About this project
Howler is a new magazine about soccer
It's a big, glossy publication that will come out four times a year with distinctive, original writing about American and international soccer, as well as some of the most striking art and design you'll find in any publication being made today. (We know that's a bold claim, but we really believe it's true.)
We've been working on Howler for months, and issue one is nearly ready to be printed, shipped, and in your hands by late summer.
Experienced editors and designers
Mark Kirby and George Quraishi (that's me) are former editors at GQ, Condé Nast Portfolio, National Geographic Adventure, and HarperCollins Publishers. Our partners are Robert Priest and Grace Lee, designers who have invented or completely redefined the looks of publications such as Esquire, GQ, Condé Nast Portfolio, House & Garden, Bloomberg Markets, and Reuters.
We're all soccer fans—well, Grace is still getting the hang of it—and Howler will be the first magazine that any of us have made just for fun: to our own standards, on our own time, and about a subject that we truly love.
For months, Mark and I have been busy assigning stories to a roster of excellent sports and literary writers. Some of them cover soccer in newspapers, books, and blogs. A handful of their names may be familiar: Frank Foer. Aleksandar Hemon. David Hirshey. George Vecsey. David Wangerin. Jonathan Wilson. Over the years, we've met lots of other excellent writers, people who obsess about soccer but make their living covering other things for outlets such as the New York Times, the New Yorker, Fortune, Fast Company, Food & Wine, the New Republic, Time, Business Week, the Guardian, and the Paris Review.
We're excited to bring their voices to a subject as rich as soccer. Same goes for the vision of our artists.
Robert and Grace have been working with the illustrators and photographers in their network to make these stories beautiful—people like Brian Rea, Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo, Jeffrey Smith, Ryu Voelkel, andEmmanuel Polanco. The result is a magazine that looks unlike anything our readers have come to expect from traditional soccer publications.
An illustration by Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo for Howler.
Stuff that matters to us
1. Howler will be in print, not just online
Our contributors put a lot of time into the stories and art they create for Howler. A print magazine, especially one as large as 10x12 inches, is still the best way to appreciate their work and display it on your coffee table.
2. We will cover both domestic and international soccer
Soccer is just like music and food: better understood in a larger, international context. We're creating Howler for a predominantly North American audience—fans that have a variety of perspectives on the game and deserve a publication tailored to their interests. If it's a good story, you will read about it here.
3. Serious journalism is important, but so is having a sense of humor
We named our magazine after a mistake—in England, a howler is a blunder, a schoolboy error—because we admire the sense of humor you find in English commentary on the sport. So we can explore the ways that soccer helps us understand social problems, ethnic tension, big business, youth culture, etc—and we can poke fun at ourselves for being people who say stuff like that.
4. We will not compromise on quality
Doing this the right way is very expensive. The money we raise on Kickstarter will allow us to pay contributors, the printing press, and shipping costs.
We're looking to Kickstarter to help us get off the ground. Howler's contributors have worked with us at below market rates because they believe in the idea. Now we need readers who, like our contributors, believe in our idea and are prepared to support it by purchasing a subscription.
The prices we have set for single issues and subscriptions are competitive with other premium quarterly publications, and we hope that people who appreciate quality writing and artwork will agree that it's worth paying for.
A final word
When Americans don't get soccer, it's because they don't get the simple idea that soccer is about stories. Every game—every season—is a story. We want to make Howler because we want to tell stories about soccer. And we want you to support Howler because it will mean that, four times a year, we'll get to send you those stories in a beautiful and intelligent collection. That's a simple idea too. We hope you'll dig it.
The Howler Team
PS: On Twitter we are @whatahowler.
The Wayne Rooney paper doll.
International shipping: if you live outside the US or Canada, please add $5 for a single issue; $10 for a single issue and a shirt; and $20 for a subscription and everything above that level.
Images used in our video come from Flickr users miguelangelnunez, Oh Barcelona, and flawka. Special thanks to Matt Heineman for processing our video, even while finishing his own movie (which looks awesome).
Yes, we plan to create a digital edition of Howler that will be readable on most devices. This isn't available during our Kickstarter campaign because we really want to get the hard copy into your hands. Subscribers will be able to download each issue free of charge.
Yes. We're planning to print them in issue one.
We'll send out a survey at the end of this project and you can give us your preferences then. Don't worry—we'll keep you happy so you'll keep reading.
A backer wrote in with this question, and we think it's a really good one. Here's our answer:
After Kickstarter, the pricing for single issues and subscriptions will be very similar to what you see now. We've set our prices at a level that will cover our costs and not much more: the goal is to get Howler into as many hands as possible and build our readership, not to make a profit from the first print run. It's a long-term strategy that will, we hope, allow us to build Howler into a sustainable venture.
In the future, we may be able to knock a few bucks off the single-issue and subscription price, but that will depend on the number of people who buy the magazine. The more subscribers we get, the more we'll be able to scale up our production and thus cut down our costs. In short, the more people who subscribe, the less we'll need to charge for each issue. So please spread the word about Howler!
We have some preliminary designs, but we're not ready to share them yet. We promise to do that soon. We're also thinking that we might show two different designs and let our backers vote for their favorite. But just to be clear: you WILL see the t-shirt design before the project closes.
We'll be sending out a survey to each backer at the end of our Kickstarter campaign, and you can give us the name and address to which we should send your reward then. If you'd like to order multiple issues or subscriptions, no problem. Go ahead and pledge the correct amount, then send us a private message and we'll make a note of your request.