Last September, I started thinking about an online magazine for the neurodiversity community, and what that would look like. I wanted a platform that would amplify our voices so that we could be better heard, in whatever language or communication suited us best. Together, our voices could be louder, bigger and brighter. I wanted to make a platform where the fact that we can and do speak for ourselves could not be ignored. This was the seed that would eventually grow into NOS Magazine.
There were setbacks. I had a bout with cervical cancer (and won), but it slowed the project considerably. I kept going. I read everything I could about how to make crowdfunding work. I examined similar projects. Christine Paluch helped me build a web site while I refreshed my WordPress skills. Morénike Onaiwu and Mariyama Scott offered their services as editors. Ari Ne’eman introduced me to many of the fantastic bloggers I’d been reading for so long (it felt a little like meeting my favorite rock stars, or so I imagine) and provided vital material support and advice. As a creator, there is nothing more enjoyable than people being excited about your project. I’m grateful that he and so many others believed in me and the importance of NOS Magazine.
I’m a writer. My degrees are in writing. My passion is writing. When I started this project, I had one rule in mind: Always pay the writers (and artists, photographers… You get the idea). No one for my publication would write “for exposure.” There’s a saying in the writing world: “People die of exposure.” There are so many bloggers out there right now who aren’t making a cent off of the important work that they do. Disabled labor is already devalued in American society, both by frameworks like “sheltered workshops” in which people like us are legally paid well below minimum wage and by the ableist notion that we are less than because we are different. I would rather listen to an airhorn for hours on end than cheat a fellow writer or artist out of payment for their work, particularly a fellow disabled artist or writer.
This was my first crowdfunding campaign. I chose to set the budget so that we could pay everyone who wrote or created for us for an entire year. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach that goal this time. I’ve learned so much about social media strategy, budgeting, networking and project management. These skills won’t just serve me well for future crowdfunding campaigns, but for any work I go on to do. Thank you for teaching me.
Since I own the domain, I’m going to use this site as a disability blog until the next time I try to launch NOS Magazine as a paid platform for fellow writers. Active fundraising for NOS Magazine as it was initially envisioned will resume Spring 2016.
This isn’t the end of NOS Magazine. This is just a speed bump. In the immortal words of Monty Python and fellow disability activists: “We’re not dead yet.”