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 to Use Pinterest for MagCloud Publishers

We’re quite fond of photos and videos much like the online community on Pinterest. It’s no wonder that we heart the pinboard-style visual sharing site (we made our own Pinterest account too!) and are always inspired by what people are pinning.

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Our publishers are also including Pinterest as part of their marketing strategy and we’re seeing a lot of readers using our new social sharing capabilities. Remember that readers can like, tweet, pin, and share their favorite print and digital publications from our website, within the web-based viewer or via the updated iPad app.

For those of you starting a Pinterest account, here are a few tips we’ve found to be helpful on how to use the visual platform to market your publication and engage with your readers.

  • Pin photos from your publication or website – The pinned images will include a link back to your site, which will help drive traffic there.
  • Pin videos – Go beyond just pinning pictures and share videos especially ones that are highly relevant to the theme of your Pinterest boards.
  • Introduce the members of your team – Let your readers and customers know who’s behind the genius.
  • Follow other Pinterest users in your local area and/or field of expertise – You can see how other pinners are getting likes and re-pins and help build upon your presence in your community. Remember to follow us on Pinterest, too!
  • Ask fans to pin photos of themselves with your publication – This is a great way to build engagement with your readers and learn which issues are their favorites.
  • Test different captions – Be sure to include keyword phrases and hashtags, and remember to have fun with your captions.
  • Find out which pictures have been pinned from your site – Simply type the following URL: “http://pinterest.com/source/ADD YOUR URL HERE” and you can see which photos or content are most popular. Find out what people are pinning now, from MagCloud.com!

As a publisher, are you using Pinterest to market your publication? Share your tips on how to use Pinterest with us in the comments section below.

New Video: The MagCloud iPad App

We’ve made a few updates to the MagCloud iPad application in 2012, including support for hyperlinks and the ability to share publications with friends via Facebook, Twitter or Email from inside the app. Check out our new video to see the features of the updated app in action:

http://vimeo.com/55560184

Click here to download the free MagCloud Magazine and Publication Reader for the iPad from the App Store

Q+A with Alyssa Yuhas of WLWL Magazine

Toronto-based graphic designer Alyssa Yuhas specializes in branding and online design for a variety of clients across North America. But she’s never forgotten her longtime love for print magazines and the thought of working for one.

When she discovered MagCloud, she realized right away that she could publish a magazine of her own. So in 2008, after “months of planning, days of designing, hours of procrastinating (sometimes you just have to) and minutes of pacing,” Yuhas excitedly launched We Like We Love.

  Tell us about We Like We Love.

Alyssa Yuhas WLWL is exactly what the title says – we share the things we like and love. We showcase people who are passionate about their contributions to the worlds of lifestyle, fashion, arts and culture. If you’re passionate and excited about what you’re doing, we want to tell your story.

  Why print and not just online?

AY I’ve always been really interested in magazines – I’ve loved them since I was little. I love the physicality of holding a magazine and flipping through the pages. Online is awesome, but I really wanted the physical object. When it’s in print, people are excited to get involved in it.

  How has your MagCloud publication improved your business?

AY It has given me some great exposure, and we’ve been able to participate in several communitywide events because of the magazine. Plus, it adds credibility to my graphic design business. Potential clients see my name on the masthead, and that’s brought a lot of new work and contacts.

  How has publishing a magazine changed for you in the past five years?

AY We watch our Google Analytics and our MagCloud statistics – and we’re excited to see that the magazine keeps growing and growing. In fact, the MagCloud views of our magazine have increased by 158 percent since our first issue.

We hear from people every day, and we’re getting more and more contributors from all over the world. I think our quality is improving, and people see that we publish on a consistent basis. Establishing that longevity has been fantastic – it helps us earn our readers’ trust.

  How did you get started with publishing through MagCloud?

AY I can’t remember how I found MagCloud but I definitely remember thinking, “This is the best thing ever!”

WLWL is really well printed and gorgeously bound. And now we have new size and binding options. It’s so cool that print on demand is now possible for anyone at a very low cost. Anyone can start a magazine now.

  What tips would you give to someone new to self-publishing?

AY Focus on both design and content. It’s important that your magazine be visually appealing and exciting, and also that people will delve into the stories. You need to strike that balance.

  If you were stranded on a desert island, which books would you want with you?

AY The Chronicles of Narnia series. That was my favorite as a kid. The language and visuals are beautiful. I could reread them over and over again.

View MagCloud Publications in Your Web Browser

Today we are excited to announce a new web-based viewer that enables publishers to bring stunning versions of their publications to life in any modern web browser on both desktop and mobile computers.

Now publishers can upload a single PDF file and immediately distribute as a free or paid digital publication, in print, in a web browser, via the MagCloud iPad app or as a PDF download.

The web viewer delivers an immersive reading experience for users. Simply click the “read now” button and the publication launches within the web viewer. Readers can page forward and back, rotate, zoom in and out, and enter full-screen mode. Pages can be viewed individually or as a spread, and are easily navigated with thumbnail and all-pages views. Additionally, users can buy a printed copy, download a PDF version or add to their Digital Library for viewing later or in the MagCloud iPad app.

The web viewer supports all HP MagCloud publications, regardless of format, on any desktop or notebook computer running a modern web browser.

The web viewer technology also offers hyperlink support, benefiting publishers and users by allowing you to link from your catalog of products back to an ecommerce site, link directly to advertisers’ web pages, allow customers to draft emails to an address listed in your brochure just by clicking on it or provide information about the author.

Publishers can also monitor how well their readers engage with their online publications via the Stats section in their account.  You can see important web viewer reading information including the number of total readers, how often your publication was read, pageviews, shares, hyperlinks clicked, click through rates etc. for all your collections or a single publication.

Publishers and readers can promote their favorite publications by sharing publications they like with friends and colleagues via email or social media channels or embedding a badge or link that launches  the web viewer directly from their own website or blog.

All publishers who currently have digital distribution turned on for their publications will automatically have web viewer versions available on the MagCloud website. To turn digital distribution on simply select Sell Online (after uploading your PDF and selecting your binding). This is where you will add any markup to your print version, and will have the option to opt-in to digital distribution.  Opting-in to digital distribution is a one time setting that instantly gives readers digital access via the web viewer, iPad app and PDF download.

What do you think of the new MagCloud web viewer?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Creating a PDF? We’ll Help You Get Started

As we continue to add new product sizes to the MagCloud service, we’ve made it easier to find the requirements for the product you want to create with our Getting Started page. This new page in the Create section on the MagCloud site lets you select the product, trim size, and binding type for the publication you want to create, and then provides you with the appropriate PDF specifications, things to keep in mind when designing your publication, and step-by-step information packets to help you get started.

In the PDF specifications section, we not only provide the correct PDF size, trim size, safe zone, and bleeds for creating a MagCloud-ready PDF but we also make it easier to understand what these concepts are and how they relate to one another. As you hover over each of these values on the right, you’ll notice that the corresponding area gets highlighted in red in the diagram on the left. At the same time, a text description of what the specification is appears next to your cursor, letting you know, for example, that the PDF Size is the page size of the PDF you will upload to MagCloud. Below the PDF specifications, there is a section for Additional Information that is specific to the publication you are hoping to create. This area lists things that are important to keep in mind while designing your PDF, from embedding fonts to allowing space for the 2D barcode that goes on the back page of your publication.

Finally, at the bottom of the Getting Started page are links to download Information Packets for a variety of software programs. Clicking on one of the icons will download a .zip file, which unzips to become a folder specific to that program and the product, trim size and binding you initially selected. Each folder contains a PDF with step-by-step instructions to help you design a MagCloud-ready PDF from scratch, or modify an existing document for use with MagCloud. In addition, many of these folders also include templates or presets that can be used in conjunction with the step-by-step instructions to help jump-start your creation process.

At the moment we offer Instruction Packets for Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, Microsoft Word for Mac and PC, Apple iWork Pages, and Microsoft Publisher. We are planning to add instructions for additional software in the near future though, so keep an eye on the blog for news about those additions. And if there’s a type of software that you would like to see MagCloud-specific instructions for, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Be Square and Standout

We are excited to introduce a new form factor that will help your publications standout from the crowd. At 8” x 8”, Square product is compact, portable, eye-catching; and available in sleek saddle stitch or professional perfect binding.

Ideal for portfolios, look books, small catalogs, handbooks and more, Square publications can be anywhere from 4 to 384 pages. The new Square product will be available for the same $.20 per page ($.15 per page for orders of 20 copies or more).

MagCloud Square Design Specifications:

  • PDF Size with Bleed:         8.25 x 8.25″
  • Trim Size (Final Size):       8 x 8″
  • Bleed Settings:                   0” inside edge, 0.25″ outside edge; 0.125″ top and bottom
  • Half-Fold Binding:             4 Pages
  • Saddle-Stitch Binding:      8 – 100 Pages
  • Perfect Binding:                  20 – 384 Pages

Start publishing with Square today and let us know how you envision using this new product in the comments below.