When Manor House Quarterly first came out two-and-a-half years ago, it was a breath of fresh air in San Diego's literary and arts scene. What began as a night of creative expression at founding director and then-Point Loma Nazarene University student Dane Cardiel's house—dubbed The Manor—grew into a visually stunning magazine that's published work by more than 100 local artists and writers since its inception.
Each issue of the journal is themed, with art by the likes of Margaret Noble, Wes Bruce, Ryan McGinness and upcoming cover artist Richard Diebenkorn. The art serves as a companion to poems, short stories and interviews with contributors.
MHQ has grown slowly but exponentially, adding digital issues and apps for iPhone and Android. Now Cardiel is hoping to take his journal to the next level by marketing it as widely as possible and asking for help the best way creative folks know how—via a Kickstarter campaign.
"Kickstarter is a pretty good way to catapult us into new markets," Cardiel says. "We're just trying to conceptualize what it means to be successful in print media, and that's trying to balance your online and digital platforms. This is a way for us to promote."
He's hoping to put MHQ on more newsstands across the country and in Canada, as well as promote the digital version. The money raised through Kickstarter would go toward marketing and distribution.
Backers would receive a range of goodies, like digital copies of MHQ, a year-long subscription, art prints and more.
As of Feb. 18, the campaign had 17 backers and had reached about 10 percent of its $10,000 goal. But Cardiel isn't relying only on friends and family to get him there. He's hitting the pavement from Feb. 27 through March 17, making stops at the Rhode Island School of Design, various places in New York City and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference in Boston, where he'll have a booth with local publishing house Cooper Dillon Books.
"If we can get people to realize this is an exquisite piece of print media you can't just get anywhere, we'll reach our goal," Cardiel says. "It's something I think people will gravitate to. Those who have seen it and invest in it love what we're doing."
Cardiel envisions MHQ reaching the same level as McSweeny's or Juxtapoz. And, not only that, he says; it can put San Diego on the map for literary magazines.
"Exposure is everything," he says. "It's just me right now—me with a post-graduate salary trying to do everything. My personal philosophy is that if we branch out a bit we can bring it back. A win for Man or House is a win for San Diego in my book. People in the San Diego arts-and-culture community should be interested in what we're doing."