Way back in the late-aughts when I was teaching workshops to nonprofits and writers on how to promote themselves in the brave new "web 2.0" world, I would explain that the sites with the biggest hits offered cheap snark and porn. You can't beat their numbers, I would say, and you shouldn't try. Your job is to use these new platforms to connect with readers.
Remember those innocent days? By the time 2016 staggered to a close, I felt like I'd been beaten flat as a sheet of newsprint by what social media has become.
Like many other people, I stepped back from social media in 2017. In fact, I stepped back from the internet. I redoubled my commitment to my writing, and I thought hard about what I want to write and why I do it. I was tired of staring at screens and wanted to do more in real life. I wanted make things people could hold in their hands.
The first zine I produced in December is called Protest 101. I started contacting indie bookstores, and soon it was being sold in cities from LA to Chicago to Baltimore (see below for the full list). I proposed a workshop of the same title to Trade School LA, and taught it several times at Book Show and other venues in the leadup to the January 21 Women's March, and several times since.
I stopped thinking tweet-length thoughts and I started thinking in zines. My second zine was How to Recognize Voter Suppression in its Habitat Naturel. The third in what I'm now calling The Democracy Series is a pocket guide to How to Change the World. More are in the works.
Then I responded to an artist call. Protest 101, accompanied by photos of it in action, were selected to be exhibited at the Irvine (CA) Fine Art Gallery as part of their All Media 2017 show. For a limited time, you can buy a copy of the zine at the Gallery.
I'm now the proud owner of a long-arm stapler, and can tell 24 lb. paper from 20 lb. by touch. I'm also spending more time face-to-face with friends. I even leave my phone at home. Sometimes.
And you can buy my zines at all these wonderful indie bookstores:
Photo at the Jan 21 Women's March in Los Angeles by Alan Nakagawa
Lately I've been making zines. For a limited time, you can see my first zine on exhibit at the Irvine Fine Arts Center. Read more.