Readers' Letters

#Administrative

Mon, Jun 23rd, 1997 01:00 by capnasty NEWS

From: Don Fitch Date sent: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 03:26:54 -0400 (EDT)To: [email protected] Subject: Re: CoN II.24

Hi, Leandro:

Coming by way of "science-fiction fandom fanzines", I've long been accustomed to the idea of interactive response in the context of amateur publications. If you didn't write at least an occasional reasonably-intelligent Letter of Comment, in order to help keep the discussions going and to indicate that you were following things and appreciating what the editor/publisher was doing, you'd soon be dropped from the mailing list.

'Zines don't seem to have nearly so much of this Interactive aspect -- they're mostly more like soapbox orations, on-stage performances, or presentations of a product (like mainstream magazines), rather than an ongoing conversation or discussion among friends, and don't necessarily have an audience composed mostly of people who are comfortable handling complex ideas by means of the written word, so they (and you) don't get much feedback from their readers. I don't think that's necessarily inherent in the 'Zine form, but it does seem to be the common trend, and not easy to buck.

Thanks for telling us about Father Ross "Padre" Legere. I've not attended a Catholic (or other religious) high school, but have heard enough to conclude that, whatever their other merits might be, they're not a pleasant or rewarding environment for independent-minded and creative people. I'm glad that you (and other students at that school) had someone like Fr. Legere to recognize and support talent and creativity even though these characteristics _do_ sometimes threaten the established order of things. It's good to see the efforts of such people acknowledged.

I must confess that, not being A Movie Person (the last movie I saw was ET -- the week after it was first released (a friend was visiting from Toronto, and really wanted to see a movie in Hollywood, for some reason)), I tend to skim over the movie reviews in CoN ... or rather, _try_ to skim lightly; they tend to be perceptive critiques that are worth reading even though I'm not interested in the movies that sparked them.

(I assume that this is understood when one writes a Letter of Comment to a 'Zine or E-zine, but just in case: This letter is freeware/fanware, with permission granted to reproduce it in any not-for-profit publication.)

Don Fitch

+++++++++

---[Editor's Response]---

Hello Don Fitch,

thank you for showing us that at least one person out there bothers to read what we write and comment on our material. As you said, CoN is more of a soapbox than an actual magazine and it's true. I find myself cursing and whining about life most of the time and forcing my weird opinions down everyone's throat. Considering as well that sometimes putting stuff together each week it's hard causing me to publish late because I don't have anything in particular to fill in the empty spaces. Our own time is scarce as well, so when we do something for CoN, it's either late at night or in a break from work. CoN is a hobby, and we decided from the day we turned it from private (our own personal zine) to public (get poor innocent people involved with it) that it should stay as such.

By taking CoN as a hobby and not as something which is a task or duty, we end up enjoying it much more. If it ever ceases to be fun and it starts looking like a job CoN will automatically cease to exist. At the moment the only reason CoN keeps on coming on your virtual mailbox is because I am stubborn and I don't give up. I like the challenge of writing something new each week and being able to send something out with a deadline. I guess it is helping me growing and maintaining deadlines and after all we have already passed the one year mark.

Surprisingly in the beginning we got quite a response, and articles were not a problem. We recycled a few of the good ones from Volume 0pubblications, and we also had a great collection of weird text-files collected from the days when BBS were the only mean of electronic communication for people that had just started High School. Also the response from our readers (no more than a handful) at the time was great.

It seems however really hard to get noticed. The Internet has too much noise, and even if I wanted CoN to be like some sort of big family where everyone could talk and discuss with each other the topic, it seems that the readers don't even acknowledge it. Now that summer started and many university accounts get deactivated, I lost quite a large number of readers and during our server problems, a few unsubscribed.

I wrote to a e-zine that has 12,000 readers, called Inklings(http://www.inklings.com). It's a zine which helps writers and provides help for new zines (electronic or other ways). I wrote to the editor Debbie Ridpath Ohi , and she was kind enough to suggest to me where to go and look at. She also has a great webpage with lots of information on where to advertise the zine, where to have the zine reviewed, and so on. (http://www.inkspot.com/craft/newsletterinfo.html).

I am also thinking of going down to Speakers' Corner and advertise my web-site there. Speakers' Corner is a small booth where you can sit inside and the TV station (CityTv) for one dollar will tape about 4minutes of your time. You can say whatever you want and then witness what you said on the next Saturday, where they go on the air.

Another idea would be to make small posters (8' by 11') with info about the magazine and the URL for people to subscribe to and then paste it around all those Cybercafes and similar. Perhaps this will get me an audience, although I am afraid of the kind =)

As for the movie reviews, it's part of our culture. We have what we call "Movie Night in Canada" and it's an excuse to get together, watch a movie and slaughter it. After that we all get together and practice some cafe` terrorism, as described in one of our previous issues.

Take care Don Fitch, and thank you for your criticism and interest towards CoN.

Don Leo+

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