We Make Zines

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Do you order from zine distros?  Yes?  No?  Why?  Why not?

 

Would you be sad to see distros go away? 

 

I ask simply because I am getting a bit down about continuing to run a distro and wonder if they are necessary to keep zines thriving? 

 

People seem to enjoy the distro, but lack of orders means a lack of funds to order new stock and so goes the cycle.   I never wanted to be one of the ones to run a distro for a short time period and give up, but I am starting to see why it happens. 

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I order from distros when I can because it's a great way to get a bunch of different zines in one place.  It's basically the closest thing I've got to a zine bookstore... the reason I often can't is, as a Canadian, the postage prices can get kind of ridiculous and most of the distros I know of aren't based in Canada.  (Definitely not saying there aren't any- I can think of a few great ones- and please correct me if there's a bunch I don't know about, I'd love to be informed.)  I'd be very sad to see them go away, but I can understand why they would be hard to keep up.
I haven't gotten any orders in over a month. If I wasn't already planning to shut down the online part of my distro and go table-only (which will necessitate a decrease in number of titles carried), this would do it. It's partially my fault for not really promoting, because I don't like doing online promotion, but with the age of Etsy I do wonder if online distros are necessary. Almost all of my online zine orders come from individuals or Etsy now; I buy a lot from distros at fests but for whatever reason, I just... don't buy online from distros anymore. Haven't done so regularly since Paper Trail closed. Maybe I should fix this. :)

I hate to be so negative but i just want to scream "USE IT OR LOSE IT!!!"


It has been just less than 3 years since Click Clack has been open and I never expected to have these thoughts so soon.  What is keeping the Wal-Mart of zines open?   Why do I still receive a TON of zines for distro consideration (some that I would like to carry, but have to weigh out the cost options and wonder if I will get enough orders)? 

 

It seems people want the option there, but utilizing them is a different story.

 

Now - I will admit I am not the fastest at getting descriptions up, but I have an extremely full catalog. 

I love to shop distros! The trouble is (a) finding them and (b) finding one that has titles I'm interested in.

 

To those distro owners who answered, I would've loved to have seen a link to your distro in your response, so I could just click over and see what you had. I think that getting the word out is key, and in a forum like this an embedded link is so easy and useful. I used to order from a distro that put out an email every month or two to let everyone know what was new/interesting/hidden treasure, etc.

 

I'm often wondering "who's out there?" or "are they still open?" neither of which are the kinds of questions that should be the first to come to mind. 

 

How can WeMakeZines work better for distros? (cause I don't much like buying zines on etsy)

 

---Margarat

 

I think it would be beneficial for there to be a list of open distros somewhere on WeMakeZines in a prominent place.   I've felt like I have overly promoted my distro around here and it seems people still don't know it exists.   (http://clickclackdistro.com by the way).  There have been multiple thread topics of "what distros are open and exist?" but they always get pushed down.

Mine is Black Light Diner. Be aware: my catalog is at a low ebb right now. But hey, you asked. :)

 

As far as We Make Zines goes (and I am aware that this is only a tiny, tiny part of the zine community online, which in turn is not the be-all-end-all of zines), I really wish there was less of a ban on self-promotion around here. Yes, it would be annoying to have people posting about their distros or individual zines every day and clogging up discussion for everyone else, but an occasional ad or posting would at least keep things moving. I never, I mean NEVER, check the "tell us about your new zine" post here because it's just too long and I can't figure out where I left off. Maybe it would be more helpful to have a monthly "new zine" post and allow distros to promote themselves no more than monthly. Yeah, we can promote distros on our "blogs" here but TBH I don't check those either. In general, I'd rather have more frequent topics with fewer replies than five monster posts that are always on the front page. Maybe that's just me.

 

Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go said:


To those distro owners who answered, I would've loved to have seen a link to your distro in your response, so I could just click over and see what you had.

I don't read a high volume of zines, and I don't have much expendable cash right now, and I really like to flip through things before I buy them, so I guess that's why I don't buy anything from distros.

 

I think: If running a distro is a good combination of enjoying or profitable, keep doing it. If it isn't, stop. Or experiment with things to see if there's a way it can be.

I *want* to order from distros, but now I'm wary.  I've ordered from two.  One was Click Clack, who sent my order promptly.  The other I had to open a Pay Pal claim on because I never got my stuff. Additionally, she just refused to communicate with me.  I'm holding on outing the name because she has claimed to Pay Pal that my stuff is in the mail, but if I don't get it soon, I'll let you know a distro to avoid.

 

I know distros are generally one person and that running one can be overwhelming, but don't take someone's money if you can't deliver, you know what I mean?  That's called stealing!

 

All that said, I'm glad distro sites exist, because they're great places to shop around and see what's out there.

I can't remember if I ever ordered from a distro.  If I did, it was quite a while ago, and this person only sold a few zines.  I think back then, a decade ago or more, there was the practice of more or less trading a number of your zines for somebody else's, say, 5 for 5, and just listing those zines in your own zine or just some little flyer now and then.  I don't know if this was very practical or not.  It was just a practice. 

I used to send about 3 zines to Quimbys, but never paid much attention to how they were selling, though I'm sure it was very slow. Before that, the few times I submitted zines to distros were rejected. 

I think postal-mail option distros are good because they allow buying with cash/stamps/trade through the mail for zinesters who can't/don't care to rent a POB or use their home address, but for me, the reading of a distro catalogue is the relaxation/entertainment equivalent of reading a zine.  I'm not saying they're bad or anything, but I just can't "browse" on-line only distros.  It just wears me out. (I'm not sure why Etsy wouldn't be considered an on-line distro.)  Why not offer printable versions, like Microcosm?  I LOVE their dense layout!

I enjoy zining, but I'm very cheap, lazy, short-attentioned spanned, and procrastinating in the entire process of ordering zines.  Reading a review zine, in a reclining position, is the most important stage of the process in ordering any zine.  I may mull it over for years before I decide to shell out the asking price.

If there were more printable versions of on-line distros (or review zines), I might be a little more inclined to buy something from them once in a blue moon, and even relax my rule against "e-mailing first" and/or "electronic purchase".  I've never been able to get PayPal to work, after many tries, and have pretty much given up on it, but I could use my debit card.

That's a good idea, Nicole. If you wanna collect some distro names and websites for me we can post a permanent link on the website.

 

Krissy

NicoleIntrovert said:

I think it would be beneficial for there to be a list of open distros somewhere on WeMakeZines in a prominent place.   I've felt like I have overly promoted my distro around here and it seems people still don't know it exists.   (http://clickclackdistro.com by the way).  There have been multiple thread topics of "what distros are open and exist?" but they always get pushed down.

Hi Erica,

There is no ban on self-promotion on here at all.  I just don't want people posting announcements or calls for submission in the forums. The forum is for questions and discussions.

There is no reason that posting on the forum should be considered better real estate than posting on your blog. In fact, your blog post shows up in the middle on the main page and the forum is off to the side - so the blog seems to have better placement. 

I'm not sure why you would read something posted in the forum and yet you don't read the blogs from the main page. Why would this be? You can still comment on them and respond to people. Just trying to understand.

 

Thanks,  Krissy


Erica S. said:

Mine is Black Light Diner. Be aware: my catalog is at a low ebb right now. But hey, you asked. :)

 

As far as We Make Zines goes (and I am aware that this is only a tiny, tiny part of the zine community online, which in turn is not the be-all-end-all of zines), I really wish there was less of a ban on self-promotion around here. Yes, it would be annoying to have people posting about their distros or individual zines every day and clogging up discussion for everyone else, but an occasional ad or posting would at least keep things moving. I never, I mean NEVER, check the "tell us about your new zine" post here because it's just too long and I can't figure out where I left off. Maybe it would be more helpful to have a monthly "new zine" post and allow distros to promote themselves no more than monthly. Yeah, we can promote distros on our "blogs" here but TBH I don't check those either. In general, I'd rather have more frequent topics with fewer replies than five monster posts that are always on the front page. Maybe that's just me.

 

Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go said:


To those distro owners who answered, I would've loved to have seen a link to your distro in your response, so I could just click over and see what you had.

Although, I have way too many zines that I haven't read yet, I do order from distros once in a while. I want to support them and I try and order from each one at least once. As for what makes me order, trhe decision is usually made by one thing: 1 zine I have never heard of before and that appeals to me.  I often see the same zines at distros. Wheen I see something new I will buy all kinds of other zines and items to fill out an order. But, really what I want is that one zine.

I also can be heavily enticed by crafts and in the case of Valerie Park, soul music cassettes.  But, the one zine is what usually pushes me over the edge.

I know there are certain zines that are super popular and big sellers, but based on my experience, I would recommend also carrying new and unique zines, maybe from people that don't have their zines at all the other distros, if you can.

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