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
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
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
Who ever heard of a Pink Koala?
Pink Koalas make Perfect Pets, and
Please don't Pet the Pink Koala
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Top / Back
/ Main Index / Karenji
/ Kaje / Karen
/ E-mail Me