This website was archived on July 21, 2019. It is frozen in time on that date.

Sonya Mann's active website is Sonya, Supposedly.

Instructions Unclear and NEETBUX NATION ✌️

Hello friends! It’s Sonya again. Last time I sent a newsletter, I reminded you who I am, but I’m not gonna do that anymore. It’s probably sunk in by now.

Anyway, this is gonna be quick and dirty:

1) I published a zine called Instructions Unclear, about rituals and their place in human life.

Instructions Unclear, a zine about rituals created by Sonya Mann

The zine costs $5 — free shipping in the United States and $2.50 everywhere else. Each physical copy comes with a high-resolution PDF.

Along with debit and credit cards, you can pay with BTC or ZEC. More details on my website, where you can purchase Instructions Unclear.

2) I released a handful of free-culture #YangGang designs. If you don’t know who presidential hopeful Andrew Yang is, or if you’re unfamiliar with the memes dedicated to his candidacy, then you probably won’t get the jokes. But just in case…

"Secure the Bag" Andrew Yang 2020 #YangGang design, public domain

See the rest on my website.

My friend @AbsurdNihilism made the #YangGang designs available as T-shirts. I can’t wait to receive mine, if only to broadcast more thoroughly that I am a dork who spends too much time online.

Buy the shirts here:

@AbsurdNihilism also created his own hilarious “infinity tendies” design.

Bonus: I posted the notes from my Business of Blockchain talk, which was about privacy, cryptocurrency adoption, and how each affects the other. I’ll turn the talk into a Zcash Foundation blog post at some point.

That’s all for now! Catch you on the flip side.

Zine(s) Review: Comics by A.D. Puchalski

I haven’t blogged about zines in a while, but artist A.D. Puchalski sent me the four comics pictured below to review. Luckily I enjoyed them, so here I am, reviewing!

Four comics by A.D. Puchalski
Buy ’em here.

Puchalski’s drawings are a cut above what I’m used to from self-published comics, and the visual style reminds me of the illustrated children’s book Corgiville Fair. (That is a compliment.) The narratives are playful with a couple of brutal twists. Think, like, Disney stories updated for sardonic adults. Disney stories plotted by Weird Twitter.

Sword of Fray features two diabolically mischievous mythical creatures — a unicorn and a sort of feline yeti. Meadow takes place in a universe where medieval knights use cell phones in between battling dragons, and rogues definitely hit that sweet kush in their downtime. Restless features a little girl who falls in with a crowd of amiable-but-destructive monsters. Tough is probably the darkest of the bunch — think The Martian with a dash of My Little Pony or the pegasus bit from Fantasia.

Recommended if you like comics and any (or all) of the works I referenced.

How Much It Costs To Make A Zine When You Pay Contributors & Use Nice-ish Materials

1930s printing press. Photo via the Seattle Municipal Archives.
1930s printing press. Photo via the Seattle Municipal Archives.

Making a perzine is cheap. You write everything yourself, you use crappy paper, and you mail out copies in flimsy envelopes. Making a zine more along the lines of a chapbook is expensive, especially if you want to pay contributors a decent amount. I learned this while editing four issues of my now-defunct lit zine Balm Digest, even though I stuck with low-end materials, and I’m learning it again with User-Friendly Urbanism.

I launched Tradeoffs Press with an editorial vision, but also with the purpose of making money in order to facilitate my creative endeavors. (I’m aware that this might doom the whole thing — pleasing customers should be the foremost concern of any new business. And yet.) My goal is to earn enough to compensate myself for the time I spend as well as to earn back the cost of materials. I hope that I can do so while being open about money — I like being open about money. Please don’t resent the dollar of per-unit profit. Anyway, without further ado…

User-Friendly Urbanism Costs

  • $20 for Big Cartel (covers October and November)
  • $215 for Divya Persaud*
  • $250 for Nicole Dieker*
  • $200 for Loretta Carr*
  • $50 for bubble mailers
  • $70 for paper
  • $25 for card stock
  • $115 for ink (I sprang for the name-brand stuff because it really does print slightly better)
  • $1.42 postage per zine — $142 for 100

*Divya, Nicole, and Loretta each contributed an 800-ish-word essay, but the final lengths were slightly different.

When I added up the expenses, I had slight sticker shock:

  • $1,087 total for 100 zines → $10.87 each
  • $1,489 total** for 200 zines → $7.45 each
  • $1,891 total** for 300 zines → $6.30 each

**Doubled and tripled the material costs accordingly.

$10.87 / $7.45 / $6.30 are production costs, not retail prices. I calculated that if I print 300 copies and sell 250 of them for $7.50 each ($7.27 after processing fees), I’ll make $0.97 per zine, AKA $242.50 total, which leaves me just $72.50 short on overall production costs. Selling the ebook for $3.99 → $2.79 profit, so if I manage to sell 100, I’ll make $279 and end up in the black for this whole project to the tune of $206.50. If I don’t sell as much of either format as I’ve guessed, then I’ll lose money. Which is okay — I wouldn’t undertake this gamble if I couldn’t afford it.

Should I have gone with lower-end paper and stuck with flimsy envelopes? Should I have offered to pay $0.10/word instead of $0.25/word? Yeah, maybe. CreateSpace or some other print-on-demand service might have been cheaper.

Granted, either way I can write off the expenses on my taxes! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

User-Friendly Urbanism + Tradeoffs Press

This blog post is very similar to the newsletter I just sent out. If you subscribe, no need to read the paragraphs below. If you don’t subscribe, perhaps start now?

User-Friendly Urbanism: Against Preservation For Its Own Sake

I just launched a new zine. It’s called User-Friendly Urbanism:

Cities are struggling to satisfy their residents. The officials, elected or not, scramble to make good on their promises. Rents keep rising while incomes stagnate. At times the metropolis plays host to socioeconomic conflicts that feel apocalyptic.

In this atmosphere, urbanists should borrow a term from tech, and consider how to create a user-friendly city. Such a city is not only walkable and smogless. Macro conditions matter as well. User-friendly cities are shaped by policies that nurture the residents and local businesses. Broadly, user-friendly urbanism prioritizes human beings rather than the dead matter of the built environment they occupy.

I commissioned three awesome writers, one of whom you might be familiar with from Balm Digest, and interviewed two others. I also wrote several essays personally, about economics and angst (it wouldn’t be me without the angst). The end product is 38 pages; 5.5″ x 8.5″. It costs $7.50 and shipping is free in the United States. Recommended for those who have feelings about gentrification! Especially if you live somewhere with a crazy housing market like New York City or San Francisco.

There’s a cheaper ebook if you’re into that. Reviews would be much appreciated!

This zine is part of Tradeoffs Press, the small press and prospective zine distro that I started earlier this month. (Will it work out? Who knows. But I paid $12 for a custom URL, so you know I’m serious.) It’d be awesome if you liked the Facebook page so I can pop up in your feed like, “Hey! I bet you haven’t bought a zine today!”

Sorry to ask you for so many things! Feel free to ask me for favors right back! I can’t guarantee that I’ll say yes, but it’s worth a shot, right?

Zine Review: Loose Meat Sandwich #1

Loose Meat Sandwich zine by Teflon Beast

Loose Meat Sandwich is a quarterly zine produced by Teflon Beast, an art/music collective based in Austin, Texas. They sent me a PDF of the first issue to evaluate.

I pretty much agree with Teflon Beast’s self-description of the publication, in which they invite readers to “feast your eyes on colorful faces and read the humorous rants of an iPhone madman.” I especially enjoyed the latter experiment, a nonsensical poem “generated using iPhone’s auto-correct on email.” This method is the “tech-savvy cut/paste method for today.” Sample lines:

“Definitely not the only hologram
We’d love to jog in light
Addictive hmmm the gouged out agreement on the phone
Wedge kit for the next administration”

Weird, huh? The illustrations were also very pleasing: bright fruity colors and psychedelia. I would recommend Loose Meat Sandwich to pop-art fans and noise-pop enthusiasts. (Tbh, I skipped most of the music-related stuff. Not my scene.)

You can read Loose Meat Sandwich #1 on Issuu or buy a paper copy for $5. And/or download the accompanying mixtape for $3 (same link).

Aesthetically related: I really like the collage art on John Vochatzer’s Instagram @calamityfair:

Sign up for my newsletter to stay abreast of my new writing and projects.

I am a member of the Amazon Associates program. If you click on an Amazon link from this site and subsequently buy something, I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you).