Row House was the one that was really the big, daring project, where we tried to raise $900,000 – and that turned out to be 1.2 million. We were trying to blow the lid on the industry in terms of inequality and pay, so we introduced this 4040 model, which gives an advance of $40,000 and 40% royalties to any author regardless of the size of their platform.
So one of the biggest challenges was doubt. A lot of people told us it was impossible – that we couldn’t do it because it had never been done before. The other challenge was raising money and awareness, and getting people involved, especially from traditional routes, like venture capitalists – a lot of people wanted me to fail. I constantly had to justify not only the mission of the company, but also really justify my existence as a person in the business. It was demoralizing, it was frustrating, which is why we went crowdfunding.
It turned out to be historically successful. There is a very short list of black women who have raised a million dollars through traditional funding routes, and our entire editorial board is made up of women of color. We reached almost 1.2 million in less than a year, so it was a really big deal.
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