Happy Monday, zine friends! I am definitely not awake yet. How about you? It’s really not a good sign here considering that it’s about 8.30pm that I am typing this. Haha.
I have some gorgeous mail to share with you this week from gorgeous people. I love it!
This, the 45th issue of The Ken Chronicles, made it into my post box this morning, making it a lovely start to the week. Even lovelier is the story of this zine. I traded a copy of Paper Currency with Ken for The Ken Chronicles 44. Ken noticed that it cost me $9 shipping to send him PC, put the figures into the exchange rate, and told me that it costs me three times more to send him that zine than it cost him to send me his zine.
I didn’t really think about it (besides my usual shipping grumbles), but he actually did the math! And send me this zine in his wonderful generosity to make up for the difference in shipping. I really can’t thank him enough.
If you like perzines, then definitely check out Ken Bausert on We Make Zines. He’s a good guy, and there are a lot of things about his zines to enjoy.
How cute is this zine? The title, the picture of the potato… I am struggling not to use all caps at times here. How am I supposed to get anything done when y’all are sending me zines that I want to read immediately?
The struggle is so real, and a huge thank you to Keira for sending me Small Potatoes #1 for review!
Sober Booooooob! We may be a good many weeks into Sober Bob’s weekly zine (way to go on that note, Bob), but I am nothing if not even more excited to see a zine from Bob in the mail. She has me hooked. I’m like a thought vampire. Write mini-zines about your lives and send them to me. They keep me going.
Thank you, Sober Bob!
That’s me for now. I’ll be back soon with today’s daily ZineWriMo post. Woo!
It’s been a big week for happy mail! I am so excited and so happy to receive such great mail from people outside Australia. I know postage stinks, so that makes it doubly heartfelt.
First up is a trade from PunkRawkDude on Tumblr.
I haven’t read the zine yet, but on glance through, I am impressed. There is some serious cut and paste goodness happening in here. Definitely check it out.
Next comes from my regular zine trade friend, Fishspit. He once again wins all things when it comes to envelope art.
There is all kinds of mail goodness happening in here. Zine, letter, tape, etc. Fishspit is awesome because, when he doesn’t have a zine of his own ready to go, he sends me zines made by his friends.
Tiny hamster! In a previous envelope, Fishspit sent me an adorable tiny (sea)green zine cat. And now he has a friend in the tiny hamster. So cute. They’re on my desk next to my tiny TARDIS.
As he so nicely put it, I’m a bit lost when it comes to music, so he’s taken it upon himself to educate me. This is the second mix tape he’s sent along for my education.
Last up comes a huge care package from none other than my sister-from-another-mister in the States, Black Wolf. She really outdid herself AND was kind enough to play courier so I could save on postage with some zines from Microcosm Publishing.
There’s not a lot out there that I love more than this moment when I start to see what goodies are in store…
Stuuuuff. Black Wolf definitely knows how to send a care package. She made this one a special birthday edition care package with some of my favourites – M&Ms! (Crispy forever.) There is a huge stack of zines as well as books courtesy of Microcosm Publishing being very generous to me as well as the John Truby book from Amazon. The little princess bags on the right are from my niece’s birthday. I can’t be there in person, but they make it so it’s like I was. <3
This pin! Oh, this pin. I cannot clearly express how much I love this pin.
As always with happy mail, I am feeling so grateful to everyone who is willing to trade with me, send me zines, send me other happy mail stuff. Postage costs are not easy to deal with, even inside Australia, so I hope you know how happy it makes me to see anything in my post box.
Did you know that Dear Anonymous started out as a mini-zine?
That idea lasted all of five minutes after I received the first letter, but it was fun to make.
It occurs to me that I would like to make a mini-zine. I’m a fluffy heart fangirl of the A5 sized zine, but there is something endearing and awesome about the smaller zines floating around. Plus, I’ve only ever made one, and that was waaaay back.
Back when Purple Moose (RIP) was part of the magical zine team known as Sea Green Zines.
A while back, I believe it was Wolfram (of Queer Content fame) mentioned in a group discussion that a zinemaker should have at least one free zine that can be included in mail packs, handed out to strangers,
traded for candy,etc. The idea stuck in my head like gum on my shoe, but that’s a poor metaphor because I don’t want to get rid of the idea.
I want to act on it.
I’ve mentioned before that Australian postal costs stink – especially internationally. So that’s definitely a hindrance in sending out a mini-zine as an additional freebie. But if someone orders more than one zine, I suddenly have a lot of grams (of weight) that I can fill up without the postage going up.
The weird thing is that I feel a little out of my depth for a mini-zine. I have heaps of ideas for the larger sized ones, but man… A mini-zine? More thinking needed.
What do you think? Do you have mini-zines? Do you like them? Would you want one?
I think it was the envelope from Fishspit that made me realise that I was missing out on some big mail art fun.
That’s not to say that I hadn’t received beautifully drawn upon, stamped, embossed, coloured, washi taped, etc envelopes before, but his envelopes made me realise that cut and paste is alive and well in envelopes as well as zines. And, well, I really wish I could up my game.
The obvious point of the matter is that I could up my game if I had more artistic skills when it comes to drawing. The not-so-obvious point of the matter that when it comes to adding so much as a sticker to international mail from Australia, it gets… annoying.
The thing about Australian mail sent internationally is that it’s $2.45 up until you hit the 50 grams mark. After that? It jumps to $7.40
I’m not here to talk about how utterly ridiculous the price difference is (grr) but rather to talk about 50 grams.
50 grams is not that much. Not by a long shot. When you’re sending paper and maybe tucking a few stickers in there, it’s more than enough. But when it comes to a zine – especially a zine with cardstock covers – adding in a halfway decent envelope can quickly and easily send it right over the mark.
I try to keep my zines at 24 pages or less because, after you put a cover on them, they are skirting that 50g line pretty closely. Add in the envelope and you’re screwed over in a hurry. I would love to send out my zines with sturdier envelopes for protection, but the sturdier envelopes would take up so much of the weight that I’d be lucky to put a mini-zine inside.
I wish there was a middle ground between 50g and 250g that would let me make bigger zines and/or have fun with mail art. Alas…
I don’t know if anyone had even ever wondered about Australian postage costs, but there you go. My ‘info rant’ for the day.
Postage being the massive expense that it is, I am happy to announce that you can now get the digital versions of my zines at My Etsy Shop.
Bask in the knowledge that you are helping me buy printer ink, of which I have absolutely none right now. (Uh oh.)
Do you know what this is? This is the culmination of SO MUCH (yup, bold and all caps kind of ‘so much’) scanning, converting files, adjusting files, compiling files, and exporting files.
Dear Anonymous I, II, III, Don’t Call Me Cupcake, and Don’t Call Me Cupcake 2 will all soon be available in PDF form on Etsy!
I know that this can be a sticky subject for some people, given the heart and soul of zine culture is cut and paste. Physical form.
But the fact remains that I live in Australia, and a heck of a lot of people don’t. A lot of those people who don’t live in Australia can’t afford the postage involved in getting my zines on a plane and into their hands.
I want those people to still be able to check out my zines. So the cheaper option is a PDF.
I’m not quite done with everything, but I am close. I’ll announce when they’re listed at some point next week.
I recently had the pleasurable experience (sarcasm) of buying ink for my printer. After the experience of posting out DA3 to everyone (not that I am complaining!), I began to think about how I crowdfunded my last two novels. With the help of friends and strangers, I was able to pay for everything from the cover art to the print copies.
I’d never thought about doing it for zines mostly because zines (my zines) don’t cost as much to produce as novels (my novels) do. Looking at Kickstarter, it looks like zine are a ‘done’ thing in crowdfunding.
So, quick question:
How do you feel about crowdfunding zines?
The Good News
Fly my pretties, fly! Dear Anonymous 3 contributor copies are flying out into the world. They have been delivered to the postal deities and will arrive at their destinations in 7-10 business days. I’m so glad they are. There’s not a lot that I hate more than missing a deadline when that deadline involves other people.
PS. I may watch Don’t Starve Together play videos while sewing zines. I don’t have a problem…
The Bad News
I had it in the back of my mind that this might happen eventually, but I didn’t give it too much thought because I didn’t think it would happen anytime soon. Alas, it has.
Yeah… Today I went out to the post office to send out contributor copies. Because there were so many contributors (I’m not complaining – it’s awesome!) there were not only a lot of envelopes but the zine also weighed more. As in over 50g. As in jumped up considerably for those mere grams extra.
I wouldn’t say anything, but the fact of the matter is that it was a complete fluke that I even had the money to send all this. Complete fluke. I know I should have figured out the cost going in, but I think I knew it was going to be a lot so I didn’t want to face it. (You can see why I’m rolling in the big bucks after being so financially savvy for my entire life.)
So… It’s with a very sad heart that I have to say Dear Anonymous 3 is the last zine for which I can offer physical copies for contributors.
I seriously did not want to have to do it. I’m sorry.
The Happy Mail!
This lovely envelope of goodness comes from my friend Karley. Karley was one of the first contributors to Dear Anonymous, and she ran an awesome fiction/poetry/music zine called The Filth. She’s sent me a zine she likes that she thought I should check out along with a bunch of clippings from this and that for my various creative works.
Postage to and from Australia can be a bit of a piss off.
We’re kind of stuck here with a long way to go to get anywhere. So, of course postage is going to suck. Even so, you can imagine my shock when a potential trade went up in smoke because:
I went to the post office… and they wanted to charge me over $20 to send three zines.
Wait… wait… What?
I know we’re far away and all, but in no universe does it cost that much to send zines to Australia. I took a couple pictures to prove it:
This envelope contained three zines (US half-fold), a greeting-type card and a business card.
This one contained one zine (US half-fold), a mini-zine, and a single-page note.
If your post office tries to tell you that sending a few zines costs more than $20:
1. Make sure they are charging for letter post, not parcel post. I’m not sure if those are the exact categories in US mail, but it all comes down to sending documents versus sending other items.
2. Ask for other shipping options. They might be trying to put you down for first class, express shipping or some other such stuff. They might be assuming that you want extra cover, sign at the door, blah blah blah.
3. If they still insist that it’s $20+ (and you’re definitely sending paper material only), then screw them and either go to another office or go pre-paid. Even a pre-paid First-Class Mail® International Large Envelope only costs $12.60 USD. How do I know?
4. Look it up on the USPS International Postage Calculator. If you do that, then you can say you did that and hold them accountable.
There’s my little rant for the day. It may seem like a small thing to some, but it’s definitely not to me. For reasons.