One of my favorite promo efforts is sending out colorful hand-made postcards announcing this or that project. I still do this, mainly because I enjoy creating them. Several writers and editors over the years have objected to receiving such mailings, including a few prominent names.
I can’t claim to have invented the practice. I first became aware of DIY postcards twenty years ago, when I jumped into the middle of the nation’s zine scene, and began receiving such postcards and other curious concoctions myself. Zines were an outgrowth of punk rock and anarchist politics. I’m sure that DIY mailings to announce concerts or political events have been a staple of these activities for many decades. There’s also a long tradition of mail art, which automatically fed into the general print zine stream. In the 90’s I received hundreds of such mailings, such art, such lit, such necessary and vital cultural noise.
To get to the origin of zines themselves, you’d have to go back at least to the time of Tom Paine.
I can’t say I understand uptight bourgie folks who would object to this kind of expression, this variety of speech. Especially writers. DIY postcards are the poor man’s promotional device—or they’re at least mine. I’d hate to see such activity squelched in the name of well-regulated conformity. My motto is always: More free speech! Less conformity!
NOTE: My new ebook, THE TOWER, contains scenes of independent DIY activity. Also, a previous ebook, MOOD DETROIT, contains a story, “The Zeen Writer,” depicting free expression of art and speech. They’re both available at the Kindle Store or Nook Books. I know that the established literary community detests what Amazon is doing to their literary monopoly—but ebooks provide an outlet for writers like myself who would otherwise not—save for print zeens—be given any kind of a voice in this society. I see that as a good thing.