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Back in the 90's it was a fairly common practice for a zinester to write their personal note on or in the zine itself, usually the front inside page. I personally didn't mind this at all, and actually I thought it was sort of nice way of personalizing it.

As it seems mores and sensibilities have been changing among zinesters in the last 10 or 15 years since I started zining, I was wondering what people thought of this practice today.

I've thought of doing it, but I thought it might put off the recipient, who'd see it as "marring" their zine. I can't put them down for that, but there's also the other side that we may be losing a perfectly acceptable, and to some of us, welcome or at least okay zine custom.

This last initial mailing I did, I wrote some personal notes on the back of the envelope. Nothing REALLY personal, just a "hello" and maybe a little more. Does anybody think this "exposes" them too much. Of course, I'm not sure it would do that anymore than a postcard, but I wondered whether anybody might be put off by it.

Jeff Sommers wrote in a contrib to Xerography Debt that he hated self-mailers. That's another old zine tradition that I've always kind of admired (though zines in envelopes are perfectly okay). I don't mind my zine getting a littled tattered around the edges, in fact that condition sort of has it's own aesthetic.

Let me know what you all think. I'm curious.

JND

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although i totally love visiting and using zine archives the tattyness of zines through use is great and part of their charm. also personal notes are totally acceptable, the person who made the zine is the one writing on them anyway right?

i kind of have an issue though when archives or libraries put big stamps or library tags on zines which are flimsy and small.
I think writing notes on zines is great, and I love self-mailers!
I can't imagine anyone would have a problem with the author writing a little note on their zine. If they do then fuck 'em. Go read PEOPLE or something if you don't want a persoanl touch.

As for self mailers I agree with Jeff. Think of it this way- your copy might arrive a little bit tattered, but someone else's could get completely torn up. I just don't think it works very well though I do have to admit I've never gotten one with anything worse than a torn cover.

And notes on the envelope are fine assuming you have the common sense not to write anything you wouldn't want the mailman to read.
put zines in envelopes...
it's just
LAZY not to...it is a looooooooooooooooong
way to
Uzbekistan...and so
'cover up'!!!

um, authorial doodle/writing on zines
is fine...
but
why wasn't the comment in the zine
in the 1st place..., especially
if author knows the
recipient...why not
send a note inside the zine???

notes on OTHER zines is fine...
i.e., the zine is
private property once
between your grubbies...!

except zine/lib...or other lib...the material
is NOT
yours to scribble on...ever and period!!!

tim scannell
port angeles, wa
Wow! I thought my question was sort of light-weight, but it seems like there may be some stronger feelings about it than I thought.

ERIC & TIM: I still get some zines from old school self-publishers as self-mailers---LIVING FREE and THE CONNECTION for two. Many mass-mailed catalogues, like NINA'S DISCOUNT OLDIES also come self-mailed. Although LF & TC are pretty plain, part of the enjoyment for me is just seeing the artwork and design before opening it. "The p.o. box moment" of first seeing your mail and then sifting through it is a small but integral part of the papernet experience for me, and seeing the zine cover in anticipation of opening it is part of the fun.

So far I've been mailing out XEENS & THINGS 21 in a digest envelope. It's 40 pages standard, and I fold it in half before inserting it. It weighs in at EXACTLY 3.5 ounces. That was fortunate but not planned. Had it been one sheet more, it would have exceeded 3.5 oz. and gone from 93 cents to mail, to a $1.51, the large envelope rate. I don't consider that amount insignifant. Even for a smaller zine, depending on the thickness of the envelope's paper, and whether it's 9 x 11 or digest, it can add, I'd say, between 17 and 35 cents to postage costs, if I'm remembering my charts right. For my personal sense of frugality, I'd like to avoid that, especially 100 times (which is roughly my press run).

Tim, it's not "lazy" at all to self-mail. There's a fair amount of time and care to stapling and/or taping the edges of a self-mailed zine. And again, I like people to see the little "mail art" I do on the back cover, sort of as an "appetizer".

Don't get me wrong. I'm absolutely fine with envelopes. If I know somebody prefers an envelope, I'll definitely and happily use it. But I think there are good reasons for self-mailers too.

TIM: Maybe there's a case against writing a note in a zine to someone you don't know, and I'd certainly not do it if I knew a recipient disliked it. The catch-22 is all this being super-polite-and-cautious impinges on those of us zinesters who might like things loose and spontaneous. If "no note" becomes the default etiquette, then people who like notes miss out. Here's my compromise. Maybe when somebody orders or trades for a zine they should include in their note "Please No Personal Notes In/On Zine", or work this out beforehand. No such request should indicate a note is optional. I'm sure both preferences have some validity, but I think "Note Optional" should be the default assumption.
I personally don't have a problem with notes written in zines and/or self-mailers.

One thing to consider if you do decide to write a note in a zine is you'll never know where that zine will ultimately end up. The initial recipient may at some point pass the zine on to someone else or donate it to a zine library. For most notes, it's probably not a big deal, but if your note is particularly personal or inflammatory, well... It can be quite entertaining and fascinating reading some of these old notes in zines that are found in the IPRC library (especially in the cases where someone rips on someone else!)
Ha ha! Recent case in hilarious-ness for example!

Shawn Granton said:
I personally don't have a problem with notes written in zines and/or self-mailers.

One thing to consider if you do decide to write a note in a zine is you'll never know where that zine will ultimately end up. The initial recipient may at some point pass the zine on to someone else or donate it to a zine library. For most notes, it's probably not a big deal, but if your note is particularly personal or inflammatory, well... It can be quite entertaining and fascinating reading some of these old notes in zines that are found in the IPRC library (especially in the cases where someone rips on someone else!)
the
POST-IT
is the easy solution...even the
POST-IT
created by YOU....the
glue-stick...
is a wonder
for
attachments +
does no harm...

OF COURSE....................one gets to
do as one wants...

i edited/published my own poetry zine
for ten years...130 issues...but
the pages were for those
submitting poems...with 'clip-art'...on all the pages

and as a mail-artist.....................i ever TEASE with
decorated
envelopes...

cost IS an issue...keep to the 4/page...one ounce rule...
.90 to 1.50
is
not a worthy
BONUS
to give to the FEDS
(they steal plenty)
...in my view...solution...
put
out 2...3...10 issues/year...

um, finally...reading old zines in
zine libraries...
'send-ups' and rants/raves...by folk
are.....reeeeeeeeeeeeeaaallly!!!
boring...
much
BRAVER
is to................................
commit
one's mind/energy
to
writing
actual
REVIEWS...

tim scannell
port angeles
wa
I used to love using the self-mailer technique but I have a feeling it's much more risky today. These days the USPS wants to process everything by machine and I wonder if self-mailers arrive more damaged more often than they did 10 or 20 years ago.

Also, I've never minded notes in zines although if one plans to do that it might be a good idea to actually reserve a bit of space on the inside cover for just that.
Self mailer- if you live in a different country to where the zine comes from, the envelope gets covered in all sorts of interesting marks and tears along the way, so I wouldn't like to order a self-mailed zine from another country (and as most of the zines I get come from the US/Canada and I live in the UK, that's most of them) because it's unlikely to get to me in good condition
Back in '94, almost all of VICTIM was hand written. I guess it was before computers very so popular to kids my age at the time. Even on some of the articles that were typed, I usually put my two cents in with handwriting. I think handwriting is something that gives zines character which mainstream publishing lacks... so please, keep it oldskool for us.

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