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I am putting together the sixth issue of The F-Bomb as we speak. One of the handful of issues that I have to take to the Portland Zine Symposium.

 

Out of my normal rotation of around 30 contributors, I had exactly 7 people contribute. Being the editor, I am totally used to people flaking out on me, but a good 50% of them promised me something and never delivered.

 

It's so frustrating!!! I get so tired of deadline rolling around and only getting spam in my inbox. Grr.

 

I need new contributors in a bad way. People that are actually able to come through when they say they will. Sorry, I'm a bit rant-y. It just drives me nuts after two years of doing this.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions? I've had it up to my ears with this. It makes me just want to throw in the towel, to be honest.

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You could throw in the towel. Or you could start making a zine where you create all the content yourself. Or you could find another way to connect with contributors (like an open call for submissions online). Or you could try to get a better rate of these people contributing, perhaps by reminding them regularly, having a fake deadline two weeks before the real deadline so you can give them an "extension," or by having a get-together where everyone works on their contribution. Particularly if people see themselves giving contributions more as a favor to you than something they're doing for themselves (I can't tell if that is or isn't the case here), I think it's also really important you're giving them genuine gratitude when they do contribute.
Dealing with this is why I decided to not do any more comp zines. I never even had any major problems, it was just too aggravating to deal with.
this is what i did that made it easier when i recently co-edited a compzine with a friend:
not having a deadline seems like the best way to fix this problem... have a continuous open call for submissions and when you acquire enough for a zine, publish them.
doing some of the work yourself is a good way to have content you can count on.
most of my contributors were people i knew personally, and so maybe that's why it worked, but i invited contributors over every week for zine making sessions, like dan mentioned. that totally worked!
also, when i ask someone to contribute to my zine, i brainstorm with them about what they could contribute based on what they are into and how that applies to the theme of my zine, so they have somewhere to start.
get your friends/family to contribute -- when you see the contributors in person frequently, it's easier to nag them than through emails and stuff.
get a co-editor to get some of the stress off your shoulders.
hope that helps. good luck!

the only thing i can think is, what is their problem. if you decide to continue, and need new contributors, tell me, maybe i could be one of the reliable ones.
Maybe try posting about it on Nicole's new blog all about zine contributors: http://compilationstation.wordpress.com/
I remind people, have preliminary, final and extended deadlines. There's a certain point at which people need to be actually working on it in order to get an extension. That way I can plan the zine.

However, I would NOT have enough content, still, if I did not create some myself and cull from people's online journals and blogs. I ask permission, of course. Some people say, "Just look through and let me know if you see anything you like." People who contribute to zines more regularly might be more reliable than those who aren't accustomed to it.

Then again, with whatever topic you were looking for, perhaps people just weren't feeling it or it was harder to write about than they expected. Maybe they were unsure what to write. I like to do a "wide-scope" kind of call for submissions (ei., its about families) and then narrow it (queer families, extended families, post-nuclear families) and then give people very speciifc ideas, Like " You can submit a photograph, cartoon, talk about your own family experience, your extended or chosen family, etc." so that people have enough ideas and some confidence that they're creating the right thing.

Anyway good luck :)
Nah, I don't think I'll ever throw in the towel now that I've started making zines. I love it too much.

I do have a zine where all the content is by me. It's called Kismet Said... . I would have no problem doing that for The F-Bomb, but the whole point is that it's a collab zine.

I always send out emails reminding, reminding, reminding. I think this is just something I'm going to have to deal with, working with so many people. I am super accommodating with deadlines, extra time, and such. I suppose if it's just not there there's not much that can be done about it.

And I ALWAYS say thank you. ;) Actually, sometimes I just write emails overflowing with gratitude for no reason. I am genuinely thankful for all of my contributors.

Dan C said:
You could throw in the towel. Or you could start making a zine where you create all the content yourself. Or you could find another way to connect with contributors (like an open call for submissions online). Or you could try to get a better rate of these people contributing, perhaps by reminding them regularly, having a fake deadline two weeks before the real deadline so you can give them an "extension," or by having a get-together where everyone works on their contribution. Particularly if people see themselves giving contributions more as a favor to you than something they're doing for themselves (I can't tell if that is or isn't the case here), I think it's also really important you're giving them genuine gratitude when they do contribute.
I totally feel you on this.

Ericfishlegs said:
Dealing with this is why I decided to not do any more comp zines. I never even had any major problems, it was just too aggravating to deal with.
All great ideas! I do contribute some of the content to the zine, too. If we weren't on a regular publishing schedule it would be easier to just wait until the subs piled up so I wouldn't have to worry. But thank you for all the great ideas! It's so nice to have this website to put heads together on problems. :)

Isabel Xochitl said:
this is what i did that made it easier when i recently co-edited a compzine with a friend:
not having a deadline seems like the best way to fix this problem... have a continuous open call for submissions and when you acquire enough for a zine, publish them.
doing some of the work yourself is a good way to have content you can count on.
most of my contributors were people i knew personally, and so maybe that's why it worked, but i invited contributors over every week for zine making sessions, like dan mentioned. that totally worked!
also, when i ask someone to contribute to my zine, i brainstorm with them about what they could contribute based on what they are into and how that applies to the theme of my zine, so they have somewhere to start.
get your friends/family to contribute -- when you see the contributors in person frequently, it's easier to nag them than through emails and stuff.
get a co-editor to get some of the stress off your shoulders.
hope that helps. good luck!

the only thing i can think is, what is their problem. if you decide to continue, and need new contributors, tell me, maybe i could be one of the reliable ones.
Also, I am always open to new contributors/fresh blood. :) If you send me a message with your email then I can add you to the fold on the contributor email front. We have an issue that needs contributors coming out in November, so now seems like the time to round up the posse.

Isabel Xochitl said:
this is what i did that made it easier when i recently co-edited a compzine with a friend:
not having a deadline seems like the best way to fix this problem... have a continuous open call for submissions and when you acquire enough for a zine, publish them.
doing some of the work yourself is a good way to have content you can count on.
most of my contributors were people i knew personally, and so maybe that's why it worked, but i invited contributors over every week for zine making sessions, like dan mentioned. that totally worked!
also, when i ask someone to contribute to my zine, i brainstorm with them about what they could contribute based on what they are into and how that applies to the theme of my zine, so they have somewhere to start.
get your friends/family to contribute -- when you see the contributors in person frequently, it's easier to nag them than through emails and stuff.
get a co-editor to get some of the stress off your shoulders.
hope that helps. good luck!

the only thing i can think is, what is their problem. if you decide to continue, and need new contributors, tell me, maybe i could be one of the reliable ones.

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