2013 has been a year of professional changes for me, and the most satisfying has been publishing five feature articles in The Magazine. The Magazine is in the final days of crowdfunding a hardcover book (plus ebook version) featuring 25 articles from its first year, and I’m asking for you to back the project. This means a lot to me. Here’s why:
1. The Magazine Is Good for Writers
I’m a working writer. I write articles, I get paid for them, I pay the mortgage with that money. The Magazine has extremely reasonable and writer-friendly contract terms. The typical contract you sign as a writer is like, “MegaGlobalCorp owns your ass, and you’ll be lucky to receive $0.50 for your work. You promise to give back the $0.50 if MegaGlobalCorp ever gets angry. Do not taunt MegaGlobalCorp.”
The contract offered by The Magazine is a shining model of reason, simplicity, and fairness. I’d summarize it: “You own your ass. The Magazine would like to pay you well to run a product of said ass on a limited basis. Oh, and we pay photographers and illustrators too.” It’s like signing a contract with a puppy, using a unicorn horn as a pen. An actual for-profit publication runs like this. That matters, folks.
Oh yeah, and despite not having any contractual obligation to do so, The Magazine will pay writers, photographers, and illustrators to re-run our work in this book. Why? Because The Magazine is good to its contributors and recognizes that we’re all in this together.
2. The Magazine Is Good for Readers
You can read The Magazine on your Kindle (I do!). Or on their website (also mobile-optimized). Or your iPad, using a beautiful native app. Or your iPhone. It costs TWO BUCKS to access EVERY BACK ISSUE EVER for a month (or $20 a year). It’s published every two weeks. Every issue includes a free article in case you don’t subscribe. There are no advertisements. Show me another magazine of this quality with this level of generosity to its readers. (By the way, the Kickstarter offers discounted $15/year subscriptions…you should get one. I hear they make great gifts, too.)
Oh yeah, and you can download all the back issues in .mobi (Kindle) or .epub (other e-reader) formats and keep them forever, even if you cancel your subscription. And Glenn Fleishman, the editor, even tells people this on Twitter — it’s not a sneaky thing, it’s just how this magazine works. To quote the Bluth family, “COME ON!”
3. I Write for The Magazine a Lot
I ran the numbers in May to figure out who writes for The Magazine. I ran them again in August, just before a few more of my articles were published. I have put serious effort into becoming a frequent contributor, and I want that to count. I’ve already been paid well for my efforts, and recognized by readers (that’s especially nice — thanks, y’all), but I have an interest in the ongoing health of this publication. I want to keep writing for it, and I want more people to say, “Oh yeah, I love The Magazine!” When I began writing for mental_floss in 2006, I got blank stares when I mentioned the name. Now, I get a ton of “Oh yeah, I love mental_floss!” That only happens when the publication puts out great stuff consistently, and readers pay for it.
Long story short: the more The Magazine succeeds, the more my early choice to bet on this horse pays off (metaphorically, anyway).
4. The Magazine is an Honest Experiment
When Marco Arment started this thing, he dubbed it an experiment, and Glenn Fleishman (its longtime editor and now also owner) has continued that tradition. Glenn has branched out into running some Magazine work on Medium, and I wrote a little item on The Unipiper for that. There’s a podcast in the works. Now Glenn is dipping his toe into print. While I have no inside information, I suspect that if The Magazine succeeds with this first book, we can expect future annual books as well.
I would be very pleased if someday The Magazine had a regularly-scheduled print component (even if it’s quarterly — in fact, perhaps it’d be best as a quarterly), so it can reach people who prefer to read on paper. But because this is an experiment, we’ll just have to see what happens. If people decide that print is worth it, great. If they don’t, that’s a bummer, but it’s an important data point.
5. The Magazine Would Never Publish a Listicle Like This
In my book about writing, I decry the listicle format as the dumbening of online writing. For professional reasons, I am often called upon to write lists, and have made my peace with that. But you know what? The Magazine is not dumb. It does not run dumb lists. It does not stoop to click-bait headlines. It does not have ads. Let us celebrate a thing that is not dumb.
The Magazine is a wonderful publication. You can read all about the Kickstarter campaign, and I urge you to chip in. As I write this, there are still some “early bird” $30 print book/ebook combo packs available. The campaign is in its final three days, and still needs your support — the dollar goal has not yet been achieved. If you support me as a writer, please buy this book.