Amateur press association
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An amateur press association (APA) is a form of self-publishing in which all of the members of the association submit multiple copies of printed material to a central person. That person collates the individual submissions and sends the collated copies back out to the contributors.
APAs differ importantly from fanzines in that APAs are not intended to be sold by producers to consumers. Their memberships are closed groups in which almost all of the small number of issues produced go back only to the members. The only way to obtain copies is to maintain membership with the APA, generally requiring a minimum quota of submitted pages rather than simple payment. "Minac" (short for "minimum activity") is the rate of submitted work which an APA requires of its members. Failure to meet minac results in loss of membership and no further collations being received. In effect, the difficulty of meeting minac is a barrier to entry which guaranteeing to each member that the collated work they receive comes from similarly dedicated creators. This social dimension of APAs was very much in tune with the mood of the funny animal fandom which preceded the furry fandom. The attitude at that time was that if you weren't sufficiently dedicated to funny animals to create them yourself, you weren't a real fan.
A collating party is a combination of social gathering and working bee undertaken by APA or fanzine groups. The tedious job of hand-assembling books is eased by inviting a large number of friends to help, and it's an opportunity for people sharing the publication's special interest to meet.
APAs tend to have a fixed number of memberships, with new places only becoming available as existing members drop out. There is typically a waitlist of queued individuals who have been accepted for eventual entry and are awaiting a vacancy. Popular APAs occasionally see their waitlist become large enough to form their own second-tier APA. A furry example of this happening is The Dallas Brawl.