Um, so I had been paying £10 per published piece for AW, sort of as a token gesture to show that creatives should be paid. But I've gone back to uni and can't distribute in the hundreds anymore.
This Patreon helps, but it doesn't help that much. Right now it makes about £85 a month, which covers printing costs, postage and the art materials to make the art rewards. Which, don't get me wrong, is a HUGE HELP. It's just... there's not enough left over to pay the contributors. There never has been. That money has come from my full-time distributing.
I failed. I couldn't make a business out of a zine. And I'm really sorry to anyone I let down.
I've tried raising the cover price, applying for arts funding, distributing full time, subsidising the business with a zine distro or merch; none of it really worked. Not as a sustainable full-time business anyway.
I'm not giving up as such. For October I tried an insert and that worked quite well, I think. For November I'm going to try having an insert again.
But I want to keep the insert very low-maintenance and art-school/fem soc.
No open submissions filling up my inbox and stressing me out with their hopeful eagerness that I'm neglecting and crushing with my inability to prioritise my workload.
Money from the insert - if there is any and it's barely sold this month - will go to the fem soc and be used for activities (DVDs for film screenings, event posters, bake sale ingredient reimbursement, travel costs for visiting speakers), or if I'm selling the zine at a craft fair or something alongside my art it will go into my general business account and go towards art materials and costs associated with my university course.
I hope that's fair. I hope that's a set-up you can get behind.
That way, if a first-year art student comes to a fem soc zine making workshop and draws something for the zine insert, rather than getting paid directly she instead will benefit from an active programme of events and, hopefully, a complimentary copy if she turns up to an event again or I see her in the art college corridors. It will be much, much more casual.
As for the other half of AW, that will be a perzine. As in, I'll write that. Like in the October issue. A front cover by Alfie, then reviews and previews from me. Thoughts, poetry, artwork... from me. Maybe an ad for an event I'll be going to or helping out with on the back. A way to collate my thoughts and research each month while I do my masters and apply for a PhD. My intention is to put the articles (reviews and previews) online at artificialwombzine.com
, but I haven't really got into the rhythm of that yet. It will come.
Again, I hope this sounds okay.
The quality will probably change and dip and stutter and rise again, as it has done over the past year and a bit.
Thank you so much for sticking with me, for joining me, and for believing in Artificial Womb. I hope this is fair. I hope this is okay. I'm sorry I can't pay contributors anymore. At least I can say I tried my hardest.