I'd like to welcome my first guest, Sharon Boothroyd. Sharon is the editor for KISHBOO magazine, an e-magazine which will be celebrating its first birthday later this year.It was my husband Keith who had the idea of producing an e-magazine in the summer 2014.
As a semi-pro freelance writer, I loved entering short story competitions - some of these competitions were run by small paper presses or fiction based online projects.
The editors usually chose the winner and runner- up.
We began to sketch out a concept of a quarterly fiction based e-magazine. We thought how we could set up and fund our own short story competition, plus how readers would vote for the winners and runner- up places in each issue.
Our HistoryMy hubby had already published a chick lit- novella of mine on kindle for me.
We called our publishing brand Ryecorn Digital Publishing, after Ryecorn, the fictional Yorkshire town in my novella.
To keep costs down, we set up a free website to help promote it: www.ryecorn.orgfree.com
Keith has several free android apps games published on the google playstore and he has professional web design experience too. I had previously written the text for his corporate client's websites, so we were used to combining our skills and working together as a team.
Plus, we'd already enjoyed minor success with another online project of ours called 'A Quick Read.' This entailed uploading stories onto a website that we owned and onto our accompanying free android app.
So – we had published online,on kindle and on the android app format. We both really warmed to the idea of publishing an e-mag on 3 digital platforms.
Target MarketWho was our e- magazine for?
We realised from our experience with the 'A Quick Read' project that there's an awful lot of writers out there who are starting out and can't secure a publisher.
KISHBOO is aimed not at full- time professional writers, who are confident of selling their work very easily or for authors who earn a living from their writing, but for new and fresh writers, or anyone who is eager to grab free publicity (We offer free promotion of books/sites/blogs etc with all published articles).
Funding The ProjectWith the 'A Quick Read' project, we didn't charge writers a fee for publication, and the website cost around £60 a year. Even though we were overwhelmed with work, as time passed, we couldn't see how the project could develop, so sadly in 2014, after two years, we decided to close it down.
With KISHBOO, we realised that we could fund the competition prizes through the competition entry fees and kindle sales, and now we realised that we could use online advertising via google's Adsense to cover the cost of our website. It was risky, yet we decided it was worth giving it a go.
To make our project more appealing, we decided KISHBOO would be free of charge on two of our digital platforms – online and on the android app. It would also be non- subscription. (We've now dropped the app in favour of a mobile phone friendly site)
The kindle version is 99p.
Finding A NameWhat could we call our magazine though? We thought of hundreds of names, yet sadly, the domain names were all taken, so we hit upon the idea of blending our names to create something truly different.
We really hoped that the name 'KISHBOO' would stick in people's memory. It also happens to be an anagram of BOOKISH!
PromotionIn August 2014, we were ready to launch the project! We'd bought a domain name. Keith had designed the website and I'd written the text for it. However, the actual magazine wasn't published until October, as we needed stories and articles to fill it.
I began to send press releases out to magazines and my network of writer friends helped spread the word for us by featuring our project on their blogs and sites.
Keith worked hard on search engine optimisation, and I began to tweet for the first time in my life!
My volunteer publicity work is ongoing - I post on Facebook and twitter regularly. We have 3 FB pages – one for Keith, one for RDP and one for KISHBOO. We also have a links swap project in place.
I've sent information about our story competition to relevant sites and magazines, and they've been kind enough to publish our details. Unlike other e-magazines, we've been very lucky, as we haven't needed to pay for any advertising whatsoever.
Non-profit StatusSo far, all the income from the KISHBO project – comp entry fees, online advertising and kindle sales – have gone back into the project. It needs to be self- funding to pay the cash prizes. Keith and I haven't taken a salary from it. We see KISHBOO as a hobby - it also acts as our online portfolio to highlight both our skills.
Future PlansOur project is growing bigger. From our fourth issue, published in July 2015, we've published 15 stories instead of ten and we've also recently introduced a poetry corner slot. We do have more plans but sshh! It's top secret!
For more information, please visit: www.kishboo.co.uk
Visit our facebook page: www.facebook.com/keith.boothroyd.77
Follow us on Twitter: @KishbooMag
Sharon Boothroyd, editor of KISHBOO.