Tablet Magazine Founder & Publisher

– Founded & Published Rebelutionary Life Tablet Magazine –

Situation

In 2012, while exploring digital product business ideas as an entrepreneur, I decided to try independent publishing while iPads were still relatively new and tablet magazine market share was still entirely from big publishing houses. The timing appeared to be ripe to be in the independent publishing space.

Actions

I joined the first wave of independent tablet magazine publishers as I founded, developed, and published a digital magazine:

  • Developed concept and brand: ?“Rebelutionary Life Magazine peels away the layers of convention, revealing a world of fresh, edgy, enticing ideas that indulge your open mind and adventurous spirit. Focused on kicking ass outside the norm, it features unconventional stories and movements across career, lifestyle, learning, behaviour, innovation, and more.”
  • Wrote a manifesto (see in images above)
  • Specified brand colours, aesthetic, and font selection
  • Hired a graphic designer for logo and magazine layout template
  • Co-authored one article per issue
  • Secured article contributors as either original works or repurposed works from blogs and podcasts
  • Developed primary and secondary income streams:
    • Magazine sales
    • Affiliate commissions for recommending phone/tablet apps and other tablet magazines on Apple App Store
    • Affiliate commissions for recommending audiobooks, ebooks, print books, and physical products sold on Amazon
  • Learned Adobe InDesign and laid out Issue 01
  • Hired and provided creative guidance to graphic designer for Issue 02 layout
  • Compiled in-magazine reader survey for feedback and reader interests
  • Bought license and learned MagCast — an independent tablet magazine publishing platform
  • Started Apple developer account and learned about iOS App Store administration and marketing, including research and optimization of keywords for better App Store visibility
  • Wrote/Designed and used press releases, email marketing, and social media campaigns for magazine launch and Issue 02 launch

Outcomes

Successes:

  • Successfully published two full issues; here’s a sample of Issue 01
  • Learned digital publishing strategies, digital marketing, App Store marketing, eCommerce and income streams, layout and publishing software, etc.

Learning from failures:

  • Let go of the first graphic designer when their vision diverged from mine, then hired a second designer with much better fit
  • Realized later that I had done poor market validation, resulting in a magazine that was personally fulfilling, but had poor commercial viability
  • Realized I needed more reliable and lower-risk income streams from digital products
  • High publication development and marketing costs gave me a better appreciation of cost-benefit analysis
  • After two issues, subscriptions and individual issue sales were too low, so I decided to “fold” and stop publishing the magazine
  • Two years after stopping, it was clear I had made the right decision, since digital magazines (online and tablet) proved to be a serious disappointment compared to print sales, whether from big publishers or independents