Since our start in 1998, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency has tried to do a small handful of things:
- 1. Publish daily humorous entertainment.
- 2. Provide an outlet for writers regardless of history or pedigree to try their hands at writing and publishing daily humorous entertainment.
- 3. Respond to the submissions of those writers in a timely and courteous fashion.
Having achieved most of these goals, we are quite proud of our legacy. While we have published the legendary (Steve Martin!), the famous (Ellie Kemper! Jesse Eisenberg! Michael Ian Black!), we also have been among the first to publish writers who have gone on to write for The Daily Show, Bob’s Burgers, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the New Yorker, the New York Times, The Onion, and dozens of other places far more prominent and important than McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.
More than twenty-five books have been spawned from material first published on our site.
Even more importantly, “It’s decorative gourd season, motherfucker!” is now a commonly shared greeting during the Thanksgiving holidays.
But the thing we are most proud of is that for many of our contributors, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency is the only place they’ve ever published publicly. At some point, something funny or odd occurred to them – a list, a new food review, a short imagined monologue – and they had a place to put that funny and odd thing in order to share it with the world, a private joke made public.
Some will be surprised by this, but for the entirety of our existence, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency has never had more than 1.5 staffers at any given time. Right now, the website’s sole employee is Chris Monks, who works from his couch in his suburban Boston home. That’s when he’s not working from his dining room table or the waiting room at his teenage sons’ orthodontist.
Why Are We On Patreon?
We have never been all that concerned about money at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.
In its earliest incarnation, at the dawn of the public internet, no one really thought about the web and money, and for all we knew the whole silly thing would implode in a couple of years.
When it seemed like the internet was indeed going to stick around, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency continued thanks to the support and largesse of McSweeney’s Publishing, as the website remained a zero-revenue-generating entity.
As the economics of independent publishing continued to change, and McSweeney’s Publishing transitioned to a nonprofit entity, we were able to sustain ourselves through a single ad via the Deck ad network. Which is now defunct.
So we find ourselves at a point where we must plan for a sustainable future.
We’ve considered a number of options – erecting a paywall, sponsored content, introducing many more ads, including those ones where the text suddenly splits open and an ad for a stool softener begins. For various reasons, mostly because we think they ruin the experience of enjoying the daily humorous content, we’ve elected not to take those routes.
Fortunately, we have Patreon, a way to connect to the readership we hope to serve. And as we considered the possibilities of Patreon we became excited as we realized that we could do better than simply sustain the status quo.
What if we could achieve some of our longstanding goals? We thought.
Like what? We replied to ourselves.
- Paying contributors.
- Increasing Chris Monks’ part-time pay to reflect the full-time nature of his job.
- Hiring additional part-time staffers in editorial and web development.
- Establishing McSweeney’s Internet Tendency staff writer positions to augment the work of our freelance contributors.
- Returning some of the money that McSweeney’s Publishing has used to support McSweeney’s Internet Tendency over the years in order to help them to continue their important work.
- $6000/month – Status quo. The McSweeney’s Internet Tendency you’ve come to know and love for as long as we can keep this up.
- $8000/month – Contributors start getting paid!
- $10,000/month – Now add in money to support McSweeney’s Publishing in return for their years of helping the website.
- $15,000/month – This is a big one. Chris gets paid a full-time salary for a full-time job and we add in a “staff writer” program, including monthly stipends.
- $18,000/month – Help for Chris as McSweeney’s gets back to its 1.5 editorial staff peak. Even more money for contributors.
- Above $18,000 – More for everyone! Larger payments to contributors and staff writers. Increased salaries for editorial, and a bigger contribution to McSweeney’s publishing. Will look into buying a jet.
We hope you’ll consider becoming a Tendency patron. We plan on having fun with our Patreon page, where you’ll have exclusive access to special Tendency content. Your support means a lot. We’d really like to grow this thing and help our writers launch and sustain their careers. Who knows, maybe we’ll even be able to buy Chris a mouse pad.