By pairing creative writing and arts with informative journalism, The Bubble speaks to the well-rounded Southern Californian.
What makes The Bubble unique: the many local creative writers who have been published, and the many more who can be published if the project survives. The goal has always been to pay writers. Some have been paid, while others have chosen to be part of the development of this new magazine free of charge. All have watched me struggle, knowing I'm not yet breaking even....So....
The Bubble: A quarterly literary and feature magazine for Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties in California, first formed in Ojai, but ever growing. This is something different, and if birds and bees can deliver the news, why not bubbles?
The in-process cover of Volume 7 proclaims: Life, Literature and Lively Journalism for the Well-Rounded Southern Californian.
The video above, shot mostly in my car because the distribution aspect of the business (40+ locations) is carried out from my car, may stand as a metaphor for the cramped and frantic nature of the business under the current conditions. This cottage publishing industry grew too big for the resources I have to contain it, and even for the resources I have in terms of my own ability to tell the whole story concisely. Meanwhile, I'm feeling time pressure to get another issue out. The video found a little ways below, shot last year, is calmer and deals with only one of six issues of the magazine; it is worth watching if you found the one above too cumbersome.
I didn't expect to become a journalist, because, with the soul of a philosopher and poet, I resonated with Thoreau's having said, “Read not the Times. Read the Eternities.” I thought I'd be a professor of English (and may still become one!) But I did spend some time reporting for my small town's newspaper, and loved it. A large number of people told me at that time, and emphatically, that they admired my writing and my people skills. Plus my innate curiosity, and requests from people in my town, made me want to look into writing articles about interesting people, ideas and projects, or aspects of these, that were being missed or dismissed by the established media. I also seem to see connections where others don't, and this gathering of varied things into a cohesive whole was starting to become my own unexplainable talent.
These growing passions birthed this magazine, and I also instinctively reached out to the local literary community. Placing work from creative writers, and other artists, amidst feature articles about a variety of topics seemed like a natural way to start tracking the elusive heartbeat of a community. I think the artistic and the literary, which have to do with how people process life experiences, have a correct place next to informational reporting. We are storytellers and people in need of stories. In fact, if we wonder what kinds of glasses we look at the world with, they are storied glasses because stories are our reference points.
Weaving these two kinds of writing into themed issues with diverse, but related, content can draw an eclectic array of readers. It allows literary work to be read by people who might not be inclined to purchase a strictly literary magazine, and for the feature articles themselves to attain a different significance from when they are merely surrounded by advertisements...Like placing an article about a hot air balloon pilot who mentioned the felt absence of any breeze, near a painting of wind enlivening the ocean, near a short piece about a local company that makes wind power turbines, near a poem about a businessman eating a formal and respectable breakfast while watching surfers, about to hit the wind-driven waves, eat their morning meal out of humble paper sacks.
Publishing the work of over 55 artists and writers, plus personally interviewing and writing about perhaps 30 more people, I continually meet men and women whose talent and viewpoints enrich my life. In turn the articles, stories, artwork and poems inspire and inform the lives of readers. The Bubble examines and celebrates the achievements of individuals, and, though the vehicle of themed issues, highlights that which connects us. Friendships and artistic collaborations have been born; I see The Bubble as a tool for creating an arts and writing community that can be as loose or as strong as circumstances and preferences allow. We've held live reading events, and I have hopes of doing writing projects with children and teens.
The video below showcases Volume 4, and the cover art is a piece of a painting by Jesse Arms Botke, a famous regional decorative painter from the middle of last century. The painting hangs in the Blanchard Community Library in Santa Paula, near where the Botke family ranch is still located. This was the Innovations issue, and I wrote about Jesse Arms' great grandson, Matt Botke, and his state of the art cancer diagnostics engineering, referencing her artistic career as the historical backdrop to his life and work . Those are filmmaker Jeffrey Blake Palmer's hands turning the magazine pages....Jeff also does the cover layout for The Bubble; he came on board in Volume 4.
"Just finished Volume 6 of The Bubble in one sitting (interruptions by children notwithstanding), and loved it. Fun to see contributions from friends Suza Francina and Brendan Hutchinson, as well as poetry and prose from new-to-me writers that gifted me with a little bit of laughter and a little bit of crying." - Evan Austin
"Just wanted to give a big thumbs up for the great content in the current issue of the Bubble! good job nancy, on your one-woman publishing circus, you roped in some fine material on relationship subjects relevant to us all!" - Amber Lennon
"Loved the article on Resources for Infant Educarers by Nancy Gross; more like this one, please!" -Pam Matthews Montazeri
"Keep with the magazine. It is FANTASTIC!!" - Natalia Lusinski
"Thanks for inviting me to participate in the reading tonight.The show was really unexpectedly out of sight to tell you the truth and you chose some great people so I was very happy with the entire experience and to meet some of the other writers. best regards." - Steve Sprinkel
Some of you may have encountered or given to my other fundraising campaign, my attempt to raise $10,000 from 1,000 $10 donations. I raised $1,000 from about 35 gracious and enthusiastic supporters! Yet I learned two things. 1) I need a more effective funding platform, and 2) to make the business work, I require enough assistance to get me through one full year of quarterly publishing. Kickstarter is inspiring, and might be the way to make it happen.
The magazine was started in Ojai, CA, but moved outward to now encompass all of Ventura County, and Santa Barbara County. Without any funding except what I used from my credit cards, and a small amount of advertising revenue beginning with the third issue, plus VERY occasional (and VERY welcome) donations along the way, I have produced and sold many hundreds of copies of six intelligent, informative, inspiring and playful issues, showcasing writing and art from over 55 local talents (This link will take you to the Contributors page of The Bubble's website). Look around the rest of The Bubble's website, www.theojaibubble.com, and you'll see the covers of all the issues, the pages of the inaugural issue, a list of the many stores that sell The Bubble, some press The Bubble has gotten and a little bit more.
My intent with this fundraiser is to allow me to put out four more issues, Volumes 7 through 10, on the quarterly schedule I've been trying to adhere to. I acknowledge that I cannot by myself raise the advertising revenues needed to cover my printing and pay some helpers. Ad sales is not my skill set, but I have a beautiful publication and it would be a shame to quit while it is showing consistent growth.
I would like be able to pay somebody to upgrade the website. I need time and gas money to do the work of securing more locations to carry The Bubble. Sales are concentrated in The Ojai Valley at this point, and only scattered from Somis to Goleta. Since over 500 copies of the current issue have sold under these conditions, concentrations in other regional communities will be able to raise that number substantially. I also need to work on the appearance of the pages, and adapting to new layout software. This will allow The Bubble to be desirable to more distributors (I already work with two who add locations beyond the 40+ consignment spots I personally manage).
I feel secure in predicting substantial growth because in the two years I've been doing this business, I've seen a considerable increase in sales when I'm not present to represent the magazine as when I am. Some have always sold at the shops that carry it, but in the first year more sales happened when I was selling hand to hand at the local farmer's market or outside a grocery store than happened in shops. Now The Bubble is fully coming into its own; in a newsstand or magazine rack, it is speaking for itself.
I can be trusted to stick with the work because I did so when there was little more than air to sustain me (the project, like a soap bubble, still managed to take form even when the building material has been scant!) My personal allotment, if you will, for the 12 months would be $1,000 a month, not a lot but enough so I could stop doing most freelance work I have on the side, in order to pour all my energy into the project's growth. The bulk of the rest would go to pay for printing. Additionally, as editor of The Bubble I have been amazed and humbled by the caliber of contributions that writers and artists have offered free of charge and this campaign is also about compensating them for their incredible work. $700 - $1,200 per quarter would be available to be split among contributors.
The Bubble is in a class by itself, as the only paid-for print publication for this multifaceted, yet still connected, two-county region. It is also singular in that it pairs locally written, excellent creative writing with feature stories about people, places, art and endeavors of regional (and even beyond regional) interest. Its success can be a source of pride to locals, and a way to strengthen the literary experience out here on the West Coast. It is also a forum for those of us north of Los Angeles and moving up the Central California Coast to own our strengths and stand tall in the cultural dialogue with LA and San Francisco.
Resources are needed more than potato chips for a party or a swell date for a dance. Won't you be a part of the growth of this culturally enriching periodical?
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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A signed print copy of The Bubble, Volume 7, mailed to you, along with a signed limited edition broadside of apoem, "My Red Lipstick," by Nancy Gross, editor and publisher. The poem in its context can be viewed at http://yunews.com/broadsides2.htmlEstimated delivery:
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Volumes 7 and 8 of The Bubble, signed and mailed to you along with a signed limited edition broadside of a poem, "My Red Lipstick," by Nancy Gross, editor and publisher. The poem, in its context, can be viewed at http://yunews.com/broadsides2.htmlEstimated delivery:
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A year's subscription to The Bubble and an opportunity to have your photo and something you think is important published as "The Word Bubble of The Moment."Estimated delivery:
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Have you written one or more short stories or chapters of a book that you know need work to become pubishable? Have you always longed to write, but aren't sure you have talent? I'll work with you to consult about and edit up to 25 pages of your own writing. While I'll offer encouragement, I won't shortchange you by failing to point out what isn't working.Estimated delivery:
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A literary dinner party for up to ten thrown in your home or a place you secure (within 3 hours drive from Ojai) by Nancy Gross, editor and publisher of The Bubble. I will provide the food. I can cook elegantly and arrange for readers of poems and prose to attend and read in a genre or theme of your choice. Tables, table cloths and table settings and serving dishes, etc., must be provided by you.Estimated delivery:
- (35 days)