Brooklyn: A Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes Fanzine

    Brooklyn: A Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes Fanzine

    Curious: How did you raise the money for Brooklyn?

     

    Aimee: It was all pre-order. I basically figured out how much it was going to cost to print the books and to send one copy to all of the contributors.  I basically figured out how much it would cost, because the book was printing on a sliding price scale. The more you buy, the cheaper it is. I was kind of like, “It will probably be about 6 dollars.” Then i took pre-orders, and I got more than I expected. I got maybe like 250 orders, I think. It was more than I expected. Pretty much the entire reaction was more than I expected.

     

    Curious: Did you produce any zines after Brooklyn? Before RAW?

     

    Aimee: Personal stuff mostly. I did a whole bunch, well not a whole bunch of conventions. I did like 3 or something. I did mostly personal work. Nothing fandom created. I was kind of like, “Okay, that was 3 months of my life that I wasn’t necessarily expecting to spend on this. Time to do some me stuff.” I was like, “I’d like to do that again, but maybe not for a couple of years.” Here I am now shooting myself in the foot, actively. [I’m] a lying liar.

     

    Curious: I love that there seems to be this new renaissance of fandom zines coming out. Through Kickstarter I’ve discovered and bought so many different fandom zines, and it’s wonderful. It seems like they are maybe easier to produce?

     

    Aimee: I think part of it is that … Part of it is just that printing techniques are a lot more easily accessible. It used to be like most zines were produced by librarians who already had a Xerox machine and a spiral binder. I don’t know if this is true [in general] or not, but a lot of the people I know who are doing work even similar to this, their career is in line with the sort of fandom work they’re doing.

    Where it’s like, “I know how to make books, so I’m making books.” I know people who are academics and they are writing essays or people who are journalists and are doing columns and stuff.

    Well first of all, it’s not secret anymore, so you can raise money and do fundraising stuff. Also I think a lot of people doing the production are people who have skills or know people with the skills to do it. Whereas people making zines before were like, “We need to make a book, so we got to figure out how to make a book.” Now it’s kind of like, “I know how to make a book. I like books. I’ll make a book.” Those of us who can make books are stoked about making books.

     

    Curious: Books are brilliant.

     

    Aimee: I’m into it.

     

    Curious: Yeah, me too!  I have so many fan made comics and zines…  Whenever I find something fan-made that I love, I’m like “press buy.”

     

    Aimee: You’re what keeps us doing stuff.

     

    Curious: 😀 So, how did RAW come to be? Did you start out as a Fannibal from Season 1?

     

    Aimee: I did actually. Technically I’ve been watching Hannibal since Season 1. My first thoughts were, “this is ridiculous.” I was vaguely in the fandom. I didn’t participate in the community aspects of the fandom barely at all, but I’d been watching it from the beginning.

    Even when I thought it was really silly, which was actually for most of Season 1, where I was like, does {Will} have a shonen anime main character super power, and the super power is feeling? Are you kidding me television? His power is that he feels so much he knows who murderers are? I think I saw it with my roommate and somebody else, and we watched the first episode, and they tell me now, “Aimee, you were shit talking the whole time.” I’m like, I know. To be fair it is ridiculous, but you get used to it.

     

    Curious: Yeah, you do, really quickly.

     

    Aimee: I’ve been watching Hannibal since it started airing. I read a little bit of fan fiction but I wasn’t even super Will/Hannibal  until Season 2, where I was like, “Are you sure this is what they’re actually…? This is gayer than I thought it was going to be.” I honestly can credit the fact that I really got into Will/Hannibal, specifically, to emungere, who is phenomenal, obviously. I have a problem with Hannibal which is that every time I stop watching Hannibal, I forget how much I like Hannibal. I think it’s because it’s really good, and really, really well done, to the point where when I’m not watching it, I’m like, “I must have imagined that.”

     

    Curious: It couldn’t have been that good…

     

    Aimee: It couldn’t have been that good, right? I would forget that I was watching “Hannibal,” until Hannibal came back around and I was like, “Oh, I guess I’ll watch Hannibal again.” I have a really bad habit of forgetting to keep up with television shows. But I think Blackbird and Ladders were my two most read fan fictions of 2015 and probably … well maybe not 2014 because there was the Steve/Bucky thing.                  

    I’ve read Blackbird an embarrassing amount of times, for me, because I now know emungere. Those stories were the thing that like when I wasn’t in Hannibal, in-in Hannibal, the ideas were still in the back of my head where I was like, “I like this. There’s something about this that’s really, really catching me.” I think most of it is probably her storytelling, and I was like, “The actual show’s not going to be that good.” Then I’d go back and watch it like, “No, but it’s pretty good.” Like okay, Fuller, maybe you’ve achieved like 75% emungere quality.

     

    Curious: Yeah the fic for Hannibal is excellent.

     

    Aimee: It’s good. It’s very, very good. Anyways, yes. I’ve been in Hannibal for a while. I took Season 3 very seriously. I wasn’t even planning on watching it until Tea Fougner, who ran RAW with me, she was like, “My friend is having a Hannibal Season 3, Episode 1 party, you should come.” I was like, “Maybe, I don’t know… yeah, okay, sounds fun.” I went, and I was like, “Okay this was fun.” There were so many people there that I didn’t really even get to watch the first episode. I was like, “Huh, this television show is kind of good though, isn’t it.” The person throwing the party was Melissa, who I am also good friends with now and she had several Hannibal watching parties that kept me on track with the season, because you have to keep up. I was like, “Shit man, this is great. This is great.” I went from 0 to 100 in several weeks on Hannibal.

    RAW Fanzine: A Hannibal/Will Fanthology

    Curious: How did RAW come together? When was the, “We have to do this,” conversation?

     

    Aimee: The season finale. There’s video of almost that entire night. I took a bunch of video responses for my friend because we were like, “Okay, we’re in two different time zones, we’re both going to watch the finale. We have to video ourselves reacting, and send them to each other, but we can’t open each other’s videos until after …” Because I was going to get hers before she got mine.

    We’d been having Hannibal parties at that point, so I was like, “I’m going to throw a dinner party.” I threw a really fancy Hannibal dinner party, and while I’m literally make mackerel tartar and fancy rhubarb French toast in my kitchen, I get four video messages, one after the other. I wasn’t going to open them because I still didn’t know what happened, but I see one, and I’m like, “Oh Okay, Okay.” Then there’s like two, and then I’m like, “What did you have to film two videos to say?” Then there’s like three. “Oh Shit.” Four. So I’m like, “Oh man. It’s either real good or real bad.”

     

    Curious: Yeah, something definitely happened here.

     

    Aimee: We made it through the night. We watched the show and lost our collective shit. There was screaming. There was crying. There’s video of me chugging two glasses of wine in succession from that night. There’s video of us being like, “Oh my God. Oh my God. Let me tell you how good this is and why!” There’s also video of me being like, “I’m going to make a zine!” Which I’d kind of been thinking about pre-that. I was like, “It’d be cool to do a Hannibal book.” If the ending is as phenomenal as it could be, then I need to do a book, but I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s going to be that good, and then it was. Then I was committed which was funny because just a year earlier I was like, “I’m never doing this again. Maybe like five years in the future.”

     

    Original Plans for RAW by Aimee Fleck

    Original Plans for RAW by Aimee Fleck

    Curious: How soon after the finale did you launch it?

     

    Aimee: I can’t imagine it was more than a week.

     

    Curious: So the ball started rolling really fast.

     

    Aimee: Yeah. Well I had some ideas already because even when I say I’m not going to do something, I’m sitting here with my notebook being like, “Here’s what I want to do.” I feel like I texted people before RAW … Before the finale even where I was like, “I have a dream, and that dream is that there’s gold foil on the front of one of my books.”                           

    I was thinking about how in Brooklyn, I wanted to do fan fiction, but that I didn’t get a chance because it would have been too many pages. So I was like, “This time, I’ll do fan fiction.” I was considering doing two books and packaging them in envelopes and having gold calligraphy foil on the front. Then my friends were like, “Aimee, you need to go to bed, it’s three in the morning. Why are you texting me about this?”

    Then after the finale, I was already kind of like, “Okay. I’ve got to do it. I have to adjust my plans.”  I had very specific aesthetic plans for this. This is the original  design for the book. It was just that I wanted to do it spiral bound with a matte red or black card stock cover and gold foil title, with gold metal spiral binding, ivory thick weight paper, and then a menu style half page insert at the front. I went and I got several quotes from several different printing companies. They were all basically like, “You’re a fucking lunatic. That would cost a gazillion dollars. Please go home to your family and leave us alone.” I was like, “Well can’t you buy a spiral binder? You’re a printing company, how much could it possibly cost.” They’re all like, “No. What you’re asking for is ridiculous. It doesn’t exist.”                         

    I had a moment where I was like, “I could buy a spiral binder, and spiral bind like 300. I can spiral bind 300, right?” My friends were like, “One: no. Two: seriously, no.” I was like, “Well how many more than 300 could they possibly need, right? How many people could possibly buy this silly book?”

     

    Curious: Little did you know…

     

    Aimee: I narrowly avoided a horrible disaster.

     

    Curious: Seriously. Wow.

     

    Aimee: You asked–the question was like, what the difference between this and Brooklyn was?

     

    Curious: Yeah.

     

    Aimee: I was like, “I’m going to make it fancy as fuck all!”

     

    Curious: 😀

     

    Aimee: I went into it with that, and everything else was kind of like, me being like, “Great, how the shit am I going to fund my gold foil printed book?”

     

    Curious: Is that why you went Kickstarter versus pre-sale?

     

    Aimee: Sort of. Part of it was the fact that when I ran Brooklyn I only added enough to the price to give everybody one copy. When I got to the end of Brooklyn, which was a lovely experience, I made lots of friends, I adored it. It was a lot of fun. I sat down, and I thought to myself, “God damn I wish I’d made some money.” Not because I’m like, “Yes, fans are the perfect people to make money off of.”

    More it’s like, “I just spent three months of my life where I didn’t do any other work.” I worked like 18 hour days on top of my actual job. It was very stressful and it was a lot of work. By the time I got done with it, or not the time I got done with it, because by the time I got done with it I was running on a high. I remember mid-way through, about the time we were packing books, I said, “Jeez. I’m done. I wish I’d made some dollars so that I wouldn’t be suffering for no money.”

     

    Curious: It’s an incredible amount of work.

     

    Aimee: It is what it is, you know. It takes a lot of work to make something. If you want to make something, you’ve got to put in the work. On the other hand, if people are going to pay for something, they should be paying the people who put in the work to make it. That’s a different rant.

    When I went into doing RAW, I wanted to be able to give all of the contributors more than one copy so they could sell or give away the copies if they so wished. There were some people, especially with fan fiction, where people are concerned about whether or not they’re going to be making money on fan fiction. They aren’t necessarily comfortable with the idea. I decided the middle ground was comp copies for all the contributors so that they wouldn’t have to buy one, they could give them to their friends, their family, or they could sell them at a convention and make at least a small return on the fact that they put in a lot of time and effort on the book.

    At this point, I’d done all the applications and everything and we had our contributors. I knew how many people were going to be in the book, which was 50 again. To buy 50 people 5 copies of the book is about 350 books. To pay for 350 books, you have to sell 350 books, and more than that.

    I went into this knowing that if I was going to do that, I had to do it on a big enough scale that I would guarantee to sell a certain number of books, and that I would guarantee to have enough money to fund the whole print run.                           

    Compared to internet fan fiction standards, RAW is not that long. When I realized how short I was going to have to ask everyone to make their pieces, I was like, “7000 words. That’s pathetic.” That’s actually like 10 pages. We have one 19 page story. It’s really good though, so I can’t begrudge anybody anything. Some of them were shorter, some of them were longer. That basically makes 150 pages of the book straight up fiction. We have ten authors. That’s a 150 page book, right. Automatically, it was on a bigger scale, and I needed to guarantee that I would have the income to follow through on it. That’s where crowdfunding is good.

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