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!

Publisher Spotlight: Fotoblur Magazine

After struggling to get his work published in print, software developer and photography enthusiast Lance Ramoth set up a little spot on the Internet where he and a few photographer friends could easily post their fine art images. Through the site, Ramoth reckoned, they could encourage one another, vote for their “community favorites” to be featured on the home page and enjoy some great talent that might otherwise go unnoticed.

He dubbed the site fotoblur.com, and before long, with word of mouth and the magic of the Internet, itself, his small group in early 2007 blossomed into an international community of 2,500 members today and counting.

“I was surprised by how well it worked,” Ramoth says. “The images that the community selected as their favorites were among some of the best photographs I had seen. Launching our own magazine just seemed like the next step given that we had a pool of great photographers who would provide the content.”

And photographers who appreciate the reproduction quality of print. “It’s just dramatically better than what you see online,” Ramoth says. “Plus, Web sites come and go, but magazines can last decades. And for those of us chronically attached to our computers, it’s nice to be able to enjoy a magazine anywhere besides on our screens.”

Ramoth’s instincts were spot on. The first issue of Fotoblur Magazine drew 600 submissions from the fotoblur.com community. Issue 2 brought in 800. By the time Issue 3 (the most recent issue) came around, Ramoth was overwhelmed with 1,400 images.

Just as the fotoblur.com community votes for favorite images to be featured on the site’s home page, members also vote on which images should appear in the magazine. Ramoth and a small group of editors review the top 10 percent of the vote-getters, selecting 40 or so black-and-white and color images per issue that represent a diverse cross-section of subjects and a range of photographers, themselves.

Ramoth then designs the issues, usually devoting a full page to each image with very limited text and no advertising.

“There are already a lot of photo magazines out there with articles and ads,” he says. “But our philosophy is all about the image and the celebration of it. Each image contains a story in itself and requires a full page for it to be fully processed and appreciated by the viewer.”

The decision to bypass advertising meant, of course, that Ramoth needed a way to print the magazine without incurring any expenses. He heard about MagCloud from a colleague and decided to give it a try.

“I’ll admit that I was skeptical about the print quality,” he says. “But when I held the first issue in my hand, I was simply blown away — it truly exceeded my expectations. The color of the images was spot on. There was little to no color cast on the black-and-white images, which was one of my major concerns. I just remember thinking, I really did it!”

Since Ramoth runs fotoblur.com and manages the magazine almost singlehandedly, he appreciates that MagCloud handles all the printing, shipping and order processing details. He looked into working with a few newsstand magazine distributors, but found that the upfront costs and the need for advertising to support the distribution would have threatened his creative vision. “MagCloud allows me the freedom to concentrate on the results I desire creatively,” he says.

As each issue is published, Ramoth spreads the word via fotoblur.com, as well as through Twitter (@fotoblur) and digital publication sharing services like Issuu (issuu.com) and Scribd (scribd.com) and various file sharing services. Contributors to the issues also help publicize the magazine’s availability.

Ramoth makes the issues free to download and view online and supplies links to MagCloud for those who’d like to purchase the print version, $15.40.

Ramoth hasn’t given up on his hope to turn Fotoblur into a newsstand magazine if he can attract enough purchasers. He’s also considering combining all four of this year’s issues into a hardcover book.

His advice for other potential magazine publishers? Purchase a good software package, create the content and do it. “When I told people that I wanted to start a photography magazine, they thought I was crazy,” Ramoth says. “But I just didn’t listen — I just did it anyway.

“Be creative, publish, then promote,” he adds. “It’s an amazing experience in itself, and you’ll feel something special when you turn that idea in to something tangible.”

Check out the latest issue!