Electric Literature Moves to WordPress — Here’s How an Indie Publisher Thrives on the Open Web
Lessons from 10 years of publishing essays and fiction.
Electric Literature launched 10 years ago in Brooklyn, New York, as a quarterly print journal with a mission to make literature a lot more relevant, fascinating, and inclusive. And these days they’re celebrating the launch of a new web page on WordPress, at electricliterature.com.
Surviving (and thriving) for ten years as an independent publisher is no little feat. More than the years the nonprofit organization has grown its on the web audience — with offerings like Encouraged Reading and The Commuter — whilst expanding its membership of readers who assist fund its perform. The web page is totally free to everybody and relies on the generosity of its neighborhood to donate to the internet site and assistance its mission.
How does an indie web page make its organization perform in 2019? We talked with Electric Lit’s Executive Director Halimah Marcus about some of the lessons they’ve discovered in the previous 10 years.
Slow and Steady Development Can Be a Incredibly Excellent Point
In some cases raising a lot of dollars from investors suggests you will develop quickly — but also burn out sooner. “Slow and steady development has been vital to our longevity hence far. Ten years for some corporations is not that lengthy, but ten years for an indie on the web magazine is pretty lengthy. We’ve observed numerous of our peers close in the course of that time and also numerous publications that had been substantially greater funded and bigger than us as nicely.”
Concentrate On Your Mission
Marcus and business produced a deliberate choice early to turn out to be a nonprofit with a mission to assistance writers. “That was an intriguing discussion. For the most portion I consider it was the appropriate choice, even though there are numerous unique methods to appear at this query. We had been surely a mission-driven organization. With Encouraged Reading we companion with other magazines and indie presses and publications to market their perform and to give an on the web platform to numerous stories that have never ever been published on the web and never ever would be published on the web.
“It was our target to create a literary ecosystem, to showcase how diverse it was and to give access to it. There was absolutely nothing about what we had been undertaking that was about producing dollars [laughs]. Becoming a nonprofit to be mission-driven, to be capable to have access to grant possibilities, to be capable to solicit donations and make these tax-deductible was going to be vital for our economic model.” As a nonprofit, Electric Literature receives funding from foundations like the Amazon Literary Partnership, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts — an vital supply of funding for a publisher when income from on the web marketing can fluctuate considerably from month to month.
Memberships (and Your Members) Matter
Direct funding from readers tends to make a massive distinction for the organization. Electric Literature does not paywall its essays or fiction — the internet site is entirely totally free and readers have an selection to donate or subscribe with a recurring month-to-month payment.
Its membership plan hit some bumps when it briefly moved it to Medium — the platform switched its membership model in 2018 and Electric Literature was 1 of a number of publishers who had been left scrambling. Marcus’s suggestions? Believe cautiously about who you let among you and your readers — it is extremely really hard to regain subscribers right after you have lost them.
Most vital of all is producing confident these who do donate to your publication really feel particular. “I consider the lesson that I’m normally understanding and figuring out how to do greater is to make these folks who have shown you that they care about your publication and that they’re invested in it really feel incorporated and appreciated. Make confident they know who they can speak to if they have a query or if they just want to make a comment or they have a difficulty. That is some thing that is so vital.”
Make Your Household on the Internet Your Personal
“You’ll see that on the new web page the appear is extremely vibrant and good and is pulled by means of just about every write-up and just about every space. Icons inspired by electrical symbols such as signals and inverters are a portion of the style we had been capable to bring by means of. It is vital to be capable to have manage more than what our item appears like. Our editorial vision is now capable to extend to the way the perform is presented and what it appears like.”
For a lot more on Electric Lit’s new internet site, verify out Marcus’s letter to readers.