But I'm looking at the documents I've got for the anthology and thinking about what will go where and geez. It may as well be the Ellen-Zine anthology.
There are several points which I've wanted to make for a while, and I've had some trouble putting them out in polite terms without sounding as whiny as I feel. Looking at the tie-up issue for our first year, and ahead at another year ('cause I'm not ready to give up! Never surrender!), I think it's time to pour it out at you.
First, I WANT your work.
I know that a number of you have made tutorials, and walk-throughs, and cheerfully trotted off and posted them on your webpages. I WANT THOSE THINGS! I want them FIRST, so that I can offer exclusive content and EMG-Zine has a draw.
I'm sort of baffled about how I can plant it in heads to send 'em to me first, because I see this from the same people who have said nice things about EMG-Zine and wanting to help, and I can only think that a) they want instant gratification and don't want to wait a month for publication? b) The pay is too piddly for that afore-mentioned sacrifice? c) They are just mouthing empty politeness about the 'zine? Or... maybe d) They forget? Or maybe e) They got a rejection from the art board and are nursing hurt feelings? (As a note, *I've* gotten rejections from the artboard, as have most of the members.)
(Don't think this is you, if the description matches, 'cause if it were just one person, I'd just say something to you personally. But I can think of at LEAST a dozen instances of this this year. Maybe two. And I would have just died of happiness if I'd been able to offer another feature or two every month this last year! I've watched it happen so many times I'm sort of wondering if I smell bad or am doing something wrong and everyone thinks someone else has already mentioned it, or is too nice to say something!)
YOU have something to share. It doesn't have to be uber professional, you don't have to be a super famous Arteeest or published writer. You don't have to be an EMG artist. If you want ideas of things to write about, I'm happy to brainstorm with you. Delighted, even! Reviews - how hard can it be to review your latest art toy or fantasy book? Letters to the editor! I got ONE after my last plea. ONE.
I made EMG-Zine as a place where we could share our collective wisdom, not as a place for me to showcase my articles and pound on my chest. I'm supposed to be back-up girl... fill in the gaps when there are thin spots, and keep things moving. Somehow, that turned into 'carry the load' girl, and to be desperately honest: I don't like it. I'm tired and overworked, and I am not going to do this if I'm not doing it for other people, too. I am embarrassed and feel self-serving to see pages and pages of my content when I KNOW there is other, better, more valuable content out there.
If I'd wanted to do that, I'd just put my articles at my own site and skip the whole 'zine complication. I'd envisioned something better than that, something bigger. I can't do it by myself, and I'm feeling like I ask and ask and ask and ask and people must be tired of hearing me, and maybe I'm not doing the right thing at all?
I'm not generally a whine and do nothing kind of person. I've identified my problem: not enough content.
I'm so willing to do what needs to happen to make that occur.
First, I need more information. I need to know WHY people aren't submitting. Too complicated? Rules are scary? Don't understand the anthology idea? Pay isn't good enough? Too much work? Standards too high? Quality is too low and it wouldn't be enough of a resume builder? Can't really believe that I need any help because I've managed to pull it off every month so far?
I can stand around hypothesizing and guessing until I'm as blue as a smurf, but I just don't know, and I can't fix it, if I don't KNOW what the problem is. I can probably make it better - it's what I do... look at the things I've done and try to figure out how to make them work better.
(I sometimes think that a lot of people assume I have people that are already telling me these things and they don't need to, but, well, I don't hear much that isn't kind and friendly, so I don't know what to fix! I can take it, I promise, and I would LOVE to hear any thoughts you have on the subject of what could be better. About anything.)
I can't whine this much without taking at least a few moments to offer thanks. I honestly could not have made it this far without you guys. In no order!
Ursula - you've been a rock. Every month like clockwork, even when you're busy writing a novel and getting an agent and negotiating with Jim Henson and cranking out artwork, you send me a bang-up column and herd your fans over to read it.
Annie - Every one of your articles could be a self-standing feature, and I am SO happy you came on board. In some of the slimmer (content-wise) months, I am soothed by the thought that your column is practically another feature. And every month you submit artwork! Wonderful artwork! (Sometimes, the only artwork!)
Marina - I wish I had five of you. You're an absolute pro, I always learn something new and fascinating from your columns, and you are always in great contact if there's any delay or problem or edits that need to be made. I can't emphasize how much I appreciate that!!
Janet - Not only are you an amazing coder, you work fast, meet all the deadlines, and you've always got a fantastic, relevant column that strikes me as 'important,' and so wonderfully conscious. Being able to publish your column makes me feel like I'm doing something good for the world, you know? (*shamelessly piggybacks on your karma...*)
I was going to take a moment to embarrass all of the feature-writers and other wonderful and couldn't-do-without staff, too, but I'm about out of time alotted for this, so forgive me for being general:
I am so honored and pleased that you've sent me work and let me publish it, or helped me out. I am so happy to be able to host your work and incorporate it into EMG-Zine. I wish I could pay 5x as much and had 10x the audience to show it off to. You should know how giddy and happy I am when I get the submissions - art, fiction, reviews, anything. Comments, even. I don't think you know how much it means to hear that someone reads the 'zine regularly and gets a lot out of it. Mostly, I get silence, and when you take the time to say something, I really, truly treasure it, read it several times, and I always pass it on to the people who deserve to share in it!
Please don't stop! I'm committing to another year of this dog and pony show, and it would be a bleak and scary road if it weren't for your support. I couldn't do it alone, and I really wouldn't want to.