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Independent community literary magazine & small press in Phoenix, AZ needs your help to stay alive
Independent community literary magazine & small press in Phoenix, AZ needs your help to stay alive
109 backers pledged $6,450 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Four Chambers Press is an independent community literary magazine and small press based in Phoenix, AZ whose mission is to give greater visibility to the literary arts and encourage their participation in the larger cultural scene.

Our First Issue (Published December 2013)
Our First Issue (Published December 2013)
Our Second Issue (Published October 2014)
Our Second Issue (Published October 2014)
Poems for the Future President, Michael Bartelt (Nov 2014)
Poems for the Future President, Michael Bartelt (Nov 2014)
Poetry and Prose for the Phoenix Art Museum (March 2015)
Poetry and Prose for the Phoenix Art Museum (March 2015)

We publish a yearly journal, single author works, and special projects and anthologies. Each issue, we partner with local artists to produce illustrations for our winning stories and poems. For our special projects and anthologies, we partner with local businesses and cultural institutions to create unique opportunities for literary performance, place-making, and public art.

Ashley Macias' Illustration for Marjorie Stelmach's "Self Portrait with Heart" (Four Chambers 01)
Ashley Macias' Illustration for Marjorie Stelmach's "Self Portrait with Heart" (Four Chambers 01)
Rebecca Green's Illustration for Shevaun Brannigan's "Local Church Falls in Love with Area Library" (Four Chambers 02)
Rebecca Green's Illustration for Shevaun Brannigan's "Local Church Falls in Love with Area Library" (Four Chambers 02)
  
Joseph 'Sentrock' Perez's Illustration for Leon Hedstrom's "Borealis" (Four Chambers 02)
Joseph 'Sentrock' Perez's Illustration for Leon Hedstrom's "Borealis" (Four Chambers 02)
Derik Roof reading "Carnaval en Huetzojingo" during our walking tour of the Phoenix Art Museum (April 2015)
Derik Roof reading "Carnaval en Huetzojingo" during our walking tour of the Phoenix Art Museum (April 2015)

In addition to publishing, we also organize writing groups, salons, featured reading series, collaborative shows, and other events and programs that give people the chance to come together and engage with literary art

Director of Events and Programming Jared Duran interviewing Jia Oak Baker at Limited Engagement
Director of Events and Programming Jared Duran interviewing Jia Oak Baker at Limited Engagement
The crowd before our monthly salon at Valley Bar, Get Lit
The crowd before our monthly salon at Valley Bar, Get Lit
Our symbolic T-shirts
Our symbolic T-shirts

Basically, we think of ourselves as a heart: something organic, centralized, and part of a larger body; that connects, supports, and circulates life. While other presses may be publishing literary work (and some of them may get that work from the community), we are publishing work to build community.

WHY WE'RE DOING A KICKSTARTER

Right now, Four Chambers is wrapping up two projects--a special project with Welcome Diner and Welcome Chicken + Donuts entitled Welcome Home: Poetry and Prose for Welcome Hospitality and our third issue, Four Chambers 03, which we will be releasing in September and October of this year (2015).

Unfortunately, while we have the manuscripts assembled and ready to go, we don't have the money to go to print.

Our basic budget for the rest of this year's projects
Our basic budget for the rest of this year's projects

More to the point, we don't have enough money to stay in business.

When we started Four Chambers, our start-up money came from our Founder and Editor in Chief (who made a personal investment of $5000). Since then, we've established a circulation of around 500 people, published four titles in a year and a half, executed some interesting public art projects, been featured in the Phoenix New Times, local NPR affiliate KJZZ, other media, and basically made a name for ourselves as a reliable and trustworthy source of literature here in Phoenix.

Two years later, we've realized a sales model simply doesn't fit how we operate or what we actually do. As a small press, our print runs aren't large enough yet to yield a lower unit cost and create a meaningful profit. So while we're reaching new audiences with every project we release, we're still a young organization, we're still working towards our goals, and we need additional support from the community as we grow.

While it would be more cost effective to move into an online model, print is integral to our mission. We cannot table at festivals, visit classrooms or do any of the outreach and activities we do without something physical to give someone. Publication is the nucleus of our organization. We cannot be present in the community without print. We want literature to be close to people, to be a part of their homes--to have our books carried around in backpacks and purses, to sit on people's tables or shelves. We want people to develop relationships with our products, to have something beautiful they can take pride in. We want it to be real.

We didn't start Four Chambers because we wanted to make money. We started Four Chambers because we are people who love writing and reading, and we wanted to create more spaces where we could come together. Even though Phoenix is the 6th largest city in the nation, rich with visual art, theatre, dance, music and other forms of art, it can still be relatively difficult to find places to engage with local literature. And while there are a number of other publications circulating throughout the Valley--zines, institutionally-affiliated journals, online magazines, not to mention tons of people organizing readings, open mics, and other events--we are more or less the only literary magazine here in Phoenix.

Each issue, 50% of our published work comes from local authors--a percentage that happens naturally, without quotas or requirements, that speaks to the immediacy of the need we're attempting to fulfill. Authors can always submit to other publications in other cities, but what we're offering people is a chance to really engage with one another, to participate in something meaningful, to take culture into their own hands, to be connected through literature and, in short, to build community. Four Chambers is more than a literary journal or a small press. We're a provider of cultural services and value. We're a community.

Assuming we can raise the necessary funds, over the next couple of months we're going to complete our remaining projects, continue growing our circulation, and identifying alternative sources of revenue as we plan for next year.

Our (simplified) budget for next year (2016)
Our (simplified) budget for next year (2016)

Any funds raised over our goal will go directly towards providing art for our third issue (which we had to cut from our budget given our shortfall). After that, we'll pay off our credit card debt (which we used to purchase necessary performance equipment and print our last issue) and renovate our website. 

Risks and challenges

Given how close our current projects are towards completion--the manuscripts are assembled, the quotes have been retrieved, the books are designed and laid out--the only thing keeping us from going to print is the money necessary to do so.

Next year, we plan on releasing two manuscripts of poetry from two local authors, Four Chambers 04, and two special projects (TBA). After fulfilling this Kickstarter and going to print on these two projects, we'll still be left with enough money to fund our first single author work, thereby seeding our operations for the rest of year as we turn over inventory.

This being said, we're looking into a number of different options for increasing and diversifying our revenue--instituting a ticket fee for some of our events, launching a chapbook contest, and creating a membership / pledge model with benefits and gifts--in order to create a stronger business that is less reliable on sales. If we don't move our inventory as quickly as we need to, these additional streams of revenue should make up the difference. If we still don't have enough money, we'll lower our print runs on special projects, adjust our timelines and begin the longer process of looking into fiscal sponsorship, grants, and non-profit.

If these projects are not funded, we will have to suspend operations as we figure things out, delaying our current production cycle for six to eighteen months. In all likelihood, this will lead to the end of the business.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Thank you so much! Every dollar helps build a stronger literary community in Phoenix and beyond. You’ll get a Four Chambers sticker to sport on your laptop/car/forehead, along with a personal note of thanks!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    We don’t know what we would do without you. Enjoy a Four Chambers sticker, a personal note of thanks, the PDF copies of our two upcoming projects – "Welcome Home: Poetry and Prose for Welcome Hospitality", and "Four Chambers 03" – as well as a physical copy of our first single author work, "Poems for the Future President" by Michael Bartelt.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Enjoy your very own physical copy of "Four Chambers 01" released in December, 2013, as well as the PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, delivered to you with a personal note of thanks and a Four Chambers sticker.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    You’ll receive our first two issues! This also includes a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    We really appreciate your support! With your pledge, you’ll get "Poems for the Future President" by Michael Bartelt, "Poetry and Prose for the Phoenix Art Museum" released in March, 2015, and our upcoming "Welcome Home: Poetry and Prose for Welcome Hospitality" featuring twenty pieces by local authors all about and inspired by our beloved Welcome Diner and Welcome Chicken + Donuts. This also includes a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Enjoy all three issues of Four Chambers! You’ll also receive "Poems for the Future President" by Michael Bartelt, and your choice of a color print from the artwork in Four Chambers 02. This also includes a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Oh boy, you’re about to have so much literature to read. Enjoy "Poems for the Future President" by Michael Bartelt, Four Chambers 01, 02, as well as "Welcome Home" and "Four Chambers 03" and your choice of a color print from the artwork featured in "Four Chambers 02." This also includes a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Thank you so much! You’ll receive "Welcome Home", "Four Chambers 03", your choice of TWO color prints from the artwork featured in "Four Chambers 02", as well as a swanky new Four Chambers Press T-shirt! This also includes a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You’re incredibly generous. With your pledge, you’ll receive your choice of two color prints from the artwork featured in "Four Chambers 02", as well as our whole catalogue thus far (Four Chambers 01, 02, and 03, "Poetry and Prose for the Phoenix Art Museum", "Welcome Home", and "Poems for the Future President"), and a Four Chambers Press T-shirt. This also includes a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks. You’re basically the Four Chambers mascot at this point. We love you.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    With your pledge, you’ll receive all items in the $100 pledge personally delivered to you by a Four Chambers staff member, (in the Phoenix Metro Area) and all four color prints from the artwork in "Four Chambers 02"

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Enjoy all the items from the $125 pledge plus two books from the personal collections of Four Chambers staff, hand picked for you!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Thank you! With your pledge, you’ll receive our whole catalogue, as well as a quarter page of ad space for your business in "Four Chambers 03", set to be released in October, 2015. This also includes a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    We love our literary community, writing, and helping others write what and how they want to. So with this pledge, along with our whole catalogue, you’ll receive 10 hours of editing services from Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Jake Friedman for any personal project you may have. This also includes a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Have an evening with Four Chambers! That’s right, along with our whole catalogue, you’ll be invited to join Four Chambers staff for a night of dinner and cocktails at Kelsey’s house--all made with love by Four Chambers staff. This also includes a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Four Chambers staff has a few hobbies, and they’ll be putting them into action for this pledge. Along with the Four Chambers catalogue, Kelsey will crochet unique cozies for your copies of "Welcome Home" and "Four Chambers 03", as well as a scarf or beanie the color and style of your choosing. Jake will draw your profile, pet, or object or person of your choosing. This also includes a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Four Chambers staff will personally write a portfolio of poems and short stories about you and/or the subject of your choosing. This also includes the Four Chambers catalogue, Four Chambers T-shirt, a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Wow! You’re incredible! Thank you so much! Four Chambers will spend a day doing your bidding! Driving you around, making you food, etc. etc. After this incredible donation, we can’t help but want to hang out with you! This also includes the Four Chambers catalogue, a Four Chambers T-shirt, a sticker, PDF copies of our two upcoming projects, and a personal note of thanks.

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Funding period

- (30 days)