Update (October 1, 2017): Thanks to your generous support, we raised $5,538 in new subscriptions and donations over the past two weeks. To everyone who subscribed, your subscription will start with issue 40.4 (December 2017). Thank you, and we hope you enjoy the next four issues of Room!
As a small, independent literary organization that has operated for over forty years on a shoestring budget, passion, and volunteer labour, every subscription is vital to our existence. Over the past few years, we’ve watched with great sadness (and a little bit of fear) as several of our CanLit peers have folded or ceased print publication.
We’re pretty great at keeping costs down—mostly by relying on our dedicated volunteers and in-house talent; for example, a collective member coded our new website, and our publisher also does our graphic design—but we have our limits. Each issue of Room costs about $14,500+ to make (39% printing, 18% mailing, 43% contributor and editorial honoraria)—and that’s excluding the small salaries we pay our part-time managing editor, publisher, and contest coordinator (all who work far more hours than they are compensated for). While we’ve been able to launch several new initiatives over the past two years—podcasts, workshops, our anthology, and our festival—that might seem successful on the surface, the truth is that all of these projects were only possible because of thousands of volunteer hours from a very passionate collective. We all love Room so much.
To put things in perspective, when Descant folded at the end of 2014, they still had an annual budget larger than ours was in 2016-2017, and they received over $10,000 more funding from the Canada Arts Council in 2013-2014 than we did in 2016-2017. We are also one of the few literary magazines in Canada that are not supported by a university or college. When Capilano University cut The Capilano Review, prompting their Kickstarter campaign, the total budget loss for the Review was greater than Room's total operating budget in the same year (by about $20,000!).
Why are we sharing this? Due to some unexpected event and website costs and a decrease in submissions to our annual fiction and poetry contest last July, we need your help.
We’re hoping to raise at least $5,000 from new (or renewing) subscribers by our fiscal year end on September 30, 2017. As an extra incentive, we’ve dropped our subscription price for one year (four issues) to $25 CAD for this campaign (Canada and US subscribers only). This means we’re hoping to attract around 200 new subscribers.
Why should you support Room? Since 1975, Room has published women (cis and trans), trans men, Two-Spirit, and non-binary authors and artists. Gender isn’t the only intersection we aim to address: we constantly seek ways to increase the diversity in our pages. Our Equity and Inclusion Committee members volunteer their time to meet, research, and discuss how to make Room more visible, how to be more transparent, how to provide support for underrepresented writers, and how to show readers that all voices deserve to be heard. For these reasons, we’ve eschewed revenue sources that some other publications benefit from, such as paywalls for online content, submission fees, and mandatory ticket purchases for events (most of our events are by-donation, and our workshops are deliberately priced to be affordable, with free or subsidized registration available to low-income writers).
We never want to stop having these conversations. So many writers and artists have been published for the first time in Room: more than 90% of our content comes from unsolicited submissions or contest entries. We want to continue that support. We want another forty years.
If you’re already a subscriber and you’d like to help us out in another way, please consider giving a subscription as a gift, donating (we will thank all donors in our December 2017 issue), checking out the tote bags, notebooks, and more in our online store, and/or spreading the word about this campaign by sharing it on social media and telling your feminist, literature-loving friends.
All subscriptions will begin with our December 2017 issue, edited by Chelene Knight and featuring new writing by Ashley Little, Selina Boan, jia qing wilson-yang, Andrea MacPherson, Hajer Mirwali, Nancy Jo Cullen, Rowan McCandless, Kyla Jamieson, and many more.
As one of our readers said in our 2016 survey, “We need Room in the national literary conversation.” We hope you’ll consider helping us continue to make space for underrepresented voices.
Unfortunately, we do not currently have charitable status (although we're working on it), and cannot offer a tax receipt for donations.
Thank you so much for your support,
Meghan Bell, Publisher
Chelene Knight, Managing Editor
on behalf of the Growing Room Collective
Don't use PayPal? You can also take advantage of the subscription discount or donate by sending a cheque via mail to:
PO Box 46160 Station D
Vancouver, BC V6J 5G5