In the old days, when I used to print up copies (well, photocopy, technically) of Sins of Coffee, I distributed it by handing it out to people, dropping a few in various cafes, and sending it out to a small mailing list. I didn't charge anything for it, but was never adverse to donations or getting something in trade. I had a little blurb in there that usually said, in part:

[the 'zine] is given away freely, but donations of important supplies such as coffee samples, stamps, merlot, or cold hard cash would never be turned down.

— Occasionally, people sent me things in response: usually amusing letters, often with an interesting trinket or two they were kind enough to include. And, yes. I even got quite a few coffee samples!

One person sent me tea samples instead. He apologized (with tongue-in-cheek) for the substitution, but he said as he was from England, he could not do otherwise. That gave me a giggle.

I still distribute quite a bit of my work for free. Being able to make it available online has meant I can reach a much larger audience for a lot less $$$ and effort than it used to take to lay out, photocopy, collate, and staple together a few hundred copies of a 'zine issue. The Web can be a wonderful method for distribution for a peon artist.

But there are some things I miss about the old way. I do consider the notes, compliments, and feedback I get as a satisfying form of "trade" for my efforts, but I still kinda miss the goofy things, coffee samples, and teabags that would occasionally appear in my PO box (this, of course, back in the days before it became necessary to get extra-suspicious about mail ....). Also, when I used to drop off copies in various cafes and watering holes locally, if I ran into someone I knew during such an errand, I somehow always ended up having at least a beverage or two bought as small reward. Ah, and I miss getting free drinks! Free drinks. Damn. Isn't that — at least in part — why all writers write? Yes. Damn it. It is.

But, alas, I can't get free drinks online. Or can I? Hmmmmm.

I mulled that a short while back and thought "Maybe I could set up a Beverage Fund and maybe a few individuals might toss a few bucks for drinks my way." Well. It was far too easy to set up accounts with Paypal and Amazon's Honor System. (As you can see from the little logos below.)

So. With hardly any effort whatsoever, I seem to now officially have a Beverage Fund. Now the question is merely — is anyone game to contribute to it? Heh. Aye, there's the rub. So to speak.

But if some willing soul gets inspired with a better idea for how to trade me a beverage for my prose, I say go for it. Because I KNOW if I simply say "send me a drink," there's gonna be someone (or multiple someones) who will get creative and figure out something that will make me giggle as much as once getting teabags from England did.


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Bat's Beverage Fund

Sure, there are better causes, but that doesn't stop me being thirsty.




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