Asking for Help

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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2007 - 05:24 pm:   

Getting Some Help Behind the Scenes

I came to some conclusions about the zine over Wiscon weekend. It may not be clear, but I've been doing this whole endeavor on my own. The past month or so, I've had a number of people express astonishment that I don't have any help in making the zine. I guess I just never considered getting help. Aside from proofreaders, I've done all the work myself.

One of the things I've come to realize is that the zine cannot grow past where it is without me getting some help. I have a very gracious person who's doing slush reading for me. I cannot thank them enough, even though it's most likely not a huge sacrifice for them. I think the process of asking for help was more cathartic for me than anything. This will be a great benefit for everyone. We'll see how things go; it hasn't even been a week yet. But so far it's going really well.

I have some help in creating a nonfiction element for the zine that will have all sorts of cool implications (online components, subscription levels, adding a new depth to the zine, etc.) starting with the next issue.

There is someone I have in mind to help with art direction. I'm hoping to make a move towards color covers in the next year, and I'll need help doing color separation.

If I'm honest with myself, I probably need more help. But taking these steps have been difficult enough. It's hard to relinquish control of things when you've done well for a long time without help. Will the people I'm having help me share the same aesthetics and vision that I do? I think they will.

I have some people in mind to help out with different aspects of the business of making a zine, but for now just adding the help I briefly outlined above is a huge step for me. This zine has been mine since its inception; it's hard to give up control.

I Need Your Help, Too

Another thing that's become clear to me is that this zine will not be able to grow, and most likely, not be able to survive if I cannot grow my subscriber base. I do not want to stop making Electric Velocipede; I plan on making issues far far into the future. My hope is that the decision to stop is something I make of my own volition rather than something that's made for me.

I've never asked for subscribers before. I've never done a subscription drive. I've thought about it in the past, but always decided against it.

Not this time.

If I can admit to myself that letting the zine limp on by doing everything myself is not a good thing, I can also admit to myself that I need support from readers. There are some really cool things I want to do. Some cool things I've got planned already (see below) that won't be possible without your help.

Things will be able to continue for a little while the way they are now without your help. But it will be something I won't be able to maintain indefinitely.

What You Get Out of It

So, here are a few things to keep in mind while you consider whether to subscribe. I will be raising the price of the zine next year from $4 an issue to $5 an issue. The issue that's coming out next year for Wiscon will be a special issue, and therefore most likely $6 or $7.

The subscription price right now is $15 for four issues. That's a savings of $1 off the cover price. However, if you subscribe now, you'll get issue #13 this year, the special Wiscon issue, and two more issues for that same $15, a savings of at least $5 off the cover price and potentially more.


There is also a patronage subscription available. For $100, you get everything that I publish (shipping is included, even for international folks), for as long as I publish. I want to keep doing this for a long time.

I have two chapbooks coming out this year: one from William Shunn and one from Robert Freeman Wexler. I will publish at least two more chapbooks. I want to increase the number of issue I publish each year. I want to change over to perfect bound color covers. I'd like to pay my authors more.

Is This a Cry For Help?

To be blunt, yes. But not with the connotations that typically come with that question. I've gone almost six years without outside help. I've thrived for almost six years without doing a subscription drive.

It all boils down to the fact that I can't keep doing this on my own. I've come a long way without help. But I'm not content to sit where I am.

I'm very excited about the things I have planned for the future.

I'm also able to admit that I can't get any further without help.

John Klima
Electric Velocipede
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 - 10:18 pm:   

I've had a few non-us people jump on the patronage subscription. Considering that international shipping is going up faster than domestic shipping, this is a great deal to lock in free shipping.

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Posted on Friday, June 22, 2007 - 07:59 pm:   

Hope that the situation is improving for you.
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, June 22, 2007 - 08:58 pm:   

Yes it is. I've had a lot of people jump in and give support. As I noted, there are a lot of people who have gone for the patronage subscription.

So, while the zine didn't need saving (I could have gone on making the same thing for years and years) it did need some sort of boost so that I could do more than I've been doing. I had/have a lot of cool ideas that I didn't want to just throw away.

Now I'll be able to get started on those things.

And a big thank you to everyone who lent me support! (we're in the midst of buying a house, so I've been preoccupied...) :-)


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