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Dear Diary....Or Where Have All The Fanzines Gone? - Morgan Dawn Livejournal:The Here And Now
The Here And Now
Dear Diary....Or Where Have All The Fanzines Gone?
There has been much talk about the breaking of the 4th Wall and the involvement of TPTB in fandom. And for decades fandom has been saying that fanzine publishers, while tolerated by TPTB, had little interaction with them for fear of being shut down.

The fact is that this is not true. Spockanalia, the first Star Trek fanzine was sent to Gene Roddenberry and his letters back to the editor were published. Interstat, a long running Star Trek letterzine, had Harve Bennett, a Star Trek producer as a frequent contributor (a fact that irritated some fans who wanted to vent about the Star Trek movies in peace),

But in 1998 and 1999 when the editor of Orion Press complained on Usenet that his zines were not selling and that free Internet fanfiction was ruining fanzine publication, the editor of Pocketbooks (the professionally published Star Trek tie in novels) appeared* to offer his thoughts on the matter. Here are some samples of their interaction:

"If your sales are down - and from what I've read in this thread, they seem to be - then you aren't providing your target audience with what they want to read to an extent that they are willing to continue to pay for it. The fault is -never- with the -readers-, it is -always- with the publisher. Have you considered that what -you- consider a good story might not match up with what your readers think is a good Trek story?

I work to produce the kind of novel our readers will like, not to please myself. That kind of approach drives up unit sales, which reduces unit costs, which keeps you from having to raise prices… etc. Oh, and sales on the pro books continue to rise sharply, despite free fan-fic on the Internet"

"My sales are strong and growing, especially TNG, while yours are dropping off to the point where you say TNG is dying.:) I must be doing something right - and, frankly, you must be doing something wrong, or your sales would be growing (when sales slump, it's -always- the publisher's fault). Or it could be the webbies are right, and the day of printed fan-fiction is passing.

Orion Press' response: "I have no explanation for this difference. Perhaps, though, the fact is that you've so flooded the market with books...that readers no longer have any need for fanzines."

Read more on Fanlore at Fanzines and the Internet or "Whither Thou Goest, Orion Press? and in Fanfiction: web or zine?

*"Appeared" is a bit misleading as Pocket Books had been mentioned earlier in the thread as a publication company that was supposedly suffering from the negative effects of the Internet. The editor had participated in several other Usenet threads at alt.startrek.creative before. [A Dreamwidth post with comment count unavailable comments | Post or read on Dreamwidth| How to use OpenID]

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