Zine Reviews: multiple vs. single reviewers

Q. We have the option to have multiple reviewers per column. If someone edited a whole column, say on something like “zines by teens” or “transgender zines” or whatever, they would get paid $75, btw. People who review one zine get no compensation. If that factors in at all.

 

Answers:

  • The $75 bucks is appealing, but I think I’d vote for the individual reviewers per review column. I think it would be tough to get enough zines within a specific theme to keep up a themed review column. Plus, that way you aren’t putting all your eggs in one (reviewer) basket and run the chance of not having a column.
  • I would prefer multiple reviewers per column.
  • I think themed columns would be good, but might not be feasible for every issue. (Yes, I want to write a column on trans zines; I may as well admit it.)
  • I like the idea of themed columns.
  • I can see the appeal of having a themed column, but I wonder how sustainable it will be long-term. Some topics / genres will have much more to choose from than others, and eventually we will hit a limit. (or maybe not. After all, there’s poetry and litzines and perzines and quirky zines and comic zines and and and… But what of the zines that don’t fit well within any one particular category?) Maybe we can do a mix of the two – like they do the graphic novels section, if I recall – with a few paragraphs at the front which address a particular theme and then general reviews for the rest of the column. … The other issue regarding a themed column that comes to mind is that it seems better suited for reviewing titles, not reviewing specific issues. To give an example: if the theme is mamazines, you’d likely pick the best / most interesting / whatever mamazines, regardless of whether there is a new or current issue out. I’d see the column as being about Hip Mama and East Village Inky and Fertile Ground as zine titles, not reviews about Fertile Ground #17 and East Village Inky #34. … The payment issue doesn’t matter to me. … What kind of lead time will the article have? If we have a deadline of December to submit the reviews, when will they be printed? Could make a difference in selecting which zines we review.
  • Multiple reviewers, no pay.
  • Would there be a way to some of the time do multiple reviewers for the column, and other times have it edited by one person to focus on a specific topic, or do we have to commit to one style?
  • I prefer themed columns. I think they might be more useful in the professional library review journal context, because zines are a relatively new and unfamiliar format for most libraries. Themed columns would present reviews in subject or theme chunks, which might make them more immediately and easily useful for collection development. If librarians are reading the reviews for professional interest rather than for collection development information, then themed columns would make the reviews stand out more, and perhaps this would pique folks’ interest in zines. … Another advantage to themed columns is that each person would have the responsibility only once in a while, which might make it easier to get reviewers to commit. Also, if reviewers are expected to come up with their own titles for review, a themed column might work better, as it would give some structure to the process of finding zines for review. (Personally, I don’t think I’d be interested in writing individual standalone zine reviews unless I have zines assigned to me.)

 

In thinking about what zine reviews in a major library publication would look like, I posed several questions to a group of potential zine reviewers. This is #1 of 7.
(people who contributed, let me know if you want me to remove your comment–or to cite it with your name)

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