That’s my best guess at just how much free labour has gone into Libre Graphics magazine since the end of August. Why the math? Because right now, I’m working on our application for the Canada Council for the Arts Literary and Art Magazine Grant (New Magazines component). And guess what? In our financial accounting, we have to count voluntary labour towards our donation-classified revenue. (See?!)
So I’ve gotten to counting. Now, let’s look at the math together. First, the big chunk: editorial, pre-press and marketing labour. I’ve been pretty conservative in calculating this, but it still comes out to a lot. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the time period we’re looking at starts the first week of September and goes up to this week, right now. That’s 25 weeks. In fact, very nearly half a year (back pats for that!). Now let’s say that for those 25 weeks, we’ve had an average of ten hours free work out of the three members of the editorial team (although trust me, it’s been more). Right there, we’re looking at 30 hours of work a week, over a 25 week period. Math time! That’s 750 hours of unpaid labour from the editorial team. Now, let’s set a rate for that labour. We’ll say, for the sake of argument, that our time is worth $40 an hour, each. Although in reality, as freelancers, we’re worth a little more than that, expensive people that we are. But for now, we’ll say $40/hour, times those 750 hours I just mentioned. So guess what?! That labour, in coordinating, writing calls, chasing libraries, selecting things, responding to emails, editing copy, designing typefaces, laying out, treating images, mailing stuff around the world, hassling our friends, and all those other things we do, that’s $30 000 right there over the last 25 weeks. Golly.
While our labour (and it is a labour of love) makes up the majority of the imaginary expense, there’s more. There were 10 000 words of article in issue 1.1. If we calculate that at the (pretty standard) rate of $0.10 per word, that’s $1000 of articles.
Next, copy editing, which we farmed out, since it takes multiple eyes to really properly edit an article (or, as the saying goes, “many eyes tame complexity”). We do three edits on each article, first, second a couple days later, and copy, which has to be done by someone other than the person who did the first two. So we farmed out our copy editing. To, I’ll admit it, my mother. Because she is an incredibly talented lady and a far more experienced copy editor than I’ll ever be. She’s got about thirty years of copy editing under her belt, and I’ll gladly have that kind of experience watching my editorial back any day. So we’ll hypothetically put her in at $50/hour, for 10 hours on issue 1.1. That’s another $500.
Finally, to round out the $35 000 dollars we didn’t spend, let’s put in the art, mystery labour and promotion that other people have done for us. We’ll call it $3500. That rounds us up to an even $35 000 over the last 25 weeks.
So I love you about $35 000 dollars worth. I’ll admit that I teared up a little bit when I started calculating the volunteer labour we’ve gotten. Add to that all the un-calculable work that others have put in and it goes so much further. It’s incredibly heartening to see all the work that’s gone in, all the people who have contributed and all the enthusiasm.
Now we just have to hope that the people evaluating our grant application aren’t bothered by the fact that we’ve spent $35 000 less than we should have.