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How often do you write or e-mail the person when you finish a zine?
How often do you receive responses?


I try to make an effort almost every time to send some sort of short message, even if it's just commenting on a thing or two from the zine. Usually I e-mail, though, because I feel odd about sending a letter to someone I've never spoken to.

That said, I've never received any sort of e-mail or Facebook or letter about my zines from anyone who I wasn't already good friends with. And I've put at least 100 zines out of my hands and into the hands of people at zine fairs and libraries and other places. I don't want to take it personally but it does make me feel like all the people who wound up with my zine didn't like it, found absolutely nothing in it worth commenting on, or just didn't read it at all.

The only time I've actually gotten feedback is on here from trades I did on here. And I've got my e-mail, postal address, and a Facebook group listed at the back of every zine.

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i always leave some feedback after i get a zine in a trade.. but i want to communicate with fellow zinesters on a more friendly basis too.. after all, we read some of the most personal thoughts about them, than we never stop to say hi again..
i'd like to think i'm making friends thru this..

tho i must say, my sister loaned her copies i gave her to some friends, without me knowing.. and i was surprised to get some wonderful feedback from strangers.. one lady actually came running up to me and hugged me, saying she connected deeply with some of the things i'd written..

surprise feedback is wonderful..
99% of the time I write or email.
I receive responses maybe... 60% of the time? I understand that people are busy and maybe they don't always read my zine right away, but it'd be nice to just know that it's arrived safely. it's a bit discouraging but... well, that's the way these things work, I guess.

even my good friends, I usually just get a "that's nice!" or a "... this is a what? you do what with it?" so feel lucky, haha.
I always intend to write to people whose zines I have just read, but don't always manage it. Also, numerous times I've written a fab letter then looked through the zine to find there was no postal address!
When you look back to your first zine you sometimes say YUCK! What was I thinking... I think 1st time ziners should be complimented and welcomed into the community rather than critisized.

...on the original question...I like feedback and I give feedback.
I almost always write people to let them know I've received a zine they sent me (and thank them). But I have never emailed/written after reading with a response to the content. Not necessarily because I didn't like it or found nothing worth commenting on -- probably more because I feel shy about it. Your post is a good reminder that people usually like feedback, especially if it's someone saying how they can relate to what you've written.
I never really respond to zines, though now I feel like I should.
i almost never write to people about their zines, unless they are already my buddy, or unless someone writes something that really moved me somehow. i used to be a lot more excited about writing letters & postcards & writing feedback to practically every zine i read, but it takes a lot of time & energy & i eventually felt like i was putting more time & energy into my feedback than the zinesters were putting into their zines! i felt i'd reached a point of diminishing returns & i started being much more sparing with my feedback.

i definitely have noticed that more recent zinesters are not as receptive to what i would call "constructive criticism," & i find that really frustrating. my zines grew in quality because i put my writing out there for people & tried to learn from critical comments i received. i still give drafts of my zines to friends & ask them to tell me everything that doesn't work, from the craft of the writing to the arguments i am making. but people nowadays seem resistant to this, that it "discourages" new zinesters somehow, that this kind of feedback is "negative". i figure, if i can't say anything "nice" (according to their standards), i just won't say anything at all. hence, no feedback.

but i do like to give feedback, including constructive criticism, when people take it for what it is--a jumping off place for a potential dialogue, a well-intentioned attempt to help them make their writing better, a way for me to connect with what they have written. i only do it a few times a year, but it's definitely more satisfying when it turns into a conversation, as opposed to the self-imposed responsibility to send feedback & letters into a void to people who seem like they couldn't really give two shits.

as far as receiving feedback, it doesn't happen much. & when it does, it's usually just, "i really liked your zine." which is nice to hear, even if i could stand to hear a few more details so i know what i'm doing right.
I don't usually write letters to zinesters I don't know, because it's hard to switch gears from "writing-style" critique, the kind meant for people in my writing group (when I belonged to one) and that I trade writing with over email, to "zine-style" critique, where you're more talking about ideas/content and not pointing out that their writing itself is weak. And honestly, I don't like that, having to "weaken" my critique. The whole thing just makes me feel AARGH so it's easier not to do it at all. Plus I am really lazy! But if someone contacted me about my zine, I would write back.
I try to at least let people know that I received their zine. If I liked it or something stuck out, I'll tell them. If I -really- liked it, I will possibly review it in one of my zines and try to write them a letter. This doesn't always happen because I am usually a fairly busy person and sometimes zines get buried [like right now, I have a massive stack from two zine fairs and two online orders, not to mention all the trades], but I do try to send something, even if it is just an email.

I find that I don't get much feedback, though I'm starting to get more as I'm more active in the community and I think my zines are improving. Sometimes I get down about it, but I try to remember that such is the way of life and pretty much all of my artist friends, regardless of their medium, have this problem.
I send quite a few letters in response to zines, sometimes I send postcards. I tend to opt for snail mail because it's just way more fun, and I'm definitely more likely to contact someone if if they have a proper address in their zine, rather than just an email. But I don't respond to all zines, even if I really, really, really love them. It kinda just depends on what sort of mood I'm in, or whether or not I have stamps on hand or whatever. Sometimes I just feel totally inarticulate and I don't wanna send a boring "I liked your zine" letter (even though I like getting those kinds of letters myself, so maybe my shyness is holding me back a little in this area), so I don't send anything at all.

I will also often make a special point of writing to zinesters whose zines I get from distros, simply because I'm always curious as to where my zines end up after I've sent a bunch of them to a distro, and I imagine I can't be the only one. Sometimes I get letters back, sometimes I don't.

In response to my own zines, I'd say I get quite a few responses... letters, messages over the internet, or simply people adding me on WMZ or LJ or whatever. But it took a really long time to get to the point where I'm getting a fair bit of responses and feedback and making close friends in the community and such.
Go for it! I've got some zinesters I've been meaning to write to for about 3 years and I'm going to get down to it, I really am!

I'm Not Lion / Zacery said:
Okay then, this week I sent off three letters in the hopes that somebody replies - wish me luck!

I might go through my shoebox of zines and send letters long overdue as well..
Well, after just finishing reading through my last stack of zines, I feel like I should post and play devil's advocate to my original post, because I didn't e-mail or write to any of the people whose zines I just read.

Here's the problem:
They were almost all perzines, which I love, but they were all very negative. They were almost entirely complaints about mainstream media, complaints about men, complaints about girls in their class, complaints about doctors, complaints about religion... like the only time they could actually be motivated enough to write or make a zine was when they were outraged about something. When they were happy, they had better things to do than write.

So it's just an issue with me, I suppose, in the sense that I'm past my angry youth stage. I might have really related to these zines when I was 16 or 21 but I'm at a stage in my life where I have no use for anger. I realise that sometimes the world isn't great but a lot of times it is and I feel like complaining about things isn't going to change anything, especially when you're preaching to the choir. Odds are anyone reading your perzine is going to have similar views to you. It's probably not going to wind up in the hands of a misogynistic jock or a sleazy politician who will suddenly have their whole landscape changed by your opinions.


So I have very little feedback to give. I'm hesitant to write to them and say "Your zine was good but it was too angsty for my liking. Why not write about things you like and things that make your life awesome next time?" because I'm afraid it will come off as patronizing or I'll get a "fuck you, you don't know what it's like to be me, my life is shit and the world around me is a fucking disaster area but you wouldn't know this because you're a white male" kind of response.

So I find it safer to just not write or contact them at all. But I still feel like that's not an adequate solution.

I'm really torn on this issue. I know different people have different tastes but that seems like a bit of a catch-all answer.

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