Life after Kickstarter
Fashizblack (which launched print in 2012), Cherry Bombe and Intern (both of which launched this year) are all still alive and well post-Kickstarter.
Fulfilling Rewards: One piece of advice Diamond offered for Kickstarter users was to “be prepared to be successful.” Fulfilling rewards took up a lot of their time once the campaign ended. “We never anticipated the amount of time that would take. It’s a great problem to have, but you need to be extremely organized and methodical. Your whole life will become emails and labels and post office runs,” and unexpected setbacks: “We mailed all of our rewards and roughly 10 percent went missing or were returned to us. I’d love to see Kickstarter and US Postal Service get together. Maybe Kickstarter can help save the Postal Service!”
Keeping the money coming in: Once rewards are fulfilled, the magazines have to find ways of keeping momentum and funding future issues (without the support of hundreds or thousands of internet strangers). Cherry Bombe has a sole funder for Issue #2 (out in mid-October!) and they’re “exploring a combination of advertising and native advertising/advertorials” for the future.
Intern‘s funding plan involves having eight sponsors per issue, so each one gets a single page that Intern designs in-house. Dudson plans to make sure it’s always “a product or service that is relevant to our readership” and that each page blends in with the magazine. Money coming off of sales of the magazine has also helped with funding. They’re also focused on not printing too many copies. Dudson is “pretty confident” that Issue One will sell out and is also working on future ideas for expansion that could generate money.
But why are people so eager to fund (in, you know, 30% or so of cases) print magazines? Kickstarter-funded magazines may appeal to people because of their transparency. Successful projects tend to be the ones that come across as genuine and whose founders seem open and humble. Dudson essentially bared his sole in his description, and was heartfelt in describing the story behind Intern. Songue advised: “You have to make your point come across and be transparent about what you want, what you are going to do with the money, and why do you need them to get involved.”
Perhaps other, more established magazines, whose ethics and are often called into question, can learn something from that.