In early 2014, as we were building our new website, we invited a small group people to look at an early beta and give us their feedback. We asked them to criticize anything they felt warranted another look — our design, text, and particularly our early take on the new subscription model.
The feedback we received was plentiful and honest, shattering our assumptions and making us question everything we had created. Over the course of the following months, we worked together to make The Manual better for everyone, and we’re incredibly grateful to this early group for their contributions.
We greatly enjoyed this enriching and valuable process and wanted to extend it beyond the website in the immediate future. We wanted to formalize a more intimate relationship between ourselves and a passionate, dedicated group of readers who loved The Manual and wanted to help shape it.
So we established The Fellowship — a limited, private, and intimate community of readers who want to support The Manual in a more significant way, and who will come with us in the journey that is making The Manual.
Their ideas and expertise will become a key part of shaping its future – and, in return, we’ll give them exclusive first-hand behind-the-scenes access to what we’re building, along with some unique treats in gratitude and appreciation for their effort.
Beginning with our upcoming Issue 5 and expansions to the website, we’ll share all progress with members of The Fellowship as it happens, and we’ll listen closely to their ideas and comments. We want them to feel invested in The Manual as part of the team, celebrating our small victories and sharing our concerns when things get rough.
In order to assemble this tight-knit group of people and foster a relationship where listening, discussion, and collaboration are both encouraged and feasible, we’re limiting The Fellowship to 25 members and setting membership costs at £300 per year.
For now, you can join The Fellowship through our Kickstarter project. But post-Kickstarter, we’ll dedicate a part of our website to explain the motivation and the goals of The Fellowship and invite interested readers to email us. Then we’ll go through the admission process in a more personal and human way.
We’ll reward The Fellowship members with unique treats — membership tokens and bespoke artifacts, advance copies of all our editions (web, ebook, audiobook, and print), alpha access to all new website features, occasional Skype calls for discussions, and even invitations to join our team in our Slack room to celebrate launches.
However, we don’t consider these treats to be the biggest rewards of The Fellowship, and we don’t want them to be the deciding factor for readers considering to join — they’re simply our way to say thank you to our fellows for helping The Manual become a better publication.
The Fellowship — as many other new things we’re introducing with The Manual, Everywhere — is an experiment. We’re very bullish on its importance to the future of the publication, but as with other things, it too will be shaped by our members.
We understand it’s not for everyone, and it was never intended to be — but if you love The Manual as much as we do, we’d be delighted to have you join The Fellowship.