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A digital, fiction magazine that aims to marry great design with great content, creating a great reading experience.
A digital, fiction magazine that aims to marry great design with great content, creating a great reading experience.
68 backers pledged $1,516 to help bring this project to life.

About

Story Lab Magazine – Issue I: Necessity’s Child project video thumbnail
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$1,516

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Stretch Goals

Not being one to give up before the campaign is fully through, I'm adding two stretch goals:

1. $1000 additional ($2400 total) - Issue II (all reward levels will then include Issue II as well as Issue I)

2. $300 additional ($2700 total) - Kindle ebook version of the magazine (if we make it to $1700, but not $2400, I'll do the Kindle ebook and include ebook versions in the rewards).

Issue II Artwork
Issue II Artwork

**Additional Reward!

All current and future backers (at any level) will now receive a personalized version of Nightmare of Arcadia (based on Thomas Cole's Dream of Arcadia)

You can add your own text (up to 140 characters) and it'll be printable at up to 19"x11" at 300dpi.

Overview

For the last year and a half I've been experimenting with stories and storytelling on my blog, Story Lab, (http://storylab.us) . Now I want to take some of those stories as well as some unpublished stuff and try a new experiment: put them together into a highly-designed, digital magazine app for iOS, Android and the Desktop. I want to push the boundaries of stories and storytelling and create a magazine that you'll love to read.

What I Can Do

As a web designer/developer at the Curry School of Education at UVA, I’ve already had some experience building the type of highly-designed digital magazine I’m talking about: (http://curry.virginia.edu/magazine/spring2012 and http://curry.virginia.edu/magazine/fall2012.) 

Each Issue of Story Lab magazine will be a stand alone app and will be something like buying a highly designed book, just from the app store. The first issue will feature three to five stories, some of which have appeared on Story Lab already and some of which are unpublished. Each story will be individually designed to enhance the reading experience. 

Luckily there’s a project called PhoneGap that will allow me to leverage my web based design and development skills to build applications for iOS and Android, and since the final product will largely be a glorified website, I can easily translate that into a desktop/laptop based version as well. Through responsive design the app will work equally well on devices of all sizes.

Why do an app and not just a website? I'm tailoring the magazine to mobile devices because they generally provide a better reading experience. An app will allow for greater flexibility in storytelling by making it easier to mix mediums. Doing an app vs a website allows you (the backer/purchaser) to feel some ownership of the product. You won't have to log on to some website to access the content you've purchased, and if you're on a plane or don't have access to the Internet, you'll still be able to read the content.

Lastly, the publishing industry is in flux and if we can prove this app style  publishing model works, we'll all see more interesting content coming our way as other artists see the flexibility of the medium and try new things.

Issue I: Necessity's Child

Issue I Cover Design
Issue I Cover Design

Each issue of Story Lab magazine will be organized (at least loosely) around a theme. Issue I focuses on Invention and will feature a story called The Clever Contraptions of Jeremiah Brown, (an as yet unpublished story). I'll also use 3-4 additional stories from Story Lab to round out the magazine. In this first issue I'll focus on the text and design, but in future issues (or in this one, if funding allows) I'd like to experiment with other types of stories and different ways of telling stories (media, format, interactivity, and more).

An initial design comp for Issue I's central story: The Clever Contraptions of Jeremiah Brown
An initial design comp for Issue I's central story: The Clever Contraptions of Jeremiah Brown

What I Need

Every author needs an editor and I want to hire a professional who can help me push these stories from good to great. Publishing in a traditional manner would bring an editor into the deal automatically, but traditional publishers tend toward traditional routes, things that have worked before. They're business people who like known quantities and safe routes toward increased profits, and I don't blame them. But since I'm working outside the traditional box, pushing the boundaries of what can be done with a highly-designed fiction magazine delivered digitally in a mobile app, I must hire my own editor.

I’d also like to cover the fees for getting into the Apple App store and Google Play store as well as the fees for setting this up as a business. 

As a husband and father of three rambunctious, young boys (ages 6, 5, and 2), with my wife in school, it’s difficult to pull these costs out of our own budget.

Questions of the Future

Calling it Issue I suggests an Issue II right? 
Yes. My hope is to make this a sustainable process by selling the magazine in the Apple App Store, the Google Play store, and possibly the Amazon Store and the Nook store. Proceeds will hopefully fund further issues.

How often will issues come out?
I don't have an editorial schedule yet. I've loosely planned out the first three issues with a theme and main story for each (Issue II: Superheroes? and Issue III: Moonshot) and have some vague ideas about a fourth issue. If I could have three issues under my belt by this point next year I'd call that a success.

Will you accept work from other writers and/or designers?
While I'm not planning to do that right now, it's totally on the table. If I find the right people to work with or the right stories or other artists who want to push the boundaries of storytelling, I'd love to get them involved.

What about an ebook?
The app version will allow greater flexibility in storytelling, but I'm also interested in ebooks. Many formats are based on web technology and the translation from the final product to an ebook will be smoother here than from other technologies. One of my stretch goals will be for the equipment needed to test and refine such ebooks.

How will we hear about what's going on?
I plan to send regular updates to any backer, but I also plan to add a blog/update/news section to http://storylabmagazine.com where you can learn more. Or you can catch up with me on social media: @storykaboom, facebook.com/storylab.us, or google.com/+storylabus

More Examples of my Work

My design portfolio: johnrhea.com

Further examples of articles I've designed and coded:

Some of my favorite stories from Story Lab

Thank you so much for backing my project!

Experiments Gone Terribly Right 2

"Nuclear" Family
"Nuclear" Family
Based on Thomas Cole's Dreams of Arcadia
Based on Thomas Cole's Dreams of Arcadia

The Art of Experimentation

American Comic
American Comic

Get an 11x17 print of American Comic by backing at the Art of Experimentation level

Experiments Gone Terribly Right

Your chance to subjugate the world
Your chance to subjugate the world

You could be the face of the giant robot army. Back the project at the Experiments Gone Terribly Right level and receive a high resolution version of the above featuring your face and personal message.

Music Credits

The music in the video is Tension is Rising by The Insider and is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

P.S. If you're wondering from the video, Yes, I have seven fingers. It's the way I was made. And, yes, that's the way I actually dance.

Risks and challenges

With a day job and a full household this project must fit within my other responsibilities. But I've already been able to write stories, do some initial designs and, build websites in my spare time. The question here is not if, but when.

Good editors are busy people and the editor’s schedule will be a determining factor in how long this project takes. I've already had some good initial interactions with her and she seems to be flexible when it comes to scheduling.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Reader: The Chief Story Scientist's eternal thanks and your name listed on Issue I's credits page.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Lab Assistant: Web/desktop based copy of Issue I and your name listed on Issue I's credits page (more prominently than Readers).

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    8 backers
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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Lab Manager: Exclusive web/desktop based special edition of Issue I, including an additional story, and your name listed on Issue I's credits page (more prominently than Lab Assistants).

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Experiments Gone Terribly Right: Ever wanted to subjugate the world as a giant robot? Here's your chance. Choose this reward and have your face placed in this giant robot: http://strylb.me/giantrobot plus add a personal message (140 char. max, nothing inappropriate).

    You'll receive a high resolution file suitable for printing at up to 10"x13" (at 300dpi) or as a desktop background and a smaller version suitable for sharing on social media or using as an e-card (I'm sure your parents will be proud of their new overlord).

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $17 or more About $17

    Experiments Gone Terribly Right 2: Ever wanted to spice up a family photo (http://strylb.me/nuclearfamily) or work of art (such as Thomas Cole's Dreams of Arcadia: http://strylb.me/arcadia) with a giant radioactive squirrel ?

    Choose this reward and I'll add a giant radioactive squirrel to a photo of your choice. Those photos from last year's vacation just got a lot more interesting... (Images also available at the bottom left)

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    The Art of Experimentation: 11"x17" print of American Comic (It's like Grant Wood's American Gothic, but Oh so much better) http://strylb.me/americancomic (Images also available at the bottom left)

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Assistant Story Scientist: Lab manager reward, more prominent credit on the credits page, plus an ebook of every story published on Story Lab for the first two years (July 2012-July 2014) a $20 value.

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    14 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Associate Story Scientist: Assistant Story Scientist reward plus a vote on which stories are included in this issue of the magazine. Up to four of the stories in Issue I will be determined by votes from these backers (depending on length). You’ll also receive more prominent credit on Issue I’s credits page.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    A Beaker of Fun: Personalized Happy Birthday video wish from the Chief Story Scientist including some of his signature terrible dancing.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Story Scientist: Associate Story Scientist reward plus a prominently placed link to a site or twitter account of your choice within this issue's credits page (Within reason. Feel free to use this to advertise your own digital magazines, storytelling, twitter account, or blog; a rising tide lifts all boats) You'll also get early access to the magazine and a chance to have your say regarding the stories, design, and functionality of the magazine.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Dean of Story Science: Story Scientist reward plus inclusion on the editorial board of the next two issues (assuming they happen). Basically you’ll have an influence on the direction and particular stories used in issues I - III. As such you'll also receive the highest prominence on the credits page (unless there's a Mad Scientist around).

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  12. Select this reward

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

    Mad Story Scientist: Dean of Story Science reward plus every limited edition reward that will come out during the campaign (many fun things as yet to be revealed) and a personal thank you video featuring the Chief Story Scientist's signature terrible dancing.

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Funding period

- (29 days)