I am a writer, actress and zinester living and working in downtown Champaign, Illinois. Last summer I wrote and produced a zine titled "You Are Among Friends," aimed at girls 10-30, with the goal of empowerment through advice, education and encouragement regarding everything from school to sex, credit cards and heartbreak to living a life of wonder (and not being afraid to peek below one's own skirt).
I also produced an audio podcast version of the zine, which was made available for free download. It has since been downloaded hundreds of times, and I have received many comments, reblogs, phone calls and emails from ladies of all ages telling me that their lives have been positively affected by the work.
I am now pulling together an extended version of the zine, with additional content by me, as well as guest editorials from influential, smart, confident and creative women who I personally chose to contribute: Gala Darling (groundbreaking blogger, galadarling.com), Allison Weiss and Jenny Owen Youngs (singer/songwriters,allisonw.com and jennyowenyoungs.com), Jaime Calder (writer, 12x2.wordpress.com), and Jessalyn Wakefield (writer and artist, amihuman.net).
I would like to self-publish the extended zine in book format. I have been a member of and contributor to the zine community since adolescence myself, and I initially wanted to produce YAAF as a zine because I wanted the information to appear in a friendly, non intimidating format, and a hand-sewn paper zine is about as colloquial as it gets. However, I would like the extended version to hold up better and last longer, so it may be passed on from girl to girl, or kept and cherished for a long time, the same way the feminist books I read as a youngster have occupied prime real estate on my bookshelves for years.
$350 will be enough to publish some promotional copies which will be sent to newspapers and magazines, as well as to publish copies to send to women's shelters, Planned Parenthoods, and after-school programs nationwide. If contributions continue past $350, more copies will be sent to these places.
Download the original audio podcast (for free) at http://www.youareamongfriends.com.
P.S. The funding timeline ends at exactly midnight on my 26th birthday... starting the year off right!