Monday, July 11, 2011


Ray X Violates Key Zinester Commandment!


I have broken one of the sacred commandments of print zinesterdom:

THOU SHALL NOT CHARGE MORE THAN ONE DOLLAR FOR A ZINE THAT RUNS EIGHT PAGES OR LESS

I became aware of this vile transgression through Randy Robbins of Narcolepsy Press Review. He wrote a review of my zine, Ray X X-Rayer (#80), mentioning that it comes out "pretty regularly" and that the last issue feature images of crucified Santas on the cover, a layout he thought was "cool." Then he goes on why he has a problem with the latest issue.

At this point I thought he would write about the contents of #80, why he didn't care for my articles. After all, a review should at least give the reader a brief lowdown on what subjects the writor covers, his POV and style. If I was reviewing Narco I would summarize what is included besides short zine takes.

But I'm here to review a review. Most of Randy's words regarding XR #80 isn't the contents and my opinions but the new price for my zine:

"But with this issue I couldn't believe what I was reading. The last bit about how he's now charging for the zine and he deserves two bucks for his work and worse, that it'll just end soon anyway, just came off not cool. So if you never ordered it when it was free, now that's it two bucks, how about it?"

Ray X not cool? Horrors. What will the hipsters say?

(I hope Randy has a sense of humor.)

In a note he included with his zine Randy warned me with "Not the best review this time around." OK, some people don't like my writing. Fine. But Randy's focus was on my on $2.00 charge per issue. He advised me that I could only charge that for a 16 page zine.

My reply: Quality over quantity. I've received zines that were packed with pages -- mostly unreadable pages, content and print standards. Not worth a buck. My zine ain't slick but it's readable and some readers find it interesting.

And as I tried to eXplain before, I have limited time, money and energy. Blogging is very efficient, minimal cost. I have creative projects besides this Ray X gig, especially after six months of winter around here, being cooped up in this shoe box apartment. (That's why I haven't been blogging that much lately.)

I'd rather be doing other things than prepping a print zine and getting it out in the mail. (Sorry to repeat myself, regular readers of my genius.) I'd rather be researching and writing, not sorting, folding, stamping pieces of paper.

And don't take that last line as a put down of print zines. I like print zines. I'm just not into running a charitable operation while doing one. Once again, budget constraints.

I can live with a bad review for my zine but a bad bad review? It was like reading a movie critic's take on a film and all he does is complain about the price of the ticket to get in and says next to nothing about the movie's plot or theme.

In his note Randy wrote that he was "disheartened to read my cynical words" regarding the price for my zine. Sorry, Randy, I think my words are practical, not cynical.

I do things my own way. Maybe some think that I'm the Joe Eszterhas of zinedom, that all I want is top dollar. Look at my blog. No charge. I'm giving enough away for free as it is.

$2.00 for my print zine? Live with it.


[NOTE: Despite the bad bad review I received, Narcolepsy Press Review #7 is worth a couple of bucks. Send well-concealed cash to Randy Robbins, PO Box 17131, Anaheim, CA 92817-7131 .]

[NOTE: I've been told blog posts should never run over 500 words. This one clocks in over 650. Another vile transgression!]


3 comments:

Marvin the Martian said...

It's capitalism. Charge what the market will bear. If $2 is too much, no one will buy it. Losing one customer probably won't make much of a dent in sales.

However, those of us who saw "Conspiracy Theory" know that the people who subscribe to our zine are either hunting us or are themselves targets. Blogging is simpler and offers the forces of darkness less of a target. ;-)

X. Dell said...

I've blown past the 500 word limit so many times that I'm starting to refer to that as 'microblogging.' Damn close to Twitter.

I realize that you are facing rising costs as a publisher, and that you're certainly not getting rich putting it out. As a fellow zinester, I would guess that Robbins would be aware of this. Perhaps it might have been better for him to write a piece about the economics of zining.

Doug said...

There's a reason I am glad I don't attempt to get people to pay for what I post: no complaining.

And given how many times I've blown past 500 words in a single post I am in no position to be critical of your word count. I say, if what you have to say takes more than 500 words and it's interesting then it takes more than 500 words.

Besides: Is anyone actually reading every word? I mean, I do, but I'm an oddball that way; I doubt I am representative of most people.