Thursday, May 26, 2011

OSFest Fanzine Workshop

By Trudy V. Myers

I've been asked to organize a 'fanzine workshop' for OSFest 4.0. I was asked because I used to publish a fanzine, 30 years ago.

Back then, one had to read the slush pile, select the stories one wanted, edit them, re-type the hard copies into the proper format, take the proofs to the printer, collate the results, staple them together... How could I possibly squish all that into a workshop?

But technology has made things easier. Submissions could be made by email, editing done on the computer, and then the final product could be posted on the internet, removing the copy shop from the equation completely. I began to think it could be done. Now, would there be any interest in such a workshop?

Actually, I see this workshop as serving three purposes; it would give people interested in the editing end of publishing a glimpse of what's involved; it would give some fledgling writers a chance for their work to be critiqued by a fresh set of eyes; and offer some interesting reading to the general public.

So, how about it? Is anybody interested?

Writers, would you like to submit a short story set in some well-known universe (not your own) to a market that doesn't pay anything, just for the learning experience? We're asking for stories under 7,000 words, standard format. Please also put the universe of your story on the front page, under your contact information, and send the story attached to an email as a .doc or .docx file. The email address is We will make an effort to find an editor who is familiar with that universe. (If you write in an anime universe, it wouldn't be fair for your editor to be familiar only with Star Trek and Star Wars.)

The basic format of the workshop is about an hour on Friday, where we will hand out manuscripts to the fledgling 'editors', and give some basic instructions on how to choose what stories they want to include in the final product. On Saturday, we'll discuss our selections and decide on layout, editing and so forth. Hopefully, there won't be a lot of editing to do, because we'll have to take turns in the hotel business center to do it. One final meeting on Sunday, where –I hope – we'll have a techno-geek available to help us upload the stories, so everyone can see how it's done.

So, editors, are you interested in learning a bit about editing and publishing a fanzine? If you are, please send me an email at the afore-mentioned address, and let me know what universes you are familiar with, so I can try to match you up with submissions.

This workshop may be a little intense, but I'll try not to keep from enjoying too much of the rest of the convention.

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