The staff at the Kenyon Review is excited about the redesign of the literary magazine. Now, with a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), they can share their enthusiasm.
The grant will help cover the costs of promoting the redesign, including advertising, social media marketing and letters to subscribers.
“In the past, we’ve always come out with four issues a year and they’ve been around 200 pages an issue,” Managing Editor Abby Serfass said. “Through lots of discussions, we determined that we wanted to try something new and come out six times a year, bimonthly, and make it a smaller, more portable size.” The January/February 2015 issue will be the first in the new format.
Serfass worked with Review editor David Lynn ’76 and Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Meg Galipault to put together the proposal for the grant last spring. They were notified of their success at the end of last month.
In addition to promotional materials, the grant will help fund the exploration of new options for making the Review available digitally as well as in print. “Currently, we have an agreement with Amazon: We send them our files and they create the digital version of our magazine and it goes up on the Kindle store,” Serfass said. But the editors of the Review have been “less than happy” with the results, primarily because they don’t like how the magazine looks; some design aspects aren’t properly rendered in the Kindle version. “We have the opportunity, starting in 2016, to end that agreement and do our own thing,” Serfass said, noting they plan to use consultants to help guide the process.
This is not the first grant the Review has received from the NEA. The editors have been successful applicants for the last decade, sometimes receiving bigger awards. “It’s always nice,” Serfass said. “Any amount of funding is always really welcome.”
In the weeks surrounding the launch of the redesigned magazine, Serfass said they will focus their reach to readers between the ages of 20 and 40, who don’t make up a large part of their subscriber base but are active online. Part of the grant money also allows the Review to offer discounts to subscribers — $19.95 for a year instead of the usual $30 — now through the first weeks of the magazine’s new launch in January.
By Madeleine Thompson '15