A Year 3 Progress Report

It’s been a while since I’ve written about how things are going, and now that Year 3 is well underway, this seems like a good point to give an update. I’ll include some numbers at the end.

We’ve had five main projects this year:

My goal was to hand off more of the existing work to other contributors so I could focus on the business. That change is mostly complete: Lauren Hudgins and Margaret Killjoy have kept up a steady run of articles and talks for the newsletter, Hawnuh Lee is doing the issue layout and illustrations, we have a new guest editor on each issue, and Christie Koehler continues to host and produce the podcast. I’m still juggling a lot, but I’ve been able to focus more on the Community Event Planning book and overall project management.

Keeping on top of the production schedule has been challenging at times. A bigger team means that more people can have life stuff that affects their work (still better than when it was me blocking everything by getting sick or having to deal with a family emergency). Given the current state of the world, I think we’ve done alright.

The business side of it, though — we’re struggling. We have a solid, loyal customer base with very slow growth. Marketing something like The Recompiler is complicated by how screwed up the internet has become. We can’t exactly feign ignorance and run a bunch of targeted Facebook ads anyhow. The Kickstarter campaigns we’ve done for the books and the Year 3 issues have had more momentum than our other outreach efforts. That would be fine if we were able to bring in double or triple our campaign goals, but what’s happened instead is that I have to choose between paying myself or holding money in reserve for printing the next issue.

So this is a transition point. I’m looking for consulting work (maybe even a full-time job, returning to programming/devops) so that I can afford to keep the magazine going. New subscriptions, renewals, and sponsorships would help me fill the gap in the meantime. The other thing that would let us continue to grow is to figure out how to tap into new networks of people. I’ve seen again and again how much more powerful a personal endorsement is over any paid ad. If you’ve been meaning to tell someone about The Recompiler, The Responsible Communication Style Guide, or anything else that we do — it means a lot to me. I believe in this work. We’ll find a way to keep it going.

  • Current subscribers: 223 print, 52 digital
  • Year-to-date sales: $7,174.60
  • Monthly supporter contributions: $249
  • Sponsorships (2018 only): $6000
  • Year 3 Kickstarter: $24,001 from 257 backers
  • Community Event Planning Kickstarter: $6,133 from 121 backers