a place for zinesters - writers and readers
I try to keep up on my correspondence, but as usual I'm way behind, and some of my main penpals may go for years without hearing from. I'm not sure if I've just over extended myself, or if I'm just inefficient and procrastinating. Once you've been into zines for 18 years---some have been in even longer than that---you build-up a penpal base that can get pretty daunting.
I'm sure there are many zinesters I've traded with that I haven't sent any comments at all to about their zine. I trade to be friendly, to "support the scene", but I can't always go beyond that and try to pretend I have something to say about every zine I get. It's often a bit of an effort just to manage a personal note.
The zinesters I am most likely to write to are those I sense I share some concerns or interests with. I am also more likely to write to a zine with a letters section. I'll admit, there's a good element of egoism in that, but I also believe in LOC-oriented zines as community-builders. I love zines with big LOC sections. They're my version of the Internet social network site, but but more comfortable and understandable to me. Same with APA's.
I've written a lot to prisoners, for the simple reason that they need letters more than anybody else. I have a lot of empathy for their situation, having felt "trapped" many times myself.
Harley, if you pass out a hundred zines at random, it seems it'd be very unlikely they'd fall into the hands of anybody that really wanted or was interested in your zine. 100 copies is about my usual print run, and sometimes it takes years for me to distribute to people who request them after seeing them in review zines. When somebody orders after reading a review or ad, I'd think they'd be more likely have some potential interest in the zine they're ordering, responding to something in it's description.
So. The short answer. I don't respond to MOST zines, except maybe a thank you & a comment or two, if that much. I wouldn't want anybody to feel obligated to respond to any of my zines unless they were REALLY moved to. Dollars, trades or "the usuals", for me, are more than sufficient. That's usually enough to tell me "they're interested" and that's a sufficient compliment/encouragement to me. Which doesn't mean I don't treasure the occassional thoughtful/complimenting/constructively/frankly/critical letter (meaning, of course, that they take my ideas seriously). But I think if there's too much social pressure/guilt in letter/note writing, then the quality of communication can be forced and/or compromised.
what does LOC stand for? The only thing I can think of is Leftover Crack....Letters of?
LOC---L--etter O--f C--omment. It's an old-school fanzine term, I've hesitated in the past to use without spelling out, maybe with more justification than I thought. :)