Tuesday, March 30, 2021

CoNZealand Fringe Transcript: Fanzines Online: Fan Publications in the Age of Social Media

During CoNZealand, a group of fans put together a set of panels, which took place outside convention hours, which would be available for free via Youtube and offer a taster of the Worldcon experience to those unable to participate in CoNZealand's programming hours, or hadn't bought a membership but were interested in the kind of content provided. The result was a set of 15 panels over 6 days, archived and available for all at www.conzealandfringe.com.

As a fringe event in the tradition of Edinburgh Fringe and other international collateral events, CoNZealand Fringe was conducted entirely outside core programming hours and spaces, and panels were not official CoNZealand programming. CoNZealand Fringe is not endorsed by CoNZealand.

Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together is pleased to host the transcripts of CoNZealand Fringe panels for fans who are unable to watch the videos or prefer a written format. Transcripts are being uploaded daily from 29 March, and this is the transcript for Fanzines Online: Fan Publications in the Age of Social Media, which ran on 28 July 2020 at 8pm BST/3pm EDT/12pm PDT/7am NZST (next day) and is available here. Other panel transcripts are available via our transcript hub.

Fanzines Online: Fan Publications in the Age of Social Media

Panel Description: Over the past decades SFF fan culture has moved online in a big way, with a constellation of book blogs, websites and newsletters dedicated to all areas of the fandom. What are the main features of online fanzine culture in 2020? What benefits do these spaces bring, especially in an online culture dominated by Twitter and other short-form social media formats? How do online fanzines contribute to the continuous conversation that is SFF fandom? And where do we see online fanzines going in future?

Host: Claire Rousseau (she/her)

Moderator: Alasdair Stuart (he/him)

Panellists: Adri Joy (she/her), Travis Tippens (he/him), Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (she/her), Nisha Vyas-Myall (she/they)

Claire: Okay, we should be live now. The Internet: please let us know if you can hear us. And otherwise, welcome. Welcome to my channel and welcome to CoNZealand Fringe, I'm Claire, and let's see. We've already got some folks in the chat so it's looking good! I am going to —

Alasdair: Excellent.

[Gavia disappears]

Claire: Oh no, we've lost a Gav! Let's see, we – I'm going to hand over to Alasdair because he has the fanzine knowledge and I do not, and I hope you all enjoy an amazing panel!

Alasdair: Hello everybody, how are you doing?

[Gavia appears]

Alasdair: It always feels remarkably strange going "Good evening, The Internet, how have you been?" and here we are. My name is Alasdair Stuart, I'm gonna be your moderator for today and in a few minutes after these amazing folks have explained their background and their experience in the field, I'll explain mine, and then we'll jump into it. A couple of quick structural notes before we do, though. First off, this is CoNZealand Fringe.

[Pop-up: Welcome to CoNZealand Fringe!]

Alasdair: We are unaffiliated with ConZealand, they are aware of our existence, we are not competing, this is not counterprogramming. Rather, this is intended to provide US and UK time zone friendly programming at a time of the year when fandom conventioneering – which is such a lovely word – is at a premium and everyone's attention is focused in this one particular spot. So with that in mind, welcome to "Fanzines Online: Fan publication in the age of social media." I have an incredible panel with me today, and like I say, I'll introduce myself last. I will now throw the floor to them. Would anyone in particular like to go first?

Nisha: Oh I'll start! Just get it out there.

Alasdair: Go on then!

Nisha: I am Nisha Vyas-Myall and I am a co-creator and contributor to Cloaked Creators, which is a blog for scifi and fantasy, particularly focusing on marginalised genders.

Alasdair: Brilliant. Adri?

Adri: Hi, I'm Adri, yep, I am a co-editor and reviewer and general thing-creator at nerds of feather, flock together. We are a Hugo finalist this year, so it's our fourth time as a Hugo finalist.

Alasdair: Woo! Well done.

Nisha: [claps]

Adri: But it's my first time on the ballot, exciting. And, yeah. We're a site dedicated to reviews and interviews and all sorts of fun features on books, games, comics, all things nerd. So, yeah.

Alasdair: Fantastic. Gavia!

Gavia: Hi there! I am Gavia Baker-Whitelaw. Personally, I'm a kind of fandom journalist and tv/movie critic, but for the purposes of this panel I am another Hugo short-listed person. I co-edit The Rec Center newsletter with Elizabeth Minkel, which is – it's basically a newsletter of fanfic recs and collecting fandom related news, and fanart, and cool stuff that fans have made, following a long tradition of collaborative fanwork publishing.

Alasdair: Brilliant. And Travis?

Travis: Hey, I'm Travis Tippens, I'm one of the bloggers at The Fantasy Inn, we've been reviewing and interviewing authors for around three years or so now and we just last year started up a podcast, so I'm the host of The Fantasy Inn podcast as well.

Alasdair: Fantastic. And I'm Alasdair Stuart, I wear a couple of different hats. I've been a journalist for various people, and at the moment my kind of zine-y credentials come from my weekly pop culture newsletter called The Full Lid, which is basically me enthusiastically yelling at you about things I've seen, played, read, listened to and on occasions cooked across the last seven days. And that's our panel! Before we get into it, one real quick format note. We are going to be talking; we have the incredible Claire moderating the chat. As questions come up I think she's gonna be throwing them up to the panelists so we'll answer them as we go. We should be here for about an hour, so let's get right to it. The first thing which I really wanted to talk about – just checking my notes. What do you think – this is a massive point so I'm going to try to get it out of the way really quickly. How do you think the advent of digital media and the kind of democratisation that comes with digital media has changed fan publications? I'm gonna throw this open to anybody.

Adri: So I'm happy to start that one by saying that if it weren't for the internet, I would not be here. So I think – and, yeah, I feel that a lot of people possibly have the same experience, where if you have a culture that is about being at certain events or certain things, then you obviously have to be at that event, you have to be in a certain geographic location. At the point that I came into, I guess, SFF literature fandom, I was living round the other side of the world from the nearest english language book event, so yeah, it would not have happened. And also to me it felt like the logical progression from what I spent my teenhood wasting time on, which was various livejournals and then tumblrs and all of that fine stuff. So, yeah, access to me is a huge huge point.

Alasdair: Brilliant. And just to build on that real quick, I'm right there with you, you know, I had a livejournal. It's gone now, everybody should be very happy about that. Nisha?

Nisha: Um, oh, okay. [laughs] Just as a, well, I also once had a livejournal.

Alasdair: [laughs]

Nisha: Hard memories. I think for me, and my partner who runs Cloaked Creators with me, it was about access and being able to give more of a spotlight onto people who wouldn't normally get it, so we specifically opened Cloaked Creators so we could focus on marginalised genders, when SFF can be quite male-heavy,

Alasdair: Mmhm, absolutely. Absolutely. And it's the thing I find really interesting about that is that when it's done in the way that you folks do it, it almost becomes a virtuous circle where you focus on marginalised creators and people who haven't get the attention that they've got, which gives them a boost in profile so maybe other people pick them up – and suddenly the conversation becomes more diverse and more interesting.

Nisha: Exactly, yes.

Alasdair: Gavia?

Gavia: Well, I'm kind of from the fanfic side of fandom, so we definitely kind of have a long history of coming over from sort of fanfiction printed in what would at that point probably have been viewed as illegal, or at least actionable, fanfic fanzines, y'know. You sort of get someone from Lucasfilm coming to tell you to like burn your Han Solo/Luke Skywalker slash fic long before I was ever born. But definitely the internet has massively changed that side of fan culture to the point where, y'know, me as someone who's thirty years old – in the time I've been involved in fandom, it's gone from something very secretive where you could be fired from your job for publishing fanfic, to something that's very much part of commercialized pop culture? And obviously, the advent of the website Archive of Our Own, which —

Alasdair: Mmhm

Gavia: — just in case anyone doesn't know that, it's the biggest English language, or at least – perhaps not the biggest in terms of size, but the most influential fanfic publishing website, and it kind of became the hub for people to publish fanfic on, rather than having individual sites, so that’s made a really big difference to the way that people interact with that side of fan culture which is very different from, sort of, publishing a zine that would be mailed around to your pals.


Alasdair: And of course, AO3 is a Hugo winner now. Which is fantastic.

Adri: No comment. No further comment. None needed.

Alasdair: Um. Travis?

Travis: Yeah and I'll say as someone who's only really been in fandom for maybe the last five years or so, pretty much my entire experience has been online, has been digital. I know my cobloggers and I, The Fantasy Inn was formed all online, all of us live in different countries, we never really met each other in the first place. I started up a discord server to organise everything behind the scenes, and then our blog is obviously digital, so that's been my only experience with fandom really.

Alasdair: So you folks are geographically disparate.

Travis: Yes. I think only – well, now three of us are in the same country, so I think we have like five countries between the seven of us.

Alasdair: I know that feeling very well, my podcast company has – I don't think we’re in every timezone —

Travis: Yeah.

Alasdair: — but we have one I think we have every second timezone now. I think if we get all of them we get a free mug or something. This is a really thorny question and it's one that – again we're eating the vegetables of difficult topics first and then the fun stuff will come. What do you – how do you view the work that you do? Because all of you do very interesting things, which kinda straddle a couple of different borders, there are – you could be read as blogs, you could be read as newsletters, where do you draw the line between those and what someone would view as a traditional fanzine? And, do you think there are any hard and fast rules?

Gavia: So in terms of the way fanfic fanzines would've worked back in the olden times, the reason why they've mostly kind of petered out is the obvious fact we now have fanfic archives and it's much easier to access fanart and fanfic online. Obviously there's still various publishing projects that happen, I've backed a few kickstarters for fanart magazines and that sort of thing. The Rec Centre, which is the newsletter I'm editor of, we started that basically to fill a hole that was caused by the dissolution of livejournal fandom, which is collating recommendations, because there is obviously such a vast amount of fanworks published all the time, it’s helpful to know which ones people are liking and for which reasons. So we, basically I like to think we are performing a service, we are helping people out to find fanfic that they're interested in, and we also bring in guest editors who have certain expertise and backgrounds to share things we don't know so much about.

Alasdair: That's that's really cool, and of course there's the beautifully built in pun in the Rec Centre name as well.

Gavia: [Laughs] Yes.

Alasdair: Which, I'm always a marker for that kind of thing. Um. Interesting. Okay. Who's who's next? Adri?

Adri: Yes? Um. Yeah. I think that's that's probably how I'd describe our work as well. I I don't want to get too down into the weeds of comparing us as a fanzine to what came before, because I think my perception of what a fanzine is has been so shaped by coming into Nerds of a Feather at the point I did, so I joined the team two years ago, it was already so already had one Hugo finalist accolade, was going towards that second, strong third place finish, so for me actually I think what we do and the combination of, I think, just good critical analysis and then really cool things talking to the authors and the people that we love and then occasionally when we can actually find time to sit and get our heads together, talking to each other about things we love as well. That, to me, that's what I just want all fanzines to be, so I almost kind of don't want to go back and look at the definition of "Oh, is that what I was supposed to be doing this whole time? Because I’m just kind of doing this now."

Alasdair: It's almost the old thing, of, science fiction is the thing you’re pointing at when you say “that’s science fiction”. It’s like "No this is a fanzine because this is what I'm writing” and I like it. I think that that's really cool. Nisha?

Nisha: Well we classify Cloaked Creators as a blog, we've never really thought of it as anything else -

Alasdair: Mmhm

Nisha: It's kind of from my partner and I just wanting to talk about the books that we like and the short stories that we enjoy and that's basically it. We're not really thought of ourselves as a fanzine as such? We always - but my definition even though yeah, you know, who knows, I'm not an expert by any way, shape or form, but it feels like it would have more regular editions and we're kind of just like "I read this, I like it, I'll write it, I’ll write something about it in between jobs." So it's not as regular as we would like it to be.

Alasdair: Okay, I get that. Travis?

Travis: Yeah, I suppose I've never really thought about The Fantasy Inn as anything other than a blog? But really my whole goal is kinda similar to several of y'all where I just wanted to talk about the books I liked? I wanted to maybe critically discuss them a little bit more than just having a conversation on the street, although if I could talk about SFF with someone on the street that would be wonderful because that doesn't happen nearly enough, and just talk with authors, writers and some other viewers as well.

Alasdair: Brilliant. And the thing which I, this is one of the many reasons why I'm so happy to have the panel that I have here is that the thing that I was hoping you'd all do is in fact the thing that you have all done. Which is that each one of you has talked about two things: how this is in a sense providing a service, and also that this is work that springs from a foundation of joy and enjoyment, that you find something that you love and you go "This is great, you should try this too," and I think that's one of the very few kind of indestructible pillars of fandom culture, the evangelism of enthusiasm. It's very much the thing which I try and do with The Full Lid where I'm always tweaking the material I'm doing, but everything that goes in there, goes in there because I don't think I could fit it anywhere else, and also because it's about stuff which I really enjoy. The thing which I - the two things which I'm proudest of so far this year are, there's a, I read the three graphic novel biography of Representative John Lewis a couple of weeks ago, which is an incredible piece of literature, and I talked about that. And at almost the same length I went into tremendous detail two months prior to that on how you can save the Expendables franchise culminating in the deployment of Sylvester Stallone's evil twin brother, played by Sylvester Stallone's not-quite-evil brother, and the boundaries of what you do are really only picked by how we do them and where we choose them to be. And I find that incredibly empowering, and the thing that I also find really interesting about that is that this is a field which is evolving constantly, and Gavia I'm very glad you brought up AO3 because that's a perfect example of it. 

I was wondering. Basically do you feel like fandom culture is a petri dish, is like an engine of innovation, this is something, this is where the future of genre culture begins, and if so, is there anything you can point at as an example of that? I mean I'm pretty certain it is, but I'm always looking for other people - 

Gavia: I mean absolutely.

Alasdair: Cool.

Gavia: I mean even from a basic kind of technical stand-point of like teenagers learning HTML on livejournal, the popularisation of reaction gifs, like reaction gifs started off as something that people were making themselves on livejournal, video roleplaying started off as homemade gifs, which is now like a massive industry on tiktok like fifteen years later, and now you see sort of media companies hire entire consultancy agencies just to sort of track what fans are doing and see if they can encourage and then use to monetise franchises, so for sure it's innovation and I think that's also kind of been the case for, I would say just in any sort of DIY elements of pop culture because if you're in some of big entertainment business, you're less likely to have the same level of creativity as a big level aggregate of people obsessed with stuff now on the internet.

Alasdair: Mmhm.

Adri: I think, if I can just build on that a bit, I think what's interesting about the sort of fanzines and blogs and the space that we're working in is that there is, on one level, there is that innovation and bringing something new and trying to figure out how we're engaging with all this new media and obviously you can't run a website now without being on twitter and being on social media sites as well, but then we're also, we're sort of past the heyday of the blog as a social media tool, so all the, you know, all our livejournals are gone, and I haven’t logged on Tumblr in years, so there's actually, there’s a way in which we're saying okay well, there's all this exciting new stuff and we're all on twitter and all of that, but also we think there's something important in this particular long form thing that that we want to use and actually we sort of want to push back against that flow of social media and say, “You know, we're sticking on Blogger, we still have that site, it's still good.” 

Alasdair: We have a question from WorldsInInk: how has the interaction with fanworks changed? It used to be comments on blogs, but that seems to have moved more to social media. Nisha and Travis, I was wondering if one of you could start in on that.

Nisha: I’d say that, yeah, we have a comment function on Cloaked Creators, but it rarely ever gets used, mostly it’s, we'll post about what our post is on twitter, and we'll get interactions that way, and that's generally how we tend to converse with people who interact with our blog.

Travis: Yeah.

Nisha: So, yeah I think that's a very astute observation there.

Alasdair: Definitely. Travis?

Travis: Yeah, I'll say the main forms of interactions we've had in the comments on The Fantasy Inn blog is with spam and with people telling me I got something wrong.

Alasdair: [laughs]

Travis: So, outside of that there's not a lot of interaction there, it's mostly Twitter, and also just sort of like outside groups as well. Like Discord servers or online forums like Reddit fantasy, those tend to be the places where the conversation takes place.

Adri: I think the best way to get comments on your blog is if you write a list that says "Oh, these are my ten favourite books," of this particular thing, 

Alasdair: [crosstalk, inaudible]

Adri: Then you'll get tons of comments saying "How have you not included MY favourite book?!" So that can get comments, but otherwise no.

Alasdair: [laughs] Gavia?

Gavia: I think I actually have probably what resembles a very old fashioned experience with comments because we're sending out a newsletter that just shows up in everyone's inbox every Friday. So we do occasionally get letters from readers telling us they liked the letter or having requests or stuff, but for the most part it's a fairly one-sided relationship we have with the readership. Occasionally, people will approach me or Elizabeth on social media because we're really easy to find, and our twitter accounts are right there on the newsletter, but I think we've got like an oddly old-school situation, which thankfully is also what I have at work, cause I work for a website that doesn't have a comments section on news stories, which is joyful. Love not having a comments section.

Alasdair: I was gonna say, that sounds lovely. That's really interesting because again, The Full Lid is run off Mailchimp, I've actually had the exact same experience. Stuff will go out on Twitter and I’ll get retweets from it and about once every six to eight weeks I'll get a letter which is basically the equivalent of that gif of Robert Redford looking back over his shoulder for a long, long moment and nodding appreciatively, and it's really lovely. Every six to eight weeks someone goes good job, man, thank you.

OK so, thank you very for that question, that was a really very good one. Now for another massive concept which we will attempt to bring down between us: how do you think things are changing? How do you think fandom culture and how we express it through the work we do has evolved since when you started to now. And even if it's that’s a short time period, I'm curious whether you've noticed differences, and this is open to anybody I'll just pick one of you at random in a bit, if no one answers it, it's all good, don’t worry.

Gavia: I mean the way that people interact with fandom is massively different depending on what social media platform you're using. And there's such a different culture that's encouraged just by the way the commenting systems talk. I mean you have Twitter stan culture which is really different from the way people are getting into really wordy conversations on reddit, really long kind of bantery posts, and tumblr has a lot in common with just like classic teen rumours and sort of collaging and that sort of thing, so you know, it really depends on which social media platform you're in and there's smaller subgroups. So partly it's far more accessible than when everyone had to go to conventions to meet up with their friends, but also there's still a lot of niche stuff going on.

Alasdair: That's really interesting and speaks to a lot of the stuff I've seen. One thing I'd add to this, I find it fascinating how collab - how co-operation on Tiktok and communication on Tiktok are one and the same. A lot of the time you'll see people dueting with a creator that they like, as means of direct interaction with them, so the art itself becomes the message, which is very Marshall McLuhan-ey. Travis, any thoughts on this?

Travis: Yeah, I think since I've only really been in fandom for the last four to five years or so, I haven't seen individual communities change all that much, so much as my moving between community to community. So I know that I kinda got started on reddit fantasy and I guess that has changed a little bit. When I started there was around 50,000 people, they’re now at around a million.

Alasdair: Wow.

Travis: So culture changes a lot when size expands that much. It’s less, like it used to be the old fashioned forum where you'd have long, in-depth conversations on certain topics, and now it’s kind of a lot of people just drive-by and leave a few thoughts, so you might get more thoughts but in-less depth in your interactions. And then I, on twitter I guess, the longer I've been on there the more I see that fandom kind of has all its little cliques, so Twitter feels like it's maybe 200 people large to me even though there's a lot more. So there's intersections between the subgroups of fandom are still something I’m still kind of navigating.

Alasdair: Excellent. Nisha?

Nisha: I think for me I've not seen that huge difference between when we started Cloaked Creators and now, I think the main thing is probably that we're finding a lot more marginalised gender authors in SFF purely through social media, so there's been a few authors that I've discovered purely because I've come across a tweet they've made and I’ve gone "Oh, I might read, I’ll read what they've got" and gone "Oh my god they're amazing," and that’s usually something that I don't think would have happened in the - maybe, ten years ago I would be going through Waterstones and praying I find something.

Alasdair: [laughs] So discoverability has become something which is a real aspect of, a real asset of social media.

Nisha: Yes.

Alasdair: Yeah. Adri?

Adri: Yeah, I think something similar for me and again I would say like Travis, my opinions on this question are all very much about how I have journeyed through fandom and through fanzines rather than having any profound insights on how things have changed, because I think they’re sort of the same? But yeah, I think that just the way the way that I've approached certainly my content and then the feelings I have about our fanzine as a whole have changed and sort of matured I guess, as I've got a bit more experience. And yeah, I think for me at the moment the thing that I'm most stuck on is getting that balance between sort of becoming known I guess to more publicists, so there's a lot of pressure you get as a blogger for particular books and because I'm in the UK and most of our team are in the US, it's a slightly different ecosystem for me to everyone else, and then also being more conscious in what I'm reading and how I'm promoting marginalised creators and particularly work that is being overlooked and doesn't have huge publicity budgets behind it. And those are things that I kind of was thinking about them two years ago but not to the extent that I am now.

Alasdair: Mmhm. All of that is really good, really interesting stuff. Thank you folks. All of these seems to be speaking as an overall conceptual level to a persistent increase in awareness both of what we're doing and the people that we're focusing on, and of an increase in ease of how those, how the people that we want to focus on are to find, which I find profoundly hopeful, which is a really nice thing to say in 2020. I want to build on one of the things a couple of you talked about,and ask you a question really about what where are your limits? What do you find that you could write about and choose not to, and why.

Nisha: For us, it's we wanna celebrate authors, so if we read a book that we don't like, we won't review it.

Alasdair: Mmhm

Nisha: Because we feel like for, like, if I don't like a book it doesn't mean someone else will as well, and as an author myself, I'd rather not have have a lot of negative press out there on books unless they’re massively problematic In that case I'll usually have a rant on my personal Twitter. But when it comes to Cloaked Creators if it, if we love it, it goes on there, and if we don't then it stays off.

Alasdair: Okay. Good one, I like that. Adri.

Adri: So I have a silly answer and a serious answer.

Alasdair: I would love them both.

Adri: OK, the silly answer is we all collectively went to see The Rise of Skywalker a few months ago and I think when I came out cinema I was like "Uhh, we should, we should do something about this, I’m not sure, I feel very… bad, I don’t know, what did I just see -”

Gavia: [Laughs] Someone needs to do something!

Adri:  And then you know, sort of put out the call and everyone else was like "OK, maybe we need something..." and then it just died. ‘Cause it was like no, I’m not touching that. And then the more serious answer I guess is that we also want to be a space that is about the work itself and about celebrating and sort of getting together with interesting authors and promoting the professional side, and we don't want it to be either either certainly not large-P political and not small p political because I think there's obviously a lot of things that happen in the community where you could have certain opinions or certain differences of opinion or, you know, things can happen and yeah that’s going to stay on Twitter -

Alasdair: I have no idea what you could possibly be talking about!

Adri: And we'll go have a nice time on our website.

Alasdair: Excellent. Travis?

Travis: Yeah, so, similar to Nisha, I think at the Fantasy Inn we typically try to avoid tearing books to shreds, I we sometimes can't avoid having negative opinions on books or leaving negative reviews, just because kinda the way we get our review copies from publishers requires some sort of response. And so, if we don't like a book we're not going to say we like it, but there's always room for framing it in a way where if I don't like a book that doesn't make it a bad book. There’s ways of saying this might be the target audience for it, you might like it for xyz reasons. Other than that, I think we're more recently trying to make a more conscious effort to not just cover like the big bestseller books that, y'know, when you go to a bookstore, you just kinda see them up front on the big shelves, we're trying to branch out a little bit more, cover some self-published authors in addition to traditionally published, try to not just cover, to not put it super delicately, old straight white dudes, and try to branch out from there.

Alasdair: Excellent. And Gavia.

Gavia: In a similar vein to kinda what Travis and Nisha said, something Elizabeth and I often have conversations about editorially is to what extent Rec Centre should engage with fandom drama and discourse, obviously the main point of our newsletter is we want to share stuff we find interesting and recommend fanfic recs but at the same time we don't want to be on sort of cloud nine ignoring difficult issues, so we kind of, if there's like a really big problem culturally in fandom that’s like a major talking point it's something we definitely address but for the most part - occasionally we'll get messages from people who are kind of, they want us to look into some kind of niche drama or some really toxic fandom conversation or argument that's happening, and it's like, well, we're not reporters in the context of the Rec Centre, we're kind of, y'know, we're trying to like, brighten people's lives with some lovely fanfic! So on the whole we kind of have that sort of 80/20 split between just sharing content that we think people will enjoy, but also shining a light on issues we can pay more attention to because we have more of a platform.

Alasdair: Mmhm. And that seems to be a very healthy balance. I find it interesting, it’s one that seems to be anecdotally echoed up and down the rest of the panel. It's something which I try to to do really hard with The Full Lid, if I - I’m always tremendously relieved when I leave a film  that I legitimately hate because it's a little bit like finding a corner in a room filled with fog. I suddenly go “oh, oh good, I actually have edges to what I'll be okay with”. But I always – I'm normally able to find something nice to say about a piece of media, whatever it is. And when I don't, or when it's something which, where I feel like the negative stuff over balances the positive stuff, I'll tend to not talk about it. I mean we finished watching, as an example, we finished watching Warrior Nun recently, which is definitely a tv show that happened for ten episodes, and that's pretty much all I have to say about it. I know there are a lot of people who really liked it, I really liked elements of it, but I couldn't string together five hundred words of "Here's some interesting words about it" so I'm like, OK, that was an experience, let’s move on. So we've covered what you do, we've covered your boundaries, we've covered the way that fandom has come to evolve over time and fan publications have begun to evolve over time. Let's talk about capitalism! Do you use any of the fundraising platforms, things like ko-fi, things like Patreon? If you do, how do you use them, how do you balance demands of creating content for them instead of using them to enable you to create content? And, yeah how are you finding it, if so? And again, open to anybody, first one to jump in.

Adri and Gavia: [Crosstalk]

Adri: I can just say that we don't, so that's my answer to the question.

Alasdair: Okay, cool.

Gavia: Um, well, I have some thoughts on this, because I actually have kind of two independent budgets. There's the Rec Centre and I also have a podcast called Overinvested, which is just an amazing movie podcast, obviously you should all listen to it. But for my podcast we do use a crowdfunding platform, we use patreon to get money, but with the Rec Centre, explicitly because it is a fandom operation, we decided immediately that we could not use it in any way to make money. There might be at some point we’re at a point where we have to pay for hosting because the audience has become too large, but at the moment it's completely non-profit, we don't take any kind of money because there's this long history of, like, fanfic side of fandom being completely removed from like the capitalist system. I realise there's like a lot of different conversations about that generationally and also there's a lot of contrast between the fanart side of things where a lot of people do earn money from fanart, whereas fanfic where there's a lot of ideas about how maybe you don't want to make money from that, or you might get sued, but yeah. We definitely don't make any money from our newsletter.

Alasdair: Cool.

Travis: Yeah so The Fantasy Inn -

Alasdair: Nisha -

Travis: Sorry -

Alasdair: No, I'm sorry.

Nisha: No Travis can go first.

Alasdair: Nisha?

Travis: OK.

Alasdair: Did you hear - OK, Travis!

Travis: I was gonna say, so the fanzine does have a Patreon account and that's the main way we bring in money. I won't say really make money, we definitely don't make a profit. The end goal of that, the reason why we started it is because I would like to have the podcast be fully accessible and have transcripts for all of our episodes, but when I am putting out 240 or so minutes of content a month, that is extremely expensive to transcribe, either in time or in money, so the end goal is to pay someone a fair rate to transcribe all of our episodes. In the meantime, the cost is going towards just keeping it afloat, hosting, the audio equipment that we need, things like that.

Alasdair: Excellent. Nisha.

Nisha: Well my answer is kind of a yes and no. So Cloaked Creators doesn't have a patreon, but I personally do. And I can't really comment too much on the effectiveness of it because I only started it at the beginning of lockdown, because I, outside of Cloaked Creators, am a dance teacher and I run a private dance school, which has not been able to -

Alasdair: Oh awesome

Nisha: So that's been more of a, “Please support me on patreon so I can keep doing some dance stuff” and that's basically been it, and also as my work as a writer as well, so it's kind of a yes but no.

Alasdair: Understandable, and actually very similar to what I do: I have a Patreon, The Full Lid does not, and on a slightly larger scale, the podcast company which I co-own is entirely donation funded, we run through patreon and paypal on that so as you can see there is a very wide spectrum of ways in which crowdfunding and donation based funding once again interacts with fandom and fanzine culture. I'm gonna change gear a little bit, this is the last question before I see if we have any more, any questions from the audience. Whose work is an instant win for you. Which fan creators, zines, podcasts, whatever, as they come out do you go "Yes I need to listen to, read, or watch that now."

Nisha: I'll start then.

Alasdair: OK

Nisha: Just a very quick shout out. Quite a lot of our friends are also bloggers and literary bloggers and reviewers and I think I have to shout out to the Middle Shelf who does some absolutely amazing review work.

Alasdair: Mmhm very good. Anybody else?

Gavia: I mean I subscribe to probably hundreds of AO3 people, would be mine. I couldn’t rattle off their names but there're many wonderful writers who reside on AO3.

Alasdair: Excellent.

Travis: So I would probably say for me, the one whose content I always consume immediately is a podcast called Radio Drama Revival. So I don't know if any of you are familiar with it?

Alasdair: Ooh, yeah, they do good work.

Travis: They do. A combination of two things. Every other week they host a first episode of various radio dramas or audio dramas in podcast form so you can get a sampling of what's going on in the speculative fiction field in audio form, and then the other weeks they interview the creators and long-form interviews for around an hour or so, and I think just the variety of content that they expose their listeners to as well as just how insightful how thoughtful their interviews are make them an instant listen every time it comes out.

Alasdair: Fantastic thank you.

Adri: So, yeah. I have a couple of thoughts. So, first of all, I think as an editor who's working with a lot of different people, I just love all of our writers so much. And yeah it's constantly awesome to be able to see because y'know you don't really have a hand in it you see it come on their schedule and go "Ooh fantastic, someone's covering that," and you see it pop up on blogger and go "Oh my God it’s amazing." So we have some amazing writers, including Hugo Fan Writer finalist Paul Weimer.

Alasdair: Hooray!

Adri: Yeah.. And then in terms of other sites that I really like, Charles Payseur’s Quick Sip Reviews -

Alasdair: Mmhm

Adri: I can't say that I read everything as soon as it comes out because Charles does so so much [strained noises], I have no words for much effort and how much love and care he puts into - so he reviews short fiction from various different publications. He's just got this perfect style of being so complimentary and so kind about stories while also engaging critically with every single one. Um so yeah, and I always like, I have a short fiction column as well and it probably - slightly, I dunno what the word is, like undermines my own work to say I always read Charles' reviews when I do mine [unintelligible].

Alasdair: I don't think it will undermine it at all.

Adri: Uh yeah. And then the other thing I want to quickly shout out is The Quiet Pond which is a book blog run by, CW I think is the main editor, and they just have the most gorgeous cute art style and lots of little pond animals that review YA speculative books. And I love them!

Alasdair: Aww, that sounds amazing! I have a couple as well. Mike Headley, who is a fantastic YouTube creator, he also has a fantastic twitter handle @bowtiewriter who does just really good process discussions and maths. Mike is one of the few people who can talk to me about maths and not make me immediately run screaming from the room. There is an excellent podcast audio drama called Valence which has been created by a team including the podcast journalist Wil Williams which is an incredibly good piece of urban fantasy, that deals with magic use in the context of alternate contemporary America, and mental health, and people kind of realising where they sit on the gender spectrum and it's also incredibly funny, which is really really well put together. There's also the Magnus Archives, which is a very very good horror audio drama, where I briefly played the unsung hero of the show and also tremendously enjoyed the seasons that I was not in being evil. It’s very good, I would go check it out. And finally, a deeply weird one, The Well which is Captain Christopher Pike’s podcast. Anson Mount from Discovery and at some point the near future Strange New Worlds and one of his oldest friends, a guy called Branan Edgens sit down and talk about pop culture with a wide variety of very interesting people, including molecular biologists and chefs and all sorts of other stuff. It's like a really really relaxed amiable captain's log, it's really really good. I would recommend all of those. Um.

Adri: I will just note as well that the comments are coming up with some absolutely amazing suggestions, I'm just reading them going "Yep, that one and that one, yeah."

Alasdair: Really?

Adri: Good job commenters.

Alasdair: And that is a perfect excuse in which case for me to throw it to our invisible but ever present fearless leader Claire, and thank you Claire.

[Pop-up on screen from Joe Sherry: I LOVE the Hugo Girl podcast and listening to Sword and Laser is pure comfort]

Alasdair: Joe Sherry, "I love the Hugo Girl podcast and listening to Sword and Laser is pure comfort." Hi Joe, how's it going? And those are excellent -

[Pop-up from Trish Matson: yes, that's a great podcast! Radio Drama Revival]

Alasdair: Trish Matson, yes that's a great podcast, Radio Drama Revival.

[Pop-up on screen from Shaun Duke: Fansplaining is quite good.]

Alasdair: Fansplaining is quite good courtesy of Shaun Duke. Who else have we got Claire? Any more?

Nisha: Ah yep, Runalong!

[Pop-up from Claire Rousseau: Their blog is Runalong the Shelves]

Alasdair: Runalong! Runalong does the best work, he's so good. His blog is called Runalong the Shelves, which is both punny and accurate. And um, who else have we got Claire? Any questions? I'm waiting for her I'm waiting for her to drop one of those

[Pop-up from Claire Rousseau: Ohhh lots! Obvs. The Rec Center, fandom podcast Fansplaining, also the Reading the End bookcast and MANY booktubers.]

Alasdair: Yes. Obviously The Rec Center, fandom podcast Fansplaining, the Reading the End bookcast, and many booktubers. The other one I'd heartily recommend is Reading Glasses by Mallory O’Meara - who's another Hugo finalist this year for her incredible book about the creator of the creature from the Black Lagoon and how she was erased from Hollywood history - and Brie Grant, which is this beautiful combination of massive enthusiasm about weird reading and book technology and discussion of books. It's really, really good fun. So well Claire is collating another couple of questions for us, I will throw another question at you. What is your absolute dream project, what is the one thing which given half a chance and unlimited funds you would do? And funds in this case can mean time, resources, the whole thing, in fandom spaces. There's a lot of -

Nisha: So I’m gonna go -

Alasdair: Go, cool -

Nisha: - Go completely left field and a complete jump out of SFF which is where Cloaked Creators kind of resides, I'd really just love to blend together my two passions, which are reading and dance, and do some sort of project involving comparing dance pieces with their original source materials.

Alasdair: Oh that sounds awesome!

Nisha: Thank you.

Alasdair: That sounds really cool! So what kind of stuff? Like I mean the example which comes to mind is Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and the original ballet for it.

Nisha: Well I was thinking more along the lines of book sources. A lot of classical ballets are obviously based off literature, so Swan Lake, the Nutcracker -

Alasdair: Mmhm.

Nisha: And there was also a Matthew Bourne did a production of Dorian Gray a few years ago which I was fortunate enough to see, so I would like to just delve into that and just see how they've taken the source material from the books and then developed it into a dance piece, and a lot of the times, it changes quite a bit, so for example in The Nutcracker the entire first half is one chapter? Two chapters, maybe? And then -

Alasdair: Wow.

Nisha: - the last bit just kinda speeds right through. Yeah. So it would be quite interesting to see how, just basically analysing all of that. And then on the other side of it, I'd like to take books and turn them into dance pieces.

Alasdair: I would absolutely attend those shows, that sounds fantastic.

Nisha: Awesome.

Alasdair: Travis.

Travis: I'd say my dream project would probably be creating some kind online website or software for tailored book recommendations that's not something as commercially driven as Amazon, or maybe not quite as helpful as GoodReads. Something where you kind of interact with other people and see who you have a lot in common with for past book tastes and what they're reading and have that recommended towards you as well as answering lots of questions based on how long a book is, how fast paced it is, where it's set, what time period, all kinds of different things. With the goal of not just bringing book recommendations to like the same top fifty to a hundred titles that you see talked about normally, so that would kind be my dream project, as soon as I’m able to actually learn how to do that.

Alasdair: That sounds great, and I'm always always always here for an algorithm that isn't evil.

Travis: Yes.

Alasdair: Yes. Gavia.

Gavia: Just like a Hollywood consultancy agency where you just explain to movie and tv producers which stuff is gonna go down well with fandom and which tropes they ought to be using because they never know and they never do it right and I know there are some agencies that do similar jobs, but in this imaginary land I've got a lot of money to market said agency and persuade people, y'know a bunch of movies with the “there’s only one bed trope” would do very well for a lot of people I think

Alasdair: All I'm getting is a powerpoint presentation with "Kill your gays" and a big red line through it: NO. Just no.

Gavia: I mean literally, literally, and I'm sure if every tv show where somebody did that, there's somebody in the writing room who’s trying to explain it and they’re having their PowerPoint ignored.

Alasdair: Fantastic

Gavia: But here's hoping.

Alasdair: And Adri.

Adri: Um, so, I'm just trying to think of a good answer to this while everyone was giving their very serious passion projects, I was joking that in a email to our team the other day, so we do a sort of end of year annual project, and last year we did the Hugo Initiative, the year before that was Feminist Futures, I'm not authorised to say what one this year is, but it involved me "Wouldn't it be great if I could just hire a private jet with all of our fanzine funds and we could just go around the world and experience some speculative fiction while hanging out with each other”. So y'know, just just fanzine world tour, or fanzine retreat somewhere quite nice with the y'know 25 degrees and a nice pool where we can all think about finishing those half-finished draft pieces that are sitting there. My sort of five thousand words on post-conflict reconstruction in SFF which I said I will write for years and never have. So yeah, small dreams.

Alasdair: You really should, that sounds great, I would love to read it, and also please think of us when the kickstarter for Nerds of a Feather Presents Jetcon launches in about a year and a half. My own is a little more - and this is where I reveal I’ve asked all of you this so I can frantically assemble mine in my head, my cunning plan revealed! Mine is a little bit more esoteric. On the one hand I would love to produce audio dramas, because audio dramas might be my favourite type of fiction, and where I’m slowly moving towards doing that kind of thing. And on the other it's I don't know, I think the ability to – to – to for want of a better word, be a safety net for other people is something is very appealing because I know so many creatives who have these incredible ideas which would be fantastic if they had the resources to execute them, and they don't. And I think the idea of being able to go "Here, go do this, make this incredible thing," I find tremendously appealing, so obviously I'm in the process of having myself written into the wills of every current movie studio head and it's only a matter of time.

[Pop-up from Joe Sherry: Hell with it – hint at it]

Alasdair: I'm gonna – ohhh. Joe Sherry from Nerds of a Feather-

Adri: I did hint at it Joe! We're travelling around the world, Joe!

Alasdair: "The hell with it, hint at it," I think Joe is giving you clearance to hint at it -

Adri: I just told you what it is!

Alasdair: Are you doing a world tour Adri?

[Pop-up from Shaun Duke: I'm definitely curious what the panel thinks about the impact of social media on the blogosphere. Does it help? Does it make things harder? Has it impacted what gets shared/said?]

Adri: We’re travelling around the world in science fiction and fantasy, that’s not a hint, that’s just what it is, yeah.

Alasdair: Shaun Duke -

Adri: Secret out!

Alasdair: - "I'm definitely curious" -

Adri: Gotta make some good content now.

Alasdair: [Laughs] "I'm definitely curious about what the panel thinks about the impact of social media on the blogosphere. Does it help? Does it make things harder? Has it impacted what gets shared and said" Excellent set of questions. Who would like to go first?

[Pop-up on screen from The Book Finch: a question for the panel: Does social media and online presence with fan publications have any unseen complications that aren't there with physical publications]

Alasdair: And while we're considering this, a question for the panel from The Book Finch. "Does social media and online presence with fan publications have any unseen complications that aren't there with physical publications." And also the Book Finch has the single best avatar I've seen in months.

Gavia: That’s amazing!

Alasdair: Jazz finch, I love it. So we have basically two sides of the same question. What are the advantages of social media for fan publications and what are the downsides or unexpected roadblocks. Who would like to start?

Gavia: It's so complicated because there's the massive and varied range of harassment problems we experience across fandom, and also the fact that I'm sure that we've all made many friends and professional colleagues online, so I mean it's definitely one of those sort of six of one situations. I mean definitely throughout geek culture, like the internet and social media particularly, have made it easier to find people who are into your very small niche of whatever, which is excellent.

Alasdair: This is the point in the conversation where I point out that my partner and I met via the podcast we now co-own, so it works out sometimes. Who's next? Travis?

Travis: Sure I guess I'll say they're kinda two sides of the same coin like you were saying. It helps in the way that you can easily interact with other people all the time, you don't really have a choice not to interact with them.

Alasdair: Mmmm.

Travis: And for me, entering fandom online a few years ago, it’s, I can't really separate that from social media because so much of my experience with fandom is through social media? But at the same time, as someone who has - not really a product but a blog that I represent and a podcast that I represent - that's something that I'm always on in a certain sense, where if I go off on a rant or somewhere that also reflects on my co-bloggers or something like that. So I guess it's kinda pros and cons at the same time.

Alasdair: Nisha.

Nisha: It's a bit of a tough question for me I think. I'm trying to formulate an answer here. I've mentioned it previously before, I think social media has been helpful in discovering new authors, and as I'm part of the writing community as well on Twitter, that helps me find people who might not be represented in other blogs and other literature publications. And I would say that I also agree with what Travis was saying about having to represent your blog and with me, it's, I'm also representing my business because everyone who knows my business knows my name, because my business name IS my name. So it is, I'm constantly making sure I'm not overstepping or saying something that could be misconstrued on social media. That said, I still get in arguments a lot.

All: [laugh]

Alasdair: Adri. 

Adri: Yeah. I'm looking forward to having to apply for my next job with a significantly bigger internet fandom presence than I did for my current job, but that's fine. So yeah, I mean, I guess the thing that I personally struggle with is that social media is such a different skill-set actually to blogging and to writing reviews, and I think I'm much better at the blogging and writing reviews bit than the “and then I have to tell people how great they are”. So yeah, that's something that y’know, it is what it is, but in order to make sure that people are doing the things that I think we are best at and we're doing amazingly well in, it means even when you don't feel like it, trying to push yourself to write that tweet and then write another tweet two hours later and then another one two hours after that, which I never do but, yeah, I think it's it's an interesting ecosystem when that's not naturally what you want to be doing.

Alasdair: Yeah, I agree completely and it's especially, as you say when you're having to kinda raise awareness of stuff, it becomes... challenging depending where you are at that point in your day. I mean with the podcast what we do is we try and frontload a month's worth of promo tweets at any given time, and even doing that is three hours of your day. And it’s three hours of your day moving cursors along and putting things in place and it becomes a little bit soul destroying sometimes. So, I mean, yeah, I would agree with you, I think in – in that instance, that kind of thing can be challenging and can very much be a downside. The kind of larger macro one I've found myself encountering, the endless ragestorm that is 2020, is it becomes very difficult at times to not get sucked into the next "Oh what the hell is this?!" thing, because you get about twenty-five of them a day, and I have worked very hard on my twitter presence being me, and I don't do that and you know, after I found myself writing the third angry sarcastic comment about how the current health secretary is neither a secretary or responsible for health and I’m fairly certain is three twelve year old boys in a trench coat, I realised that it was perhaps time for me to step away for a little while. And, I mean, I'm aware that we have about five minutes of time left, but I think it's perhaps worth making a point or perhaps briefly discussing the point that on a larger scale that one of the most important things about the age of social media is that you have to know when to step away. And I'm curious as to how the panelists realise that moment, that kind of "Oh, it's time for a cup of tea and to go into the garden for a bit." Something like that.

Adri: I too would like to know when that moment is.

All: [laugh]

Adri: Don’t ask me! What am I doing here?

Alasdair: Where did we find this moment, please let us know. Please put a flag on it.

Nisha: Yeah I can't say I really have a moment of "OK, I’ve had too much, I better step away," where I haven't gone "Just one more comment."

Alasdair: [laughs]

Nisha: Usually it's when my cat has stepped on my bladder and I go "Oh okay I need to go do something about that first."

Adri: I think actually, in seriousness what helps for me is that, because we are allowed to talk about our weird fandom lives now if we have accepting people around us, so explaining things to someone who's not in the fandom and you get to the point where I’m listening to myself and going "This doesn't sound like the thought processes of someone who's worried about a normal thing, so maybe I'm just going to go now."

Alasdair: I should just leave. Gavia?

Gavia: I'm very bad at logging off, but I really highly recommend muting people. I feel like a lot of problems could be solved in terms of personal stress if we mute. Mute anyone.

Alasdair: I would enthusiastically second that. The mute button is the greatest invention in social media because it doesn't require confrontation and it just turns the volume down. Travis.

Travis: Well, really I'm not on social media enough to get into too many fights, I think I get more, like that moment when it's OK to actually jump into a conversation and now be like "Hey, it's me, bursting into what seems like a private conversation even though it's on social media.”

Alasdair: That is very that's very much one of those unexpected downsides, isn’t it, when you see something when you know you could contribute to and you know you'd be a positive factor, and as you say, it's almost impossible to know when that’s good and when it's you going "So hi, anyway, about this thing!"

Travis: Yeah.

[Pop-up from WorldsInInk: How do you find time to fit in the labour of love of creating content into exceedingly busy life/work schedules? I barely manage to put out anything very sporadically.]

Alasdair: Excellent. We have another question from WorldsInInk, how do you find time to fit in the labour of love of creating content into exceedingly busy life/work schedules. I barely manage to put out anything sporadically. Who would like to go first?

Nisha: I'll throw in a sort of partly tongue in cheek answer where it's easy for me because I cannot work at the moment because of the pandemic, so that makes it rather easy for me to hole up in my office and just crank out things that I want to.

Alasdair: Cool. Who's next?

Travis: Obsessively working late at night and not sleeping as much as I should. That always helps. I think that's the healthy answer to this question.

Alasdair: Travis, how did you see my answer?

Travis: [laughs]

Alasdair: Gavia?

Gavia: Well both of my kind of side projects are collaborative, so if I am left to do something by myself I probably won't do it, but if there’s another person involved there's that sort of pressure to stay on schedule. So every week we will put one out.

Alasdair: Excellent. Adri?

Adri: Yeah well for me it's a combination of if you think of that TV show that everyone’s seen - and you’re all thinking of a different TV show - then I've not seen it because I've been working on blogging, but also I think working as part of a team, so I have my co-editors to fall back on if something's not working out, we just have this amazing group of content creators where I know even if something falls apart for me personally, there's something else that I can move into the slot and I can use times when I do have lots of time to make sure that things are scheduled quite far in advance, because there are other people who are just constantly stepping up. So yeah, that really helps.

Nisha: I also just want to quickly add on that, just that I agree with everyone else that having someone to help is immeasurably valuable, like my partner definitely contributes a lot more towards Cloaked Creatives at the moment, because they are -

Alasdair: Mmhm.

Nisha: - just cranking out content, which is helpful for me, it takes the pressure off a bit.

[Pop-up from Ed Fortune: What one tool or trick do the panel find invaluable?]

Alasdair: We're starting to get a little bit of break-up on Adri and Nisha's audio, and real quick I just wanted to add onto the fact that my answer is basically a hybrid of very nearly all of you, in that my partner and I are both very good at keeping each other honest and also we basically take turns being the one where the other one has to go "It's very late, go to bed," so it's kind of swings and roundabouts. Ed Fortune, who is someone who knows a little bit about what we're talking about asks "What tool or trick do the panel find invaluable?" Adri, I'm going to throw this one at you first.

Adri: Uh. Work with amazing people. Like. Find find people where you know that whatever goes up in the schedule, whatever they want to do, you know, it's gonna be extraordinary. So one of the things Nerds of a Feather did over the past few weeks was run a series of interviews on all of the semiprozine Hugo finalists and all of the best fan artist finalists. That series came of me having a very brief conversation with Andrea, Red Headed Reviewer, who’s writing interviews for us, and going "Mmm, y'know, I really want to do something that's interviews, but not just with the usual suspects, because a lot of fiction writers get publicity, but I want to hear from the people in semiprozine who are doing the section editing or I want to hear from the fan artists because we don't hear from them. And the next thing I know, "Oh Adri I've got all of them and they're all lined up," and it’s like, that’s great. I did nothing. I just had an idea and it’s happened. Amazing.

Alasdair: Okay. Excellent. Excellent. Nisha?

Nisha: Mine's not nearly as exciting, it's basically notebooks in every room of the house. So whenever I have an idea -

Alasdair: Mmhm

Nisha: - Then I've got somewhere to write it down. And also having note apps on my phone is very handy because I tend to have my best ideas when I'm driving and can't write it down, so I go "Remember it, remember it," pull over, write it down quick.

Alasdair: Excellent. Gavia?

Gavia: It's literally just a combination of the last two. Work with people you like, and I also use post-it notes all the time like it's 1960. So, you know.

Alasdair: Excellent. I'm a huge fan of the post-it. Travis?

Travis: I'm gonna cheat and have two, so for organising

Alasdair: Please do

Travis: I organising anything I like Airtable, it's like a spreadsheet but so much more powerful and you can do anything you want with it. And for scheduling anything, especially if – if you're just like working with just one other person, I will say Calendly, it's how I schedule anyone I interview with and it is amazing. I can't say enough about it. And it's free, which is always a positive.

Alasdair: Excellent. Could you please send me the links to those two apps?

Travis: Yes I can.

[Pop up from The Book Finch: Trello!]

Alasdair: Thank you very much. Much like Gavia, my and the Book Finch is back with Trello, which is another fantastic organisational tool. Much like Gavia, my answer is a hybrid of the rest of you. I have about a hundred of these [holds up notebook] they’re Field Notes that they put out a different pattern every three months. I am horribly addicted to them. I go through about three a month, and they are the reason why things come out of my brain. Writing things down is great because you can then put a tick next to them when you're done, and it genuinely feels like putting down luggage. It is brilliant, I cannot recommend it enough. We are pretty much at time, so I'm going to thank my amazing panel and ask them, starting with Travis, where they can be found.

Travis: Okay. You can find us online at thefantasyinn.com, and we're just The Fantasy Inn Podcast, so very creatively named.

Alasdair: Fantastic. Nisha?

Nisha: You can find us on cloakedcreators.com and yeah. That's basically it really.

Alasdair: Brilliant, are you on twitter as well?

Nisha: I am, @NishaVM88, it’s mostly ranting at the moment, so float on to the blog, it's much more interesting.

Alasdair: No problem. Adri.

Adri: We are nerds-feather.com for Nerds of Feather fanzine. We have a sort-of semi-institutional twitter, it’s actually run by my co-editor The G, which is @nerds_feather. You can find me on twitter at @AdriJjy, so it’s just my name but two js instead of the o.

Alasdair: Okay. Brilliant. Gavia?

Gavia: You can find The Rec Center on Tiny Letter by googling The Rec Centre and Tiny Letter.

Alasdair: Fantastic. Adri and Gavia, could you also remind our audience which Hugos you are finalists for.

Gavia: Ooh, fanzine.

Alasdair: Brilliant, and Adri?

Adri: Fanzine.

All: [laugh]

Gavia: [gasp] The enemy!

Adri: Also fanzine. 

Alasdair: And you can find me online on twitter at @alasdairstuart. My podcasts are at escapeartists.net, which I work on with my partner Marguerite Kenner. I'm a finalist this year for Best Fan Writer and part of the presenting team for Escape Pod for best semiprozine. Thank you so much to my extraordinary panel, you are incredible creators and you have taught me a lot today, and that was exactly what I was desperately hoping. Thank you to the audience, I really hope you had a good time, and to Claire our fantastic host, and we will see you on the internet, I have no doubt. Thanks very much folks!

Adri: Thank you!

Gavia: Bye!

Travis: Bye!

All: [wave]

Thank you to Susan for drafting this panel transcript! Responsibility for final text lies with Adri Joy - for any corrections or comments, please get in touch via Twitter.