Dark Matter 9: Letters of Comment

I’ve received two email responses to Dark Matter issue 9 so far.  

Robert Lichtman

Robert Lichtman sent me an email for a previous issue where he ‘suggested’ that I downsize or fold because he objects to me inviting donations.  Here is his latest letter.

> Nalini Haynes’ Dark Matter #9

Amidst its 245 pages I found my name, although misspelled:

“Robert Lichtmann’s letter, published in the previous
issue, suggested that Dark Matter either downsize or fold:
haters gonna hate, especially when someone new comes along
and does something different. At least Robert had the guts
to say it to my face: I have been told a lot of other
people were saying it in private forums behind my back.”

I’m hardpressed to figure out why she seems to think I’m
a “hater,” when the thrust of my letter was that I find it
unseemly for fanzine editor to have a *vision* (which
she goes into in the text surrounding the above excerpt)
and put it out strongly that she’d like other people to
donate to support it.  An excerpt:

“Imagine what I could do, interviewing people YOU are
interested in, if I had more contacts, the finances to get
to more expos and conventions to report and to interview…
This is part of my vision. But that takes cold hard cash.”

And writing about her frustration with software that
doesn’t do what she wants and her desire to upgrade:

“This costs money as I’m not about to pirate software: Adobe
is known for tracking down publications of note and
penalising them if they have been created using their
(valid) educational software or pirated software. I’m not
going there. I’m currently using an out of date educational
version of their software and I’M VERY STRESSED. I need to
upgrade to either an equivalent product created by someone
without the Adobe price tag or to upgrade to a more recent
and full version of InDesign so that I will not come under
fire from Adobe AND SO I CAN PUBLISH IN EPBUB AND MOBI
FORMATS. Upgrading is not cheap.”

Interestingly, when I downloaded the issue so I could
have a look at it I was told by Firefox that she’s using
a newer version of Adobe Acrobat than I have and Things
Might Not Display Properly.  (Mine is 8.0, and it’s
legal….I bought it cheap on eBay after 9.0 came out.)

She goes on:

“When I started asking for donations I was hoping readers
who could afford it would appreciate Dark Matter enough to
donate anything from $1 to $5 for each issue, to help
defray costs and build a bigger, better Dark Matter for the
future. Effectively I’m hoping that readers will want to be
my patrons. Here’s the thing in a nutshell: the sky is the
limit with Dark Matter. I can do SO MUCH, but it takes cold
hard cashy-money.”

All this is in a section running from page 185 to page
191, and in it she outlines quite clearly her vision for
DARK MATTER.  It’s an ambitious one, but it clearly
involves more money than she has available.

Taking a cue from an author she interviewed who gets
money from people who enjoy the work he puts out on
the Web, she writes:

“If you have one thousand dedicated fans who are prepared to
support you to the sum of $100 per year, you can live on
that while you’re creating and releasing your work free on
the internet.”

That’s a million bucks a year before taxes.  Good work if
you can get it, but it’s a poor or at least unlikely model
for a fanzine.  If I had that kind of support for my zine
I could put it out more often *and* I could pay my
contributors…!”

Clearly Robert has issues with math:  $100 X 1000 fans is $100,000 dollars not a million.  $100,000 is the equivalent of a salary for a full-time worker and an expense budget.  I did not claim to have interviewed Kris Straub and Scott Kurtz, the guys who specifically mentioned these figures:  the above figures are part of what they said in the Masterclass at Supanova on 13 April 2012.  

Ned Brooks

No, $100 each from 1000 fans is $100,000 – not a million. Traditionally faneds begged for art and articles and put a price on their production if they needed to. But Chuck Hornig did ask for $$ to keep publishing “The Fantasy Fan” in the early 30s – and didn’t get it, or at least not enough.

The use of “hater” to insult anyone who doesn’t approve of something you are doing or just fails to enjoy your TV program seems to be a New Millennium thing – I have heard it from my sister’s kids. 

5 Comments

    1. Jon D. Swartz / Jack was a wonderful man. When I was wrnitig the club history, I wrote him about his book, Up To Now asking how I could obtain a copy. He very graciously sent me an autographed copy, gratis. He will be missed by many.

  1. We discovered anything about it theme on the telly last night. Good submit.

  2. It seems to me that this web site doesnt load up on a Motorola Droid. Are other people getting the exact same issue? I enjoy this site and dont want to have to skip it when Im gone from my computer.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that. Hopefully the next revamp of the website will fix the issue, but it’s going to take a while. The minion is in IT but he’s a specialist who works in a team with web designers, so guess what? He has never done web work before. There is a plan to change the site so it’s wholly WordPress.

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