Zines 101 – A Student’s Guide (abridged version) by Matt Holdaway What Is a Zine?

(Pronounced like “magazine” without the “maga.”) A zine is an independently created publication, done for the love of creating, not to make a profit. Most zines are photocopied – some are done on computer, some are handwritten, some are put together cut-and-paste – but they can be printed offset, like a magazine. Most have print-runs of a couple dozen to a few hundred. In a zine, you might find typos, misspelled words, improper grammar, and brilliant or radical or just plain honest ideas that simply aren’t allowed in Time, Newsweek, or People Magazine. A zine can be about whatever subject its creator decides upon. Some typical subjects are comics, personal writing, fanbased writings (most commonly music, movies, or science fiction), literature, anthology/art, and reviews. They touch on sex, politics, activism, television, work, travel, food, obsessions, whatever. They may incorporate screenprinting, linoleum cuts, and hand-stitched bindings. They are personal and idiosyncratic. The best thing about zines is this: there are no rules. Brief History of Zines Zines can most directly be traced back to the late 1920s, when readers of science fiction magazines started communicating by way of mimeographed “fanzines.” In the 1950s and 60s, the beats and the counterculture got into self-publishing, using mimeograph machines and photocopiers, and several anarchist newspapers began. Punks in the 1970s began to exploit the photocopier, and the form closest to today’s zine was created. Zines really burst onto the scene in the 1980s, with the help of Factsheet Five, a zine/magazine that reviewed zines. The original editor, Mike Gunderloy, originated or popularized the word “zine” and established most of today’s “zine ethos” (non-profit, trading, DIY, importance of feedback from readers, etc.). The 1990s brought technological advances and personal computer access that made professional editing and publishing tools accessible to the general public. By the early 1990s, thousands of people were doing zines. The mainstream media began to take notice, and retail stores began to stock them on their shelves. By the late 1990s, this interest had ebbed somewhat, but more and more new zines are still being created. The use of the Internet has created farther stretching networks of people working within the same medium as well as providing publishers a virtual retail area, increasing reader access to remote locations and allowing more people to see content than the self-publisher could afford to non-virtually print. Why Publish a Zine? To see your work in print. To share what you can create. To encourage others to be creative. To find and connect others with similar interests. To get mail. To make new friends. To create the publication you always wished existed. To teach yourself something new. To make yourself a better writer or artist. The individual reasons to create are zine are as diverse and unique as the individuals who create zines. Getting Started Once you decide that you would like to make a publication, the work begins. The most important thing that you can have is determination, the ability to see things through to completion, and a little free time. Supplies you may need to access to: Depending on how you decide to design your zine, this is a list of supplies you might need: Sharpies, pencils, typewriter or computer with a word-processing program, scissors, glue stick, Exacto knife, scanner, ruler, paper trimmer, photocopier, stapler. Often you can find materials to use/borrow. (Many copy shops have these items freely available for customers to use.) Protecting your identity: The world can be a dangerous place. It is recommended that you get a post office box for correspondence and a separate email address for your online correspondence. A pen name can help but if you are looking to make money off your publication and will be accepting checks, that can get tricky. You will have to make your own policy on who you will and won’t deal with. Layout: While you are creating your zine, you need to plan the layout. The total number of pages you’ll need to plan content for depends on the size of your zine. If you’re creating a full-size zine (8 ”x11” printed on both sides), your page count needs to be divisible by two. If you are creating a digest-size zine (8 ”x11” folded in half), each 8 ”x11” page will have four page segments – two pages on each side, with a margin (blank space) in the middle. Cut this in half and you’ve got a mini-size zine (in other words, eight page segments on each full-size sheet of paper). When you’ve got your content ready to layout, it may help to make a mock-up what you’d like to do, to help you decide on the flow of the text and how the pages need to be pieced together for photocopying. For example, a 12-page zine takes six pieces of paper to make. The layout will go like this: Cover___________________ (Actual Page 1)________________________Back Cover Page 1 Page 10 Page 2___________________ (Actual Page 2)____ _______________ Page 9 Page 3 Page 8 Page 4_ (Actual Page 3)______________ Page 7 Page 5 Centerfold Page 6

contact Matt Holdaway at 1945 B. 5307 N. • If you are going to use a computer. $8 world) from Shannon. you need to get readers. For the complete version of this guide. Shop around and explore options.) You may choose to try to get your zine distributed. It is the notion of getting something in print that should motivate. Once It’s Done Now that you’ve made your first zine.altgeek.org/infoshops. The chance of that with a zine is slim. who will sell zines on behalf of the creators. Visit www. respect or anything beyond getting a publication printed. A distro is an outlet. advice.htm. • Color pictures and shading often get slaughtered by a photocopier. popularity. print it.net/voices/student_guide.html for a list. PO Box 5591. (This list will be printed in Zine World #21.undergroundpress. if these are not clearly listed within the publication. Other Resources: Looking for more information? Check out: Stolen Sharpie Revolution – A Do-It-Yourself guide to zines and zine-related craft. mail art. • Address’s can become outdated rather quickly. Berryman St.. dealing with distros. • Layout.com www. Then re-edit. Search around and find the best quality for your time and money. and there is always the chance that every single person you know could see what you have printed. Visit www.undergroundpress. www. etc. • While there are a limited few who have started with making their own publication who have gone on to turn it into an occupation in some form. legal issues. make sure that everything you worked on is backed up in more than one place. and more. Don’t let that stop you from having aspirations and dreams. Black and white originals with bold lines often turn out closer to the original on a photocopier. Whizzbanger Guide to Zine Distribution lists distros worldwide. but once something is printed and distributed. More often than not a zine is a money losing venture and there could be a number of people who won’t understand why one would devote the energy to it. will take much longer than one would expect.zinebook. distribution.yahoo. the cheaper things can get.org/others.Once you have your layout decided and all of your pages filled.html. but you should believe and be able to stand up for what you print. Give it room to breath so that it is right when it is finished. you might be disappointed. • A zine can be a great place to explore and express your feelings and to say things you have always wanted to say. The process is tedious and has hidden steps. Some machines can collate and separate and some can even fold and staple for you. Some distros only need a master copy of your zine and can make their own copies. you shouldn’t start a zine with the idea of rewards such as fiscal gain. there is no way to recall it. postage. Berkeley CA 94709 or mattvoices@yahoo. zine libraries. (This list was printed in Zine World #19. Often the zines are sold to the distro on consignment (meaning the distro will pay you after the zines have sold) at a rate of 5060 percent of the cover price. giving you a percentage of the sales. Portland OR 97217-4551.microcosmpublishing. Don’t run everything the second the master copy is ready. Yahoo Groups – Join groups. Have a hard copy somewhere and it is recommended that you store your work somewhere online as well. • Never underestimate the value of a great relationship with your printer. you can fold and staple and then distribute! Helpful tips: • Give yourself a half-inch margin on each side to give the photocopier space for variance. Identical machines will have different levels of quality. Make a copy that you can read through and edit. or find advice.com – Articles on zine history. Minnesota Ave..com/group/zinesters or groups. . When doing a mass mailing. One way to find readers is to send your zine to publications & websites that review zines. The process itself however is part of the joy. publicize your zine. All the information in this guide could be outdated by the time you see this.yahoo. it is on it’s own. • The one who creates the publication is ultimately responsible for everything printed. especially the first time. test addresses with postcards and emails first to save on postage. You don’t want the last word of every line cut off! • Don’t forget to include contact information! Page numbers are also helpful (to your readers and to you – when you start collating). it’s available for $6 (in North America. After making your copies. copy and paste your work onto pages the same size as you are going to print (unless you did your layout on a computer). Once it is finished and you send it off. e-zines. $4 from Microcosm Publishing. including tips about photocopying. There are several libraries that accept and display zines.com/group/zinegeeks to connect with other zinesters. • The more you do yourself.com or visit www. Your time is worth something. usually run by one or two people. Portland OR 97228. layout. Then it’s off to the photocopier. Once you are really satisfied. If you look past that. Don’t be afraid to step back from your zine for a little bit.) Be sure to include full contact information for your zine (mailing address and email address) and the price of the zine.