About NSFWCORP: The Whole F______g Story
We're writing and publishing an uncensored history of NSFWCORP.
UPDATE V: August 20th 2014 On Saturday 30th August we're broadcasting a very special reunion edition of NSFWLIVE. Fans of the show can help support the book crowdfunding campaign by adding extra minutes to the running time.
UPDATE IV: August 18th 2014 Wow. We've almost sold out of all offers, including the $5k offer to produce a one-off 3hr special edition of NSFWLIVE. Thanks to everyone who has supported so far. Watch this space for money news on the live show, coming very soon.
UPDATE III: July 2nd 2014: Lots more people have asked about the possibility of our NSFWCORP Live radio show. If the book project is fully funded (it's about 25% of the way there now) I'll add a stretch goal to bring back the show as a weekly live broadcast/podcast. But only if we get the book funded: It's a shit load of work if no one really cares. Help fund the project here.
UPDATE II: June 26th 2014: We crossed $3k! That means the ebook is definitely happening. Now on to $10k to guarantee we can make the print book! Support the project (and pre-order the book) here.
UPDATE: FIRST (NON-)STRETCH GOAL?: A few people have asked if there's a cheaper way than the $5k option to bring back NSFWLIVE for one night only. How about this: If the campaign passes $10k total, we'll host a one-off NSFWLIVE at some point over the summer, featuring calls, music, NSFWCORP contributors and all the old favourite stuff. (If you want to be the sponsor of the show, you'll still need to grab that offer.)
Questions/suggestions for other rewards I should add: firstname.lastname@example.org
About NSFWCORP: The Whole Fucking Story:
In late 2011, I had an idea for magazine that I subsequently described as "the Economist, as written by The Daily Show." With that one-line pitch, and no business plan, I raised more than a million dollars, rented a sprawling compound just outside of Las Vegas and filled it with a team of writers, many of whom I'd been warned were likely criminally insane.
For three years, our team (including Mark Ames, Yasha Levine, Gary Brecher, Leigh Cowart, Olivial Nuzzi, David Sirota and over a dozen others) produced NSFWCORP: A daily ezine, a nightly radio show and a monthly print magazine. The Daily Beast called us "Journalism’s Least Safe and Most Intriguing Site" and CBS called me "America's next top media mogul" (oh, hindsight). We broke stories, went on crazy adventures, found insane talent and nearly -- very nearly -- proved that it's possible to build a real business out of real journalism.
By 2014, NSFWCORP was dead, sold for talent to a far more successful media company. But during our short life, we managed to upset some of the biggest names in politics, media, technology, business and the arts. Behind the scenes, I fought with investors, fired friends, almost died twice and came as close as I've ever come to total mental and physical breakdown. By the time we moved out of the NSFWCORP House, having sold the last of the contents during a 24-hour radio telethon, it was declared not fit for human habitation. (That last part is not a joke.)
Since NSFWCORP stopped publishing, a lot of people have asked if we -- I and some of the other key NSFWCORP editors -- ever plan to write a book about the whole ridiculous adventure. Sadly that's easier said than accomplished. Certainly no publisher will ever touch it -- too niche, arguably; too obscene and legally terrifying, certainly. Also, writing a serious memoir, or oral history, of the magazine will require hours of interviews with the key characters, not to mention commissioning many of the former NSFWCORP writers (now scattered to the winds) to write their own chapters of the story. It's going to take real time, and cost real money.
But if we don't do it now, it'll never happen. We'll all move on, and our memories will become rosier and less raw.
How the project will work
Here's the idea: over the next six months or so, with the help of former NSFWCORP writers, I'm going to pull this ridiculous thing together: A hybrid of memoir, confessional, cautionary business book and manifesto for how to unfuck media in America (with jokes). For now I'm calling it NSFWCORP: The Whole Fucking Story, but I'll certainly figure out a better name once it starts taking shape.
(Update: Confirmed contributors so far include me -- Paul Carr --, Mark Ames, Yasha Levine, Gary Brecher, Leigh Cowart, Olivia Nuzzi, James Aylett, Dayvid Figler and Christopher Goscinski -- with illustrations from Brad Jonas.)
This will be my (I think) 13th book, so I know exactly what it'll take to write, compile and publish something like this, while holding down my full time editing job at Pando. I won't get a lot of sleep, and it'll likely take longer than I want it to. The project will need the support of a great editor, a tireless proof reader, a freakishly talented designer, production teams for both print and ebook editions and an audio producer for the full-length interviews that will accompany the book. All of those folks will need to be paid. Added to the amount I want to pay the ex-NSFWCORP-ers for their contributions, I reckon the whole project will cost somewhere north of $20k. That's still a bargain, but it's slightly too rich for me, given I'm still paying off credit card debts from keeping the company alive.
So here's the deal: If you think that's the kind of book you might like to read, I'd be eternally grateful if you'd support our humble crowdfunding effort. The support levels (here) start at $5, for which you'll get a copy of the ebook, or $20 to include the print edition... and go right up into the thousands of dollars, if you'd like your own dedication page, or a bunch of us to sit in a recording studio and make a radio show for you.
To be clear: Even if we fall short of the $20k target, we'll still produce the book. There'll be an ebook edition, and we'll make available all the audio interviews. The more money we raise, the more we can achieve: at $10k the print edition is good to go, and between that at $20k we can get more ambitious and the whole thing starts to look really, really cool. I'd love for the print edition to include color photo plates, a dust jacket and all that good stuff.
In the unlikely event we break $20k, we've got some (I think) cool ideas for stretch goals, including an audiobook read by the "cast," and a live event or two. Much more than that and I'd like to invest in some former NSFWCORPers to establish a new site of their own to publish the type of writing which they can't easily publish any more.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. If you'd like to read the most ridiculous business book ever written, you'll find the support levels here. I'll do the first audio interview in July, and make the audio available to supporters immediately afterwards. Ideally I'd like to have the whole book wrapped up by early next year. I think you'll like it.
Risks, threats and all that stuff
The biggest risk is that we don't raise enough to produce the physical (hardback/paperback) book. The campaign doesn't have an end date, so I'm happy to let the project keep running until we pass the $10k needed to produce and distribute the physical book (as I said above, we'll do the ebook whatever happens). But if we creep close to the end of the year and still haven't crossed $10k, I'll give everyone who has ordered a physical book the option to receive a full refund.
As I said above, having written over a dozen books for large and small publishers, I have a pretty good idea what's involved in a project like this. Obviously I've worked with all the writers involved many times before so that's not a mystery either. Further, I previously founded a book publishing company so I have no illusions about how expensive / annoying the physical production and distribution of books is.
BUT. There are definitely X factors with this project. I have a day job editing Pando. That's a time-suck at the best of times and will likely become more so as the year goes on. Obviously I'm not writing the whole book myself, and a lot will be drawn from interview transcripts, contributions from other writers etc, but I still have to do those interviews myself and then turn the whole thing into a narrative. I want the book to be really, really good. Backers should be prepared that delivery might slip towards mid-2015.
Beyond that, there are more remote -- but still real -- risks that people written about in the book might decide to take legal action once extracts/audio clips become available. There's a slight chance I have to spend a ton of money on lawyers. Although the nice thing about publishing in the US is that judges really hate prior restraint. That means any legal costs should only hit after the books have already been mailed. Which is to say, they're my problem not yours.
One other "risk" from a crowdfunding point of view is that a traditional publisher decides to buy the manuscript. Again, this is highly unlikely for the reasons outlined above, but if it happens I don't want anyone to feel cheated for having supported what started as a crowd-funded book. Backer beware.
(I'll update this section as people ask questions, frequently)
Q: Why aren't you doing this on Kickstarter/Indiegogo? A: There's a really simple answer to that: We used Tugboat for one of our NSFWCORP crowdfunding campaigns and it worked extremely well. Also, it allows more flexibility in funding and also gives the option to do cool "lightbox" pop-up things on the old nsfwcorp.com site to push people here. Finally, I have serious ethical concerns with Indiegogo.Give your support