Raw Material

Bubba Cover

Alphonse Wolfgang Coleman,
Bubba's Live Bait

Age: 26

Selection: "Showdown at Mailbox Corral" (page 75)

Recent review (from You Could Do Worse): "Don't be fooled by Bubba's down-home look. These are honest words from the heart of the Bible Belt."

Sample: $1 cash and two 32-cent postage stamps from P.O. Box 824, Knoxville, TN 37901

When did you launch your zine? What inspired you to do so?
The first issue was in January 1994. I'd been reading various zines for a couple of years before that. Some of my favorites were Girlymag, Farm Pulp, Seamonkeys from Guatemala, and many other personal zines too numerous to mention. This was back when almost every zine had the obligatory entreaty to "do your own zine if you like mine" somewhere in it. In the last couple of years I think zine editors have realized that encouraging everybody to do a zine wasn't such a great idea—there's been a flood of weak zines lately. Anyway, partly in response to the editors' entreaties and partly from the realization that "Hey, I could do better than this one," I finally decided to do one. At first I feared my writing wouldn't hold people's interest, so I got as many folks to participate as I could. That was a mistake.

Why publish a zine?
There are only a few valid reasons to publish—the foremost being to be read. I want someone to look at my thoughts on paper. I'm not as concerned with whether they agree or not, just that they're read it. That helps me deal with losing a lot of money on the zine—readers who take the time to hear what I have to say are doing me a favor, so any money lost is a payment for that service. Also, I envisioned it as a bit of a "sugar-coated pill." I obviously want to affect people's opinions about important socio-political issues, but I don't want to be overwhelmingly didactic about it, so hidden behind all the humor and satire there is a definite political strain. Creating something that transcends capitalism (i.e. losing money hand-over-fist) is a revolutionary act. That's why I don't care too much for zines trying to get bigger and bigger. If they succeed, all they've achieved is creating another consumer good.

What can you tell us about the selection you provided for "The Book of Zines"?
All one should really know is that it is a true story—I have no patience for fiction.

What's your favorite part of doing a zine?
Probably sitting down with tape, gluestick, scissors and my big boxes of stolen clip art and putting the zine together. It takes a long time but I enjoy it. Reading the first finished, stapled, and folded zine is a big charge too. I also really dig thoughtful letters from readers and other zine editors.

Any general tips for aspiring zinesters?
Time for Uncle Zine to bore the kids with preaching. (1) First off, don't do it for money. Embrace the fact that you will lose money or just barely break even. If you somehow (yeah, right) start to make a profit from it, you are doing something wrong. Lower the price, make it longer, whatever. Don't fall into the bullshit capitalist rationalization mode where you "put all the profits back into the zine"—buying computers, scanners, quitting your day job.
(2) Don't try to get bigger and bigger constantly. You may get what you wish for—I've seen a lot of zines get crushed by the logistics of a giant circulation. It just isn't any fun for them anymore when it starts to resemble a job. Deliberately strive to keep your subscription list small. I consider mine like an extended family.
(3) Don't let technology squeeze the individuality out of your zine. No matter how cool and original you think that font is, it isn't; we've seen it two million times. If you're not putting pen to paper at some point, you're doing it wrong. Do your own drawings, write some headlines or even articles. I think forcing yourself to actually cut and paste with scissors and glue forces you to think m ore about the design; it makes your zine more crafted and original. If you zine looks like someone else's, you've missed the point in doing a zine. It should be as individual as you are.

In my other life, I'm an:
College student (geography), musician, and receptionist at a social work agency.

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