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Friday, March 14, 2014

Use Stepping Stones, Magic Can Happen!

Remember a couple weeks ago, when I opened a can of worms by announcing that I would be interviewing a magazine owner?
Please let me state, categorically, I had no clue.  I am discovering that my preconceived notions are so far from the reality of the situation. Mercy! Did I get an eye opening.  The comments I got on the blog post were so welcome. It was as encouraging to read the views expressed by  Michele Maks  as it was to see the Congratulations from others for landing the endeavour.  I love the concept that every coin has two sides.
Compiling these tidbits has been fun, and grueling.  I have to say, when two people can talk, to share ideas, to exchange information, to build a relationship, Magic can happen.  I was blessed in this occasion, there were no politics standing in the way. Even though we had just met, it was very much like two friends having a conversation!
Today, I am focusing on the exchange (interview) I had with Stacy Rhoads,

Owner and Editor of Too Yarn Cute, eMagazine

When do you begin looking at ideas for publications?  (How long before the publish date)
We currently have the next year of issue themes chosen to show a great variety of different types of things you can crochet! Each issue's deadline is 3 months before release date to ensure that we can give each issue the proper attention to detail

How does a designer get the Editorial Calender?
I do enjoy a "face-to-face" relationship; somewhat, because we are afterall, in the digital world. If you're ever in the neighborhood you're welcome to stop by for a chat!  We have a group set up on facebook where we regularly post and communicate, Designer's Hive Group.   Even if you're not ready to submit now, if you just want to check us out and see what we're up to, come join us!
Designers can sign up for the Newsletter now as well,
We don't want to be known by an email address. We're a team of crocheters working together to help others.

Would you explain the selection process for us?
Sure! The selection process is a very simple one for us. 
1. Pattern must meet the theme of the issue you are submitting for.
2. A well written pattern that has been tested. 
3. Clean, clear pictures of the finished product. Photos must reflect the theme as well, ie. if it's a winter issue and your picture is on a sunny beach, it won't work well together.

 If for any reason the designer needs help in those areas, we do have a special group of crocheters that have been screened for  "testing" abilities as well as quality photos, available for designers wanting to participate in the eMagazine. We want every designer to have the tools on hand to be successful. This special group came about to assist brand new designers have their patterns tested and get good quality pictures.

What is the average number of patterns you select for each issue published?
Our goal is to publish 15 to 18 contributions per issue.
We are getting to a point that we need to limit how many patterns we publish. A few issues in the past have become more like a "Crochet Book" rather than an eMagazine.

If it is a good pattern, but not right for the issue?
 We are completely ecstatic that designers are getting to know about us now! If a pattern is not selected for an upcoming issue, the option is given to the designer to submit it for another issue that fits with the theme of the pattern. I like to think that our eMagazine more as a "Mom & Pop" shop, not a cold corporate world as some companies can seem to be. 

Do you republish patterns?
After a lot of research, I found that designers want to keep their rights to their own patterns. That is what we offer! The patterns are in the issue the designer submits for, AND  they are allowed to publish their own pattern for sale after the issues run.  We do not "re-use" a pattern for another issue.  We do not buy the pattern, it remains the property of the designer.
When a designer submits a pattern to the issue, they do sign a Digital Print Release that will allow me to put it in digital format of the eMagazine. The designer is asked not to self publish within the first 30 days of the eMagazine release, After the 30 days, the designer is free to sell their own pattern in their normal setting. That's it. 
We do accept previously listed patterns as well, as long as it has not sold more than 50 copies. We want to avoid publishing a pattern that is extremely popular. Readers do not want to buy a Magazine if its full of patterns they already have purchased.

How far in advance is the editorial calender sent to designers?

Our Editorial Calendar is set up as events in our Designer's Hive Group. You are welcome to join in and see if your pattern fits the theme of an upcoming issue
We have just started a newsletter for Designers to stay up to date with the Editorial Calendar. They can sign up here:
Working 3 months in advance of an issue can get confusing. This additional time allows us to be sure our magazine readers, and designers get the best out of the process.

How often do you publish?
Currently we have 2 issues per quarter (every 3 months) There is conversation of more frequent publishing, we will be evaluating this further over the next few months.

How big is a designers name?  Let's say, I am Vanna White. Will my pattern be accepted almost without question, or does that cause you to scrutinize it even more skeptically?

We have a realistic expectation for New and Seasoned Designers, its the same for both. We will work with any level of experience the designer has, as long as there is a respect for other designers.

 We have all started small at one time or another. This eMagazine probably wouldn't be a good fit for the "Celebrity" designers. We are not able to meet their expectations. We cannot guarantee a bowl of green skittles back stage. We have only had one designer who had very unrealistic demands of us.

 We treat everyone with the same level of respect, some may need more help getting confidence, some may need a rejuvenation, either way we're here!

As for your question about "how big a designer's name is" We don't go spying around on pages to see how popular they are, they may have 50 fans or 15,000. A pattern is a pattern. Crochet is crochet.

We have asked some seasoned designers to contribute articles of their journey in their crochet business or a fun "themed" article with patterns  in the past. Some of the "biggest" names (off top of mind) we've had in the eMagazine are Snappy Tots and Twinkie Chan. Can you believe I had never really heard of Twinkie Chan, I mean I've seen pictures of her, liked her page, but never knew just how big she is! It wasn't until after having emails back and forth with her in regards of her article about Michael's, that I started to look around and realized "Hey! She's HUGE!" But, realistically, if I had known that before our conversations, I may have been a little intimidated. It was then, that I realized that Twinkie Chan, like most  other designers, just love to crochet!  Our business plan and  eMagazine are based on Christian values,  We treat everyone with respect, kindness and charity. whether you're religious or not.

The only question not posed in any way, but I am sure will have eyes glued for the answer;  Can you disclose the ball park pay out for a pattern.  A range is fine.
This is probably the most asked question we have and the answer is not typical to the industry. Since I stated in an earlier question, the demand that designers keep the rights to their own patterns was so boldly stated, we do not "buy" patterns. Think of us as  a stepping stone,  to learn the process of submitting your designs. Since we do not "buy" patterns (like the corporate magazines do), we want to reward our designers for promoting us. We offer our designers a 30 day commission program that is much like an Affiliate Program. You will be asked for your paypal email and we will send you a special link that only you can use. When you promote the magazine, you simply use this link. Anyone who clicks on this link and makes any purchases of a Subscription or an issue, you earn a percentage! We also offer a website button that you can use on your website/blog for readers to see.  We have steadily grown from not being able to offer any compensation to what we have now  This is not the only compensation we offer, but it is the easiest to place a dollar value on. We offer other perks for being a "TYC Busy Bee Designer" For a full list, view it here:
 As we grow, we improve our perks. It is really important to me that everyone earns something. We need our designers to help advertise us, as well as they need us to advertise them. Maybe some day when our readership is higher, we may have the option to buy a pattern from the designer exclusive to the eMagazine. Honestly, from the overwhelming past response, I don't see that happening. The designers seem to want to keep their pattern rights and be able to sell them independently. We want to honor the individual. 

Seriously, I was floored. I had a real conversation with a real person. I am intrigued, I like this option. It will not satisfy me long term, as I want my design in a glossy print magazine, seen in a doctors office, or the check stand of the supermarket. I want to send my free copy to my Mom. I will keep pursuing that goal.  BUT, I like this

I may need to do this.  It has the potential to help me gain confidence, and walk through the dead-lines process, as well as understand better how it all fits together.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links**

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