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Is a weblog by Emma Humphries

Rediscovering APAs

11 Sep 2020

Matt Webb describes a fever dream of an idea for a website where a group of people agree to a publishing frequency, start ‘zines, and at the deadline the ‘zines are compiled and distributed to the membership.

Those are APAs (amateur press associations) except instead of the web, members were cutting and pasting zine’s and making copies at Kinko’s (remember when Kinko’s wasn’t FedEx?) to mail to or drop off at the Organizing Editor’s (OE,) who would host a compilation party where they would assemble everyone’s APA zine’s into a issue. You made as many copies of your zine as members in good standing, and a couple more for people who were on-spec.

Then the OE would mail copies to the out of town members (you contributed to a mailing fund for this) and you’d pick up your issue to take home and make notes in the margin for comments on everyone else’s zine.

And yes, APAs influenced Live Journal (and later Dreamwidth) culture.

I was a member of the Madison SciFi fan APA, The Turbo Charged Party Animal for close to 10 years. Jeanne Gomoll’s design portfolio has examples of her and her partner’s ‘zines for the APA over the years. My favorite memory was a multiple issue narrative arc about Jeanne’s Diet Coke stash. Her friends may have bought her a room full of cases of Diet Coke for her birthday one year.

Who wants to make an APA?

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