Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 5, 2013.

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We’re raising the bar for online literature, featuring audio and video with every poem, story, and essay we publish.

STRETCH GOALS!

Thanks to all of you, we've surpassed our $6,000 goal! But it takes a lot more than $6,000 to keep Better afloat from year to year. Our total expenses this first year, plus our expenses for the coming year, amount to more than $16,600! So in these final hours, our goal is twofold: First, to get as close to $9,300 as possible--our original goal, plus the cost of the software and equipment we'll need in the coming year. Second, to secure as many $1 pledges as we can, as a way of creating a mandate, a show of hands for readers who believe that online publishing can be so much better, and that the people at Better are the ones to do it. Can you help us hit 300 backers by the end of the day?


WHAT'S BETTER?
(BETTERMAGAZINE.ORG)

Better is an online journal of culture and literature embracing the changes that many publishers fear: we’re excited by the shift toward online publishing and electronic literature, the rise of hybrid forms and tough-to-categorize nonfiction, and the surge of young, talented writers just trying to be seen and heard. We want to be at the center of these changes, to show how bright the literary future is, and to feature art and writing in as many formats as we can—text, audio, and video for starters—to help make literature more accessible, exciting, and relevant to the digital age. Our goal is not to be the most prestigious, the most experimental, or even necessarily the best—we just want to be better. 

Our Plans

Better has published two issues so far, with #3 already in production. We'll continue to publish twice a year, each September and March, featuring audio, video, and text versions of 20-some poems, 3-5 stories, 3-5 essays, 3 art features, and several other interactive works in every issue. Your contribution will help us to expand our reach, to seek out new readers/listeners/viewers and contributors by launching a monthly podcast, a YouTube channel, and a series of limited edition broadsides over the next year. You'll also help us to improve the quality of our audio and video features, by pitching in for basic equipment. 

Just as importantly, though, your contribution will help us cover the baseline costs of running Better—web hosting and bandwidth, a DropBox capable of holding high-resolution videos from forty contributors at a time, A/V editing and recording equipment to improve the quality of the audio and video we publish, conference fees, materials and mailing costs for our broadside series—it all adds up. Once we’ve got those basics covered, we can devote even more of our resources to changing the culture of online publishing, and to making sure that our contributors are paid—making sure they know that their work has cold hard value. In short, you’re helping us make things better by giving back to the artists, writers, and readers themselves.

For Print-Lovers

If all this talk about Online Blah Blah Blah has you worried, never fear: print’s not dead, and it won’t die on our watch. Better will use some of the funds from this campaign to establish a series of limited edition, hand-printed broadsides featuring content from each issue, available individually or as a subscription. You can pre-order our broadsides, and take advantage of our other offers, by checking out the rewards levels.

How You’re Making Things Better

Whether or not you donate, you can help Better make literature and the arts relevant again by spreading the word about us through Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need money, or even much time, to help us.

But if you choose to pledge to Better, you’ll provide invaluable support as a member of a community that believes free access, interactivity, and social media will make literature and the arts stronger. Since we’re not bogged down by printing and shipping costs like other journals, most of your generosity goes straight into the pockets of our contributors, and into the technological resources that will help us drag literature into the 21st century where it belongs. Not one dime of the funding for this campaign will go to the editors; we’re doing this because we believe it’s vital, and necessary—not to us, but to culture and literature at-large.

Who We Are

Better’s editors have more than thirty years of collective experience at eight different magazines and presses. We weren’t born digital, but our middle-school crushes were digital, and we’re proud to keep carrying that torch.

SEAN BISHOP, Founding & Managing Editor, is a poet, designer, web developer, and the former managing editor of Gulf Coast. He is now the creative writing program administrator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he helps coordinate the University of Wisconsin Press’s poetry series, among other things. In the past year he has been a regular blogger on issues related to the publishing industry for Ploughshares and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

RACHAEL MORRISON, Arts Editor, works at the Museum of Modern Art Library in New York, where she has curated shows of contemporary art magazines, the works of Bern Porter, and others. She is the former editor of f.Art: Found Art, and her artwork has been featured on the BBC series Imagine and in New York Magazine. She’s currently directing a documentary film about a blind telephone hacker named Joybubbles.

EDWARD MULLANY, Fiction & Poetry Editor, is the author of If I Falter at the Gallows (Publishing Genius, 2011) and the forthcoming Figures for an Apocalypse. He keeps a blog called Notes from a Resuscitated Man.

TARASHEA NESBIT, Nonfiction Editor, is also an editor for Kore Press. Her first novel, The Wives of Los Alamos, will appear from Bloomsbury and Dumont in the US, UK, and Germany in 2014. Her essays and poems have appeared in Quarterly West, The Iowa Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Laurel Review, and elsewhere. She teaches writing workshops for individuals experiencing poverty and homelessness at The Gathering Place in Denver.

SOPHIE ROSENBLUM, Fiction Editor, is also the web editor at NANO Fiction, the last surviving American print journal for flash fiction. She is a doctoral candidate in literature and creative writing at Florida State University. Her novel-in-progress was recently a finalist for the James Jones Novel Fellowship.

KENT SHAW, Poetry Editor, has been an editor at Gulf Coast, vice president of the board of directors at River Styx, and a reader at Boulevard. He is now a professor of English at West Virginia State University, and he leads the poetry workshop at the Washington University Summer Writers Institute. His first book, Calenture, appeared in 2008.

The Rewards

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Because we're an online journal, Better is never really at risk of disappearing. Unlike print journals, we don't have giant production and shipping fees to deal with, and though our most basic overhead costs are significant, they're not unmanageable. For the past year, our Editors have gotten by, chipping in to cover web hosting and conference fees. So if all else fails--if this campaign fails, or doesn't achieve the stretch goals we dream about, we'll just keep doing the best we can with what we've got--and what we've got is a sincere love for literature and art, and for pushing the boundaries of what an online journal can do. With or without your financial support, we're here to stay, and we hope you'll be a part of our community.

Better's editors are all writers and artists early in our careers, which means we know how to do a lot with a little; we're not strangers to struggle. But neither are we strangers to the business of publishing; we've got 30 collective years of editorial experience among the six of us, and strong ties to the literary and arts communities. We'd like to do a lot more than "get by," and with your help we know we can.

FAQ

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231
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$7,424
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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    25 backers

    STICKERS & LOVE: We’ll send you a Better logo sticker and a personal expression of undying gratitude, plus we’ll put your name on our website!

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    4 backers Limited (46 left of 50)

    WRITE A BINGO SQUARE: Write a "square" for Poetry Bingo (http://bit.ly/QWB2ew) or Fiction Bingo (http://bit.ly/XHViUh), and be listed as one of its co-creators until the end of time! Plus we'll mail you the sticker from our $5 level. Bingo squares must be 50 characters or less, and must be some form of poetry/fiction cliché, trope, or absurdism.

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    11 backers Limited (4 left of 15)

    f.ART: A copy of Arts Editor Rachael Morrison's short-lived but oh-so-awesome magazine of found art, f.Art. (http://www.eyeheartbrains.org/index.php?/project/fart/)

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    4 backers All gone!

    THREADS: a copy of THREADS, the art and fashion magazine edited by issue one arts contributor Jenn Brehm. (http://artmag.wordpress.com/tag/threads-magazine/)

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    25 backers Limited (25 left of 50)

    WILD KINGDOM BROADSIDE: a limited edition, two-color, hand-printed broadside featuring Graham Foust's poem, "Wild Kingdom," from issue one, with original artwork by cartoonist and fiction-writer Lydia Conklin. Size: 5 x 8 inches, on 100# poptone cardstock from French Paper Company.

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    23 backers

    STICKERS AND LOVE AND A CONTEST ENTRY: You’ll get everything from the $5 level, plus your name on our website with a link to your own site or blog, plus a free pass to enter our first annual contest in poetry or fiction (fall 2013).

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    POSTCARD FROM A BETTER PLACE: You’ll get the sticker, the thank-you, your name on the website with a link to your own site or blog, plus Better Arts Editor Rachael Morrison will send you a one-of-a-kind collage postcard from an imaginary locale.

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    (MORE IS) BETTER BOOKS: We'll send you TWO books by our authors and colleagues. Choose from Elena Passarello's LET ME CLEAR MY THROAT, Chad Simpson's TELL EVERYONE I SAID HI (signed!), Geoffrey Nutter's THE ROSE OF JANUARY, Paul Killebrew's ETHICAL CONSCIOUSNESS, Farnoosh Fathi's GREAT GUNS, Suzanne Buffam's THE IRRATIONALISt and Ernst Meister's IN TIME'S RIFT (translated by Better contributor Graham Foust, with Samuel Frederick). We've only got 5 copies of each, though, and it's first-come, first-served, which means if you donate late you might have to settle for your second choice! So don't donate late.

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    12 backers Limited (8 left of 20)

    PERSONAL CONTEST ENTRY: You’ll get a free pass to enter our first annual contest in poetry or fiction (fall 2013), and we will guarantee you a detailed personal response about your poems or story—win or lose—from one of our editors.

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    11 backers Limited (89 left of 100)

    BRING BETTER WITH YOU: get a silk-screened tote bag featuring artwork from issue one or two, and the Better logo. Perfect for stuffing dirty gym clothes into, or making your coworkers think you're "literary."

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    19 backers Limited (81 left of 100)

    BETTER T-SHIRT: get a silk-screened t-shirt featuring artwork from issue one or two, and the Better logo. Unisex. You pick the size.

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    11 backers Limited (39 left of 50)

    BETTER BROADSIDE SUBSCRIPTION: You’ll get three limited-edition, hand-printed broadsides of poems or flash fiction by contributors from our first three issues. The issue-one broadside features Graham Foust's "Wild Kingdom," with original artwork by cartoonist and fiction writer Lydia Conklin.

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    YOUR TREE IN CENTRAL PARK: issue one contributor and regular contributor to the New York Times, Jason Polan, will go to Central Park and draw a tree, just for you. He'll probably be thinking sweet thoughts about you while he does it. And then he'll send you the original drawing, so you can frame it or put it under your pillow at night.

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    SOURCES SAY NO, BETTER SAYS YES: we'll give you the original collage, "My Sources Say No," by issue two contributor Rachel Day. Size: 12 x11 x awesome inches.

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    BUTT BURGER AND T-SHIRT: Issue two contributor John Kilduff, aka Mister Let's Paint TV, will send you a painting of a burger with a butt where the burger-meat would be, if it was a normal burger. Plus he'll throw in a hand-painted "Embrace Failare" t-shirt. Two original artworks for the price of one, what a deal!

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    ABE LINCOLN'S CRIB: Emancipate your wallet and shell out to get "The Lincoln Home," Peter Van Hyning's original artwork included in issue two. Size: 24 x 19 inches, gouache on paper.

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  • Pledge $300 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    CO-CREATE A SOUNDBOARD! You name a famous dead author and we do your bidding to create an interactive soundboard, along the lines of our Flannery O'Connor soundboard (http://bit.ly/SCv3Lm) or our "Death Row Records Presents 'The Waste Land'" mashup soundboard (http://bit.ly/11TlVIR). And you'll be listed for all eternity as the co-creator! (heads up: audio recordings of the author need to exist for us to make a soundboard).

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    2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)

    BETTER DOES YOUR BIDDING: You’ll get to send up to ten pages of poetry, or six thousand words of prose, directly to a Better editor of your choosing. He or she will read it closely, make notes on it, and then call or Skype-conference with you for thirty minutes about the work.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    BECOME A BETTER EDITOR: For one issue you’ll act as an editor for Better in all of the fun ways but none of the not-fun ways. You’ll be listed as “Associate Guest Editor” on the website, you’ll be able to read and vote on whatever unsolicited submissions you want, you’ll play an active role in any editorial meetings you wish to attend (via Skype), and your vote will count the same as every other editor! (The first donor at the $800 or $1,500 level will get first pick of which issue to edit, second will get second pick, and so on.)

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    BECOME A BETTER EDITOR AND JUDGE: You get all the privileges of the $800 level, above, plus a series subscription to Better Broadsides (meaning all of them, for as long as we keep making them), plus you will be the “Reader’s Choice Judge” for our first annual poetry and fiction contests, in the genre of your choosing (first come, first served!) After the main judge makes his or her selection, you’ll choose the remaining finalist you like best, who will receive a $300 prize.

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    GET EDITED BETTER: We’ll edit your book of poetry (80 pages or less), fiction or nonfiction (100,000 words or less). Over the course of two months, our founding editor, Sean Bishop, will collaborate with another Better editor in your corresponding genre to make edits and suggestions to your book, at both the line/sentence-level and on a larger scale. Both editors will give you detailed written feedback, and will then hold a joint one-hour phone or video conference with you about the work.

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Funding period

- (31 days)