Seems that I am stirring up drama amongst zinesters just because I suggested selling my zine collection as a fundraising idea.

Apparently the idea of profiting is totally against everything the zine community stands for – zinesters don’t make money, therefore no one else should.

I see where they’re coming from – making zines is about self-expression, not quick bucks. It’s not meant to be cold. However, I feel that I am being unfairly lumped in with the “cold, heartless corporates”. This is an educational fundraiser.

I’m not looking to make huge gobs of money. I’m not trying to put a ridiculous markup, selling a zine for 3x more than it cost me. All I was thinking of was selling it for cost price + postage. Review the zines, telling them why I like them, then sell them to interested readers. Like a second-hand distro.

Is that so wrong? I’m just recouping my costs, transferring that money onto my KaosPilot venture? Is there something inherently wrong with money? It’s like “profit” is the curse of the devil. That the idea of supporting yourself through DIY is somehow abhorrent. That you must be in poverty for your craft.

What a strange idea. No wonder many in the older generation abhor their youngins to go into the arts. With attitudes like that, how are artisans expected to support themselves?

Even non-profits have to turn a profit in in some way – if they keep losing money, they can’t
continue to do the good work they do. The main distinction between for-profit companies and non-profits is that the profit goes back into the venture – but some for-profits work like that too. And obviously people in non-profits earn a living. Then you have social enterprise, which falls into a weird gray area because it’s for-profit but works in traditionally non-profit sectors. What would they be?

There’s a lot of talk about how this particular idea of mine is somehow against zine community ethics. What do they mean by “the zine community”? I buy and read zines, I support them, but I haven’t found a sense of community with anyone. (I could go off on a rant about how it seems to be very insular but that’s a different story.) What are these unspoken rules? Who decides what the rules are? Why are they the way they are? What happens if you break the rules?

I’ve heard of zinesters who refuse to sell their zines to people who’ve sold zine grab bags on eBay. How is that such a crime? The seller gets to recoup their costs, the buyer gets a whole pile of zines to read, the zinesters reach out to new readers that may be too intimidated by the “zine community” or just don’t know what the process is. Everyone benefits. Is it because the original zinester doesn’t get the profit? Well, where’s the argument against used books or used CDs? Isn’t this a bit too similar to RIAA’s argument that music sharing is somehow “bad” for the artists – when it’s been shown that music sharing helps promotes bands and increases exposure? The ironic this is that many zinesters would be against the approaches of orgs like the RIAA – yet they’re taking the same arguments for themselves.

Where do you draw the line? What is profit? Is there good profit and bad profit? Is it possible to be self-sustainable in DIY, the arts, community work?

On applications: Am starting work on my video via Windows Movie Maker, but it seems so amateurish. Am reconsidering just filming the damn thing. Argh, I don’t know. I wish the KaosPilots picked some other option for the creative assignment; one that didn’t depend on a particular medium. And with less strange restrictions such as “non verbal questions” and “black background”. I know that’s part of the challenge, to work within restrictions, but with limited time, talent, and resources, I’m not sure it’s the best way to show your capabilities.

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