Hey, I’m the guest on this week’s Longform Podcast! Listen to me and my pal Max Linsky talk about why I’m glad I had experience as an editor before I became a freelance writer, why I believe in kissing down rather than kissing up, what really went down at GOOD, and why I’m so excited to be working at this moment in media.
Well, now that (most of) the dust has settled and we’ve made a magazine, we want to show you all how we did it. Er, at least how we figured out the finances. See the full breakdown here.
Major takeaway? We set our Kickstarter ask way too low. If we had merely hit our goal ($15,000) and stopped there, we’d have lost money on this endeavor. A lot of money. As it turned out, though, with our awesome backers funding us at three times our goal, some generous sponsorship from folks like MailChimp and Flipboard, and additional online sales, we’ve been able to pay ourselves and our collaborators a little something.
After we paid our startup costs and printing and shipping fees, how’d we allocate the profits? We divided them equally among three tiers: Founder tier (for those of us who have been putting in hours and hours since June and worked ‘round the clock during the magazine production period), feature tier (for contributors who pitched in on major aspects of the design, those who reported feature-length articles, and those who did a lot of fact-checking or copy-editing), and contributor tier (for illustrators and writers of shorter articles). Then we divided the money equally among everyone in that tier and rounded down, as we’ve still got a few lingering bills to pay and want to keep a small cushion in the bank account.
It shook out to about $1,000 for each of the founders, $500 for feature contributors, and $200 for other contributors. These figures are low. We openly acknowledge that they do not reflect the amount of labor that went into making the magazine. But this was a passion project for everyone involved, and we think that shows in the final product.
We were going to do a side-by-side comparison with what the magazine would have cost had we paid fair market rates, but once we started tallying it up, we realized it was just too depressing. Also, we’re still busy mailing out Kickstarter incentives like stickers and totes. Being your own shipping and fulfillment house is no picnic, people. Many thanks for your patience! And thanks again to everyone who supported us financially. We hope you think of it as money well spent.
Vote for Pedro: While the nation obsesses about the next president, the Latino youth movement is busy knocking on doors in their own neighborhoods. And some of them are running for office. Meet 20-year-old Pedro Lopez, the DREAMer generation’s Leslie Knope.
“Sorry about the disruption, folks, but we always do the last magazine of the season. This year somebody told us not to. So we’re gonna do our kind of journalism with some great friends, who are not only terrific writers and editors, but who’ve proved that there are people willing to stand up for other people no matter what it costs them, who have taught each other about the kind of people they wanna be.”—Irin said it best: “Tomorrow magazine is exactly like the final dance in Dirty Dancing in every way.”
Saturday’s our launch party, and some great companies are helping us make it happen. First and foremost is Austin-based distillery Tito’s Handmade Vodka, who’s hooking us up with a lot of free vodka. (Anyone for Moscow Mules?) We recommend leaving by taxi.
We’ll also be raffling off five “Tomorrow Survival Kits” for the day after the party. It will feature most things required to banish your hangover blues, including coffee by Handsome Coffee Roasters, a micro-roaster in the Arts District, just a few blocks from where we’re throwing our party. (Check it out—everyone who works there has fabulous facial hair.)
Last but not least is design-minded vibrator brand Jimmy Jane, who donated five high-end vibrators to the survival kits, including the Little Something (pictured below), which retails for $495.
Cuz if you can’t get laid at our party on Saturday, there’s always tomorrow.
We still have some tickets left for our launch party in downtown L.A. at 9 p.m. this Saturday, October 20. So if you want to join us for DJs, dancing, drinks on us, a pop-up shop in an Airstream trailer, and a sneak peek at the mag…let us know ASAP!
Email us at tomorrowrsvp at gmail dot com, with a request for up to 3 guests, and we’ll email you the location and confirmation. We’ll accommodate as many people as possible on a first-come, first-served basis.
Special thanks to partners Pink Cloud for the party planning, dublab for the music, and Seso for the space!
You may have heard that our 1 lb., 3 oz. baby is shipping next week. Obv we’re going to celebrate in style, and we could use some assistance. We elected to pay writers, editors, designers, and illustrators instead of a catering company, which means we need help pouring drinks on October 20. That’s where you come in.
This isn’t advanced bartending, just cracking beers and mixing one or two simple signature cocktails, so don’t worry if you don’t have experience. And we won’t make you work the whole time—the idea is to form shifts so each person tends bar for an hour or two and parties for the rest of the night (we’ll be taking shifts too!). In exchange, we can offer unending love and devotion, plus a Tomorrow essentials kit including a copy of the magazine, stickers, and a tote bag. Interested? Get at us.
We’re also on the hunt for one or two video projectors for the party, so let us know if you live in L.A. and have one we can borrow.
The idea that there are ‘fun’ posts and ‘other’ posts is an antiquated way of thinking. Instead, BuzzFeed requires three things of each story: that it entertain, inform, and manifest itself as something people want to share with their friends.
‘Almost everyone always wants to talk about this split, which I feel is sort of a false dichotomy,’ [executive editor Doree] Shafrir says. ‘Why should we take for granted that a sort of quote, unquote ‘longform,’ serious piece won’t be shared on social media, as if the two things can’t exist in one ecosystem? I think that’s an old frame of thinking, and we’re trying to break out of it.’
”—Poynter story on BuzzFeed’s decision to hire an editor for longform content gets at the heart of what makes the site relevant. BuzzFeed understands that having to pick between long and short content is a false choice, that quality and shareability are what matter, whatever the length. (via originalwhip)
Miss your chance to get the magazine on Kickstarter? Good news! We’re taking orders for issue no. 1 of Tomorrow magazine at our new online store. The magazine is currently being printed, so we’ll be ready to ship in just a few weeks.
If you want your own copy of this 112 page brain-refresher, please be sure to order soon, since we’re going to try and mail them all at once. Don’t hesitate to tell your friends about the chance to buy this whip-smart publication via the social networks of your choice, skywriting, or just grabbing them by the lapels and shaking them.
If you need some incentive, here’s a never-seen-before preview of the cover. Pretty sweet, huh?
Peak production mode! We go to press on Monday. We haven’t slept much or been outside this fluorescent-lit room in days, but I’m feeling so great about making a magazine with such a professional, dedicated, hilarious, kind, creative group of people—both the ones in this workspace and the ones collaborating from far away. <3
When does your first issue come out? How much do you pay your writers? Where can we buy the issues when they are released?
The issue will be released in mid-October, and we should have an online store set up to purchase issues soon. (Watch this space!) We’re in production week now, spending way too many hours in our lovely temporary office and cleaning out Los Angeles’ supply of Diet Cokes.
As for payment, we’re happy to say conclusively that we’ll be able to pay everyone who contributes in any capacity—that means splitting the pot between writers, editors, fact checkers, illustrators, photographers, and designers. The exact amounts are still up in the air as we figure out our other costs (the biggest one is printing the magazines and the assorted Kickstarter rewards). We can’t pay anyone as much as they deserve (they deserve ALL THE MONEY), but everyone will be getting real dollars in exchange for their many hours of hard work.
And also, a problem you only have when you’re way ahead of the curve: Sweden’s recycling program is so effective, they actually need to import trash to keep the whole thing running.
Only four percent of Sweden’s waste ends up in a landfill; the rest is recycled or used in waste-to-energy power plants to supply 20 percent of Sweden’s city heat, and electricity for 250,000 homes.
But they don’t produce enough waste to feed these power plants themselves, so they’ve taken to importing trash, mostly from nearby Norway but some from as far way as Italy or Bulgaria.
This news may fuel wild fantasies of a trash-powered future dystopia, where the balance of trash payments is the most important international indicator and a sovereign trash crisis results in the International Waste Fund providing dump-ins to countries without enough refuse to meet their obligations, but we’ve got at least a few decades before this massive shift in geopolitics.
Clearly, we should use the time we have to build sophisticated, Scandinavian-style trash power plants to turn our waste into power.
Otherwise, what will we do when the oil runs out, make electricity from sunlight? You must be crazy.
The New York Timeshas spied a dark cloud inching over the “sunny, freewheeling disposition” of California. The darkness is bans—bans on beach bonfires; bans on declawing cats; bans on bans on circumcision. These bans, the Times warns, constitute a threat to the Tomorrow state’s “live-and-let-live sensibility,” one “rooted in Western ideals and relied upon by generations of surfer dudes and misbehaving Hollywood stars.”
But can a Hollywood star truly misbehave without bans on possessing cocaine, stealing jewelry from mansions, skipping out on $46,000 hotel tabs, and crashing rented Porsches into 18-wheelers while high out of your mind on the PCH? And can a surfer dude ever achieve the height of chillness without some suit trying to intercept his flow, the yin giving rise to the yang? Johnny Utah once told Bodhi, ”This is your fucking wake-up call man. I am an F! B! I! agent!” And Bodhi replied, “Yeah, I know man. Ain’t it wild? That’s what makes it so interesting.”
Maybe the California disposition needs bans as much as it needs to break them. (And maybe the right to systematically amputate all of your cat’s toe bones is not one worth fighting for). That said, recent bans on library naps and beach bonfires are seriously darking us out. Below, a Tomorrow appraisal of bans throughout California:
SUPPORT: The ban on plastic foam trays in the Los Angeles Unified School District cafeterias; the ban on psychotherapy that aims to turn gay kids straight; the ban on A.T.M. fees in Santa Monica; the ban on carrying rifles in public; the ban on the declawing of cats in West Hollywood; the ban on the purchase of puppy-mill puppies; the ban on the sale of fur; the ban on Saturday evening handgun sales.
OPPOSE: The ban on napping in the libraries of Newport Beach; the ban of bonfires on the beaches of Newport Beach; the ban on Christmastime nativity scenes in Santa Monica parks; the ban on plastic bags at grocery stores; the ban on tall hedges in Santa Monica.
UP FOR DEBATE: The ban on Fois gras; the ban on the slaughter of mules for meat; the ban on unprotected sex on pornographic film sets; the ban on circumcision bans.