Reckoning Press has been a nonprofit for almost seven years, and we’ve never had a fundraiser.
We’ve always paid professional rates to writers and artists, as well as providing small honoraria to editors and staff. We’ve read some 5,000 submissions, published 83 stories, 72 poems, 42 essays and 19 artworks about environmental justice. We’ve featured writers and artists from the US, Canada, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Greece, Israel, Egypt, Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Singapore, Korea, Japan, the Phillippines, New Zealand, Tasmania, and Australia. We published debut writing by Innocent Ilo, Oyedotun Damilola Muees, Riley Tao, Francis Bass, Nancy Lynée Woo and Luke Elliott. Just this year, Oyedotun’s story “All We Have Left Is Ourselves” won a PEN Robert J. Dau Award, and we got six (6!) nominations and for the inaugural Utopia Awards—and we won four of those!
Over that time, our public funding has varied between about 8% and 12% of our budget. The remainder has come from me, Michael J. DeLuca, through my freelance income. That’s right, every time anyone buys an ebook subscription from Weightless Books or hires me to build a website, they’re supporting creative writing on environmental justice. All told, the seven issues of Reckoning (and part of an eighth!) weigh in at $47.7K, of which some $43K was my own money. I know how nervous people get talking about money, but it has seemed important to me to be open about this. I’m lucky, privileged, I never had college debt, I live as simply as I can manage, I have marketable skills I’ve for a long time now been able to sell to the most ethical bidder for a fraction of the going rate. This is what I choose to do with the money I don’t need. Paying people to think this way and render those ideas beautiful and compelling and share them with others makes me feel better about our world on fire.
So why a fundraiser now?
It has been pointed out to me that other people might also want the unique sense of well-being, of having done something to counteract the downward spiral, conferred by funding creative writing on environmental justice. We’d like to invite you in! If you like the magazine, if you’ve gotten a new angle or a new thought or found some handhold in our pages that helped you in these difficult days, even for a moment or an afternoon, well, we could use your help to put out more of these stories. And maybe helping us do that would feel good?
Reckoning has reached the capacity to grow beyond the extent to which I’ve been able to fund it. We want to pay writers better. In this age of massive inflation and artificial scarcity, 8c/word doesn’t seem like enough. We want to pay staff better. A $100 honorarium for a year’s worth of reading and editorial work might not seem like such a bad deal in an industry where so many editors and writers go unpaid, but we’d be failing at our primary purpose if we didn’t try to change that. We’d also like to do more special issues, like Creativity and Coronavirus and Our Beautiful Reward (the new bodily autonomy issue we started reading for last week). Over the last few months, we’ve rebooted the podcast; we’d love to keep doing that and pay our narrators at least a token rate.
- To raise our rates to 10c/word for prose, $50/page for poetry, we
needneeded an additional $2000 per year–and we got there! Hooray, you did it!
- To double the staff honoraria, that’s $1500 per year.
- To pay podcast readers $50 per recording, that’s $2500 per year.
- To produce one special issue per year, that’s $2000.
To put that in perspective, we could achieve all of the above with just 135 new Patreon subscribers at $5/month.
- Even 20 new Patreon subscribers at the $5/month level would push us permanently above the 10% public funding cutoff that would allow Reckoning Press to change its official nonprofit status from that of a private foundation to a public charity, making us eligible for tons more public funding in the form of grants from entities like the NEA. We made it here already, public charity status is achieved, thank you all so much!
After seven years, it seems worth trying.
So a fundraiser! With rewards!
- Support us on Patreon at $5/month or more and we’ll send you one of these awesome Maya Monster skull pins using Mona Robles’s artwork from Reckoning 1.
- Support us at the $10/month level or above for at least six months, and we’ll send you a custom, ethically-sourced t-shirt (from the Ethical Tee Company), any style, any color, with any of the above artwork, with or without the branding. Here are a couple of possibilities:
- Support us at the $10/month rate and I’ll also send you a jar of wild-harvested brambleberry preserves (while supplies last, and then maybe other bizarre and wonderful hand-preserved foods after that)
- Support us at the $25/month level or above for at least a year (that’s enough for us to buy a short story), and you qualify for a personal critique of a <5,000-word short story or essay, or up to five poems by one of our past, present and future editors and staff: Michael J. DeLuca, Giselle Leeb, Catherine Rockwood, Cécile Cristofari, Priya Chand, Andrew Kozma, Johannes Punkt, Leah Bobet. First come, first served.
We have a bunch of books to give away, donated by the authors/publishers, including but likely not limited to:
- A signed copy of Catherine Rockwood’s poetry chapbook, Endeavors to Obtain Perpetual Motion, from the Ethel Zine Press
- A signed copy of Michael J. DeLuca’s Crawford Award finalist novella, Night Roll, from Stelliform Press
- Copies of People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! and People of Colo(u)r Destroy Horror! donated by Gabriela Santiago
- A copy of the Subterranean Press edition (sold out nearly everywhere!) of Arkady Martine’s multi-award-winning A Memory Called Empire
- Signed copies of Leah Bobet’s novels Above and An Inheritance of Ashes
- Copies of Andrew Kozma’s poetry collections City of Regret and Orphanotrophia
- A complete set of Reckoning 1 – 6 plus Creativity and Coronavirus. They look amazing on a shelf all together, I guarantee.
- An “environmental justice bundle” from Small Beer Press: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho, Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman, Sherwood Nation by Benjamin Parzybok, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet #33, edited by Michael J. DeLuca.
- If enough people support us to let us raise contributor pay rates to 10c/word, $50/page for poetry—that’s $2000/year—Reckoning 7 nonfiction editor Priya Chand promises to take all our supporters on a virtual hobbyist lumberjacking tutorial around her local nature preserves and waste places in Northern Illinois.
- If enough people support us to let us double the rates for editors and staff—that’s $1500 more, or $3500/year total—I, Michael, promise to take you all on a year-long video odyssey in quest to homebrew the most local, sustainable, delicious, lowest-carbon and cost-per-pint beer I know how, and I’ll send a bottle to every supporter when it’s done.
- If enough people support us to let us pay podcast narrators $50 per recording—that’s an additional $2500/year, or $6000/year total—Leah Bobet promises to take all our supporters on a pickling/canning tutorial.
- If enough people support us to let us do a special issue every year–that’s an additional $2000/year, or $8000/year total–we’ll do a print edition of the forthcoming, currently e-only special issue, Our Beautiful Reward, edited by Catherine Rockwood, featuring new Maya Monster art by Mona Robles!
Current patrons will be grandparented in to all of the above. Thank you all so much for your support!