Less than a month ago, immediately after celebrating the closing of a new issue, the staff of GOOD magazine was gutted, leaving most of its writers and editors jobless. Instead of sinking into unemployment, anger, and Netflix Instant, the crew almost immediately announced plans for a one-off magazine called Tomorrow, built on "beers and brainstorming," along with almost unfathomable optimism. Yesterday, they launched a Kickstarter campaign with the hopes of raising $15,000 to fund the project — including "production, web design and hosting, tech needs, postage, and one amazing launch party" — content to pay themselves (and potential contributors) barely, if at all.
Tapping into a network of friends, media contacts, and generous readers, Tomorrow reached its goal in less than five hours. The pot is currently over $21,000 with the help of more than 750 backers, and all before they've had their first real editorial meeting. (The issue will be "about what's next, what's on the cusp," they've announced generally.) "It's just a real positive story," editor Ann Friedman told Daily Intel today. "If we learned anything at GOOD, it's that people just like putting positive spins on things."
"We set what we thought was a very reasonable goal," the former GOOD executive editor said, "but it was too reasonable." It was "just enough to get the thing out the door without losing money ... We didn't budget out all of this because we didn't think there was going to be enough to fairly compensate everyone involved." Now things are looking up, but "I would rather see everyone paid well on this issue before we go and make a second one," she added.
The staff is also "having conversations and still looking" for full-time employment, but they're open to expanding the Tomorrow operation, if someone else can handle the financial stuff. "I don't think any of us want to be business people, so you always want to hedge your bets in case someone with lots of money wants to give it to you to do whatever you want," Friedman said. "There's not a plan to seek that out just now. We're all just really into the process together."
So are many observers, apparently, and while the speed of donations has been surprising, the support has not. "We love the Internet. We're all in and of the Internet," she said, citing Twitter as the most effective tool for getting the word out. "It's not totally shocking that that would be a good place for us to raise money."
A creative approach to fund-raising also helps. Four people have already put in $250 or more, which gets them not only the magazine, a tote bag, and a party invite, but a "life event of your choosing, illustrated in GIFs" by Friedman, who's behind the media-favorite #realtalk for your editor Tumblr.
Still available: "A one-of-a-kind personalized PG-13 phone message from porn star James Deen," who was profiled in GOOD. "Our connection to James Deen is certainly an asset we had to use," Friedman laughed. "I feel like that's going to be one of those late-night impulse buys."