Thursday, July 20, 2006

RIP Psychotronic

After 41 issues in 17 years, Psychotronic Video has called it quits. I'm sorry to see it go. I was privileged to have had two career interviews published in PV: exploitation vets John "Bud" Cardos and Gary Kent, and was hoping to do more.

Here's the text of a letter publisher Michael Weldon recently sent out:

After 17 years and 41 issues - Psychotronic is finished for now as a magazine. This very difficult decision shouldn't have taken me so long to make but I was still trying to restructure and keep going. I had been planning to publish the very overdue issue #42 (pictured on our web site) but too many things have changed. The cost of everything (especially paper, postage and gas) has risen so much in recent years that self publishing (except as a hobby) has become harder than ever. I've been writing Psychotronic movie reviews now for indy publications (mostly my own) since 1977 in Cleveland. It was a struggle to self publish in the 80s and 90s but now its nearly impossible.

When PV started (in late 89) issues were sold in many independent record, book and comic shops. Since then most of them have gone out of business. In an attempt to adapt and grow I started using more distributors to send more copies to several big national chain book stores. This works fine for high circulation glossy publications but it can be deadly for smaller lower budgeted ones. Even with a high % of sales, after returns you're lucky to break even. Meanwhile the larger distributors (including several that went bankrupt owing us large sums of money) have figured out how to alter their policies, rig their complex contracts, add in hidden costs and fees, and squeeze every penny from the publisher - just like banks, insurance companies, and credit card companies.

It gets worse every year.Last year a distributor that I had been forced to use a lawyer to collect from went bankrupt and the one I thought would replace it turned out to be even worse. I love researching, editing and writing, and plan to continue, but can simply no longer afford to publish a magazine. I stopped processing subscription orders months ago but there are a number of you who subscribed (or re-subscribed), had cards charged or check cashed and have received nothing. As soon as possible you will receive full refunds. You also could take out your credit in back issues (#41 is sold out) or other items we sell through the magazine. Just ask.

If you wonder how some other magazines that are maybe comparable to Psychotronic manage to continue - here are some reasons: Be backed by a company or corporation. Have a full time paid staff including ad sales people, bill collectors, and circulation, subscription, and shipping people. Have special insider deals with a printer. Be subsidized by a government (not the USA!). Be in full color. Have many full page full color ads.Give positive reviews to releases from advertisers. Run interviews and/or cover pictures that promote current releases (often from advertisers). Concentrate on and promote current releases. Concentrate only on nostalgia. Feature lots of nudity or gore. Have (usually unpaid) contributors write all or most of the reviews. Leave out politics and references to controversial current events. Censor swear words and anything else that might offend. Be independently wealthy and not care about profits and loss. Be a workaholic with little or no life outside of self publishing. Sell a LOT of your own self generated products (T-shirts, public domain dupes of movies...) and/or make % deals with advertisers. Promote and sell your publication frequently at conventions. Always publish on schedule. Be extremely well organized. I'm not knocking any surviving publications. I should have used some of these policies myself. Some publications practice several. I have practiced none of them (some by choice).

I'd like to offer a brief THANK YOU for all the years of support from all of our readers, subscribers, contributors, advertisers, people and companies, who sent us review items, people, publications, radio and TV shows that promoted PV, retail outlets (except the ones that owe us money) and distributors (except the ones that owe us money). Some of you have been with Psychotronic since the original early 80s Manhattan Xerox version or my first book (1983).

Thank you for your patience and support. Michael J. Weldon - July 2006