Owls and HOOT
Owls. People like owls. And really, owls are great. That’s part of why we decided to name our new magazine HOOT when we started it in October 2011. HOOT is a magazine, but it’s almost like a postcard-of-the-month club. We make unique postcards that combine literature and art. Each month’s postcard is our entire "magazine" issue! (See articles about us in the Huffington Post, The Review Review, Geekadelphia, Wild River Review, The Writer Magazine...and many other places.)
We want to make t-shirts because, first of all, we think people might like them. When we were starting, we spent a lot of time developing the owl to go on our postcards, and we are happy with how he turned out! He's an adorable (and dignified) owl! We’ve sold pins with this image before with great success, and we’d like to be able to sell these t-shirts when we go to book festivals and events. The image will be screen printed (each one will be printed by hand, and we will be able to print on darker-colored fabric) on top-quality American Apparel t-shirts.
We’d also like to be able to wear them ourselves—being a postcard magazine, people often see us as “whimsical.” Which, let's be real, we are…but we are also professional. The t-shirts will be our uniform.
HOOT: Behind the Scenes
Here’s how HOOT works: we receive submissions of original poems and very (very) short stories. Then we decide on one we like and Amanda Vacharat, our artistic director, goes to work. She creates a piece of art that goes with the poem or story we have chosen. In creating the artwork, she tries to go beyond merely “illustrating” the poem or story; she tries to create art that will combine with the literature to create something new.
After that, we print them out on postcards (with the author’s bio on the back). The printed postcards arrive at HOOT central, our basement, and from there we decide on a short message to write on the back. We try to think of something seasonally appropriate, or otherwise fitting with the time of year (elections, sports seasons, etc.). We also are partial to haiku. After we decide on a note, we write that note on the new postcards—one for each subscriber. (Yes, this takes a long time!)
Sending it Out
After that, we send them out. It’s usually one of us taking a huge stack of postcards to the post office. Also, though, we have an online issue, which you can access here. The online issue is free to access and also has artistic work (often by the author) to accompany the literature that we publish. Recently, we’ve begun to add recordings of the author’s voice on the site too—so there is art, and literature, and sound.
We like to say that we are taking the ethos of the internet and applying it to print media. Just like so much of what is on the internet, our issues are 1. Brief, 2. Mixed-media, and 3. Shareable. Our name, HOOT, is a reference to reference Twitter (both “hoot” and “twitter” are sounds that birds make.) We wanted literature that was brief and that could be passed around, kind of like Tweets are shared, though a “hoot” feels more grounded, more like a solitary sound at night that you might happen to hear. That’s how we see our postcards—a tiny bit of writing that is a small, but very distinct, thing in the huge literary world.
We chose postcards (partially because, like owls, they are cool) but partially because postcards felt like a quintessential print format—“digital postcards” just aren’t the same as print postcards. Part of that has to do with the fact that postcards are frequently handwritten. Because of that, we hand-write short messages on all our issue to all our subscribers.
Who We Are
HOOT was co-founded by Dorian Geisler and Amanda Vacharat in October of 2011 (You can see us in the video, wearing HOOT shirts). Jane-Rebecca Cannarella is an editor and Zana Bass is an art contributor, mastermind, and moonlighter. We four are the “we” that we have been talking about! You can read more about us at the masthead section of HOOT’s website.
Risks and challenges
A big player in the success in this project is the talent of our screen printer. So, we'll be hunting for someone who is reputable and skilled.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)