For the love of the game.
So, i’ve been thinking lately about people and their motivation for doing certain things. I’ve tried to wrap my head around it and I honestly can’t fathom how anyone can supposedly do something because they love it, yet make it all about the money in the end. I was especially thinking about this last night when I was sitting on my living room floor for hours, making zines with a numb ass and an aching back. So i’ve decided to break it down for you guys a bit.
If we just include the cost of printing and shipping, I will make about $1.50 for each copy of issue number two that I sell. That doesn’t include my post office box rental, gas, or random office supplies like envelopes, labels, etc. Also, I give out free copies to people who test a lot, family, friends, and people whose issues get lost in the postal system. But for the sake of arguement, let’s say that it comes out to an even dollar an issue, okay?
Now let’s figure out what I get for my time.
By my estimate, it takes me about an hour to fold, staple, stuff, stamp and label ten zines and envelopes. So you could say that doing this, I make ten dollars an hour. But wait, there’s the time driving to the post office and waiting in line, copying and pasting a hundred addresses into the labels, promoting and answering emails, etc. I do the layout myself in WordPerfect, and even though it’s kept pretty plain it still takes time to change fonts for the headlines and make sure everything doesn’t look like total crap (just partial crap). I’m not counting the recipe making/writing because no one could do that for me, segue into the next paragraph!
Now imagine if I just did the recipe writing. Imagine if I had someone else do the layout (my friend does the artwork but she refuses money for it). If I hired someone to edit it. If I paid Kinkos the extra money to fold and staple them (which they do if you want them to). If I had someone else handle the sales. If I had an assistant to take care of the mailing. How much could I really expect out of that dollar then, honestly? Should I value, monetarily, my effort and work over everyone elses, because it’s my book? I mean, I hate writing out recipes but if asked I would tell you that it’s a lot more fun than spending four hours a night on my living room floor, getting a callus on my finger from creasing zines.
Now, I would never actually outsource for any of this stuff. I thought about paying Kinkos the extra cash to fold and staple them because it would have saved me a ton of time, but even though it’s tedious, I like it. I enjoy the fact that when i’m done, it’s 99% me (once again, someone else draws the cover for me). I feel that even though it’s just a couple of folded up pieces of paper, it’s something that I can be proud of. I made something and put it out in the world, and people like it. And to me, that is invaluable. No one can put a price on it. Especially me.
In case you’re wondering what i’m doing with my massive fortune, I turned right around and bought some stuff from Herbivore. Because we should support the little guy instead of screwing him over. Also, because it’s getting cold and I need a hoodie.
posted: 07 November 7