Upwrite Makes Right: Announcing Paid Features & Our Writer-in-Residency Program!
It’s been four months! What began as a light-hearted experiment last summer has become a “passion project”--an opportunity (and complete privilege) to participate in something bigger than ourselves. With growth naturally comes some form of evolution, so we’ve taken the past few weeks to reflect on what we’re doing and what exactly we want Upwrite to be. We’re still just having fun with it, but we both sense a growing conviction to steward this thing well. While we’ll have to hold off on some of the bigger dreams for a bit, we’re really excited to share some “personal news”:
Since our inception in July, we have been hounding our various writerly peers to contribute their talents to this magazine project. So many friends, old and new, were generous with their time and energies and obliged. But as Upwrite has grown and expanded into a haven of sorts for the culturally-curious and hope-thirsty creative types, it grew harder and harder to ask for our contributors to keep writing for no compensation. More simply: we don’t believe in writing “for exposure” alone, so how could we continue, in good conscience, to ask our friends to do it?
And we’re not going to anymore. As of this month, Upwrite will begin running paid “feature” selections -- longer pieces that don’t fit into our column structure. We envision that these pieces will involve reporting on hope from the front lines of our culture via first-person experience narratives or more traditional third-person-style essays.
We’ll still be welcoming submissions to our established columns (How to Really, In Defense of, On-Call Millennial, Hope Index, Craft Care, It’s Lit), but we won’t be able to pay writers for those pieces just yet. It’s our aim to continue to use those columns to inspire laughter and trigger empathy in our readers, just like always, and we’ll keep investing in the writers of those columns with our thoughtful, careful, and collaborative editing experience.
Upwrite isn’t going to be “monetized” with sidebar ads anytime soon. We’d welcome partnerships with quality brands and publications that we believe in, and we’re sure those will come in time. For now, we have decided to fund Upwrite’s features out of our own shallow pockets.
We’re launching a Resources page, which will employ Amazon affiliate linking, to try to defray some costs. And at the bottom of that page, you'll find an invitation to our readers to donate to the cause of good writing, in any meager amount. Rest assured that any money donated will be used only to pay Upwrite contributors -- the editors won’t be taking a cut. We ain’t a 501(c)(3) status, though, don’t get it twisted. This is the direction we are unmistakably being led to take the magazine, and we’ll continue in it until we can’t afford it anymore.
When we started Upwrite several months ago, it was with the broad intention to create a site that hosted content that brought us hope and made us laugh. We had a vague idea of the kinds of writers we wanted to attract and a bunch of columns that we thought would be fun to write.
Since we’re both of the “spiritual wayfarer” persuasion, and had written for faith-based publications before, it should have come as no surprise that many of our submissions and pitches were from people of faith and specifically geared toward the American evangelical audience. We tried to toe the line of welcoming all kinds of readers while still striving to represent the truths that we believe in. At times, we realized, this diluted the strength of Upwrite’s branding and made it difficult to define what kind of website it is. In response, we’ll be creating a “manifesto” of sorts to articulate our core values as a publication and, with any luck, help readers and writers alike understand just what it is we’re trying to do here.
At Upwrite, we want to invest in our writers as much as we invest in our audience. Because we believe so strongly in cultivating writers through focused and intentional relationships, we’ve decided to begin offering a “Writer in Residence” program. Anyone can apply to be one of our Writers-in-Residence (by clicking here for the application).
The program will offer personal, one-on-one developmental editing, access to a selection of resources meant to build toward the writer’s personal enrichment, and monetary compensation. The residency will take the form of a one-month commitment, during which time the writer will be expected to complete four publication-ready pieces that will run on Upwrite Magazine at the editors’ discretion.
We are so thrilled to welcome Cassie LaFollette as our first ever Upwrite “Writer-in-Residence.” Through the month of November, Cassie will be working with us to develop pieces specifically for Upwrite that strengthen and clarify our site’s content and mission. You may recognize Cassie’s articulate reasoning and flair for the poetic turn of phrase from her previous contributions to the site, found here. Her first piece as Writer-in-Residence will debut this week, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
We’ve been stewing on these changes for a while, and we’re so excited to see how our mag (and its audience) takes shape as we implement them. As always, we’re open to questions and feedback, so feel free to slide into our email at upwritemagazine (at) gmail.com.