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TSR Exclusive Interview: Ella Publishing

{reported by Emilie Ahern}

I had a chance to meet with a BRAND NEW company at CHA who is receiving much buzz....and for good reason. Ella Publishing is a new online publisher which provides e-books, e-zines and blog inspiration for the scrapbooking community.

Now, I know what you're thinking...."e-books! I have to hold a book in my hands! "

Well, you're in luck. Ella Publishing provides idea books from your favorite celeb scrappers in an easy-to-read format which have the option to either be viewed online, printed out on your home printer with minimal paper/ink usage and (in future) be purchased in professional grade bound form and shipped to your door.

Here is the interview I had with the President, Angie Lucas and the CEO, Lain Ehmann.

Emilie: Tell me a little bit about Ella Publishing.
As magazine and book publishers in the scrapbooking industry began to fall, we were both obviously on the front line of that, myself with Scrapbook Answers and Angie with Simple Scrapbooks. And the book publishers of even larger companies either dramatically decreased publication or altogether stopped publishing scrapbooking books. Being on the front lines, we saw that it’s not a factor of the readers not being there, because the subscription base for Simple Scrapbooks was rising, but the downfall was a function of the advertisers. We said to ourselves, How can we step into this void and meet the needs that consumers and readers have without incurring those costs that would require us to bring in thousands of dollars of advertising? So we thought with everything moving online the way it is now we can do everything a traditional publisher can do, except the actual printing, and make a go of it!

Emilie: How has your previous experience in publishing shaped this project?
Lain: With our backgrounds we actually have the skill base to do it. It’s not just, “Hey, let’s throw a show in Grandma’s barn.” We have both been trained and have worked at very high levels in this industry. And so many publications are now appearing’s not just inherent to the scrapbooking industry. That coupled with the printing capabilities of home printers, which are now at a standard level which was considered professional just 10 years ago.

Emilie: What is Ella Publishing going to offer?
Lain: We are a publisher that offers electronic products to the crafting industry. Right now that means e-books, that’s the main product that we are selling. And we will have a fabulous selection of e-books. In addition to that we have an e-zine (an online magazine) that will come out once a month for free that will cover some of the traditional scrapbooking topics: the how-to’s, the products, top finds at CHA, those kinds of things that people still want from a traditional scrapbooking magazine like Simple Scrapbooks or Memory Makers, but can’t get anymore.

Emilie: So the monthly e-zine is free. How much can we expect the e-books to cost?
The e-books are a per download charge and right now we are looking at $4.99-5.99, so we are talking extremely recession friendly. We recognize that people don’t have a lot of pocket cash, but it’s like a little treat for yourself. Instead of getting your latte today for $4.99 you can buy a book that actually teaches you something and inspires and educates you.

Emilie: Obviously there are all different lengths of books, but would you anticipate books at this price point to be the same length as a traditional idea book or shorter?
Lain: Much shorter. We’re looking at 20-30 pages. There are several reasons for that. One, people don’t want to download a 200 page book to their computer. Two, if you do choose to print it out, you don’t want to spend a ream of paper and all of that ink. And three, people are so busy. How many idea books do you have sitting on your shelf that you told yourself you would get to “someday” and it’s still sitting there. These are books you can go through in an afternoon or a weekend and you feel like you have completed something and then you can keep it on your computer, print it out, whatever you want to do.

Emilie: How will the e-books compare to a traditional magazine experience?
I would say that page by page, there is much more content packed into than a typical magazine article. The e-books are highly targeted and content rich. There’s no fluff and no ads. So while a magazine may be 30 pages long, 30% of that is ad space and then you add section headings and front and back covers, etc.

Emilie: How accessible will your content be?
Angie: We really designed to have optimal viewing on a computer screen and also optimized for home printing as well. Cathy Zielske is our designer and she really kept in mind that people don’t want to spend $5 to print a cover because it’s all blue.

Emilie: When will your content be available?
We’re launching in late August with three books. And then a new book each month through the end of the year, as well as our monthly e-zine. So every two weeks you will either have the opportunity to see a new free e-zine or download a newly offered e-book.

Emilie: What will the content look like in the new e-zines?
They are highly targeted. When you buy a magazine you might find that 10% of it is something that really applies to you. You can choose exactly what content you want to buy and the entire thing will be targeted to that specific topic.

Emilie: How will that concept evolve to meet the needs of a variety of different readers?
Angie: Some people are chronological scrapbookers and they want ideas on birthdays and holidays. And some people don’t want to touch that with a 10 ft pole because they have scrapbooked every birthday photo that they ever want to scrap. When they open up a traditional magazine they say, “Oh no! Not more solutions for birthdays!” This way you are getting what you want, when you want it, at a friendly price point.

Lain: You can pick and choose which content to print. You can say, “I don’t really need to know how to make my own backdrop, so I don’t need to print page 6, but I do want to know how to make my own reflection shield so I am going to print page 10.”

Angie: We are also going to offer small companion products for each title. So for this book there will be a little downloadable camera booklet you can print with the 40 tips and stash it in your camera bag as a reminder of the principles you learned.

Emilie: Tell me which titles you are planning to launch with?
40 Tips for Better Photography by Rebbecca Cooper. Text Tricks by Margaret Scaraborough and Sara Winnick. It’s not about how to journal, it’s creative looks for titles and journaling. It helps you treat your titles and journaling as a graphic design element of your page, rather than an afterthought. Quick and Creative Quizzes by Wendy Smedley and Angie Lucas with a companion products designed by Cathy Zielske. There are 10 quizzes in the e-book with layout examples for each quiz. For the companion product (which costs under $4), Cathy has designed printable versions of each quiz which you can print, fill out and add straight to your page. Cathy also designed sketches to show you ideas on how to include that quiz on your pages. So for the price of a pack of brads you can own the downloadable quizzes and print them again and again.

Emilie: Can you give us some of the low-down on other e-books in the works?
Renee Pearson is coming, out with a digital scrapping book in September, and then in October is a title about digital photo effects, like rounding your corners or putting a digital watermark or how to selectively color your photo. Then Lain and Stacy Julian are working on a book for release in October and in November is Margie Romney-Aslett and her two daugthters are doing a book about Christmas that is more craft oriented.

Emilie: What is the relationship between Ella Publishing and Write. Click. Scrapbook. and Big Picture Scrapbooking?
We’re kissing cousins! We are all very supportive of each other. Big Picture Scrapbooking offers online classes which are very interactive and mixed media…from videos to photos to recorded messages from the teachers. Write. Click. Scrapbook. is more of a blog format. It is very of the moment. They call it The Collective with two dozen or more team members who deliver a daily dose of inspiration. Ella Publishing offers book publishing which would offer more substantial, deeper takes on scrapbooking topics. We have talked a lot about cross projects between the sites.

Emilie: What exciting news can you share exclusively with our readers.
Angie: I have a little scoop for you. We are planning on doing a book with the Write. Click. Scrapbook. girls. So it will be an opportunity for not just one or two designers, but for the entire group to be included in a book that consumers can see all of their favorite designers in one compact package.

Emilie: How can the average consumer get involved?
We are actively accepting comments on what our consumers want to see. We will have submissions calls for the e-books as well as opportunities for our readers to not only suggest titles for publishing, but be the author of an e-book. We are very interested in exploring a broad range of talent. If anyone has a good enough idea they can become an e-book author.

To sign up for the Ella Publishing newsletter visit
On Facebook join the Friends of Ella Publishing Group here.
On Twitter you can follow @EllaPublishing

The wrap up: I was incredibly impressed by the professionalism, careful thought and creativity of these two women. From everything I heard from them about this venture I am more than a little excited.

So, what do YOU think?


Kim M said...

Is there some kind of website address you can give us, so we can bookmark it for future reference cause I would definitely be interested in some of those titles that were mentioned.

Great review!

Holly Denghel said...

I'm the kind of girl who prefers to tear out the pages I like and put them in a binder for future reference. So I'm definitely interested in paying less and then just printing out the pages I want for future reference. This is awesome!!

The Grounds Family said...

OHHH-so glad to "hear" more explanation!! I've been stalking and both Lian's and Angie's blogs for more info. Thanks to scrap review I was able to learn more! I can't wait for the site to launch!!

Aly Dosdall said...

how exciting! can't wait for things to get started!!

Joni Parker said...

Wow...I'm looking forward to these ebooks! Thanks for the awesome info!!

MAM said...

If you are on Facebook you can join the Friends of Ella Publishing Group or if you are on Twitter you can follow @EllaPublishing

Mel said...

I'm REALLY excited about this venture. Lain and Angie are great, and I'm so happy for them that they've created this opportunity for themselves and for others. So cool. I'm planning to post about it on my own blog and let my scrappin' group know about it to generate as much interest as I can. Thanks for the interview!


Majic Scrapbooker said...

I can't wait for their launch! As an Aussie scrapbooker, buying books and magazines is VERY expensive, so this is a great, inexpensive solution (plus I really miss Simple Scrapbooks!!!)

Angela said...

Sounds like a great venture, one that's been well-thought-out and will meet a definite need in today's economy, for today's scrapper.

BethW said...

I am so excited-this is definitely going to fill a huge void in the industry right now. Cathy Z is my first scrapping idol and I have kept up with Lain for years because I love her honesty and straight forwardness. So I know there will be content that appeals to me. When you add Renee (she is incredible)to the mix, I think they are going to have a huge success.

Mary F said...

I am really missing Simple and this sounds great-so much of the time I read only one or two bits in the magazines because the rest of the content doesn't apply to my interests. This sounds VERY appealing. Other than going to Ella Publishing is there somewhere else that we can go to follow whats coming and when everthing will be launched?

Thanks for all you do!

Lauren said...

Ooooh! I can't WAIT for this to come out! Thanks for the nifty review!

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful!! I am super-excited about this!!!!!

Unknown said...

I'm so glad that you ran this post. I wasn't aware of Ella Publishing and I am very intrigued by their ideas. Great article. I just became a fan on FB.