Focus on Publish Now! with editor David Howell
With the launch of Publish Now! – the magazine devoted to the world of self publishing – we catch up with editor David Howell to find out a little more about his new magazine.
About the publication:
Who reads it and how many of them are there?
Publish Now! is aimed at anyone that has ambitions to be a published writer, but has perhaps had little luck breaking into the mainstream book publishing market. Today the technology exists to enable anyone to self-publish their own work. However, there wasn’t an easy accessible guide to how anyone could go about self-publishing a book. I hope that Publish Now! becomes the hub around which the self-publishing industry orbits.
What subjects do you cover?
Publish Now! covers every aspect of self-publishing from help and advice about writing your book, or how to market your new publication. The magazine includes real-world examples of authors that have successfully published their own work. Also included is reviews of office equipment that all self-publishers will be interested in as by definition a self-publisher will also be a home-based small business. This link to home businesses is also useful for my business as I also publish HomeWorker magazine that is aimed at the home-based business market.
What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
My magazine came about simply because there was no newsstand or online magazine specifically for the self-publishing market. I had already self-published HomeWorker and also a couple of books, but I had a steep learning curve with the skills I needed to acquire to get my publications into print. Publish Now! is a practical magazine that includes all the information anyone would need to enter the self-publishing market for the first time.
Do you use freelance contributions, and if so, are they for any particular section/type of work?
Yes. As a freelance journalist as my day job as it were, I have a number of colleagues that help with content. For future issues of Publish Now! I will need a wide-range of features completing. From reviews of the latest office hardware and software to interviews with new self-publishers, all this material will need contributions. I’ll have more information about the specific sections in the magazine’s future issues that freelancers can contribute to when I know if there will be anymore issues of Publish Now! All depends on sales.
Do you work closely with PRs (e.g. for supplements, round tables, events) or do you keep them at arm’s length?
I do work closely with PRs usually through the Response Source service. I often use the service to locate interviewees for the features I write. For Publish Now! because of its specific market, I am happy to receive newsletters and press releases that relate to the content of the magazine.
Do you have any advice for PRs?
Try and be as specific as possible. With my freelance journalist hat on, I often get responses from my Response Source requests that are not specific enough to the request I have posted. As Publish Now! has a highly specific market, I need PR responses that are equally targeted at my readers.
What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
Always email me as I don’t like to be tied up on the phone for long periods of time, as I simply don’t have the time to speak to PRs at length. If a PR hasn’t contacted me before an intro email is best. I always thoroughly check my spam folder so their emails should get though to me. After the initial contact they can pitch any stories etc. they think might be appropriate for my magazines.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Specific stories for features and interviews based on the content of my magazine. I expect a PR to have read Publish Now! before they contact me. It’s easy to spot PRs that have not! They should try and put themselves in the shoes of my readership and ask themselves what info they would find interesting.
Do you have a PR pet hate?
Yes, pitching story ideas that have such a tentative link to my publications that they are really just fishing for slots in my magazines.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & what is your deadline for contributions?
My publications tend to be quarterly so the publication dates are end of March, June, September and December. I therefore need story ideas early in the first month of the quarter. I can then commission features etc. with plenty of time.
What interests you most about your new job?
I’ve always wanted to write for a living, and even had ambitions to one day publish my own books and magazines. Nexus Publishing began nearly 20 years ago now as a freelance journalism and writing business. This is still my main focus, but I am increasingly moving into publishing for the home-business market that is booming at the moment. Being self-employed producing publications that fill a gap in the market is hard work, but very rewarding.
What led to you becoming editor for Publish Now! ?
I spotted a gap in the market. 2009 saw a boom in eBook readers. I also saw that vanity publishing had finally thrown off the stigma it once had to become a legitimate way to publish your own work. With the citizen journalist now a reality across the world, publishing your own work is now accepted. But I couldn’t see a magazine dedicated to helping self-publishers get their work into print and to their audience, so I created Publish Now!
What was your first job?
This was in a bookshop. My life has revolved around books and publishing, which is why I started Nexus Publishing [www.nexus-publishing.co.uk] that has now evolved into a magazine publishing business.
In a dream world, if you could do any job, what would it be?
I’m doing it! I always wanted to write on a freelance basis and also get into publishing in some capacity but as my own business. 2010 should see Nexus Publishing established as a specialist publisher for the home business market.
I’d like to have a go at…
Cartooning. I’ve always liked cartoons, so would like to try and create my own.
If you were stranded on a desert island what one thing would you hope to have with you?
A notepad and pencil so I can keep a record of the ideas that constantly pop into my head for new features and publications.
[img|jpg|David Howell hard at work]