Kickstarter Support

Kickstarter Support LESLIE.jpgBy Jeremy Leslie

However ambitious and confident you are about launching your own magazine, the issue of finance remains the hardest subject about which to find definitive answers. But this doesn't seem to dampen people's enthusiasm, they continue to launch small-run independent titles, and online crowdsourcing, in particular Kickstarter, has been a boost to people doing so. So last year I gave it a go.

Blogger Katie Treggiden made a name for herself covering the international design fairs on her Confessions of a Design Geek website. These biannual expositions show off new furniture and product designs from both established and new designers; Treggiden's blog focuses on the new designers. When we met to discuss her hopes of publishing a print magazine we found we had much in common and decided to launch the title--to be called Fiera--as a joint venture. Two bloggers coming together to make a magazine seemed a neat story, and I was intrigued to give Kickstarter a go.

I divide the Kickstarter experience into two distinct parts; the first part was planning the fundraising, a process that mirrored that of planning a magazine. By the time you've devised the editorial strategy you've got the structure for your campaign: what will the mag be about, who will read it, how will you cover particular interests and concerns. You can make the various rewards levels as complex as you wish but we decided to keep it simple, effectively making the fundraising a pre-ordering service--the base level reward was a copy of the magazine.

The second part of the campaign was keeping it in people's minds as the 30-day countdown slipped by. This was hard work! We made a quick video of us both talking to camera explaining the magazine, designed dummy pages, printed flyers and used the Kickstarter website to send regular email updates to supporters. Katie and I both hammered our social media networks. It was relentless, but we tried to achieve a balance of regular, positive messaging without overdoing it. The campaign ended over a weekend, which perhaps wasn't ideal, but we succeeded in raising more than our target.

There was time for a quick celebration and then the realisation... we had to make a magazine!

We finished the magazine late November, delivered it early December and have had a great response. Kickstarter worked for us, just as the process mirrored editorial planning, the marketing for the fundraising served to promote the magazine itself. In this respect Kickstarter is ideal for magazine publishers; one other tip--we geared the fundraising to include seeding for issue two, and assuming sales continue as they have been going we'll be starting work on no2 shortly.

Here's a quick look through the launch issue.

Fiera_magazine_hairline_01.jpgThe issue opens with Kaleidoscope, a visual taxonomy covering the best work spotted at the designs shows last fall. Displayed by colour, the section as a whole provides an overview of colour trends, showing how natural materials like wood are the dominant theme at present.

Fiera_magazine_hairline_02.jpgFiera_magazine_hairline_04.jpgOne Hundred Words provides a more abstract outlook to Kaleidoscope. Instead of a literal rendition of trends and moods, 26 writers were invited to write creatively about a piece of new design, and each 100 word piece was then illustrated by young artist Assa Ariyoshi. The resulting text/image parings record the emotional response to design.

Fiera_magazine_hairline_05.jpgFiera_magazine_hairline_03.jpgThe main body of the magazine is interviews and profiles of young designers, with several strands including Q&A, In Her Own Words and One Year On offering different angles on individuals and their work.

Fiera_magazine_06.jpgThere are also a few longer features, including this photo report from an installation based on a timeline of home design in a derelict building in Kortrijk.

Fiera_magazine_07.jpgFiera_magazine_08.jpgAt the back of the issue is the Opinion section featuring a series of essays about the business of design fairs.
People of print 01.jpgThere are many, many magazines using Kickstarter (and other crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo), ranging from small start ups like Print Isn't Dead to larger launches such as HrdCvr.

Fiera magazine
Fiera magazine on Kickstarter
HRDCVR on Kickstarter
Print Isn't Dead
magCulture on Twitter: @magculture

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