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Fresh Romance Special Print Edition Kickstarter Needs Your Support!
[Editor’s Note: The following is a promotional post. The statements and opinions therein do not necessarily reflect those of TheNerdyBird.com. Read more about promotional posts here. That said, Janelle Asselin is a longtime friend of the site and Jill Pantozzi.]
About a year ago, I launched my own business, Rosy Press, with a Kickstarter for our ongoing digital magazine Fresh Romance. We’re currently running a Kickstarter to fund a print collection of the first six issues of Fresh Romance, plus a story exclusive to the collected edition written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Christine Norrie! Unsurprisingly, and as Jill here well knows, running a business is not an easy endeavor. But being your own boss and working on things you love is immensely valuable.
If you’re not familiar with Fresh Romance, it’s a digital magazine featuring three 10-page romance comics every month. Every story has romance as its primary genre, but the sub-genres range from sci-fi to slice-of-life to historical and everything in between! We work with a diverse set of creators who bring a lot of different stories to the table.
The fun part of what I do is working with creative teams. Whether it’s discussing magical portals to another world with Sarah Kuhn and Sally Jane Thompson or talking about genitals and pubic hair in early 1800s England with Sarah Vaughn and Sarah Winifred Searle, the collaboration part of making comics is the best. I love pairing creative teams together or seeing two creators who know each other well collaborate on something they love. The art of comics is a joy to be involved with, even as an editor. I get to put comics I believe in out into the world to an audience that’s amazingly supportive. It’s hard to beat that. That’s one of the reasons we decided to pair with publisher Oni Press for the print versions of Fresh Romance — they understand how important it is to us to make comics for a wide range of people, and they can help us make our comics more affordable.
The money part is the less fun part. I like to pay people — that part’s great. But when I first had the idea for Rosy Press, I struggled a lot with how I could possibly fund it. Even with investing all of my savings, there wouldn’t be enough to pay my creators properly. And let me tell you, the Fresh Romance creators are working incredibly hard on their stories and deserve to be paid fairly for that work. I looked into more traditional forms of funding small businesses and found that it is incredibly hard to get loans or start-up capital without giving away ownership and rights in a way that worked against a lot of the principles that were important to me and the Rosy Press creators. So, crowdfunding was really the only way that Rosy Press and Fresh Romance could be possible.
Our first Kickstarter was immensely, immediately successful. Our second Kickstarter has been a daily slog to hit numbers so that we can reach our goal. Both Kickstarters have taught me a lot about being a business owner. Sometimes you look like an overnight success but you still have a lot of work to do and sometimes you have to work really really hard for every inch you gain. I’m tenacious and I believe in Rosy Press. The first Kickstarter was about making Fresh Romance a digital reality — and the second Kickstarter is about making Fresh Romance a physical reality.
It’s weird to think about where the comics industry would be without crowdfunding. There have been thousands of comics projects funded on Kickstarter. Lots of cartoonists subsidize their work with Patreon, as do more than a few comics journalists. Crowdfunding has pulled down a lot of the walls that kept people from following their dreams. It’s safe to say that without crowdfunding, Rosy Press and Fresh Romance wouldn’t exist. Comics folks talk a lot about voting with our dollars and showing publishers what they support and don’t support — crowdfunding is voting with dollars even more literally.
It’s not fun to feel like you’re begging people for money, I’ll be honest. It’s a lot of hard work, actually. But every individual backer is appreciated by the people running a crowdfunding campaign. So much appreciated, in fact, that every backer who sends me a message saying that you read about our campaign here will get a free PDF of School Spirit by Kate Leth, Arielle Jovellanos, Savanna Ganucheau, and Steve Wands! Just a small token of our appreciation. We’re throwing in one for Jill, too, of course. She’s pretty rad.
[Editor’s Note: The Fresh Romance Special Print Edition Kickstarter can be found here. The campaign ends March 16.]
About the Author
Feminist. Geek. Girly tomboy. Rabblerouser. Publisher/owner of Rosy Press. Freelance editor and writer.