Thursday, December 08, 2005

can small fish live in a big lake?

it's funny. a lot of people where I work in a big uproar. me, I'm like, "So?" I work out in the community. a lot of CBO's can't really deal with the financial situation in the US today. the government's not helping very much. the community they serve often has little money.

then I see this e-mail from John Lee Clark up at

Sign hey:

My name is John Lee Clark, and I am the publisher of The Tactile Mind Press. My wife, Adrean, and I started the company by establishing a print literary journal, called The Tactile Mind, offering the best in today’s signing community literature.

In the beginning, we knew that the journal would be a losing venture financially, but we hoped that the number of its subscribers would gradually grow up to and beyond the point where it would support itself.

Unfortunately, this has not happened. Our journal has received high praise for its physical quality and the quality of the work published in it. We are also finding it impossible to keep on pouring thousands of dollars and months of work into its publication. Before we close the publication, however, we would like to give the community a chance to save it.

So we are having a subscription drive. Our goal is 300 new subscribers by 31 December 2005. If we succeed, the journal will continue publication, and the new book-style issue we have already assembled, including the best of what we have already published in the first five years of the journal and new exciting material, will go to press
immediately. If we come short of the goal, we will close the journal and refund all subscriptions, old and new.

We have tried our best, but now the journal is in your hands. If you want to subscribe, you can order a subscription on-line at or send a check for $28 (for two annual issues of more than 200 pages each) to: The Tactile Mind Press, PO Box 581667, Minneapolis, MN 55458-1667.

The progress of the subscription drive will be posted weekly in our free e-zine, The Tactile Mind Weekly, and you can subscribe to it by sending your e-mail address to

Hoping that the journal will continue, I am

John Lee Clark, Publisher

I too hope the journal will continue. It's great. And $28 is not very much. But this is their marketing plan? E-mailing deaf people my age for who $28 is kind of a bump? And right when they're announcing the magazine is going to close?

JLC, this would be my suggestion. PUMP YOUR ZINE. TTM is fucking AWESOME. It's the ONLY mature Deaf arts magazine in the US today. The closest thing I've seen is Deaf arts UK magazine. Send copies to all Deaf school administrators. Deaf programs in colleges around the country. Find other Deaf magazines and find someone to work as your marketing specialist. ASL programs are everywhere. USE THEM. Contact Deaf agencies OUTSIDE the US. Colleges. All colleges have a huge collection of journals. Deaf people have no money. Sell your work to people who do-the organizations and the schools and the universities. Libraries. Can you ask Deaf people to go to libraries and request Libraries order the books if they can't afford them themselves? I believe libraries take requests and suggestions sometimes. And TTMW is a great addition.

I'd also suggest getting a group of people together and having everyone publish their own magazine under one umbrella company. As I said, it's becoming rapidly clear that community based stuff cannot survive in today's world. Even the big companies - the only way they can survive is to borrow money from people. Look at freaking Enron. Also, what about advertising? Would be kind of cool to see a cochlear implant advertisement next to my anti-implant poetry.

I'm not trying to be a pessimist - but I wonder if we need to find ways to survive in a world increasingly hostile to the minority (the one without money anyway.) What do you guys think? Any ideas for TTM? Will you be subscribing? I wouldn't mind having a group of Deaf New Yorkers doing an awareness drive. A lot of us are writers or bloggers, from defBef to urbanversusrural.

1 comment:

Adrean said...

Thank you for posting about it--

Actually this is NOT our marketing plan. We have been working on the magazine for nearly five years, emailing out calls for submissions, working on raising money for printing, advertising. It came to a point where we had to make a very difficult decision.

There's always something more we could have done. I appreciate your comments. :)