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I hope it'll be okay to just refer you all to Google, and from there to Wikipedia.  Wikipedia's article is accurate, though a little "dry".  In short, the closest thing to an APA may be a "comp-zine" (in full, compilation zine), which I'm assuming most zinesters are familiar with.

There are a lot of intelligent blogs and forums with interesting focuses and intelligent writers, and I'd like to engage them in discussions, and sometimes do, but I MUCH prefer the APA-format and the slow rhythm of zines in the postal mail.  Failing that, e-zine/zine fusions would be next best.

I'd love it if every group I'm in in WMZ had a print APA, but I don't see much interest.

Here are some questions to WMZinesters and zinesters in general:

Do you know much about APA's?

Have you ever participated in or subscribed to one?

Do you find them boring, or not particularly interesting?

Do you feel you don't have the time for them? (If so, I don't quite understand why, because all you have to do is type up a few pages, say 2 to 4, every 1 to 3 months, and if the membership is healthy, maybe not even that often.  APA's are structured to share time and effort.  They're easier than zines to produce.)

Could you find time to do 2 pages (one sheet) every 6 months?

Most APA's have rules.  Some many, some few.  Most pertain to format and deadlines(page size, etc.).  Would you find such rules too much of a drag to follow?

I may never totally leave the Internet, but ideally, I'd love to have about 6 to 12 APA's on all my interests with a dedicated membership, coming to me through the mail, than wandering through the Net all the time.  (Not that the Net's "bad", I just find a single-volume print-zine full of thoughtfully selected and interesting material more convenient and efficient.

Has anybody on this forum ever thought of joining an APA, or pretty much decided it's not for them?

JND

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I'll be interested to read what people have to say about this topic. I've been curious what APAs are like. So far I've just read one and found it uninspired and uninspiring. There was very little craft to the writing, images chosen, or layout. It was a lot of "this happened then this happened" and movies reviews. I'm not sure if it was representative of the genre as a whole. The one I saw was a contemporary APA. I wonder how different they were back in the day? Also, this will sound ageist, but since I'm middle-aged myself, maybe I can get away with considering that APAs by younger people than the one I read might be more lively?

I do like the idea of the APA and the benefits I imagine it would have for its members. I'm just not sure that the publications themselves--again, based on reading only one--are especially readable individually. They probably do have a ton of merit as a whole, but primarily for the community they create among the members, and possibly for sociologists.
No, I don't know much about APA's.

No, I have never participated in or subscribed to one.

Yes, I find them not particularly interesting.

No, I don't feel that I don't have the time for them.

Yes, I could find time to do two pages every six months.

No, I would not find such rules too big of a drag to follow.

No, I have not ever thought of joining an APA, and yes, I have pretty much decided it's not for me.
I didn't know what an APA was until I read your zines. I like the idea of them and also enjoy the slower pace of letter writing and response that the zine-world engages in. I think, however, that in order for me to engage in and produce an APA, it would have to be on a topic that I am REALLY into, which unfortunately limits me to underground rock music and hiking/travel, neither of which lend themselves to extensive debate or discussion being that they are subjective tastes.
I suppose if it were a wilderness protection-slanted APA I could get into it, but then too I have gotten pretty jaded over the years about how poorly people engage in this type of discussion, debating the fine points while the wildlands dissappear.

Good topic for discussion though, thanks James
Jenna,
I've only been in about 4 APA's. Off and on since 1987 I've subscribed to/participated in The (formerly Libertarian) Connection, for the past couple of years, .zap!! and Pheonix APA. .zap!!, Heath Row, central mailer, seems to be sort of "lost in action" at this point.

I can understand how APA's might bore and confuse people. An APA, like an Internet forum or blog is only as good as the people who write in it. I've found a lot of blogs and e-forums uninspired and boring too. Sometimes they get interesting, sometimes they get boring, sometimes they seem to be dying a slow, unending death. I'm not sure if I see any problems in APA's that don't also exist on the Net. What I theorize though, if you have a committed core of say 12 to 24 people really interested in the focus (feminism, veganism, animal rights, anarchism, whatever), more time is taken between deadlines to think about their answers/comments/response to the previous issue. Because space is limited, there's more careful prioritization of what members put in their pages, just like a zine, for similar reasons.

It takes a while, maybe three or four issues to get a sense of what every body's talking about, but that can be a bit of a problem with really long e-forum threads. I personally APA discussions easier to understand and digest, than I do e-forum discussions, due to different layouts.

Again, depending on the central mailer/editor/owner-publisher, an APA can be very visual with lots of pictures and drawings and a nicely done cover, or it can be very plain. It's what the members collectively make of it. The Connection is very plain. I appreciate nice covers, but Erwin S. Strauss in the long-time owner, and he "designs" the cover the way he wants it. It pretty much reflects his utilitarian personality, and I'm content to go along with that.
Dan,
Thanks for your frank replies. Heath Row has made some good efforts to revive an interest in APA's and before I put too much effort into it myself, it's good to know how zinesters feel about them. I suspect your feelings are pretty typical. No offense taken.
Randy,
Comments, discussion and debate are indeed a very major part of APA's, but you don't have to do that a lot if you don't feel like it. Essays, random thoughts, reprints from magazines, papers, the Net, etc., you may have found interesting/relevant, are perfectly fine. Or some combination. Even pictures/drawings/collage.

You're right about one thing. APA's were harder hit than zines with the rise of the Net, so unfortunately, there's not much to choose from anymore. (There use to be lots.) The good thing about an APA is that the printing, collating and mailing is done by a "central mailer", and that role can be rotated. Some people may like being CM and want it for life, but it can be arrange that another take over. In an APA, unlike a zine, "many hands make light work". All most members have to do is write up their pages every few weeks or months and send them in.

There are a lot of eco-zinesters on this forum. If somebody who knew about setting up an APA for that focus, ecology/environmentalism, maybe it'd be it'd be something to *try*. It's not like you'd have to make a lifelong commitment or anything.

Deadlines are double-edged swords. They can be a drag, but for me, in The Connection and The Pterodactyl, they're also a "prod" that forces me to plan and write out a few pages, that in turn force me to "think" about and express my position on things, do research, etc. The discussion part *challenges* me. And you always have the option of missing a few deadlines too, so there isn't that much pressure.

I hope people will think about the possibilites and potential.
Hi James,

I'm sure you're right, and I hope I didn't cause any offense. I do have another APA on hand that I'm going to dig into after I get the new issue of my zine out.

Jenna

There were two in Milwaukee back in the 1980's that I knew friends were participating in.  They'd have Saturday coallation parties, everyone bringing their copies and doing the assembly on the main table in the kitchen.  Their focuses were in the science fiction category so it was mostly individual stories and jokes and cartoons and such.  Most of which were sold via subscription or at the local sf conventions. 

 

They were nice.  Not hugely professionally edited, of course, but nice, LOL.

I've been in dozens of apas. Well, lots, anyway! They were all part of SF and/or comics fandom, so there was that shared interest to begin with. I've been a member of women-only apas, a music apa, apa based in certain locations. There was one apa which was based on a very creative idea. The members all wrote as though they had been transported by a device to a different time/dimension/planet etc. I'm currently rejoining ANZAPA. Yes, the Australia-New Zealand apa, though I actually live in Wales! 

There were lots of apas around in the 1980's, but it is hard to find ones, outside of SF fandom, that are still running these days. Oh yes, I was also CM of one apa.

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