Kelly Biscopink, Courtney Kyle and I (Shannon Miller) formed Rebel Craft Media in March of this year. We each live in different Southern cities, and all three of us are former employees of a major craft publisher. Each of us comes to the table with different areas of expertise. Kelly (Charleston, South Carolina) is seasoned in book acquisition and editorial, and also co-authored a quilt book (Modern Designs for Classic Quilts). Courtney (Albertville, Alabama) is a supremely talented graphic designer with gobs of publishing experience with both magazines and books. I live in Huntsville, Alabama, my publishing experience is in graphics, editorial and marketing for craft magazines, and I recently authored a book as well (Paperplay). Kelly, Courtney and I became fast friends through our work, and not long after all of us were no longer working at the same company, we began daydreaming about how awesome if would be to just do it ourselves – start our own publishing company, knowing deep down that we had the ability to put out crazy good content that would resonate with today’s audience. We had all the ingredients; and it wasn’t long before we decided to stop saying “what if,” throw caution to the wind, and just start doing it. We knew that if we ever wanted to make big moves in the future, we’d better get moving today! And thus, Rebel Craft Media was born. We brainstormed and planned and re-planned in meeting after meeting to nail down our mission, our structure and our strategy. We knew from the beginning that no matter what we did, we wanted to do it the “right” way, whether that meant logistically or ethically, and I think navigating those complicated waters up front will make it easier for us when we start to grow and expand in the future. It’s also always been extremely important to us that we develop positive, fair and respectful relationships with our authors, designers and contributors. We want to ensure that everyone involved gets out what they put in – and so equitable profits and a mutual marketing plan are just a couple of ways we are building those positive relationships into our publishing agreements. While we do have intentions of turning to print publishing, right now our focus is on digital. We will produce craft and sewing patterns from independent designers as well as ourselves, plus as a digital mini-magazine called The WhipperCrafter that will release on a bimonthly schedule. Our primary focus is the content we will produce in the form of individual patterns, products and, one day, books; and the magazine is a secondary product with the goal of delivering stellar craft ideas, how-to’s and inspiration to a hungry audience. It’s truly an outlet for us; we each have a deep love of craft magazines, and producing it in a web-based format with printable templates is a cost-effective way of providing that for our readers. It’s also a great organic marketing tool for our patterns and authors. Our pricing structure is unique for The WhipperCrafter — for the entire month in which each issue is released, customers can name their price. The suggested retail cost is $5.00 each, but anyone who takes advantage of the “pay what you will” structure for the first month can decide what it’s worth to them – whether that means $0 or $25! We would rather provide this awesome content and introduce our brand to the general craft community at a price that readers are comfortable with, than not at all; and we’re interested to see what that equates to, profit-wise. Only time will tell! We truly feel that we’re entering the craft publishing landscape at an industry tipping point. It’s no secret that the craft marketplace is completely saturated with content that is produced at an unbelievably fast rate, both free and paid; readers can hardly keep up. You might wonder why we would even bother to compete. But that’s the thing; we don’t feel like we’re competing, we feel like we’re offering an alternative to traditional craft media with a unique voice and consistent delivery schedule. Of course we’re in business to make money – but that doesn’t mean profit-driven. We’re mission-driven. Publishing with us as a contributor comes with a mound of mutual benefits, something we believe is a rare find today. And our customers will have that level of quality passed on to them in the form of content that has been carefully curated and produced on an individual basis. We’re committed to giving each project the attention it deserves, small or large, and that is something we believe will set us apart. We just released our premiere issue of The WhipperCrafter, featuring a Halloween theme of “Toil & Trouble.” We’re already knee-deep into production on the next issue as well, themed “Lodge & Pines” and releasing on December 1. In our pattern lineup, we have a great geometric baby quilt from co-owner Kelly coming out next month called “Polka Baby, Polka!” and will follow up with a highly-anticipated duffel-style bag pattern from Schnitzel and Boo’s Kristi McDonough, “The Betsy Travel Bag.” That’s not all by any means, and we are dying to share more. We’re actively seeking new contributors, so if you’re interested in publishing with us, pop by our website! And regardless, we are thrilled to share a bit of our story with you and hope you’ll join us for the ride. It’s going to be an exciting year!
I’m just so delighted to read about this!!! Having worked with (read:been taken advantage of, by) traditional media publishing, I am so thrilled to see what you’re doing! I just signed up for your newsletter. Keep up the great work! Indie FTW!
Thank you so much, Karen!! Your “yuck” experience with traditional publishing is exactly what we want to combat. So happy to have you along for the ride!
Reading this is like a breath of fresh air! Wishing you so much success!
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