A few weeks back, I did a small piece on an indie mag called Paperswell, something I found while searching through MagCloud. The magazine is about paper, mostly invitations and announcements and a lot of finely crafted calligraphy. I was intrigued and since I was curious to see the quality of Magcloud’s production, I ordered a copy of Paperswell. Needless to say, the magazine is awesome, both from an editorial and art standpoint, as well as production quality. I immediately asked the creators, Kelle McCarter and Laura Dombrowski, for a short interview, after the jump.
First, how did you and Laura meet and how did you come to the decision to partner up for Paperswell?
KELLE: Laura photographed my wedding five years ago in Denver at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Her work was so exceptional that my husband and I asked her to shoot our family photograph each year. We continued to keep in touch and I witnessed her success from international photographer to now the founder and editor of Coloradoʼs premiere online lifestyle and wedding resource- COUTUREcolorado. I approached her last fall about a publishing collaboration. The timing was ideal for us both and we formed our partnership. I have a great deal of respect for Laura and knew we would work well together.
LAURA: Kelle and I met when I photographed her wedding about 5 years ago. I actually didn’t even meet her until the day of her wedding. She was stunning, calm and collected. Since her wedding we have stayed in touch. We have both grown our businesses and created new ones. It has been a joy to watch her success. And just a couple of years ago, Kelle did the calligraphy for my wedding.
Is this your first attempt at self-publishing?
KELLE: Yes, it is and the experience has been easy and gratifying. It is just as advertised. You can focus on the substance and creation of your project and have a beautiful, professionally-printed publication in two days. A friend gave me a crash course in using Adobe InDesign so I could transfer my Adobe Illustrator files to an InDesign layout for Paperswell and, within two weeks, our magazine was finished; that is, after months of planning, interviews, design and numerous photo shoots.
LAURA: Yes. After being a wedding photographer for the past 8 years, I switched gears and jumped into the media/publishing world. I created a blog and resource guide called COUTUREcolorado. It is online only. I love the process and love being able to inspire and reach so many people. Paperswell was a just another outlet. I have also loved Kelle’s work and her talent and passion is undeniable. I knew Paperswell would be a high-quality publication with her behind it.
You’ve chosen Magcloud for your fulfillment. Which other publishing options did look at before going with Magcloud, and what sold you on them?
KELLE: I initially wanted to write a book about calligraphy and design but realized that this was not a compatible outlet if I wanted to keep the content current. The world of traditional publishing seemed overwhelming and arduous and the option of online self-publishing was like a dream come true and perfectly suited for creating an annual publication.
LAURA: I researched others but MagCloud is so convenient for our readers to purchase. And easy for us, too! We also liked the quality and the weight of the paper.
Once you received a copy of your magazine, were you satisfied with the Magcloud quality? Anything you might do different in your process for the next issue?
KELLE: I ordered a MagCloud magazine prior to the decision to use MagCloud to see the quality of the print and paper. This is one of the reasons we selected MagCloud—for its professional look. There is a substantial weight and sumptuous feeling to the magazine. The tactile sensation is part of the impression made on a reader and it was important to us to have something of quality.
LAURA: Yes, I thought the quality was great.
You offer both a print and digital version of Paperswell. What are your thoughts on the future of print publishing versus digital?
KELLE: I know we are witnessing a digital revolution but I hold firm in the belief that there will always be a demand and desire to hold a book or magazine in your hands.
LAURA: In today’s world, you must offer both. That is another reason why we liked MagCloud; it offered both. For the future of print publishing, there is still a market for it and will continue to be. But I think the future for printing will be specialty magazines or books like ours that you will hold on to for a while. I have a feeling that the weekly or monthly magazines will be turning all digital in the future. The iPad just makes it easy for that. But for specialty magazines and books, print is the way to go. We still need something pretty to put on our coffee tables and in home offices.
Are you noticing an increase in interest in print as a medium. Yes or no, why do you think that is the case?
KELLE: I view it as an increased interest in a particular theme or subject. I see a surge in arts and crafts- journaling; paper crafts, letterpress, photography, sewing, embroidery; and print is the ideal way to showcase them. A case in point is the proliferation of Stampington & Company publications, which you can not help but see on the newsstands today, featuring everything from sewing and cooking to jewelry and cardmaking.
What other magazines do either of you subscribe to?
KELLE: I am a magazine fanatic and subscribe to dozens of magazines- mostly interior design, art, and wedding publications. This is the source of inspiration for my work as a wedding invitation designer.
LAURA: 5280 is a local Denver magazine. I am obsessed with interior design and travel magazines.
Any plans for other projects beyond the annual?
KELLE: Yes, I think this is just the beginning for us. Our challenge is to reign in our ideas.
LAURA: It is only the beginning!
What have you learned most from self publishing and what would you do different?
KELLE: We realize that social media is critical to promoting our efforts (for which I am grateful to Laura for her expertise and wizardry), especially when there is limited distribution channels. We also have learned that you must be persistent in overcoming the complexities of retail distribution if you want your publication carried in local and national bookstores and outlets. We pound the pavement; send copies out and keep issues of our magazine with us at all times. Opportunities are always there to let people know about your endeavor.
LAURA: It is too soon to tell. We just launched one month ago.
Any shout outs you’d like to give?
We are grateful to our Paperswell patrons and those who have supported us during our launch – wedding and design blogs (like freshrag!); our lovely clients; those companies with whom we work; and our friends who are spreading the word on our behalf. And we hope that a few sweet Golden Retrievers will be adopted through our Paperswell charity—The Golden Retriever of the Rockies in Golden, Colorado. (goldenrescue.com).
Photos courtesy of Paperswell Magazine.