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?
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.
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.
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.
Risks and challenges
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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