It takes a lot of money to launch a new journal, and Duke University Press is taking a big risk in agreeing to publish TSQ. They estimate that it will require somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000 in outlays before the journal becomes profitable, in about Year 5 of publication. To offset that risk, our contract with Duke requires us to raise a minimum of $100,000 to underwrite the cost of launching TSQ. This is an increasingly common practice among academic publishers, which often operate at a loss in order to support the mission of publishing non-commercial contemporary scholarship.
Why join TSQ?
$100,000 seems like a lot of money, and in many ways it is: but over five years, it breaks down to about $20,000 a year, which covers costs for the design, marketing, proofing, typesetting/compositing, ad sales, shipping, sales, manuscript tracking, rights clearances, managing editorial and author correspondence, indirect overhead for the publisher, and the costs of many, many other kinds of labor and services. When you realize what all is involved in getting the journal into circulation, and how much work it takes to bring a project like this to fruition, this is really not an unreasonable amount of money to raise.
Some people have asked us why we don’t self-publish, or produce a cheaper online-only journal. There are a couple of reasons for this.
One important consideration, however pretentious it might sound, is prestige and respectability. Because our goal is to change the way the world thinks about transgender issues, we are marshaling all of our intellectual and cultural “capital” to create an authoritative, peer-reviewed publication venue with an elite university press, with an editorial board filled with accomplished and well-credentialed scholars, so that we have the most credible and persuasive voice possible in the marketplace of ideas. We think this is especially important given the newness of transgender studies as a field, and the stigma often attached to transgender lives. We are determined to produce a journal that demands to be taken seriously. Duke gives transgender studies a lot of credibility.
We also really want to publish a print copy because not everybody who might want to read TSQ has an institutional affiliation, and thus access to the e-journal format through their libraries. Because each issue is a special issue, TSQ will almost be like four book-length works on transgender studies appearing every year—and we think there will be demand for single-issue purchases as well as regular subscriptions. Doing a print version will allow us to sell single issues in bookstores as well as through Amazon and other online booksellers.
We invite you join with us to support the development of transgender studies as a field by helping us launch TSQ. We have already raised roughly half the amount needed to launch TSQ. Most of these funds came from the University of Arizona—from the Provost’s Office, the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, and the Institute for LGBT Studies. The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and the Law, at UCLA, also made a very generous contribution. We'd especially like to thank Connecticut College, Wells College, University of California-San Diego, and Warwick University. Members of the journal’s editorial board have contributed money—both their own funds, as well as contributions secured from their home institutions.
We tried to raise funds from foundations, but sadly, no foundations with a history of giving to trans causes has stepped forward to support our efforts. We’ve been turned down by Open Society, Arcus, Astraea, Mama Cash, and Ford. Consequently, it’s time for us to turn to grassroots fundraising.
We’re pleased to be working with Tucson-based fundraising and non-profit development consulting firm Alexander-Carillo to launch and conduct our campaign to secure funds from Gender and Women’s Studies departments and LGBT Studies programs nationwide, as well as our community-oriented Kickstarter campaign. This campaign will be rolling out in May 2013.
Check out our Kickstarter campaign to help us raise $20,000 before June 13!