The Norwegian American crowdfunding updates

A popular Norwegian postcard depicting a woman sitting on top of a pig.

One of the postcards a lucky campaign backer is going to receive, with a silly story on the back. These will also be in the mail soon!

Emily C. Skaftun
The Norwegian American

It’s been about four months since we ended our second Indiegogo campaign. We did it (for those of you just tuning in) because we lose money making this paper. At some point, if that goes on, we’ll be out of money to lose, and America’s only Norwegian newspaper will cease to be. That almost happened in 2015, but the support of our small-but-fierce community saved the day. For a little while, anyway…

Anyway, here are the musings and updates from this editor on the subject of crowdfunding and newspaper management, in no particular order:

• Folks don’t understand what a small operation this is.
People very frequently write or call us with suggestions for things to change, ways to save money, ways to raise money, stories to write, books to publish, calendars to produce, etc. Often they’re terrific ideas, ones that any medium-sized paper would have no trouble implementing.

But here’s the thing:

Y’all, it’s just us chickens in here. Molly and I are the paper’s only full-time employees, and we’re already working about as hard as we can. For a couple months earlier this year we didn’t even have our part-time advertising sales person, so I did that too. It was brutal.

We do have an absolutely fabulous collection of freelance writers doing miraculous work for us, and some part-time help, and even a section editor or two (thanks, Daytona and Chloe!), but you don’t have to pull the curtain back very far to see that the Wizard of NA is just a 30-something chick with pink hair typing furiously on a four-year-old Mac laptop.

It absolutely cracks me up when we get mail and emails directed to our “book reviews department” or our “obituaries manager.” Yup. Those are all me.

• Producing a cookbook is, like, hard!
People have been suggesting we put out a cookbook for as long as I’ve been editor here, and I’ve always replied that I didn’t have time to actually make a cookbook. This year, perhaps lulled into complacency by how incredible Daytona Strong is as Taste of Norway editor, I decided to take a run at it.

Turns out I was right before. I really didn’t have time to make the cookbook. Between Daytona and myself we’ve put… I have no idea how many hours into the thing. Even as late as last weekend Daytona was making and photographing recipes to make the finished product as gorgeous as possible.

• But it’s gorgeous.
The proof of the cookbook came out pretty good, and we made a few modifications, proofread it again, and submitted a new file for printing. We ordered about 20 extra, and they’re basically all spoken for as of this writing. So for those of you who haven’t ordered one, too late! (We could be persuaded to do a second print run, but we’d need a pretty big list of pre-orders for that to make sense.)

For those who did order one, they’ll be in our office by the end of the month and in your hands as soon thereafter as USPS can manage.

• Crowdfunding is not the answer.
If you ever see me talking about running another campaign, slap me. Not only was every aspect of this campaign harder than I anticipated, it didn’t even help very much. At its best, crowdfunding is a band-aid, and we need to focus our limited time and resources on healing the wound.

Which we are doing! We’ve been talking with marketing people and web people who not only have better ideas than I do but are also being paid to implement those ideas, which (fingers crossed) will help us increase subscription numbers and advertising.

• You can still help.
See the ad below? Why not help us get your friends hooked on The Norwegian American by letting us mail them a sample copy?

Or hey, Christmas is coming (too soon?). Gift subscriptions to The Norwegian American make a great gift and are available in any amount you’d like.

Do you run a business? Why not place some ads in our paper, online, in our email newsletter, or even on Facebook?

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 22, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.