After the horrors of this summer and trying to get our summer issue out, I knew I wanted to completely change things up for our fall issue. I knew at the end of this summer that I'm not cut out to be a person in "business." I knew that our business model was failing - we couldn't pay our printer, we couldn't pay our contributors, and we were spending so much out of pocket for the issue to be complete - it was bullshit. And I hated (and still) hate so much of it. It's not easy running this. Not at all. The pressure and stress overwhelm me every day. This issue was designed to take the pressure off, just a bit, to make this work.
So I decided to completely do this issue by myself. At first, it may seem like more work - and it definitely was. But 1) I could feel in complete control of the content. No more proposals that turned into something entirely different at completed work. No more photos that don't look anything like I expected. and 2) We could try to catch up on payments by limiting our budget to just materials for photo shoots. I wouldn't have to keep up with over a dozen different people and where their work was or constant payment questions or any of the stress that comes with trying to fairly pay many people with zero budget. We didn't and don't want to become another publication that "pays" on exposure, we want to actually pay people what they're worth. So we took a break from asking for their work until we can again.
Ultimately I decided to bring on a trio of contributors who we've worked with many times before to help round out the issue. Other than those, I did a crowdsourced type of feature to make it so my perspective wasn't the only one there. The rest of the issue was entirely conceptualized, written, and edited by me. It was a new kind of pressure, but one that was pretty familiar - like blogging, but more permanent. It felt better than any issue we've come out with yet. All the imagery fits pretty perfectly and the concepts were ones I really think work. I do wish there were more points of view - so I think as we bring back contributors, I just need to be more clear and focused in my direction of the people we're paying.
We also took a look at how we're actually producing issues to see how we can make ourselves sustainable. We're not entirely in the black yet, but we're taking huge strides in that direction. This print issue sold out the day we got it from the printer, which was a scary amazing feeling. I'm so excited to see how this goes in 2017. Take a look at my behind-the-scenes photos from the Coming Home production below, and grab one for yourself here if you're interested in it. <3