We Make Zines

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I was wondering how much feedback you tend to get on your zines. I've been lucky to not get contacted by any creeps or highly irritating people, but I don't really get contacted by anyone with an opinion either (I'm not into the idea of sending stuff to review sites, it seems too forced, I'd rather get feedback from people who were genuinely interested in reading the zine to start with).

There are people who regularly buy my zines as they come out who have never contacted me with any comment, and often when I've traded with people I just get a note saying "thanks for the zine". In fact, I've pretty much just got feedback from people I'm friends with already, who of course will tend to be biased in my favour. In an anxious moment the other week, I was wondering if it was because my zine was so boring it didn't elicit any response at all, or was so bad people didn't want to be mean, so said nothing, but that's probably just self-doubt.

How about you? Do you get much feedback on your zines?

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I don't think I got much feedback beyond "I like your zine" for a really long time, but I have definitely been getting more feedback and making more copies of certain issues in the last two years or so, possibly because that was when I started getting more personal in my zines, and getting a little more focused. Personally, I find it hard to give feedback to other zinesters because unless they specifically ask for it, I don't know if they really wanna hear it, although I am certainly a fan of writing letters to zinesters and keeping in touch. I really think it depends on who you're sending your zine to, and what you're writing in your trade note. If I'm particularly interested in hearing from someone, I'll tell them to let me know what they think, but that doesn't really guarantee anything.

Also, yes, there are people who have been buying my zine regularly for YEARS, yet have never sent me any sort of response to the zines themselves, and while I totally appreciate their support, it would be cool to actually hear from them now and then; they must be enjoying the zine if they keep buying them.
When I put out work in the world, I'm generally not that interested in serious feedback, though I do find it nice if someone tells me they like what I did.

I'm reluctant about giving feedback. It's hard to tell what kinds of feedback people want, and people often take feedback poorly.

I think it's helpful if people include a note in their work about what kind of responses they'd appreciate. I'm more likely to respond to work with a note like this.

If any of you want some feedback on your zine and you send it to me with an explanation of what kind of feedback you want, I'd be happy to share my thoughts.
as an older zinester i have to say that there isnt much feedback anymore - i used to get drawers full of letters and trades and responses (made some great friends out of it too) but these days i get very little response. that said, i am as guilty as anyone else - i put the zine aside, think "must write to them" and three months later i'm still thinking it! time restraints, the ease of just sending a token email... fear of the creeps maybe?? for me also being older i sometimes hold back because i dont want to come across as one of those creeps - its kind of weird communicating with people so much younger than me sometimes :D
Hello, I know you from LJ. :)

I've had a couple of comments from people on my first zine, which sold about ten copies, and the comments were nice, so I was encouraged by that. One person took the trouble to contact me from the States, sending me a card by snail mail, so I take that as a big compliment.

Right now I'm a bit paranoid because my second zine is out and being pimped around, but no-one has bought it yet...

If I'm the second person to send in a trade I always send a longish letter about the zine, but often I just get a "thanks for the zine" if I'm first.

Maybe I should put in my zine "What do you think? Email me, I'm not a delicate little snowflake". In my job I have to have regular observations of my work and critiques of my professional practice, so a few comments about my zine are hardly going to bother me.
My new years resolution is to write more detailed letters to people who's zines I get.
nope. every once in a while I get a nice comment or a letter (that's happened, like, twice) and it totally floors me. usually if I tell someone I'm trading with that I got their zine and liked it, that usually spurs a response, but often it's just "got yours too and enjoyed it!"

and my friends/family are generally AWFUL with feedback. my boyfriend will read something I've worked on for WEEKS and say, "neat." if I press for more info I get a, "aw, you know I can't describe things..."

it's frustrating, but those once in a blue moon comments make it all worth it. I figure if I really want to know, I could keep better track of who's getting my stuff and ask them up front what they thought, though that does seem a bit pushy...
I've been doing the zine thing for half of my life and in all of that time I've only once received any feedback at all. Reviews? Sure, there've been a few. Praise (and condemnation) from people I know or have traded with? Yeah, I've had that too. But honestly, only once did I receive an unsolicited bit of feedback. It came in the form of a card that said something to the effect of:

"You make me laugh -- thank you for all you do."

No order or asking for a free copy or anything. Just a handful of pleasant words. And man, I was going through the worst patch of life that I hope I ever have to go through and it just made my fucking day. No, it made my month, perhaps even my year.

I think that a lot of folks avoid sending gushing letters, or even emails, for fear of seeming lame, or creepy, or something to that effect. But I'll tell you, sometimes a happy little note goes a long way. And if somebody wants to take me to task for anything I've said in my various publications, well, I'd relish that too. Communication with the outside world is why most of us weirdo zine folk do this crazy thing, but the readers do seem to be a bit passive.

Alas, it's a lazy world. So be it.
I'm not very consistent in who I give feedback to, but sometimes I do, and if so I like it to be unsolicited, an email out of the dark because when I've got them myself it's really made my day.

I think I've averaged one very positive comment for every zine I've done. Doesn't sound much, but each one of those comments has been really lovely. Often it's a friend in an evening saying 'that really made me think', or even better 'my dad read your zine and he says you really know your stuff', 'i really like the way you write', and if it's an unsolicited comment it is so powerful. If I give someone a zine in the street and they smile and say thankyou, then that is also a fantastic form of feedback.

The exception for me on feedback is probably the most thorough and most info-heavy zine I've done (on the local heritage of anarchism here). I left an email and once every 3 months or so I still get an email from an unknown name reminiscing about characters I mentioned in the zine, or whatever's in their head.

But feedback is tricky. My girlfriend said last night that I'd never said what I thought of her zine. I gave a carefully controlled answer, not just an 'it's great!', and with a small element of negativity in that I said 'I don't normally like carefully designed things, they feel more distant, you know how I always do stuff in a massive rush'. So I imagine she took part of my feedback as 'I didn't really like it', which is a shame because it's not what I think.

I don't really want negative feedback on personal crafty messy amateur expression. I love people just writing what they feel. I don't mind about grammar or font issues or if I don't share their attitude. I just love that they've shared it in their own way. I would like critical comments back on, say, political or factual etc... things I put out, but that's it.
I rarely get feedback. Sometimes I will get an email, and once I got a letter telling me they didn't like my zine, but thats about it. The most feedback I get is from other zinesters I write fairly often.

I used to make sure to write a letter in response to every zine I read, but with that I noticed no one would ever write back. Or they would mail back a one sentence letter saying thanks.It seemed that the zinesters I was writing were too busy to discuss their zine.

So, since I've been a lot busier lately then when I first started writing zines, it doesn't really bother me, but it would be cool to see more folks writing each other.
i mostly just get comments from social networking sites like here, myspace, facebook, afropunk, etc. sometimes people will friend request me and say they read my zine somewhere and liked it. but i do like letters sometimes but i feel like if it was a trade i have to go back and reread there's and pick things that i like about it and write back to them, which i mostly don't do. that feels too much like homework. overall i don't like criticism, and only one person has really challenged something i said. since i mostly write about sex i do get a lot of sex questions or people telling me about their own sex lives or lack thereof and questions that probably a medical professional should answer. i try to steer people in the right direction, but i'm not really a doctor or ARNP, so i mostly just tell them what book they should read.
I've definitely found that the further I go along and the more personal the issue is, the more feedback I get. I was astounded at the feedback to my latest issue, which was about a breakup of a five year relationship. I felt kind of silly putting out the issue, but since my zine generally reflects what's going on in my life at the time, it was only appropriate and it was really cathartic as well. In a way, this was the issue I wanted the least feedback for since it felt sort of embarrassing and a little too personal and I didn't want to feel like I was trying to get sympathy from others, but I guess everyone can relate to heartbreak. I received 3 or 4 emails a week for a few months, and several long handwritten letters from people commiserating in heartbreak. It was actually really nice for my breakup process but I also felt a lot of pressure! Like, I don't know these people at all and they're sharing their heavy feelings with me and hoping for advice or a response. But I guess that's part of the responsibility of sharing your own thoughts.

As much as I love receiving feedback, I'm totally guilty of rarely giving it. This is something I need to work on, I know. I used to be really active in letter writing and zine reading but as I got busier with various other things, all of that got put on the backburner aside from putting out my own zine. I actually like We Make Zines for this because it gives me a reminder that this is a community and if I expect anyone to care about my zine, I have to participate a little!

Generally, in my zine, at the end I always put in that feedback, comments, criticism and just contact are very appreciated and much looked forward to, and include my email address. I think this may help a bit since it's the last thing people see after reading my zine. I also typically include a handwritten note that ends with 'let me know what you think!' and my email address.



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