I'm delighted to welcome Nellie Huang and her husband Alberto to Travelblather. I've wanted to get the inside story on their Wild Junket Magazine project for months. From a standing start they have already hit the 100,000 user mark which is a tremendous achievement. So... how have they done it? I asked a few questions.

How did Wild Junket Magazine start?
It started as a way to provide more value to our readers than the usual blog post or eBook. We wanted to combine our (Nellie and Alberto) skills to create a unique product that would fill a gap in the market. With Nellie's experience in travel writing and my proficiency in photography and design, it felt like the perfect option. It was also an excellent time to launch the digital magazine as there were less than ten digital travel magazines in the market then. We also did some research and found out that more than 50% of magazine readers in the US now access content through digital sources.

What are its USPs? What makes it different?
We are a new-age magazine designed for modern, social travelers who are looking for more than just quality content. With links embedded and videos soon to be included, we provide a full multimedia experience rather than just old-school magazine content. What makes us stand out from the other digital magazines is that we marry long form travel narratives with an interactive design and format.

You're personally pretty strongly associated with the Wild Junket brand (indeed some might say you ARE Wild Junket) - do you think having a real person at the centre of the project helps people connect with it more?
I (Nellie) have spent years building the WildJunket brand, and I think that with a real person behind the brand, readers feel that there's a more personal connection. They know who we are, what we stand for, and are able to relate with us and interact with us on a deeper level. Even though we are delivering a professional product here, we don't want to lose the familiarity that our readers have with us.

What's your thinking about charging people to read your content?
We believe that payment is proportional to quality of content. That is why we pay our contributors to have the best possible content for our magazine and therefore readers in turn pay for the quality content we offer. We think this is something our readers understand and appreciate. Although this system does work, we want even more people to enjoy our work, so we plan to make our magazine free and widely available for new website subscribers. The new website which is dedicated to just the magazine, will be launched at the end of the year and all newsletter subscribers will have free access to the magazine.

So does that mean you are abandoning the subscriber model?
No. Our readers generally fall into two groups: those that found our magazine through Zinio or Magzter, and those who are loyal readers of our website. Our goal is to increase our numbers for both groups of readers. We'll keep the subscription model, but our aim for 2013 is to increase advertising revenue, so we want to focus more on building our readership rather than making money from subscriptions. So, to convert even more of our website readers to magazine readers, we’ll give them free access to the magazine if they subscribe to our newsletter. This way we’ll really build up our mailing list and increase subscriber numbers. Of course we run the risk of Zinio/Magzter subscribers heading over to the website for a free subscription - but that just means we gain another website reader - which is a good thing!

You offer the magazine on multiple platforms - why?
We don't want to limit readers to just one platform. Each person enjoys content in a different way and from different sources. There are still a few platforms we would like to get on, so we are working hard to meet the goal. As a matter of fact, we didn't intend to release print versions of our issues but we decided to offer it on the print-on-demand site, Magcloud, due to a few readers' requests. It's all about what our readers want.

What have been your biggest learnings about publishing on multiple platforms?
Each platform has its own set of rules and functionality and it can be difficult to comply with everything. But once we found a common area to work from and organized ourselves properly, it was not very different from publishing on just one platform.

Which platform has been most successful for you?
Zinio has proven to be the most successful to date, allowing us to reach readers outside of our initial fan base. They are the biggest online magazine store and also the most professional, in terms of production process and organization. This is why we have made them our default subscription platform.

How do you adapt the content to work across different platforms - is it just technical or do you edit it and write it in different ways too?
It is mostly technical. We try to be as consistent as possible so that a person reading our print issue will receive the same content from his/her iPad. And since most platforms are PDF based, the technical changes are usually easy to perform.

How do you choose what kinds of features to publish each issue?
We plan our editorial calendar months in advance and we tend to plan each issue's content around a certain theme. For example, our winter issue has a focus on winter activities featuring destinations like Iceland and Finland, but we also make sure to include other non-related destinations like Cambodia and Palestine to give it variety. Starting from our Winter 2012/2013 issue, we will be publishing on a quarterly rather than bimonthly basis, which helps us to plan things better. In general, we tend to publish articles on less conventional destinations and unusual experiences: such as a yurt stay in Mongolia or learning to build an igloo in Austria.

What's in it for advertisers? Give us your best sales pitch!
By partnering up with us, advertisers can get access to over 115,000 unique readers. Each issue receives over 1,65 million unique views over a shelf life of 3 months. These readers are mainly based in the US, UK and Canada, aged 25 to 44 years old, who book all their trips online and travel at least three times a year. Our readers love adventure and special interest journeys such as wildlife safaris, mountain treks and expedition cruises.

We have worked with several global companies such as G Adventures, Viator Tours, Lattitude, and Visit Finland. They have all found advertising on our magazine an effective way of reaching their targeted clientele.

We're also proud to share that WildJunket Magazine is a finalist in the Digital Magazine Awards 2012, for both Best Travel Magazine of the Year and Magazine Launch of the Year! We are very excited and we're confident this means that our magazine is looking at a bright future.

How can people subscribe or find out more?
There are many ways to subscribe to WildJunket Magazine: directly from our iOS Newsstand app, or via Zinio and Magzter that are available for both computer and mobile devices. You can also get print copies of our issues delivered straight to your doorstep on Magcloud.

Are you interested in writers pitching ideas at you and do you pay?
We are more than happy to receive new pitches although we have already planned the editorial calendar for the next year. We pay for contributions. Anyone interested can check our guidelines here: http://www.wildjunket.com/magazine/editorial-guidelines

20 thoughts on “Adventures in Epublishing with Wild Junket Magazine

  1. "By partnering up with us, advertisers can get access to over 115,000 unique readers. Each issue receives over 1,65 million unique views over a shelf life of 3 months."

    Is the above related to the magazine or the website? If I'm reading it correctly and it refers to the mag it seems to suggest that 115,000 people look at an average of roughly ten pages of every issue every three months post publication. If my reading is correct I'm curious how you track the number of pages a reader looks at if the publication is in PDF format.


    1. hi Stuart, thanks for the interest. 115,000 is the total number of subscribers and single issue downloads. We get this statistic from our magazine publishing platforms (Zinio, Magzter and Newsstand app). 1,65 million page views is a rough estimate we get from Issuu, which we publish our issue previews - so strictly speaking, that's just the number of views on our preview issues (not the full versions). We used to allow subscribers/single issue buyers to download our mag as PDFs so we no longer do that. Hope this answers your questions, let me know if you need anymore clarification!

      1. Hi Nellie,

        Thanks for getting back to me.

        I've got your iPhone app (the Magzter one) and that allows me to view your Feb/Mar 2012 issue for free -- this is a great feature as it allows a potential reader to "try before they buy" by looking at an old issue. So these free downloads would account for some portion of the 115,000 combined subscribers and single issue downloads correct?

        The reason I ask is because when I first saw Jeremy tweet (during WTM I think) that you had 115,000 subscribers it took my breath away -- because it is an astonishing result for what is quite a new magazine. Wanderlust in comparison claims a circulation of some 37,000 (I realise circulation and subscribers/single issue downloads are different, but still there's a gulf there & Wanderlust has been around for a while).

        Why am I so interested in this? We've been slowly working on a digital mag-style platform for almost a year now (more like Overnight Buses than yours as we're using the same framework as they are), but when I saw the 115,000 subscribers figure, which at $2.99 an issue equates to well over a quarter of a million bucks (before Magzter comms etc) in less than twelve months it got my attention!

        I realise that paid subscriber levels may be considered commercially sensitive, but if you could confirm that the 115,000 subscriber/single issue download figure includes free downloads, I'd really appreciate it -- and no more questions - promise!



        1. hey Stuart, we're more than happy to answer your questions! Yes you're right in saying that the 115,000 figure includes the free downloads as well. I know it's barely an accurate figure but unfortunately, like Lyn pointed out in her comment below, that is the best approximate we can get based on the information we get from the various publishing platforms we work with.

          I also wanted to point out that Jeremy's tweet re our 115,000 subscribers was inaccurate. During the talk at Social Travel Market, there was a misunderstanding that the 115,000 figure referred to subscribers. I was late in pointing out that it actually is the combined number of subscribers and single issue downloads.

          Hope this clears things up!

          Cheers, Nellie

  2. I'd love to see two other publications covered in this same style of Q&A, both of them run nothing short of REMARKABLE travel stories, not an ounce of advertorial to be found in them.

    And nope, I'm not associated with either, just super curious how they'd answer these same questions.

    http://velamag.com/ and http://nowheremag.com/

    And I'm also curious about the data. The numbers are impressive. Are the calculated as projected via the number of downloads? Is that 115k the number of subscribers or single issue downloads total? Or page views on the Wild Junket website? Tracking stats via PDF is a new concept to me and I'd like to hear more about how Wild Junket does it.

    1. hi Pam, I've answered Stuart's question on our numbers above, hope it helps. We don't track stats via PDF - only based on information provided by our various platforms.

      I'd love to share a copy of our magazine with you. If you go to the WildJunket Newsstand app, you'll find that you can download one issue for free. That's our inaugural issue and one of my favorite to date. We rarely run any advertorials and have quite few display ads per issue. Let me know what you think of our content once you've read it!

    1. Thanks Simon. I hope my answers above clarify your doubts. We're still rather new on Apple's Newsstand so we're working on building up our readership there. Zinio is still our biggest selling platform.

      1. Thanks for the clarifying - however I'm confused. If I download 3 single issues - are you counting me as 1 or 3 readers? It looks like 3 from your numbers above.

        1. Regarding this, I should probably check with Magzter who created the Newsstand app for us. I believe if you are a subscriber, you're counted as one reader. If you didn't buy the subscription and downloaded three issues, then you're considered three readers.

  3. I assume the numbers relate to downloads of the shell app, not readers of the magazine. If they had 100k reader this would be the most successful magazine in the App Store by a factor of about 5 times.

  4. Intriguing... like everyone else above I am baffled with the circulation claims. Is Nelly going to be clarifying the numbers, and how she knows what the page views are?

  5. Hi Nellie,
    So, the figure of 115,000 subscribers (and unique readers) is not actually accurate then?
    At Wanderlust we have the same problem with Zinio; that we have no way of telling a subscription from a single issue sale. It is very frustrating as it means that we can't publish a digital circulation figure.
    But, if you are claiming 115,000 SUBSCRIBERS, surely you are misleading people.

    1. hey Lyn, I understand your frustration. We've never actually claimed to have 115,000 subscribers - we always use the term unique readers. But then again, it's still not 100% info accurate. I guess this is one of the shortcomings of digital publishing and hopefully it'll improve soon enough.

      We've always been huge fans of Wanderlust and we love what you do. At WildJunket, we're aiming to inspire readers the way you do, but building an empire is not on our agenda - we want to stay grounded and small, and build a close relationship with our audience.

      Cheers, Nellie

  6. Nellie, thanks for your nice comments. Though we're hardly an empire! People always get a surprise when they find out how small we are.
    Quite right, you didn't used the word 'subscriber' so I shouldn't have jumped on that. However, I thought you did at a session at WTM; apologies if I misheard or misunderstood. I must admit that I'm still a bit baffled by your figures - as Stuart and Simon above are asking about too.
    Stuart, yes, our circulation hovers around 37,000. That's purely actively-purchased (ie. paid)circulation, whether print or digital. It doesn't include any sort of free samplers or free downloads. It's quite a respectable figure for a UK specialist magazine (our sales are still mostly in the UK, although our digital sales are making inroads into that, and our website is only 50% UK traffic). Obviously, it's changing times in publishing so who knows what our model will be in a few years!

  7. I think the statistic is - 115,000 different people have read the magazine either by subsribing or by downloading a copy. But I'll let Nellie confirm.
    And it might have been me Stewart that started some of this confusion as I tweeted the 115,000 number from the session at WTM and I may have incorrectly used the word 'subscriber'.
    Standing aside from the numbers, one of the things that got me thinking was the difference between a local publication (eg Wanderlust) and a global one (ie Wild Junket). When your title is available for free to download anywhere in the world you have a much much bigger market to go after. So if you have a good product you may well begin to pick up sizeable numbers.
    But it's a very disparate market and most potential advertisers operate in a single market in a single currency. So a UK operator selling tours in pounds to UK travellers really couldn't care less that a publication attracts huge numbers of US readers - they are only interested in the UK readership of the title.
    So big numbers aren't the whole story for profitability - you need the right local market for the right local advertiser. Wanderlust has this pretty well covered in the UK with strong relationships with many of the UK based specialist tour operators.
    So whilst it would be easy to say the global digital title will come to dominate on the basis of what might look like big differentials in numbers it's much more complex than that. I wonder how easy it will be going forward for the Wild Junket team to convinced locally based operators to advertise given this problem.
    Interesting times indeed.

  8. As confirmed above, the figure includes all the free downloads, subscriptions and single issue downloads. We've also done a few giveaways with several companies, and through our website - so that accounts for a small percentage.

    I agree with you about the complexity between operating in a single market vs a global market. We've found that having a global audience has definitely helped us to gain readership substantially, but it's been rather tricky in terms of working with local advertisers. Like you said, Wanderlust has done an excellent job working closely with UK based tour operators. As our company is essentially registered in Singapore, based out of Spain, and our audience largely from the US, it's been rather tricky talking to regional operators and tourist boards.

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