Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing David Janner, editor and publisher of the MAKE APP iPad Newsstand magazine. We talked about about what it takes to get an iPad Newsstand magazine out and published. Here are the interview highlights:
Why Did You Get Into iPad Newsstand Publishing, What are the Advantages for App Developers and Publishers?
Shira – So I know that you’ve been publishing your Makeapp Magazine for a few months now and I wanted to ask you first off why you decided to get into Newsstand publishing, what brought you in that direction?
David – I’ve been interested in app development for quite a while but I hadn’t actually done anything in this field and then Ed Dale who you know, came out with a platform that makes publishing Newsstand apps very easy. And it just seemed to make sense to me. I wanted to get into apps and this seemed like the best way to get into the app business.
There are a lot of advantages of getting into Newsstand apps, the competition in the app store in most area is very fierce. Everyday around 5000 apps get approved into the Apple app store. At the moment there are close to 800,000 apps available in the app store. So the competition is really fierce. The iPad newsstand section of the app store is quite new. It was only released in October 2011. And when I initially looked into getting into got into developing the newsstand apps there were only about 1500 apps in the whole newsstand worldwide. So there was a lot less competition in this area which is pretty amazing.
Another aspect of why Newsstand magazines are more attractive than regular apps is that normally apps cost 99-cents if you’re lucky; and you get a user, they download your app once and in most cases that’s it, that’s the extent of your relationship. With Newsstand apps you actually have a subscription model, whether it’s monthly or yearly you have a recurring revenue. And also people are willing to pay much more for magazines than they are for apps because people are used to paying 10 or 15 dollars for a magazine rather than forking out 99 cents for an app.
What Does it Take to Successfully Publish an iPad Newsstand Magazine?
Shira – Well let me ask you this – there is a very big difference in creating and publishing an app to the market and marketing it versus creating a magazine which you constantly need to work on and put out new issues. So perhaps on the iTunes Newsstand it’s a type of an app but in reality it’s vastly different. What are your thoughts on this?
David – Yes you are publishing a magazine. You need to be publishing good content on a regular basis which is different to publishing an app and just updating it every once in a while.
There are many magazine publishers that have managed to streamline the whole magazine process and get guest contributors to write content and outsource the different aspects of publishing and don’t do that much themselves. Personally I do put a lot of work into creating a high quality magazine together on a regular basis.
Why Did You Choose Ed Dale’s Magcast Newsstand Magazine Publishing Platform?
Shira – So before we go into what it takes to put an issue together and what you need and who helps you do that. I know that you were on Ed Dale’s presentation, and I actually met Ed Dale; we actually had dinner together in London and he’s a really cool guy and puts out quality products, did you do any research on other Newsstand magazine publishing platforms or magazine building apps before going with MagCast?
David – Sure, this was a while ago and I did check out all the magazine publishing platforms I could find and Ed Dale’s platform was the best around. He has changed the model a little since I joined but it’s still a great deal.
Shira – So price was a main factor for you?
David – Of course price was a main factor but also Ed Dale is a marketer so his magazine publishing platform contains lot’s of marketing elements and tools not present in other Newsstand publishing platforms which are very much focused on design.
Most publishers just use an Adobe in design plugin which is usually used to layout magazines. With MagCast you don’t need anything that fancy, a PDF will do.
Shira – What do you actually need MagCast for you could put a pdf together yourself couldn’t you?
David – you could actually pay a developer to put together an newsstand app for you that is very simple. You would probably pay around 2000 dollars for that and it wouldn’t contain any of the MagCast features. With MagCast you can add in HTML elements to your mag like video and audio, you can embed web forms in there or whatever you want.
What Goes Into Each Newsstand Magazine Issue?
Shira – So what does a typical issue of your magazine look like. How many articles do you have and how much multimedia do you need, what really goes into for just one issue?
David – typically I have around 10 articles which are in depth. I usually have each issue focuses on a certain theme. For example the upcoming issues are going to focus on app Store optimization. So at least one article would be an interview with a prominent app developer, someone who has been successful and people can learn from. But yes there is quite a lot of work that goes into every issue and I’m working on streamlining this process.
Shira – Yes I know because I’ve actually written two guest articles for your magazine and they are quite long and they are quite a bit of work and I can only imagine what it would be like to multiply that times 10, it can’t be that easy. So do you use outsourcers for this and where do you find them?
David – Yes I outsource the magazine design to come up with the magazine design. A lot of people publishing with MagCast weren’t putting that much into the magazine design. I think that making the magazine visually appealing is very important. I found a site called behance.net.
Of course you can find designers though Odesk and Elance but I found that designers on theses sites tend to inflate their prices quite a bit and deliver shoddy work. I found that on behance.net there are more serious designers that upload their portfolios. It’s not an outsourcing site just a place for designers to showcase their work.
Shira – Do you have any other outsourcers helping you with your magazine creation process?
David – Not yet, I am currently looking for a virtual assistant that will take the PDF and upload it to the MagCast platform and add in the HTML elements. I am also looking for journalist to write articles for the magazine as well as an editor.
Shira – Cool there are lots of models, some people do everything themselves and some outsource the process entirely and it sounds like you have a mixture of that going on.
Have You Made Money With Your Magazine?
Shira – The real question is have you made any money yet with your mag?
David – That’s a good question, it’s important to justify all these expenses. I haven’t broken even yet but the trend is very good. Normally my magazine issue are 10.99 per edition and for someone to subscribe it’s 5.99 per month. So right now I’ve got over 300 subscribers. So that’s an income of 1800 dollars a month. And that’s without doing too much marketing.
Tips for Getting Apple iPad Newsstand Magazine Downloads
Shira – So you have over 300 subscribers and that’s awesome, so what model are you using to get subscribers and what tips can you provide for magazine publishers who are just starting out to get their first hundred subscribers when they are brand new out there on the Newsstand app store.
Specifying Your Magazine Launch Date to Apple
David – So I’ve done very little traditional marketing. My main focus has been initially just to get my app store optimization correct.
One tip is when you are launching an app – your day one downloads are really important. When Apple puts together your rankings they take the last 4 or 5 days of downloads into account and based on that they decide on where you are going to rank in the charts. Now on the first day that you launch Apple doesn’t have that historical data so they give you the benefit of the doubt.
Magazine Pre-Launch Activity to Cash in on Day 1 Downloads
So if you manage to get a lot of downloads on the very first day they will count on these numbers for your data and this can give you a massive push up the charts. So it’s very important to invest in pre-launch activity and ask people to download your app on that first day. So you are inviting people not just to download your magazine but to subscribe to it on the first day of publishing and that will give you a way to get things started.
Shira – So you want to pre launch your publishing date?
David – Yes, you need to market around a certain launch date. When you are going to release an app to the app store you can tell apple to launch the app as it is approved or to publish the app on a specific date for your app to go live. So it’s very important to specify your own launch date.
Shira – So we have two major tips for anyone who is publishing an iPad newsstand app – Number one you want to set your publishing date to a known date that you can control and number two – you can leverage that date by targeting your pre marketing materials to get as many downloads as possible on that first day that your magazine goes live and that will help you catapult your Mag up on the rankings on the iTunes chart.
Optimizing Your Newsstand Magazine Submission for The App Store – Get Noticed in iTunes Search
David – Yes, that’s right. The other main tip is iTunes store optimization which will help you get more download through search. It’s estimated that 50% of the people will download an app through the iTunes search box on the app store.
Shira – So we are talking about iTunes search, not Google or Facebook or Google Plus, we’re talking about people who are searching on iTunes in general or on the newsstand?
David – Yes we are talking about the app store in general. The only keywords that are counted are those in the app name and in the keyword field and no other keywords are counted from the other data you submit. So Apple does something very interesting, they take your singular keywords and create possible combinations from these.
So you want to make sure you are not repeating keywords that you have in your app name and have just individual words that are separated by commas. You don’t want to have keyword phrases made up from multiple words, you want single words that can be mixed and matched to create additional keyword phrases.
Shira – That is excellent advice and this applies to anything you would publish on apple whether it is a regular app, a magazine or even and iBook. So tell us a little bit about your magazine, how many issues have you published, are you planning on publishing additional magazines?
Publishing to Additional Platforms Such as the Kindle Magazine Store
David – Well as I mentioned I am working on streamlining the publishing process a little more and also spread my content on additional media. For example publishing my mag to the Kindle Fire.
Shira – Well as an Amazon Kindle Publishing expert I think that is an excellent idea, you can actually have a magazine subscription within Kindle. When you publish to Kindle you need to take into account that all devices will read your content not just the Kindle Fire.
Is Publishing a Magazine to the iPad Newsstand Still a Great Choice?
Shira – Is the newsstand publishing space becoming more competitive now? What is your feel for this growing space? Is it becoming a lot more competitive and do you feel this is still a good opportunity for people to get into right now?
David – Well when I started there were only around 1500 magazines out on the market and today there are double that number, but there are still many niches where there is a good opportunity.
The MagCast Opportunity & Special Bonus Offer
Shira – So tell us a little bit about the MagCast opportunity and why you recommend it to everyone.
David – Another massive advantage to publishing a magazine is becoming an influencer and market leader in your niche. MagCast provides you with benefits in marketing features for your magazines. Although their pricing has gone up and is now a monthly charge of $297/Month.
Shira – So if you want to publish just a quarterly magazine would you need to retain your subscription every month?
David – yes I believe you need to continue to subscribe to MagCast for your app to be live on the app store. When you join MagCast with my link I will be happy to provide a keyword optimization consultation for your magazine (value $497) as well as give you a professionally designed template for your magazine.
Shira – Great bonus David! And it’s no extra cost to anyone signing up so take advantage of David’s bonus offer here if you are interested in becoming an iPad Newsstand publisher! Once you sign up with THIS LINK please contact David at to claim your bonus!
About David Janner
David Janner is a former M.D. and the Editor-in-Chief of MAKE APP Magazine, the iPad Newsstand magazine for app developers. MAKE APP Magazine brings together the foremost world experts in the field of app development, marketing and monetization to help indie developers increase downloads, users and revenue. Download the magazine on your iPad, or sign up to the email list on the website for evidence-based app marketing tips.