By Ian Shires
I have been struggling with getting things positioned the way they need to be to solidify the whole SPA/HOF thing. By this time, I wanted to have a monthly awards system to help us build a start-of-year nomination pathway for HOF Induction. And I just haven’t been able to build the system. Not for lack of availability of software—that I have. It’s been lack of time to do the work. That lack of time has been due to a number of things, but really, I have no excuse.
Since last issue, I have contacted the local school system with questions and ideas about building an intern program for students interested in learning any and all aspects of publishing. We’ll see what pans out with that. The thing that takes me the longest right now is layouts, I have to find a way to get out from under that and still keep the magazine running smoothly month in month out.
I have come into contact with a local printer who prints everything from banners, to car decorations, to apparel and other swag. The also do pamphlets and brochures, so I am talking to them about the potential of POD comics. With that, Indyfest would be able to offer a lot of things. So, it’s about equipment and numbers right now; we’ll see how that pans out as well.
Meanwhile, I have also started talking to Jon Miller from Outpouring Comics, who is also developing a distribution branch. Now, you all know I have been talking to King Chan about this for a while, and I don’t plan to dump one guy for another, or in any way put one person’s efforts over another’s. Indyfest—I feel—is designed to be big enough to work with any and all systems and thus, having good, solid relationships with any and all avenues working to put Indy stuff in stores is prudent.
It struck me the other day that maybe it’s time to drop the “Self Publisher Association” from the mix. As in, do we really need an SPA and an INDYFEST NETWORK? Can the SPA just absorb forward, and be more focused that way?
I pose these as questions, because I have not made up my mind yet, nor really talked to anyone else about it. Even Ellen, who will be the first to read this when I turn it over for editing, hasn’t heard about this, because I am thinking out loud here.
Evolving with the times and being on the cutting edge of bringing change are two separate things. One is reactionary, while the other requires trying new things to see if they work. I have, on many occasions, been on that cutting edge and most of the time, all I got for the effort was getting cut to ribbons. I cannot guarantee that it won’t happen again. However, as I said last issue, waiting any longer is no good; accepting defeat is no good; only going back into an active development phase will bring forth the publishing world we want. And I can’t and don’t want to do this alone.
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Editorial by Ian Shires
Let’s talk a bit about what’s next on the Hall of Fame front. So, last month, we released the 2016 Starting Point book. It is a listing of all publishers we have information about, including all the publications that we know they have published. It was a massive undertaking to bring this into a presentable state, and now that it is, the question really is, what do we do with such an incomplete and instantly out-of-date set of listings?
It is really intended to be a call to arms, to bring the publishing multiverse of people who are “Indy”—small press, self published, no corporate backing… to preserve our history by providing a place to actually focus on getting information to. I can emphatically say that, despite what I have out out here, I have only shown a fraction of the information that I actually have locked away in boxes of old publications. I have thousands more publishers and all of their books that were sent, traded, or given to me, as I grew up with the pre-internet small press. It is my intention to unlock and add in all of that info, as I get to it.
The Self Publisher Hall of Fame was first being talked about in the SPA over ten years ago. We were never able to lock down a set of things that would qualitfy a publisher to become an honoree of the HOF, and other things the SPA was doing tended to keep pushing the development onto the back burner. Today, I find that the HOF has become a much more important idea to explore and get into operational light. We have begun to see a steady string of reports of the deaths of once-important network personalities, and the number of people around who actually remember what was going on in the small press network of the 60s–90s, even into the 00s… continues to decline, as inevitable publisher fall-off and the influx of new people and fans, focus more on what is going on now.
But to have a real now, one that means something, we all should have a solid base of knowledge of what came before. To be an active member of a community, no matter how loose-knit it is, requires an inclusive, and thorough view of what it means to be “Underground”, “Indy”, or “Small Press”.
My greatest ASK, the one thing I’d like, is for anyone reading this magazine who wants to see the hobby/industry that we cover thrive in even better and greater ways than it ever has before, to simply make sure you are using what we’ve put together, and encourage creators you are follow to make sure they send us info on their material. Go to http://indyfestusa.com/archives and we’ll keep making that better.