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Old 02-04-2013, 07:50 PM   #1
WordCountess
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Would You Publish An E-Zine or E-Magazine?

I have quite a few zines that I've always wanted to publish. Although they may look good in a blog, I wanted something a bit more formal. Typically zines are published in a style similar to magazines. But do you think that they could be made into an e-book style and still seem... well-formatted? Are there such things as E-Magazines or E-Zines? If so, how exactly do you market them? Are there any specific details that make them different from an E-Book?
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:08 PM   #2
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Tried it once a long time ago, but it didn't last very well since I was the only contributor. Print2PDF was a wonderful CDEV, for those of us who remember Classic-era MacOS.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:22 AM   #3
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Do you think the accessability of an E-Zine would make it more popular than an in-print one?
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:14 AM   #4
Nancy Fulda
I write stories.
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There are indeed a number of successful e-zines. In the fields of science fiction and fantasy -- where I do most of my writing -- two of the most prominent are Clarkesworld and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. They both use the same business model. The stories are published for free on the e-zine blog, then compiled into ebook format and sold on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

The thing to realize when starting up a magazine -- whether in print or in electronic format -- is that putting out regular issues is a lot of work, and quickly becomes a time drain. If the authors are paid, there's additional administrative hassle in terms of sending out contracts, payments, etc. And while it's definitely possible to earn significant revenue from an e-zine, in my experience most new start-ups tend to lose money for several years, at which point they either fold under or hit a fortuitous streak of publicity.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:45 PM   #5
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Thanks for your input Nancy Fulda! I've always heard that about 80% of magazines fail. As I can imagine the work becomes overwhelming. Do you think a seasonal magazine would be an easier feat? There is only one published every three months- so they only come out four times a year? I feel that would be an appropriate way to start- but I've never ventured into such a realm before. I'm asking more of these questions out of curiousity rather than planning.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:49 PM   #6
Neil Clarke
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I'm the publisher/editor of one of the magazines that Nancy mentioned. I've been doing this for six years now and would be more than happy to share our experiences. Any 80% failure rate seems low for an digital publication. The bar to entry is quite low, so you have a lot of people who jump in not really knowing what to expect. (many rude awakenings) The work actually gets easier as you develop a routine that works for you. The more successful ventures are willing to invest in their business, pay contributors, etc. It does impact the quality of your publication and your ability to successfully market it. Making money at this is fairly difficult and takes a while to happen, if ever.

Personally, I think that it is better to publish monthly or even more frequently. Any longer is a digital eternity and you'll be more likely to be forgotten. Stagger the contents of an issue across a quarter if you have to. At least there will be new content available and that's the only reason someone will come back.

The killer for most people (at least in the SF/F world) is generating income. Advertising is not going to amount to much and a new publication doesn't have enough of an audience to make it worthwhile to an advertiser. Donations or kickstarter are certainly ways to start, but over time you'll start to see donor fatigue. It's not really a business model. (Ok, if you are lucky you find a wealthy patron.)

The best source of income for a digital magazine is ebook editions, preferably esubscriptions. Again, frequency plays into you bottom line and subscriptions improve convenience (with is the most important thing you need to work on). The problem here is that it isn't easy to get into most of the major subscription outlets. Amazon, for example, is currently closed to new magazines. B&N won't return emails and others, well, they'll tell you they can't do it yet. Some sell direct, others find places like Weightless Books who will sell subscriptions for them.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:53 PM   #7
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I did a print mag for a while, but this was before the e-readers took off. If I was doing it today I would definitely go emag. The biggest problem I had was getting enough content to fill an issue, so I went quarterly. I was doing full color non-fiction science (mainly surrounding astronomy and astrophotography) and it later a while, but content got thinner and thinner, and eventually I let it die. Was a fun endeavor, but a TON of work. More then I could afford to spend right now, thats for sure.
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:01 AM   #8
Nancy Fulda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WordCountess View Post
Do you think a seasonal magazine would be an easier feat?
It would be a lot less effort for the editor, but as Neil's pointed out, it's harder to build up a reader base that way. If you're approaching this as a money-making venture, I'd think you'll need more regular updates.
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:02 AM   #9
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Thank you Neil Clarke- that was literally a wealth of information for me. Thank you! I always assumed that it would be an endeavor that required a lot of investment before the payoff and you just reinforced that idea.

VydorScope, I too think it would be a ton of work. Like I mentioned before- I'm mainly looking at zines over magazines. But I'd assume, for a magazine, the work could get overwhelming (especially if you were doing it as an individual).
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:05 PM   #10
RobertLCollins
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If your genre is SF/F/H, you might visit Ralan's market site (http://www.ralan.com/) and see what's out there.

Whatever your genre is, I feel you should think about how to make your zine distinctive. Why should readers support you? Why should authors submit to you? Is there a need you can fill? The answers to these questions should help you figure out if your idea would be worth investing time and money.
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:40 PM   #11
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Thank you RobertLCollins. Those questions definitely are worth asking, and certainly give me something to think about. Like I said, I'm just contemplating right now. And I'm starting to realize that it certainly takes a lot of fore-thought. The investment of time and money is only one half- actually being able to market your zine is an entirely different idea. Thanks for bringing that up.
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:04 PM   #12
GlenBarrington
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I've seen a LOT of Photography E-Zines come and go. . .

Does anyone know of any studies of successful e-zines as to what made them successful? It seems to require more than good writing, good art work and a modern & attractive layout!
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:38 PM   #13
Neil Clarke
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As far as I can tell, there haven't been any studies. Like any aspect of publishing, if the factors that create success could be easily duplicated, there'd be a lot of knock-offs stealing readers away from the originals and eventually killing the model. Most of the independent online magazines that have succeeded have done so on their own terms. Uniqueness (or even getting there first) may be as significant a factor as luck.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:36 PM   #14
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First to a niche market is probably the most reliable key to success, but how you find that niche that you can hit hard? That is the problem... my suggest is find a niche you have a passion for, and hit it as hard as you can for 3-5 years. Then, and not before, re-evaluate.
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