All this happened as the new semester started and, for the first time since 2002, all the classes I teach were cancelled. Facing the lack of incoming funds, I was at a loss as to what to do to fix ConPress. I simply didn’t have the money to fix it. On January 16th I posted the following note to my Facebook page:
Over the past six plus years Kaite & I have put well over $20,000 into the magazine-- closer to $25,000. I'm starting to think maybe it's time that issue is rectified, and to that end I have some ideas. In the meantime, I'm at a loss as to where we're going to get the funding for the repairs and upgrades to the site needed now, as without those repairs and upgrades we are dead in the water. I could borrow it but for the first time I'm considering a fundraising campaign. Since we've never done one I know little to nothing about how that is accomplished, but I'm working on it. In the meantime, any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Quite a few of you responded and the majority of the suggestions centered around our starting a Go Fund Me campaign. In the over six years we’ve been online, we’ve never attempted a fundraiser. Frankly, I didn’t have any idea how to go about it and never wanted to impose, but with suggestions from some good people I gave it a shot. I asked for $2,500 to cover fixing the site and some basic operating costs to keep us going for the next year. And WHOA!!! Did you ever respond!!!
Within 48 hours or so from starting the Go Fund Me campaign, we had more than surpassed our goal. Here is another Facebook post:
It's day two of our fundraiser and we've such wonderful news. Yesterday, thanks to your love and generosity, we made it almost half way to our goal! Woohoo! You guys so entirely rock! Kaite & I were in tears as the donations came it. We are so amazed by your kindness. In addition to being knocked out by how many of you stepped up to donate your money or share our post, we are also genuinely touched by how many other lit mags out there have reached out to help, too. For most of us, this publishing thing really is a labor of love. It is wonderful to see other publishers out there doing what they can to help…
And yes, in addition to a group of terrific people donating to the cause, a whole grip of lit mags helped out, too. Additionally, 348 of you shared our Go Fund Me page. Amazing!
We started the fundraiser at 8:30AM Monday and by Wednesday night I posted and the following:
WOOHOO!!! YOU DID IT!!! YES!!! This evening we met our goal and then some. Repairs will begin on the site hopefully by Thursday and Connotation Press should be up and running by the week's end… We are in the process of planning a proper thank you, but for now please know your generosity, kindness, and support have touched all of us at the magazine, myself most of all. Any good independent lit mag, at its core, seems to be a place where people spend countless hours caring for and promoting the art of others, but to be cared for in return is overwhelming. I am humbled. Truly. I would say you all now have a special place in my heart, but you already did. I guess I had no idea you knew it. Thanks, guys. Thank you so much.
And that was it. We were dead in the water and about 48 hours later we were funded for another year, for all the repairs needed to the site, and with enough left over to put out fires as they flare up throughout the year. I am completely humbled by the generosity and taking-care-of-our-own support shown to us. Dumbfounded by it. Overwhelmed in the best possible way.
Here, then, is a list of the folks, who, due to their generosity and outpouring of love, are responsible for the continuation of Connotation Press. I am listing them here in the order we received the donations, and since every dollar counted so much I have left out the specific dollar amounts. Further, this list, although complete, doesn’t acknowledge those who couldn’t donate money but supported the fundraiser through sharing our post, talking it up, and sending me so many lovely private messages of support.
Our enduring love & gratitude to the following patrons of Connotation Press:
Sarah Freligh, Faye Rapoport DesPres, Edison Jennings, Mary Bast, Andrew Baker, Patricia Clark, Jonathan Meyer, Davon Loeb, Sandy Longhorn, Donna Trump, Kelly Cressio-Moeller, Anastasia Beaverhausen, John Hoppenthaler, Vandana Khanna, Tony Press (twice!), Laura Morris, Meg Tuite, Richard Foerster, Bob Austin, Valerie Nieman, Glen Vecchione, T. L. Sherwood, Ethel Morgan Smith, Tony Lee, Ellen Wheeler, Sandy Ebner, Robery Parise, Alvis Minor, Jessica Keener, Joan Reese, Jenni Madden, Paul Beckman, Adrian Louis, Mark Kerstetter, Van Hartmann, Mary B. Moore, Danielle Mitchell, David Atkinson, Curt Hanson, Kelly Stultz, Rodney Wittwer, Burgess Needle, Judy Kronenfeld, Karen Stefano, Paul Garcia, Mark Borg, Shawn & Jane Robidoux, Bobby Sauro, Alan Botsford, Nicholas Baker, Jillena Rose, Katherine Young, Susan Rhinehart, Anna Kimball, Dorothy Bendel, Nicelle Nicelle, Paul Scot August, Linda Albuquerque, Sharon Weinstein, Mark Jenkins, Cortney Charleston, Natalie Dobson, Debra Kang Dean, Jodi Paloni, Roy Guzman, Christopher Kempf, Terry Kennedy, T.A. Noonan, Deirdre Fagan, Shaun Turner, Julie Brooks Barbour, Bryan Dennis Kittle, Cheryl Torsney, and seven kind and generous anonymous friends.
Running a lit mag is a trip. In addition to the fact that there are never enough hours to read everything you must, there are also a whole lot of late nights alone in the dark compiling the hard work of the staff, who are the real heroes of the publication, and the writers who also, undoubtedly, spend even more of those late night alone hours than we do. As each issue posts we can look over the analytics to see how many are reading the magazine, what they’re reading, and from where in the world they’re curled up in front of a glowing screen. And if we do our job and are especially lucky, hundreds of thousands of readers will show up. All of this, however, does little to let you know how much the magazine you love and have invested so much of your life into is loved by others.
And that is what this experience has taught me. It’s great to know you all care so much—to see how upset you were, as much as any of us here on the ConPress team, and to watch you take action. I’m not kidding, I launched the Go Fund Me campaign because half a dozen folks wrote me privately to say they were starting one for us that day if I didn’t. I love you guys.
From all of us here at Connotation Press to all of you who took a moment out of your day to save us, THANK YOU! You didn’t have to. No one would have known either way. But you did. And now we’re up and running! There’ll be a few weeks of working out the kinks, and for that we appreciate your continued patience, but the site is REBUILT, SECURE, and now so fast it SCREAMS. For all of this we have you to thank.
And to that end, we’re now LIVE with our belated January mid-month post complete with new offerings in our Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction columns. Enjoy!
Connotation Press: Alive. In Flight. Alive