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.

cp4

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!

MagCloud Project: Framed Poster

Last month, we introduced a handful of new product types, including a new Poster format. Posters are available in 18″ x 12″ landscape and 12″ x 18″ portrait sizes, and use the same high quality print output as all of MagCloud’s products, for only $2 per printed Poster. In addition to being a great way to advertise an event or new product for your business, these new Posters are also a great opportunity to get large format prints of your photos at an affordable price. With that in mind, today I am going to show you how easy it is to make framed art for your home using MagCloud’s new Poster format, and a photo taken with the popular photo app Instagram.

http://vimeo.com/48024577

The first step is to create a PDF file that you can upload to the MagCloud website. You’ll want to export your square Instagram photo from your phone’s Camera Roll/Gallery and put it on your computer for editing. Using the photo that Instagram saves to your iPhone or Android device will be of higher quality than using the photo that gets posted to your Instagram account. Once you have your photo on your computer, you have a few options for creating your PDF. I’ve listed some steps specific to this project below, but check out the Getting Started page on the MagCloud website for more general instructions in other software programs.

Create Your PDF in Adobe Photoshop:

  1. Open your original image
  2. Go to Image > Image Size and set size to 3675 pixels by 3675 pixels at 300 pixels/inch resolution. Select “Bicubic Smoother (best for enlargement)” from the Resample Image drop down menu and click OK.
  3. Go to Image > Canvas size and set width to 18.25 inches, leaving height at 12.25 inches, and click OK.
  4. Go to File > Save As and select “Photoshop PDF” from the Format drop down menu. Make sure the box to embed color profile is checked and click Save. In the PDF Export window, select “Press Quality” from the Adobe PDF Preset dropdown menu, and uncheck the box for “Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities.”
  5. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual*

Create Your PDF in Adobe Lightroom:

  1. Import your original image
  2. Go to the Print module and select “Single Image/Contact Sheet” as the Layout Style.
  3. Click the Page Setup button and choose “Manage Custom Sizes” from the Paper Size dropdown menu. Create a new custom page that is 18.25 inches wide and 12.25 inches tall, with a User-Defined Non-Printable Area that equals 0.00 inches on all sides. Click OK twice to return to Lightroom.
  4. Make sure all the boxes under Image Settings are unchecked. Under Layout, set all of your Margins to 0.00 inches and set the cell size: Height = 12.25 inches | Width = 18.25 inches. Under Print Job, select “Printer” next to Print to and make sure the Print resolution is 300 ppi.
  5. Click Print, then select “Save as PDF” from the PDF dropdown menu. Pick a name for your PDF and click Save.
  6. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual.*

Create Your PDF in Apple Aperture:

  1. Import your original image
  2. Go to File > Print Image and select Custom from the Paper Size dropdown menu. Enter 18.25 inches x 12.25 inches as the Paper Size, with a Landscape Orientation, and select Maximum to Fit from the Image Size dropdown menu. Make sure the box next to Crop Image to Fill is NOT checked so the whole image appears on the page.
  3. Click Print, then select “Save as PDF” from the PDF dropdown menu. Pick a name for your PDF and click Save.
  4. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual.*

*After uploading, you will be told that your PDF is not long enough. Select “Proceed with this PDF” to have an extra page added automatically.

After you’ve uploaded your PDF to MagCloud, simply order a print copy and select your desired shipping method. When your print arrives, trim off the 3” white edges on either side so that you have a 12” x 12” copy of your photo, which can then be placed into the frame of your choice. The square VIRSERUM frame from IKEA is a great option – it’s available in both white and dark brown to match a variety of décor, and includes a mat with an 11 ½ inch square opening for only $19.99. Using the VIRSERUM frame, you can get your photos off your phone and turn them into a framed piece of custom art to display in your home for less than $25.

MagCloud for Students

Earlier this week, we touched on ways that teachers can use MagCloud for everything from class assignments to printing coursework, but MagCloud can be a great resource for students too. Today we’ll look at a few ways that students can use MagCloud for both schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Thesis and Final Projects

As we are nearing the end of the school year, many students are likely working to complete a thesis or final project. MagCloud offers a great option for publishing these works, whether you are writing a text-heavy dissertation or putting together a more visual project culminating a study in design or photography.

For text-based works, the MagCloud Standard product can be used for printing and binding up to 384 letter-sized pages, with printing in full color to accommodate both text and any corresponding images and graphics, and a perfect binding that gives your publication a professional look and feel. At the same time, you can make your publication available in a digital format, for viewing as a PDF download or in the recently updated MagCloud application on the iPad.

For students completing projects in an area of art or design, our Square and 8.5” x 5.5” Digest products are both great options for showing off graphic works that are anywhere from 2 to 384 pages long. With a single PDF upload, you’ll be able to create a high quality printed piece that does justice to the work you’ve put into your project, and also have the option for a digital version that can be viewed on any computer or mobile device.

Example Publications:
Photography Series
MFA Thesis
High School Senior Project
BFA Thesis Process Documentation
Graduate Thesis Process Book

Portfolios

For students studying architecture or design, as well as those with a more literary or journalistic focus, having a portfolio of work is of great importance, particularly looking beyond the school year. Whether you’re interviewing for an internship, applying to schools, or looking for a job, having a strong portfolio of your past work will likely be an important factor in achieving your goal. As we’ve discussed before, using MagCloud to publish your portfolio offers a number of convenient options, both during school and beyond.

While you are in school, you can easily update your portfolio on the MagCloud site as you complete new work, simply by uploading a new PDF to your MagCloud account. You’ll also have the option to keep your portfolio private, so only you can see it, or make it public for others to browse on the MagCloud website. When it comes time to apply for the position or program you want, you can order as few or as many print copies of your portfolio as you need, or even direct mail copies to a list of addresses. You can also offer a digital version of your portfolio and direct people to the URL for your publication in the MagCloud storefront, where they can download it as a PDF or view it in the MagCloud application for the iPad.

Example Publications:
Yearbook/Photography Student Portfolios
Architecture Design Portfolio
Interior Design Portfolio
Fashion Design Portfolio
Architecture Portfolio for Graduate School Admissions

Resource for Student Groups

During the school year, MagCloud is a great resource for students outside the classroom. At all levels of education, students active in clubs, sports and other extracurricular activities can use MagCloud for printing flyers, newsletters, and even full-length magazines. For example, when a club or sport is looking to attract new members or publicize an event, the MagCloud Flyer and Pamphlet products can be a great way to get the word out and offer additional information, without requiring a large volume of prints.

For groups that are more established, particularly at the college level, MagCloud’s Standard, Square and Digest product types offer a great opportunity for creating newsletters to stay in touch with both current members and alumni alike. Groups can take advantage of MagCloud’s direct mailing service for recipients who prefer receiving something in print, and simultaneously offer the same publication in digital formats for downloading as a PDF or viewing on the iPad.

A number of middle school, high school and college-aged students have already used MagCloud to publish student-run magazines on topics ranging from art and literature to fashion and lifestyle. Regardless of the topic, MagCloud lowers the barrier to entry for creating these types of magazines, with no upfront costs and no minimum print runs. Students can offer their publication through the MagCloud storefront for customers around the world to purchase and read in both print on demand and digital versions. Printed copies can also be ordered for local distribution as they are needed instead of all at once as a large bulk order, cutting down on the cost of storage and potential waste.

Example Publications:
BYU Editing Students’ Travel Magazine

UF Asian American Students’ Magazine
Emerson College Lifestyle Magazine
AIGA Colorado Design Magazine
Journalism Students’ Fashion Magazine
High School Literary and Art Journal

Are you a student who has used MagCloud, either in or outside the classroom? Let us know in the comments below!