Publisher and digital nomad, Chelle Honiker, discusses what Indie Author Magazine and their Author Tech Summit offer to the author community.
As publisher of Indie Author Magazine, Chelle brings over two decades of executive operations and leadership experience. We’ll discuss what Indie Author Magazine and the Author Tech Summit bring to the author community, and we’ll hear a little about Chelle’s experiences as a digital nomad.
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Mark Lefebvre, Chelle Honiker, Kevin Tumlinson
Mark Lefebvre 00:03
Well, hello and welcome to Self-Publishing Insiders. My name is Mark Leslie Lefebvre and I am the Director of Business Development for Draft2Digital. And I’m so thrilled to have, despite a Snowmageddon going on where you are, I’m just delighted to have in our virtual studios, Chelle Honiker from Indie Author Magazine. Chelle, welcome to our show.
Chelle Honiker 00:23
Thanks, Mark. It’s great to see you.
Mark Lefebvre 00:26
So there is a big snowstorm coming, it has arrived, or it’s on its way. What’s the plan there?
Chelle Honiker 00:31
Oh, yeah, California, where I’m from. Actually, I’m physically in Texas right now. But I’m headed out to help dig out family and friends that are in the High Sierras near Lake Tahoe and also in Southern California near Lake Arrowhead where they’ve had close to nine feet of snow. And they’re both unincorporated areas, so it’s hard to get help to come quickly.
Mark Lefebvre 00:57
That’s scary. For want of a shovel, I mean, a snow shovel, right? That’s the kind of trouble we’re talking about.
Chelle Honiker 01:02
Yeah, my brother had to snowboard into our mom’s house to actually kind of trek my mom back out because she lives down in like a little canyon.
Mark Lefebvre 01:11
Sounds a bit more fun than it probably was for him, right?
Chelle Honiker 01:15
It’s fun now that she’s safe and we know she’s okay. But at the time, it was a little bit, you know, is this going to be a Netflix movie someday to talk about this? But yeah, now that everybody that we know and love are safe and warm, now it’s just sort of batting cleanup, I guess is the best way to put it.
Mark Lefebvre 01:33
I hope everyone’s safe there. Now, we are here to talk about Indie Author Magazine and related topics. But before we get there, just I want to ask this really probing question. Who is Chelle Honiker? Who is she?
Chelle Honiker 01:49
She was a fledgling digital nomad at the beginning of the pandemic, she was ready to take her empty nest on the road and teach other people how to be digital nomads. And then the pandemic did a big smackdown to most of us, all of us. And so I sort of pivoted and I spent four months in Carnwalk, Ireland, and gathered a tribe of friends to Zoom with because I was bored. And that’s how we started the magazine. So my background is technology and training. I’ve been a technology and training consultant for the travel industry and luxury industries for going on almost two decades now. And so I had run a luxury travel magazine and partnered with Alice Briggs, who I had met at a 20Books Edinburgh conference. She also lives in Texas, and we both had to go to Scotland to meet. And we partnered together as accountability partners and both had the idea of starting something to give context to a lot of the ideas that were floating around in the indie author world and information. And so we partnered together and she has an art background. She’s a fine artist, and serial entrepreneur as well. So we sort of came together in this weird explosion of ideas, and here we are. So that’s me, but I also have to bring in Alice as quickly as I can, because she’s the other half right? She’s my soulmate.
Mark Lefebvre 03:27
And that’s the thing, right, is you’re definitely the leader of a team, a member of a team. However you want to decide it. This is not a sole person endeavor, despite the title Indie Author Magazine, as we know, really good indies really are the orchestrators of their own destiny rather than solopreneurs necessarily, right?
Chelle Honiker 03:47
Yeah, absolutely. So the team started, as I mentioned, I went to SPF live in London. And then the world sort of quickly started to cave in. And I sent out like, a message and said, hey, does anybody want to sprint with me? And the initial team that started the magazine started from that group, there were like 20 of us that all started to chat together. Yes. And Marian Hermanson gave us the nickname the Coranitas. And that moniker has still stuck with us as this core group of folks that were bouncing ideas off of one another. And we were sprinting together on Zoom and chatting twice a day for two hours at a time. So four hours a day, we were reading, we were talking about what was going on where we were. So I was in Ireland, Northern Ireland. There were folks in the Republic of Ireland and Kuwait and the UK and Malta and Canada. And so we were sharing ideas about our stories and editing tips and methodologies for outlining and all of these things. And from that, we decided we needed a spreadsheet to keep track of all the great ideas and courses and who had great articles. And so from that, the spreadsheet when it got to 200 lines, we were like, yeah, let’s build a website. So we built a website, which was indieauthortools.com, which is sort of just a crowd sourced, crowd sharing way to keep track of all of these tools and books and ideas and software and all this stuff. And then from that, we just started sending out a, people started signing up for a newsletter. So we started sending out what we call the Friday five, which is a technology newsletter with the five coolest things that we found, right? Just like let’s do this. And then from that, Allison and I said, hey, you know, let’s see if we can get more context around it. Let’s see if we can get more of a journalistic slant, let’s see if we can explore those ideas. And so that’s how the magazine was born. So from those 20 people that all raised their hand and said, yeah, we’ll be part of this. We then went out with another call, because everybody’s part time, right, they all roll on, roll off. Some people have book launches, some people have, you know, friends and family things going on. So they might not be able to write for a certain time. But now we’re up to 63 authors, 63 indie authors that just sort of raised their hand and said, hey, I’d like to write. And all of them come to us with curiosity. And some are very experienced authors. Some are not experienced authors, some are editors. And so it’s grown into this, again, sort of crowdsource but, but we think what makes us different, is that we’re from the industry, right? Everybody’s got the perspective of being a working indie author, whether it’s full time or part time, or aspiring, which, you know, if you’re an indie author, you’re an indie author. I don’t like the word aspiring to qualify anything. You write, right?
Mark Lefebvre 06:49
I’m with you on that. Yeah, you are an author.
Chelle Honiker 06:53
You are an author, period. So the magazine’s really, our tagline is “When writing means business.” And so that’s however you define business, it doesn’t have to be, you want to be a six-figure author, it might just be that you’ve got a story that you want to tell, and you want to do it in the best way possible. So that’s, you’re an indie author, if you’ve taken charge of your career and you’re hybrid, you’re still an indie author, because it’s the independent spirit that we want to celebrate, not so much the self-published part of it that’s not as important as what you bring to it, you know, and the freedom that you want from it.
Mark Lefebvre 07:30
Oh, I love that. And so how many years ago now, did you start this magazine? Because it’s been around for over three years?
Chelle Honiker 07:38
Two years. Two years old. We launched May 1, well, we launched May 4, we wanted May the Fourth be with you. I’m also so committed to that fandom that I had a child on that day, many years ago. Business and a baby. Yeah, May 4 will be two years. So issue 23 has just come out. And we’re about to do issue 24 in April.
Mark Lefebvre 08:07
Issue 23 I’m very fond of, for some strange reason.
Chelle Honiker 08:11
I think it’s a really, it’s one of our best.
Mark Lefebvre 08:13
It’s just a really great issue. I don’t know. But so I’m holding this up. This is just an example. Also, my next favorite one is the newsletter ninja Tammy LaBrecque is featured on the cover, so many great issues. I mean, you have this available as a digital subscription, because you’re indie authors, and therefore you understand and embrace digital, but you’ve got this gorgeous, just gorgeous, gorgeous magazine with all of these. I mean, I had to have a physical, and it’s not cheap. It’s full color. Yes, it’s gotta be expensive. Can we talk a little bit about that? It’s got a gorgeous layout. And obviously, the PDF I think is highly recommended if you don’t want to wait for the physical copies that are gonna … See I just, I have my subscription [inaudible] still in the office here with me.
Chelle Honiker 09:14
You have more than I do, actually. So it was a fever dream, it feels like now, because it’s a lot of work to produce a monthly magazine. And again, I just have to say kudos to Alice, because Alice is the one who lays it out every month in the full color. When we started again, I came from the luxury travel space. So I kind of had a playbook for magazine production. And with that we had an app, and we had a website, and we had print. And we didn’t have an ebook back then. But we do have an ebook now. So the way that we produce it is, we wanted to be in as many places as possible. We kind of said, we want to have as many hooks in the water, and wherever the fish are, they’ll bite. And we also have a really strong commitment to accessibility. And so we created a few things that I think were important to us in the beginning that have become really important to a lot of our readers and listeners. And where I’m going with that is, if you read the articles on the website, at the top, we have a listen to it. Listen to the article in every single one. We also compile all of those articles, and we put them into a monthly podcast. And that’s available on Spotify and Apple podcasts. And anywhere you can get a podcast it’s distributed through. When we launched, we were sort of backfilling the podcast, it’s been about six months, we wanted to sort of soft launch it, just to be sure that we could keep up with it. And now we can keep up with it. We never want to start something that we’re not able to keep up with. And we’ve had a couple of things where we’re like, yeah, we kind of need to get that, you know, ramped up a little bit more consistently. And so that’s been really important to us is to have that accessibility portion so that you can listen to the articles, you can take them on the go, you can download them, you can listen to them, wherever you are, so yeah, so it’s available. We also created an ePub version, and we are wide, so you can get it everywhere in the wide version. And that’s an article only format. So if you just want to read them, or skim them, or bookmark them, or highlight them using any one of your e-readers, you can do that and create your own file there. So yeah, so we were very exhausted every month on the first, the last three days of the month are crunch. But we do it exactly the way an indie author would if they were wide, exactly the same way. So we avail ourselves of all of the great tools we’ve got, you know, we use Atticus and we use Vellum and we use Draft2Digital and we’ve done that from the jump. So we replicate exactly what indie authors do.
Mark Lefebvre 12:13
I wanted to get into that, I’m so excited because I have almost every issue since it started, physical copies of the issue and the digital subscription, because you get the digital one faster, right? Because delivery is instantaneous. But I haven’t necessarily read every single issue because I do like the physical object to find it easier, because you’ve got this gorgeous layout. And it’s really enjoyable to read. And I didn’t realize you had the podcast, and now I can go back to the podcast, and I can get caught up on the stuff I missed. Even better. Remember some of the great articles and interviews and all the all the content that you have. So how is the audio done? Are you using AI to get that audio done or actual voice?
Chelle Honiker 12:59
So from the beginning, it’s just part of our commitment to accessibility. And so we knew we weren’t going to be able to have every article translated, and that’s the other thing is we can also translate them into other languages for listeners all over the world, because we have a global group. But yes, we use AI for that. And then we use AI for our intros and outros on our podcast. And so when we first started, we knew because there were so many of us separated all around the world that we wanted an avatar to represent us. And so we introduced the concept of Indie Annie. Indie Annie, a British author, you know, is there to lend a helping hand and to answer questions. Yes, she’s our avatar. And people ask me is that you? And I can truthfully say no, that’s not me. And I don’t write that. So all of the articles are narrated by in the Annie, we say she’s the voice of the magazine, as well as the face of the magazine. So we absolutely love that, she has a biting wit, she’s sassy. We say she has a tipple in her teacup. She might be a little drunk when she’s giving you advice, but it’s always good advice. She is the Employee of the Month in perpetuity. Let’s just say that she does all the heavy lifting.
Mark Lefebvre 14:38
So the questions that come in to indie author Annie, are they legitimate real live questions from real people? And how do people ask?
Chelle Honiker 14:48
So there’s a couple of ways you can ask. You can email her direct at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can just ask her. All of our newsletters come from her. She has written all of our newsletters. And so if you hit reply to any newsletter that you get and just ask, she will answer that question. You can also go to her page, which is on the website on indieauthormagazine.com. And you can submit a question for Annie there. So she is a live person. The questions were, so some of them come from the wild, but also because we have 60 plus working indie authors, they will often just throw something in Slack or send something direct and say, you know, I have imposter syndrome. How do I deal with that? And the great thing about it is that we ask much smarter people than us. So if we’re dealing with impostor syndrome, we’ll go talk to Becca Syme, we’ll talk to the folks that are that are directly involved in dealing with this. If they’ve got a question about ads, right, we’ll go to the smart people that are talking about ads, and we’ll go ask whoever it is. So that’s sort of the great thing again, about because we’re from the industry, we sort of know the landscape and the layout, and who’s got great information and who we can lean on for the great information. We also attend most of the good conferences, so we get to hear what’s going on, boots on the ground, and get to interview folks and talk to them. So, yeah, everywhere and nowhere.
Mark Lefebvre 16:29
That’s right. I’m impressed with, so one of the things I love about this is, this is the only professional magazine for independent authors that is on the market. And this could sit on a newsstand shelf alongside any of the major magazines, like People Magazine or Entertainment Weekly. What I love about that is, it makes it makes the indie author feel like this is, and it is, we all know this in the author community. We know it’s a legitimate millions and millions of dollar industry. But it still feels in many ways like a shadow industry because it hasn’t been recognized. And one of the one of the interesting things is a lot of indie authors can sell millions of copies of their books, and yet don’t have that physical distribution. So what this does, and I’m just gonna pop up the just kind of pop up and overlay with some of the some of the issues, so I went to your website and grabbed some of the most recent issues. And obviously, you’ve got a lot of different faces, you’ve got a lot of different perspectives. And I hear you’re even doing a special, because you did have a tech issue about four or five months ago, didn’t you?
Chelle Honiker 17:55
Yeah, yeah. So the tech issue was in conjunction with the Author Tech Summit that we ran and the Author Tech Summit was an offshoot of the magazine. Yeah, there it is. What we found was, there are so many great conferences, but it’s hard to have hands on technology training at a conference, right? In 45 minutes in a session, you can’t really get a feel for what’s possible, even if someone’s giving a product tour or an overview. So the Author Tech Summit, we sort of said, we can bolt on to any of those conferences, and we can do something that is hands on, you’re sitting at your computer and you can learn about Plotter, you can learn about Atticus, you can learn about any one of the hundreds of tech products that are out there, from the indie author perspective. And so that was the first one that we did. The next one that we’re doing is all about AI. And AI has just, there’s so many polarized opinions about it. And our job as a journalistic magazine is to bring perspective and to give information, we’re not taking a stand one way or another. We’re not giving our opinion, one way or another. We’re simply presenting the information. And then we’re giving you the resources to search farther and learn more about lawsuits and copyright and all of the cases that are happening in the courts and what’s going to happen. But we also have opinions, we’ve solicited some op eds, pros and cons. So people that have serious suggestions or questions or concerns about how information is aggregated by these engines, you know, they deserve to have a platform just as much as somebody that is, you know, considerably pro AI and really excited about that. We asked Kevin McLaughlin to come on board as a contributing editor for this issue because we really wanted to get it right. And we wanted to ensure that we had an extra layer of fact check get an extra layer of levity and eyes on to work with Nicole Schroeder, who is our editor in chief, who is a consummate journalist, and just is a brilliant editor. And so yeah, our next issue is all about AI. And then the mini Author Tech Summit at the end of April will be in conjunction with that. And so we’ve got a call for speakers that’s going out, we’ve got a call for folks to come talk about products. And, you know, for those that are really looking for the information and want to know more about it, this is good, unbiased information. If you don’t like AI, it’s okay. You don’t have to embrace it. That’s all right. We all come at our careers in different ways. And there’s tools so we’re not here to convince anybody of the benefits or uses of AI. We’re just here to present a journalistic perspective.
Mark Lefebvre 20:56
I like that approach. I like the approach that you’re there to share information and multiple viewpoints, and all of those perspectives, which is really important for us to get a well-rounded view. Elyssa says, “It’s so nice to hear an expert for things, thanks for bringing relevant and expert voices to the indie people.” And related to that, I have to say, I’ve had an experience recently with the professionals who work for Indie Author Magazine, and Heather Clement Davis, who interviewed me for the feature article, I just have to say, I have been interviewed hundreds and hundreds of times over the years. And Heather is a consummate professional, she came to the interview fully prepared. She had insight, in depth, insightful questions to ask, she made me feel, you know, I’ve been doing it for a long time. But it doesn’t mean I don’t get nervous, you know, you’re potentially nervous being interviewed now in this live feature. But she had a way of making me feel so at ease, so comfortable, and so relaxed, where it was just a great conversation between two people. And not only that, I took her on tangents, and sidetracks all over the universe. And yet, she managed to incorporate that into a really cute theme that she turned the article into, rather than rolling her eyes and saying, oh, my God, have you talked to this guy? I mean, the experience was so amazing. So when I look at those articles, when I go back and read the other feature articles from other writers, it’s like, wow, there’s something about the editorial quality of what you guys are doing that really demonstrates indie authors are consummate professionals.
Chelle Honiker 22:43
Yeah, I agree. You know, from the beginning, we had Erica Everest and Robin Sardi, who were co-managing editors. And, you know, it’s very hard to launch a business and launch a product at the same time, it’s just difficult. And they were in the trenches every day shaping those articles, creating creative briefs, developing processes with us to help us be sure that we had a journalistic standard. And Nicole was with us from the beginning, she wasn’t in the editing process, but she served sort of as an advisor to both of them. And then they both rolled off to go work on their own books, so rude, so rude, but Nicole was right there and ready to step in. And so the process that they created in that Nicole was part of from the from the start, and the process that she’s refined gives the writers a great framework, they get a creative brief that has a ton of stuff in there so that they can then it’s almost like having a developmental editor on staff for them, that they relate to that as an indie author. And then, you know, the writers can just operate in their zone of genius and have great interviews and write the most amazing stuff. And then it comes back to Nicole and she shakes it up. And then we’ve had, you know, and then we have another process with Lisa Thompson, who goes in and checks it one more time and make sure that it’s copyrighted. Again, we do monthly exactly what an indie author, some indie authors, most indie authors do, it’s an iterative process. But those are the genius steps I think that we’ve had from the beginning to make it a journalistic magazine as opposed to just a vanity press or, you know, we only want to have our friends on the cover, if you look at the covers and how we set everything up. We choose folks that sort of go along with whatever the theme of that magazine is, right? So last month, we had newsletters and who else would we put but Tammy LaBrecque, the Newsletter Ninja right? But I have to agree, Heather is one of our strongest interviewers and we’re very lucky to have people that are natural interviewers natural writers, you know, that operate in their zone of genius every single time. I read this and I’m like, dang, we’re good man. We put out some good stuff.
Mark Lefebvre 25:04
Chelle Honiker 25:06
And you know, and I just have to say, we’re just very very lucky to have the best writers. We now have Honoree Corner who’s writing an entire year long series as a columnist on prosperity. She just started. And Steve Higgs is now writing about marketing, you know, we get the smartest people. Craig Martell has been writing for us, we have Martell Motivation to tell us how to stay motivated, how to keep your focus, how not to get lost in the fray, how to have a career based on longevity, like we’re very lucky to have the best and the brightest and the smartest people in the magazine consistently every month or so. And I think that’s what I love about this industry so much is people are so generous, right? It’s such a generous industry. And so we’ve benefited as a magazine, which means the indie authors benefit as an industry, because people are so willing to share their expertise in their time and their talent. And I get to I get to wake up and play with my best friends every day, like, I have the coolest job ever.
Mark Lefebvre 26:22
That’s fantastic. So I’m gonna pop up a question from Jen in the comments. “Does the magazine do author interviews?” Well, we know they do, because we just talked a little bit about that. But Jen asks this probing question, “If so, how does one apply to be interviewed?” So you talked about, you’ve got lots of people based on themes, etc. But is there a way for someone who says, hey, I have expertise in this or this? How do they contact you? How does that happen?
Chelle Honiker 26:50
Absolutely. So if you go to the website, you go to indieauthormagazine.com. And you go to the bottom, there’s nominate a featured author, and we absolutely welcome you to nominate yourself as a featured author. We’d like to hear their stories. Really. That’s what we’re about, right? It’s a business journal, but we’re such a new industry that the only way that we have to sort of share some information is to hear from authors that are creating new paths. There’s now a lot of authors are selling direct on their websites. And so we’re excited to hear about people that are now taking charge of their career and creating e-commerce on their own site. We’re excited to hear about people doing Patreon. We’re excited to hear about people doing Kickstarter. So go to the website, go down to the bottom, nominate yourself. Tell us your story. We have a YouTube channel. That’s the other thing that we have is a YouTube channel where, you know, if you’re not on the cover, we still want to hear and we still want to have interviews and so we’ve ramped up, you’ll see our BTS or behind the scenes interviews with the authors that we’ve talked to, subjects that we feature in interviews, maybe they’ve been a subject matter expert on something. So when we first started talking about Kindle Vella, for example, we interviewed folks that had done serial writing. Alanna Albertson shared generously how she’s a six-figure author on serials and what she thought was going to happen with Kindle Vella, which predictably came true. So she’s very good, very smart. So you can go to our YouTube channel, and you can see all of those interviews behind the scenes.
Mark Lefebvre 28:28
I love that. Speaking of behind the scenes, her ears must have been burning. But Heather says, the IAM team, the author magazine team is amazing to work with.
Chelle Honiker 28:41
Hair flip, right there. Hair flip.
Mark Lefebvre 28:44
There we go. There we go. And S.D. Huston reminds people, made friends with the like button. And so do, please like this video on Facebook and YouTube just to help other people find out more about these great interviews with great folks like Chelle who are bringing Indie Author Magazine and indie author perspective around the world. So you do have like, this is very global, right, because when you talked about the people behind the Author Tech Summit, and even getting involved in the magazine, you’ve got people I mean, Canadian and I know you’ve had other fellow Canadians on there as well. Mark Dawson from the UK.
Chelle Honiker 29:23
Yeah, I mean, it’s global. We’ve got writers in Kuwait, we’ve got writers in Malta, we’ve got writers in Cyprus and the UK and the Republic of Ireland and yeah, all around the world. We use Slack, you know, to keep in touch and post our dad jokes and our very appropriate memes to stay connected, we bounce ideas off one another through Slack, we connect via email and we try and keep everybody connected and utilize it. I mean, it is a little microcosm of coolness, I think, cuz it’s having all those people in one space, it’s kind of a cool author soup. So they get to talk to people all around the world all the time and bounce ideas off each other.
Mark Lefebvre 30:09
What I love is, this is a magazine that you are producing in a very global fashion ahead of its time, because when you think about magazine offices in New York and LA and places like that, it’s a big corporate expensive office in the middle of a major city. And all these people run around from desk to desk to desk, but you have folks in every time zone practically, like really engaging in the author ethic of just bringing in all the great talent, right? Like, you don’t have to have them in house necessarily, you can just work with other people in the community and really put together something spectacular.
Chelle Honiker 30:49
Yeah. And I think that sort of goes along with Alice’s, we call her the de facto head of HR, I call it the Go Ask Alice policy. But she created again, you know, building a business, we created the structure of it. So we have a style guide that everybody follows. And we have, you know, an ethics policy, we have a journalistic policy, we have a gift policy, like all of these structures are in place so that people can just come in and plug in and not have to worry about all of the mishmash or chaos that sometimes can come with something like this on a global scale, we’ve got it all there. And they can just focus on doing the best job they can with the words. And we created a tech framework for delivering articles and editing, I mean, everything. And now two years in, I mean, it seems like we’ve been doing it 10 years now, it just seems like it’s been going on for so long, because I feel like we finally hit our groove with everything and everything gets pushed, the buttons get pushed, and that gets to the right spot. And it just kind of hums along, right? And we also have a policy that in case I get hit by a bus, we’ve replicated ourselves and trained one another. And if I get stuck in Snowmageddon for an extended period of time, the magazine still gets produced.
Mark Lefebvre 32:12
So I want to talk a little bit about the logistics of publishing because there’s a friend of mine that I wanted to, there was an article I wanted them to see. And I was able to go to Amazon and dropship an order directly to them from a retailer that already has my credit card, etc. So gifting the magazine is a possibility through your website, but also through other retailers, right?
Chelle Honiker 32:41
Absolutely. So when we hit publish, we publish in different places. We publish the EPUB on Amazon, then we publish the print version on Amazon. Both of those things happen, then we go to KDP. And make sure that’s done. Then we go to Draft2Digital, we publish wide in Draft2Digital for every channel except Amazon. Then we go to Lulu, and we use Lulu’s dropship for our print versions that are direct from our website.
Mark Lefebvre 33:10
I get them here in Canada, I get them in the in the box from Lulu. And when I see the Lulu box, I go ooh, Indie Author Magazine’s here this month. I get excited about that.
Chelle Honiker 33:19
Lulu has been great because we use WooCommerce. So logistically, we have everything set up on our website with subscriptions, right, and we use our website to manage the subscriptions, but we couldn’t quite close that loop. So for the first like eight months, it was me going on to Amazon and sending gift copies to people one by one with addresses in my personal address book and sending them. So when Lulu came along, I did the happy dance like literally down the hall and got that connected and it took me like a day right. And Laurel was the one, Laurel’s in Germany, and Laurel said, hey, have you seen this? And I went, no. And then like that afternoon, I’m like, we’ve got it, it’s done. We have it, it’s ready to go. And we could flip the switch. And that’s kind of the beauty of being an indie is that we can pivot as quickly as we need to to make that happen. So Lulu was very instrumental in making that happen. We’ve looked at others, we may incorporate more or you know, change, but it was a game changer. It freed me up about 12 hours a month of sitting there shipping hundreds of hundreds of print copies all around the world. It also brought our costs down. So that was also a win.
Mark Lefebvre 34:30
And you weren’t even taking into account all the labor that you didn’t account for.
Chelle Honiker 34:40
You don’t always think about all that time as an indie author, but you need to. Sweat equity is still equity and you still need to count those hours.
Mark Lefebvre 34:46
Because that’s time taken away from other things, and you only get 24 hours in the day, right?
Chelle Honiker 34:52
Well, unless you’re Beyonce.
Mark Lefebvre 34:54
Yeah. If you’re using Draft2Digital for ebook distribution except for direct to Amazon, does that mean that you’re using the library platforms to distribute magazine to EPUB? So that means, dear dear listener and viewer, you can go to your local library because Draft2Digital has libraries all over the world, you got Overdrive and Baker and Taylor and Boopla and Biblioteca here in the US, you got Borrowbox as well in the UK, Australia, New Zealand. Go ask for Indie Author Magazine at your favorite local library. And then in terms of, can they get access to the print version as well as through libraries? Is it available through some sort of broader distribution?
Chelle Honiker 35:38
It will be, it will be. And we’ve been working on that for a bit. We also were working on a distribution to get it into proper bookstores through a pure distribution channel. And then during the pandemic, a lot of those were frozen, right? They changed their acceptance, and now for example, even Amazon has now pulled back as of December 22. They’re not distributing magazines anymore through their distribution channels. So we have been working on that for quite a while and we’d love it. I will say Hoopla is one of our main sources of revenue through Draft2Digital.
Mark Lefebvre 36:15
Really? For the ebook distribution to Hoopla. Because they go, lots of libraries use Hoopla, obviously. Well, that’s fantastic to hear.
Chelle Honiker 36:25
We’ve been really thrilled with seeing, you know, I always go what? Tulino? That’s cool. We’ve been surprised at the channels. And when we started, we were thinking, alright, well, it doesn’t cost us any more to tick all of these boxes to go wide. Like, why wouldn’t we do that? It was just the smartest decision possible for us to go wide, and have everything go through Draft2Digital the way that it does, because it wasn’t any more labor. And it has brought definite benefits and definite readership globally, in places that were, you know, it’s kind of like a little lottery every month or like spin the wheel. Oh, great, a school! We’re always surprised.
Mark Lefebvre 37:08
But I think the other thing that’s cool is, it’s not just a subscription based platform, you can go and order almost any backlist issue, if you need it, if you want to request, if you wanted to pay for it. If you wanted it in print, you want an ebook, it’s not like, okay, this is March 2023. And at the end of the month, it’s not available anymore. We’re moving on to the next one. Because of the way you embrace digital, I can go for example, you know, my great grandkids, I can go hey, I was on March 2023. I’m gonna order, you don’t have to take out the dusty box that Liz hid because I bought too many to distribute all over the house when I showed up.
Chelle Honiker 37:49
I’m a little disappointed that you don’t have wallpaper with the cover now.
Mark Lefebvre 37:56
Yet. But I love that accessibility because it means I can go and say oh, you had a great article about the tech summit and about the tech stuff, oh, I missed that. I can go and get it, I can purchase a print, I can purchase a PDF, I can get the EPUB. And then I can enjoy it. So it’s not lost forever. So it almost becomes …
Chelle Honiker 38:20
And also if you’re a subscriber, you have access to the web based version of it too, so that you can go and read it on the website. It’s like a blog post, honestly, but it’s attached to the issue so that you can have it there. The other thing I should note is that we write everything with an eye for being evergreen, right, we’d like it to be current. But if things change, we can go back and edit those. We have gone off and edited things, we’ve gone back and updated. For example, our Kindle Vella information, we’ve gone back and updated, you know, different articles with different resources. Sometimes PDFs change. Sometimes, like, for example, we had something that talked about Author Central, and how to connect your blog to Amazon’s Author Central page, and it’s gone. So we went back and updated it to say, you know, effective November, you can’t do that anymore. But here’s a plus content. And now you can do this and you can, you know, recommend other books and put your favorites in there. So we do try very hard to go back and refresh and reframe some of the information and that’s kind of the beauty of being digital. And again, being indie, we can go back and do that without you know, 16 layers of approval from a corporation somewhere that we never see.
Mark Lefebvre 39:39
Awesome. Well, I just love the fact that you’re creating another way for people to learn more about the power of being an indie author. I’m looking to see if I may be able to go and purchase a gift subscription for example, you know, Waterloo Public Library so that I know that my local library is now endowed with this great resource that they can make available for patrons and to discover and have access. And I encourage listeners who want to spread the love and spread the word about Indie Author Magazine, go and ask for it at the local library, if you have issues, maybe I’ll just drop off a few of those extra issues of the Mark issue, the March issue, I should say. You should really have this, because there’s local author featured here. But you know, because I think one of the things, and the reason I’m suggesting this is, one of the things that we do, and you said this earlier, I’m just kind of reiterating it, is the indie author community is so generous in supporting one another. It’s such an important attribute of what we can do, because we realize we’re not in competition, right? We’re just here to help people discover great things to read. And in this case, it’s content that can help empower indie authors.
Chelle Honiker 40:55
Yeah, I think, coming from the retail space, it was new and for and kind of different to me to realize that we’re not selling a single widget, right, a single product that you’re competing for that single person to buy. I used to say it was coopetition, right, because we’re cooperating competitors. And that seemed to fit a little bit. But it’s even deeper than that, it’s really goes to the heart of reader satisfaction. So, you know, if I have this book that’s here to read, the best way that I can satisfy my reader is to keep them engaged with other authors that write great stories similar to what I write, and then, you know, the reader comes back to me, and it’s that reciprocity and that generosity, I think, that makes our industry completely different than any other industry that’s out there, right? It’s just different, and it hits different. And you read about it in the Facebook groups and in the forums. And when you go to conferences, and everybody’s just like, oh, I have this, you should do this, or I have this, everybody is so generous to share that. And that’s really happened, why the magazine was born was because we were overflowing with ideas about how to share stuff, and we needed a place to put it. And so, you know, we started with indieauthortools.com as the place to put it, and then we wanted context. So it got bigger. And, you know, we’re just a reflection of our industry, I can honestly say, We’re just a reflection of the industry at large. And I think it’s really special. And I’m really, really grateful that it’s taken off. And as popular as it is, and we’ve got 40,000 people roughly a month that we reach. And that’s fantastic. And I’m excited about that. But I’m more excited about the person that says, I went through this, and I published and I’m so excited. And that’s that one person that writes to Indiana and says, you know, based on what you said, I did this, and this is my result. And they’re holding a picture of the book. I’m like, oh, God, that’s great. Like, how cool is that?
Mark Lefebvre 43:04
Yeah, I love that. The true power that you feel is when you know that you have empowered other people to feel the greatness of what can happen when you’re when you’re getting your words out there.
Chelle Honiker 43:21
Well, it was again, the magic of, there were a lot of things that were wrong about the pandemic, but I can honestly say that meeting the group of people that I did, and having the group of friends that I did that supported me. And, you know, we all supported one another throughout this globally. You know, we were talking about what was happening in Germany and what was happening in the UK and it just created this like trauma bond, I think, turned into something really amazing and I’m really grateful that we had the time to do that. And you know, if there’s any redemption for the sadness and heartache that we all experienced, you know, at least there were some good things that came out of it that I think will hopefully help one another and help the industry in general. So I try and look at it that way.
Mark Lefebvre 44:13
I love your optimism. I love your outlook on this and I love as you said, the way that Indie Author Magazine is an ideal perfect reflection of our industry and all the great things that it can be. Chelle, thank you so much for Indie Author Magazine. Thank you so much for hanging out here with me tonight. This is a really fun time.
Chelle Honiker 44:37
Thanks, Mark. I’m really grateful. You’ve been a great supporter from the beginning. We’ve been very lucky to have connected with you very early on. Chris, Shawn and I, you know, got to sit and hang out with you very early on when everything was starting to be put together. And so we’re really grateful that you’ve been a strong supporter from the beginning. We appreciate you.
Mark Lefebvre 44:55
I love having watched you guys build this up and into the greatness it became and will continue to be. So thanks again and thanks for hanging out. Thank you guys for watching this live. We’re going to close out with a little clip from our dear friend Kevin Tumlinson about one of the features that’s available at Draft2Digital. I want to remind you go to indieauthormagazine.com, check out the podcast, subscribe to the podcast. Subscribe to the magazine, buy gift issues of the March ‘23 issue for your local library, for friends, for yourself. Any of the issues, there’s so many great pieces of content there. You can like us, follow, subscribe over at youtube.com/draft2digital. Follow us on the Facebook page and be here every week on Thursdays at 1pm Eastern for these great D2D live chats. Thanks again. And have a great afternoon everyone.
Kevin Tumlinson 45:55
eBooks are great. But there’s just something about having your words in print, something you can hold in your hands, put on a shelf sign for a reader. That’s why we created D2D Print, a print on demand service that was built for you. We have free beautiful templates to give your book a pro look. And we can even convert your ebook cover into a full wraparound cover for print. So many options for you and your books. And you can get started right now when you sign up at draft2digital.com/printbeta.