About this project
Last fall, we launched The American Bystander, a print humor quarterly designed to bring comedy into the 20th Century. We wanted to see if there was still an audience for a classic humor magazine format. You know -- comics, essays, short stories, all backed by beautiful design -- the kind of thing millions of people loved and bought in The National Lampoon, SPY and The Realist.
The reaction we received was beyond our wildest hopes. We made our goal in four days, and nearly doubled the amount we were shooting for. So far, with almost no publicity, we've sold nearly 2000 softcover books, at $25 a piece. Wowsers.
So...we're doing it again. And we've made the changes that our backers asked for.
First, it's cheaper -- $20 instead of $25. Our costs per issue go down the more we print, we'll keep dropping the price as long as the number of readers goes up. So if you want #3 to be cheaper still, back this one!
Second, we've simplified the pledge levels, and kept them affordable.
Third, there are more comics in this one, tons more short pieces, and more writing and art by women.
Finally, if we get enough backers, we're offering subscriptions. One year (four issues) in print or PDF format. There are publishing reasons we have to do this as a stretch goal; find out more under "Stretch Goals" below.
We've kept all the things you liked, and added all the things you asked for. Plus, just like #1, we are paying our contributors, and letting them keep all the rights to their material.
Issue #1 proved that people still liked classic humor magazines. Is there an audience big enough to keep the party going indefinitely? It's up to you.
(Some of) THE PEOPLE IN THIS ONE:
Charles Barsotti (The New Yorker), Merrill Markoe (Late Night With David Letterman), Liza Donnelly (The New Yorker), Zach Bornstein (Jimmy Kimmel Live), MK Brown (National Lampoon), Shary Flenniken (National Lampoon), Liana Finck (The New Yorker), Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby), Jack Handey (SNL, The New Yorker), Todd Hanson (The Onion), John Howell Harris (The Onion), Brian McConnachie (National Lampoon, SNL, SCTV), Mallory Ortberg (The Toast, Slate), Mike Reiss (The Simpsons), Nell Scovell (SPY), Steve Young (The Late Show With David Letterman)...and many more!
Michael Gerber (Editor & Publisher): The American Bystander is the culmination of over 25 years as a writer, editor, and magazine consultant specializing in humor. I've written for The New Yorker, SNL, and many other places; my books have sold 1.25 million copies in 25 languages. Barry Trotter and the Shameless Parody is one of the most successful print parodies ever, probably because it introduced a whole generation of English tweens to the concept of a “sex dungeon.”
Brian McConnachie (Editor): Brian began his comedy career as an editor at National Lampoon and the Lampoon's Radio Hour. From there, he went to Saturday Night Live, and SCTV, completing the Holy Trinity of Seventies Comedy. In the 80s and 90s, Brian amassed the coolest bunch of cameos in the history of cinema. In more recent years, he has written for “The Simpsons” and recorded pieces for NPR.
Alan Goldberg (Co-Founder) has been making non-fiction television and radio for more than 35 years. His work includes biographies ranging from Fidel Castro to the Beatles; science programs with Dr. Richard Leakey; programs on drugs and epidemic diseases; histories of American railroads, diners, The Forbidden City and the Golden Gate Bridge -- and even live rock and roll and gospel concerts. Alan will be overseeing The Bystander's podcasts and live-event programming.
ADDED 4.13! If we raise $41,802 -- the same as Bystander #1 -- I'll make #2 at least as big (146 pages) as that one was. But it will still be cheaper, just $20 instead of $25.
If we raise $100,000, we'll offer two new pledge levels: $20 for a four-issue PDF subscription; and $60 for a four-issue print subscription. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.
Why $100,000? If we pinch every penny, it costs us at least $22,700 to create each issue of The Bystander. 4 x 22700 is $90800. Add in Kickstarter's 9% cut, and you get $98972. We could have a stretch goal of $98,972, but people would think we were joking.
We're not joking. This is as serious as a humor magazine gets.
If we reach $100,000, we can be SURE that we'll be able to produce four issues of the quarterly. We are all hyper-responsible first-born children, can you tell?
Risks and challenges
As with #1, the issue is pretty much assembled. If we are funded, I'll finish designing the pages, upload the files to the printer, and a week or two later Bystander #2 will whiz all around the world, courtesy of the USPS.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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