Help an Independent Literary Magazine Thrive in a Hostile Climate

This Giving Tuesday, please help Electric Literature reach our fundraising goals

Every day of the year, Electric Literature is grateful for the people who read and share what we publish. But on this Giving Tuesday, we’re coming to you with a special request: Electric Lit is aiming for 1,000 members by 2020, and we want you to be one of them. Your membership gets you discounts in our store, access to year-round submissions, and the knowledge that you’re supporting our mission to make literature more relevant, exciting, and inclusive. If that’s all you need to hear, smash that button. If you need more convincing, read on.

Electric Lit has been publishing for ten (!!) years, going from a quarterly print anthology to weekly fiction Tumblr to a robust culture website. That means we’ve outlasted a number of devastating layoffs and heartbreaking closures in the media world: the Awl, the Hairpin, and Topic (not profitable enough), The Toast (saw the writing on the wall), Gawker (got on the wrong guy’s bad side), Splinter (owned by idiots), Deadspin (“didn’t stick to sports” and owned by idiots), and Pacific Standard (question mark). We take no joy in this, though we’re glad to still be here. What it means, though, is that as culture and commentary sites fall to capitalistic concerns, we feel more and more serious about our responsibility to bring you thoughtful, illuminating work that situates books and stories in the context of our challenging political moment. And, let’s be honest, we also feel worried about the future.

We don’t answer to VCs or any other big funder. All we have is you.

We know there are a million demands on your money, especially now. (Especially today!) Your preferred primary candidate wants it. The ACLU and RAICES and all the other causes clamoring for your support want it, and they deserve it. It can feel sometimes like you’re just throwing donations at every problem and they’re all still getting worse. But this is a situation where your funds truly go a long way. We are a tiny nonprofit with no academic affiliation or major funder, and we’re used to stretching every buck. If just a thousand of you—under a quarter of a percent of our monthly readers!—are able to dedicate just $5 per month—one single fancy coffee drink!—you can make a real, measurable contribution to our continued survival. At a time when other culture sites are having their plugs pulled for being too political, for not making enough money, or just for no reason at all, that means a lot. We don’t answer to VCs or any other big funder who can do us dirty that way. All we have is you.

I know the “one coffee drink per month” thing is a little cliche, so here are a few other points of comparison:

  • You could have a third cocktail at the 928957th birthday party of Scorpio season, OR you can have a beer instead, dedicate the difference to helping us offer benefits for our staff, and probably feel better in the morning. 
  • You could upgrade to Duolingo Plus for two weeks, OR you can help make sure we always have enough buffer to pay writers on time. 
  • You could get another bottle of nail polish that’s basically the same color as all your other bottles of nail polish, OR you can help us reject our reliance on Amazon affiliate fees. 

This is cheap at twice the price, and it means everything to us. Your support lets us invest in our writers, offer security to our staff, and commit every day to bringing you high-quality writing that wrestles with the important questions of our time. 

Ready to join yet?

Or do you want to read some of the nice things highly celebrated writers have said about EL?

National Book Award winner Susan Choi:

Electric Literature is the bookstore open at 3 a.m. for the insomniac in bed; it’s the book group for the lonely non-joiner; it’s the literary website your jaded teenage kids try to read over your shoulder; it’s a godsend for the procrastinating syllabus-writer; it is remaking the canon, it is expanding the community, it is blasting the dust away, it is lighting everything up and offering the words for the new vividness – why do you think they call it ELECTRIC? Marvel at it, feast from it, and for God’s sake support it!

Pulitzer Prize finalist Karen Russell:

Electric Literature is where I go to be delighted. Also: haunted, elevated, provoked, frightened, inspired. It’s jungle-lush with strange, amazing life, and an essential part of our contemporary literary biodiversity. … I’ve discovered so many favorite stories here, recommended by authors I love; every semester I teach Electric Literature original fiction. What an oasis it has been for me and so many other readers and writers—predictably surprising, darkly illuminating, and perhaps the best paradox of all: a genuine virtual community. I subscribed, and I have to say, what you get is much better than a novelty T-shirt. It’s reliable astonishment, a thousand ways to be amazed at what words in a row can accomplishment, how they root into readers and transform the whole ecosystem of thought, ramify into action. Let’s keep it going and growing.

National Book Award finalist Carmen Maria Machado:

I have been publishing on and off in Electric Literature since 2016. It’s a magazine that is near and dear to my heart, not only for its incredible fiction and essays, but its commitment to all literature, regardless of genre, and its willingness to tackle difficult, important political conversations in the literary world. Electric Literature has published three pieces that I have either authored or participated in—each of these projects pushed boundaries, disrupted forms, and created a stir—and I know I wouldn’t have been able to find a home for them anywhere else. 

Pulitzer Prize finalist Rebecca Makkai:

Electric Lit is electric, and lit, and electrically lit, a jolt of magic and reason and beauty and wonder and chaos and order and wisdom. We need those things like we need air, and we need Electric Literature to thrive.

Join their ranks by joining our ranks today.

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