An APA a Day keeps the Boredom at Bay

So What IS an APA????

The Word APA actually stands for Amateur Publishing Association, and it is exactly what it sounds like - a group of people who all enjoy writing, and who agree to publish a certain number of pages of writing every six months, or every year (or whatever other period the group has agreed upon). As they write this material, they get the appropriate number of copies of their work made, and send them into the Official Editor or OE, who collates the bundles and sends them out again to all the members. As most APAs are international in scope, this can save a LOT of money on postage - say you want to send your fanzine to 20 people (8 in your own country and 12 on the other side of the world.) Sending your zines out individually will cost you 12 lots of international postage, but if they go through an APA you'll only pay the one charge. APAs also save you time, because you don't have to worry about  maintaining a mailing list of your own. In return for this, each member pays a certain amount of money each year to pay for the administration and postage, but it's still much less than you'd pay to do it all yourself. And the best thing about this arrangement, is that as long as you are a member, you are guaranteed the arrival of a nice fat envelope on your doorstep each distro, giving you plenty of reading material, and plenty of food for thought.

What sort of stuff do people put in APAs?

APAs are also a great way to find out what other people are thinking, feeling, and doing. There is not generally a set topic of discussion and you can write about ANYTHING as long as its not obscene (and there is some flexibility even there - if it gets by the postal regulations against the mailing of obscene literature you can probably get away with it, though you might not draw favourable comment from the other members if you try...) They're a great way to share your thoughts with a small group of like-minded people, and actually a little like a Newsgroup, only on paper. It's customary for each person in the group to write Mailing Comments at least once in a while, which basically means commenting on past issues. These aren't hard to do, and though they're not obligatory, you  probably won't find them too hard. You don't need to comment on EVERYTHING, just on any particular comments or issues that strike a chord with you. You can also share artwork, cartoons, jokes, serious essays - basically ANYTHING, as I said before.
I'm a member of three different APAs, and I produce a seperate apazine (a 'zine produced for an APA) for each of them, but they're all fairly similar in one respect - while the mailing comments naturally focus on the last mailing, the rest is generally a mixture of general natter about my life, 'funnies' etc. combined with fillos , stamps, stickers and clip art as decoration. One of my friends on the other hand, produces an apazine which is about as opposite from mine as you can get - he combines serious essays with thoughtful mailing comments, and only occasionally tosses in a moment of 'light relief'. Both of our end products draw comments and input from other members of the group, so for APA purposes they're both equally acceptable.

Click here to view a sample copy of one of my apazines.

I'm interested - how can I join one?

There are APAs in all parts of the world, so there's probably one near you. I only know about the three I am involved with personally, but look around - they're generally pretty friendly. Sometimes they have a wait-list,  but at the moment none of these do. Some APAs have an official treasurer and/or secretary - if so, this is the person you should ask about membership. Others, generally the smaller groups, only have an Official Editor, who takes care of the admin stuff as well.


Stands for the Australian and New Zealand Amateur Publishing Association.
ANZAPA is a fairly small group, with a maximum roster of 30. Currently there are about 25 members, so there is no waitlist. ANZAPA runs bi-monthly, and minac is 6 pages in 6 months. This breaks down neatly into 2 pages per mailing, but if you miss one it's not a deadly offense - just put in three or four pages next time to make it up. I generally aim for six pages each mailing, on the theory that if I have to miss one I'll still be well ahead, .
Dues are $7AU per year, collected in August,  plus postage (adding to $20AU in Australia or New Zealand, $42AU elsewhere in the world. Joining at other times entitles you to a proportional reduction in fees for the remainder of the year eg. 3 mailings = half  the fee.
My ANZAPAzine is called, naturally enough, ANZAPAN'S ONLY or AO, and my first issue of Out of the Kaje was run almost solely through the group.

Official Bloody Editor: Marc Ortlieb
PO Box 215, Forest Hill Vic 3131


This APA is currently run from England, and when I heard of it I thought it must stand for the British Women's APA. Actually, the 'B' doesn't really stand for anything at all - each mailing, it symbolises something different. It came by its name because it started out as an overflow from another group called AWA (A Women's APA.) This was extremely popular and had a long waitlist, so BWA was formed to give all of these eager women an outlet for their enthusiasm. BWA mails bi-monthly, and the minac requirement is for you to have a presence in every second issue ie. every four months. Not very hard, is it?
At the moment, BWA is a VERY small group, and new members will be welcomed with open arms. We'd love to see you if you're female (any age) and would like to chat.
Dues are calculated using some arcane postage-division algorithm beyond my ken - just send what seems like a reasonable amount of money, and you'll be told when more is owing. Maureen can also do copying for you at cost if international postage is hard to find - just talk to her about it and something can be arranged.
I've only recently joined BWA and as yet my contributions have no name, the first (and so far only) offering going out under the working title of 'Where the name of this apazine will go when I work out what it actually is!'

OE: Maureen Kincaid Speller
60 Bournemouth Road, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 5AZ UK


FAPA is one of the largest and oldest of science-fiction based APAs. It's based in the United States, and the majority of its 65 members come from there, but there are also Europeans (from various countries) and a sprinkling of Australians in the group. FAPA mails four times a year, and minac is 8 pages per year. There's also a special clause that you need to look out for if you're going to join - at one stage FAPA had a big problem with people signing up, collecting four mailings, and then dropping out without ever contributing anything, so they made a rule to try to prevent it. During your first year of membership, your eight pages have to be produced by the THIRD mailing of the year, to guarantee that you're not a freeloader.
The other criteria for membership is to have some kind of fannish creds, either by publishing your own zine, or by contributing to other people's. This is to try to make sure that members know what they're getting into, and dates from the days when producing a zine required knowledge of how to run a duplicating machine (which was MUCH harder than popping your computerised master into a photocopier and pressing a few buttons.)
Annual dues are $15US, which currently translates at about $25AUS (I think! I'll find out for sure when I go get my next money order for them.)
My FAPA contributions have had the most names. First came 'Notes from Down Under #1' where I introduced myself to the group. When it came time to write my second contribution, I decided I really didn't like the name, and changed it to the Pink Koala, which I combine with a different phrase for each issue, giving me so far: Secretary-Treasurer: Robert Lichtman
PO Box 30, Glen Allen, CA 95442

OE: Ken Forman
7215 Nordic Lights Drive, Las Vegas NV 89119-0335

NOTE: Ken is the one who collects contributions, but Robert is the one in charge of the membership roster and money.

A Brief Glossary of APA terms

So you think this sounds interesting, but you didn't understand half  the terms I used above? It's hard to talk about APAs without using the shorthand of the groups, so here are a few brief definitions for you to help clear things up:
Australia and New Zealand Amateur Publishing Association. A 30-person APA for residents of Australia and New Zealand, or for people in other countries who want to talk to people in Australia… When I joined ANZAPA the roster was down to 20 members. Now there are 24, but that still leaves 6 vacancies. Interested?
Amateur Press (or Publishing) Association. A group of people who share a common interest in writing, and in reading what the other members have produced. Each member produces a certain number of pages of text (serious comment, comments on other people’s writing, or general natter as the mood takes them) and sends it into the Official Editor before the deadline. The editor collates the copies into the same number of bundles as there are APA members and sends them out again every few months. Terms and conditions of membership vary from APA to APA, but they have certain things in common, mainly a set activity requirement.
Fanzine written specially for an APA, and not generally distributed outside the APA group, although sometimes copies make their way out to the general public as well. As well as the normal fanzine contents, an Apazine normally contains (or sometimes entirely consists of) mailing comments.
Shorthand for Distribution
Note – not all fanzines are science fiction related, or even produced by members of the SF community. Strictly speaking, a fanzine is simply a publication produced, with no expectation of financial gain, by someone who’s very enthusiastic about their particular hobby or profession i.e. for the love of it. These fanzines can be about almost anything, for example a rather interesting zine I just received from an archaeologist  which is largely devoted to matters historical. Interestingly, every major zine-publishing subgroup (skateboarders, underground musicians, petrol-heads, etc.) thinks that they were the ones who invented the ‘fanzine’ and that everyone else copied.
Fanzine fans:
people whose main involvement with fandom comes through reading and contributing to fanzines. There’s one big plus in being a fanzine fan – the fanzine community is multi-national, and in return for a relatively small amount of effort and expense (printing and postage costs) you get to share in the thoughts and lives of people from all around the world.
Fantasy Amateur Press Association. The oldest continuous APA in existence (it started in 1937) FAPA is a renowned haunt of BNFs and professional SF authors. There are normally 65 members in FAPA, but the roll-call’s a bit short at the moment, so they’re looking for fresh blood. Mailings run to about 300 pages, four times a year. If you’ve got a known track record in fanzine fandom (ie.produce/contribute to fanzines) and are interested, write to Robert Lichtman at PO Box 30, Glen Ellen, California 95442 USA and he’ll explain the details to you.
plural of fan.
a small illustration or cartoon used to fill a gap in a fanzine. For APA purposes these can be your own work, a friends, your child's kindergarten masterpieces, or a particularly apt cartoon you saw in yesterday's paper and want to share.
the same as a Distro. One bundle of apazines. Mailings occur at regular intervals, so you always know when the next one is coming and can theoretically get ready for it well in advance.
Minimum Activity - the number of pages you need to put in to keep getting the mailings
Official Editor - the person who collates the mailings together and sends them out again. In ANZAPA, known as the OBE (Official Bloody Editor) for reasons lost in the mists of time.
Re your comments to (occasionally just RYC) Used when writing mailing comments, to make them a little shorter.
Wait List:
The group of people who are waiting to join a particular APA. Waitlists seem to be a thing of the past, but you never know... Waitlist members don't generally pay fees, but don't get the mailings either. You're just waiting for someone else to drop out.
Just the same as a fanzine. Why two names when one would do? Fans are generally good at finding the shortest way to refer to anything, and you'd be hard put to find a shorter term than this.

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