Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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These two items speak for themselves. The first was printed in CoEvolution Quarterly in its Spring 1981 issue. The second is a letter from the editor of Zero, announcing the demise of a wonderful, young journal.
. . . Every reader that has any warmth towards any small magazine should take out a subscription. There are many reasons why this is a must. And I mean essential. Firstly, every small magazine would then become self-sufficient. For Fuse with a circulation of 10,000 we would operate on a budget of $90,000. This would mean that the production and writing labour of the magazine could be paid for. There would be no profit. I repeat — no profit. Secondly because not enough readers of such magazines take out subscriptions it means the following: a) twice as much time and energy is spent on raising money through hare-brained inefficient schemes — like Advertising and Distribution; b) that same scramble diverts the focus away from the function of a small magazine which in part is to develop alternate editorial content.
So by not subscribing to such magazines the reader is unintentionally dealing the magazine a death blow and simultaneously helps to editorially weaken his/her welcomed reading material. I’m afraid it’s that simple.
Dear Subscribers, Contributors and Friends:
I regret to announce — THE END OF ZERO.
The fact that this comes as a surprise is a measure of the success we achieved with the magazine. We managed to produce a high quality publication with an extraordinary roster of contributors, build up a paid subscription of 3,000 and run the operation smoothly, without you even suspecting that we were losing money hand over fist. We figured you could be spared the boring details, and the outstretched hand. And anyway, it wouldn’t have done any good.
We analyzed the situation long and hard. Last June we made the only practical move — trying to expand the show to a point where it could pay for itself (and maybe pay the editors for a change, too). We put together a plan to go quarterly and and we tried to raise the necessary capital — $100,000 over two years. No dice. But what about the Government, you ask, all those Arts Institutions? Unfortunately they take millions and cast it out like chicken feed — no one gets enough to upgrade a magazine and make it work, only enough to limp along and lose money. As for Big Foundations, well, little magazines aren’t on their lists.
In short, dear friends, we tried. In fact, we tried so long and hard and lost so much more dough while trying, that this is not an eleventh hour plea. The sad fact is that the show is already over. Our available resources — time, money and brain cells are totally depleted.
We tried to make sure that everyone who subscribed got at least two issues (a year’s worth). Obviously some people will not get all they paid for. I hope this fact will not deter you in the future from purchasing long term subscriptions to other worthy magazines.
In the relatively brief span of time that we have communicated with you, we hope that we have left you thoroughly confused as to our philosophical intent, and deeply satisfied with our aesthetic choices. In the end, that’s all there is.
Eric Lerner, Editor ex-officio
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