The world of publishing is treacherous. Today, coming up with enough capital to fully staff, produce and publish a magazine is a daunting task — and making a profit off of it is almost impossible.
But, it turns out, a new trend is rising that could help startup magazines produce, and even monetize, new and interesting digital content. Although micropublishing is not new — its roots date back into the book industry, when small Print On Demand books would get published — it has been an increasingly lucrative concept as more of the general public owns eReaders and tablets. And, while its become popular among authors to produce micro-stories on platforms such as Kindle Singles, journalists now have the opportunity to ride micropublishing’s wave. Startups are scrambling to create proprietary CMS and publishing platforms that encourage anyone to produce a magazine.
Here is just a sampling of some of the different ways you can bring a digital edition of your startup publication to the hands of readers. They have different prices and limitations, but they should help you get thinking about whether micropublishing is right for you.
What do you think of micropublishing as a concept? Let us know in the comments.
1. Zeen: Micro-Micro Publishing
If your work is less of a magazine and more of a one-off long read or a compendium of short articles with a single, then Zeen is the right choice for your micropublishing needs. Currently in Beta, Zeen is a free micropublishing website that enables users to input their own content, enrich it with multimedia (including pictures, video and maps), and lay it out in a “zine-like” digital format for publish to social media accounts or a personal blog.
It’s key to note that Zeen is definitely more on the casual end of micropublishing — there’s no way to distribute a Zeen outside of Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and embed on a website. However, it’s a great way to test the waters with micropublishing with very little effort, and to jazz up features for use on a professional website.
2. TypeEngine: Scales with You
One of the biggest hurdles in micropublishing is figuring out the best way to make a profit. Why commit to a costly monthly or yearly subscription when you don’t know what you’ll be taking in from sales. TypeEngine circumvents that by providing an easy way to get your magazine to an audience without costing a fortune by providing a free and easy to use CMS — implementing a monthly fee only after the magazine is brought to market.
The TypeEngine console allows users to control many aspects of the magazine in development, including color, typography and pricing. Once the app is brought to market, TypeEngine steps away to allow you to work with Apple directly on gaining profit. And, the monthly fee is scaled to the number of readers the publication has, meaning that you won’t go into the red to keep your publication up and running. Sign up now to gain access once TypeEngine enters beta.
3. The Periodical Co.: Minimalism and a Flat Rate
If making a presence on Apple’s Newsstand is important, then a great way to get started might be with The Periodical Co. For a flat rate of $99 per year, users gain access to a CMS that allows for HTML content, including images. The minimalist look of the magazine means that it’ll be devoid of interactive content, but its easy, copy/paste format will make a soup-to-nuts publication with minimal hassle.
The app, developed at last year’s AngelHackathon, is still in beta, but will allow users a simple and easy way to monetize their micropublishing efforts and add simple layouts for advertisements within the piece. The Periodical Co. is a great step towards building a professional micropublication without breaking the bank, and is a go-to choice for those yearning to make their own product (and make a profit).
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