our readers print and Web content. What we have is unique, and that makes us a destination for people with an interest that we’re covering.”

Check out the latest issues!

Publishers In Their Own Words: Óperencia

Óperencia Magazine
by Gizella Nyquist, Editor-in-Chief and owner of Óperencia magazine

The Hungarian language Óperencia is a magazine designed to expose children ages 3-14 to the vibrant culture and language of Hungary. It makes learning fun and engaging, and includes content by top authors and poets from Hungary who share a passion for enriching the lives of children through culture and language. Many of the publication’s artworks are created by two Hungarian illustrators and mothers, who live in the USA.

Each edition has a few central themes or topics, and explores them through games, music, poetry and interesting stories. Designed and published by a native Hungarian teacher and mother of a bilingual child, Óperencia was born from the idea that children of Hungarian families needed a fun and enriching resource to learn about the traditions of their family’s distant homeland.

The quarterly magazine is entering its 4th year of publication. Six printed issues are available currently. Some of the main topics include: the Hungarian alphabet, the Hungarian runic writing, Hungarian winter and spring traditions and celebrations, and the latest issue explores wild animals and the long journey of how wheat becomes bread.

Check out the latest issue!

Publisher Spotlight: Plant Society Magazine

From 20/30-something hipsters with first-time plots in big city community gardens to lifelong rare plant collectors and members of the most esoteric of gardening societies, anyone with a desire to dig around in dirt will find Matt Mattus’ newest venture, Plant Society Magazine, not just educational, but inspirational.

Mattus, an author, designer, brand creative, adventurer, naturalist and plant expert, is well known among green thumb types. His popular gardening blog,growingwithplants.com, attracts plant enthusiasts from around the world who are fans of his near-daily diary entries and enjoy the stunning photographs from his many gardens.

When Mattus learned about MagCloud’s print on demand service last year, he began thinking a print magazine would be a perfect extension of his blog — a way to provide yet more in-depth knowledge and greater detail about connoisseur and collectable plants, with a bit of food, travel, design and home and garden décor mixed in for good measure.

“These days, mainstream gardening magazines are too commercial and ordinary,” Mattus says. “Plant collectors and rare plant enthusiasts want something unique and original. They’re curious about discovering new things.”

And Mattus is just the one to uncover anything exciting and unusual. As a creative director at Hasbro, it’s Mattus’ job to discover new trends in the making — and to keep the company a few steps ahead. He has even written a book on the subject: Beyond Trend – How to Innovate in an Over Designed World.

It’s a mission that has become his personal passion, especially when it comes to gardening. A self-described “hortigeek,” Mattus lives on his family’s 100-year-old farm in Worcester, Mass., where for the past 40 years he has collected and grown rare plants and actively participated in obscure plant societies — Androsace Society, anyone? He planted his first seeds on the farm at the age of 5 and remembers when the zinnias were taller than he was.

His own experiences are a sharp contrast to the modern science efficiencies so common in the gardening world today.

“With the rise of mass-produced micro-propagated plants that are all the same at every home center around the world, I can see dumbing-down happening everywhere,” Mattus says. “They’re selling ‘supertunias’ and sheep-sized Chrysanthemums. Gardening has morphed into a pastime that feels more like disposable decorating. But I know there’s still a huge population of gardeners out there who still honor the art and science of it all.”

It’s this population that Mattus reaches with his blog and now with Plant Society Magazine. He writes all the content, focusing only on plants that he, himself, has grown. And he pulls images from his vast collection of more than 10,000 photographs he has taken of plants from his greenhouses and gardens. He organizes his photographs by species and time of year.

“I have so much content, it’s a little overwhelming,” Mattus says. “I’m obsessive when it comes to plants. I photograph every step of the growing process, from planting the seeds to tending to them — even how I display them in pots and vases. With MagCloud, I don’t have to design something six months in advance. I can shoot my cover the same day that I upload my files to the MagCloud website.”

Mattus published his first issue, High Summer, in 2009, featuring 75 pages of in-depth information about, and photographs of, exhibition chrysanthemums, dahlias, pelargonium, nerines and crocosmia.

His Autumn issue focuses on cultivating miniature species Narcissus for cold greenhouses and alpine beds, odd and rare winter blooming bulbs, Cyclamen species in pots and winter shrubs for color.

Mattus promotes the magazine, which also will include Spring, featuring the genus Primula, seed growing, Corydalis and rare Japanese orchids, and mid-Winter editions, on his blog and through his Twitter account.

“I love being my own editor and art director,” he says. “I also appreciate being in charge of my own advertising. You’ll never see me writing about organic gardening and then running an ad for fertilizer on the next page.”

Mattus still recalls the day his first issue arrived in his mailbox. “It came in a plastic bag, and it looked like a real magazine,” he says. “I work with printers all the time. The quality I get from MagCloud is as good as anything out there. I would recommend MagCloud to even the pickiest of designers.” Mattus also appreciates the ease with which MagCloud handles all the order processing and distribution. “Anyone in the US, Canada or UK can order issues direct from the MagCloud website, and can even pay directly with a credit card or Paypal,” he notes. “MagCloud prints to order, and in five days or fewer, the magazine is printed, bound and mailed directly to the reader.”

Without MagCloud’s self-publishing service, Mattus says a magazine like his, with its relatively smaller run and niche market and lack of a traditional distribution channel, wouldn’t be possible.

“I understand the need for big publishers to remain profitable,” Mattus says. “But the publishing business is changing so fast. Self-publishing is now much more accepted in our new digital world of blogs, Twitter and Facebook. For me and for the readers I want to reach, MagCloud is the perfect solution.

“Frankly, I had no idea how the magazine would be received,” he adds. “I expected both positive and critical comments, just as I get on my blog. And that’s terrific. My favorite comments are from readers who tell me that Plant Society Magazine is better than the fancy British gardening magazines. One reader said, ‘Finally, a well-designed and informative magazine that not only shows me step-by-step tasks, but that actually teaches me how to grow something out of the ordinary.’

“That’s exactly what I’m striving for.”

Check out the latest issue!