So, You Wanna Make a Zine?
So, yesterday I had the pleasure of being a part of the first ever Pittsburgh Zine Fair. The event gathered together a bunch of Pittsburgh area DIY publishing enthusiasts and let us show off our wares. Which was pretty darn neat.
And so I figured, hey, today I would take the chance to talk to Buzznet about zines. Because why not? Maybe there’s some of you out there who have wanted to make your own but haven’t been sure how. Maybe there’s some of you who haven’t really thought about making zines before but have been looking for a way to share what you think/feel/love with the world. Maybe there’s some of you who have no idea what zines are and think I’m babbling incoherantly or trying to be hip by not using the full word “magazine.” Point is: this is for all of you.Photo by Moirabot on Flickr, some rights reserved
WAIT, WTF IS A ZINE?
A zine is basically a short, self-published work. They can be pretty much anything, yesterday at the fair there were social activism guides, thoughts and feelings on music, works of poetry and prose, even comics!
BUT WHY MAKE A ZINE?
There’s a lot of reasons. Back in the early 90’s, zines were hugely popular during the Riot Grrrl movement as a way to express thoughts and feelings that the mainstream media wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole. Basically, if you have something you REALLY want to say and are looking for an artistic and DIY way to say it, zines are a really good choice.
NO, I MEAN, WHY MAKE A ZINE RATHER THAN JUST POSTING TO A BLOG?
Because sometimes the format of a zine is better and there are things you can do with a zine that you can’t do with a blog. Maybe because you wanna try something new. Also, because sometimes it’s just neat to see your stuff in physical print rather than only online.
OKAY, SO, WHAT DO I WRITE?
Anything. Seriously. Whatever you’re passionate about. Music? Science? The Environment? Poetry? Social Justice? Doctor Who? Hell, yesterday one of my friends was selling a chapbook of poems about Star Trek: The Next Generation. Seriously, ANYTHING GOES.Image by szczel on Flickr, some rights reserved
WHEE! SO I’M GONNA MAKE A TON OF MONEY AS A SELF-PUBLISH MOGUL, RIGHT?
HAHAHAHAHA…um. No. Do NOT go into this if you are expecting to make money. At best, you will possibly make back your printing fees. This is something you do in order to do it, to get your ideas out there and take charge of how they are presented, not something you do to turn a profit.
SO, UM, HOW DO I ACTUALLY PRINT THIS?
That depends on a lot of things, including how many pages you wanna include, how profesional or unprofessional you want the zine to look and how much money you have. And I won’t claim I have ALL of the answers as I’m still figuring it out myself. Here’s a great guide on how to make a simple 8 page mini-zine that will fit in people’s pockets. You can also check out your local Kinkos (or a local indie print shop, if you have one in your area!) and see what they charge for binding, or search online for zine-specific printing companies. Of course, there’s always the old-fashioned way: physically type or write out your text and paste or draw pictures on paper…and then photocopy like MAD.
OKAY, I HAVE A ZINE. WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?
You can hand it out to other people or sell it in your area. Also, thanks to the internet, you can offer it for sale there, either via your blog or an Etsy account…you could even let Buzznet know that you have a zine available for sale or trade! You can upload it to zinelibrary to share with other people. You can look into trading zines with other zine makers online or in your area, if there are any. Once again, this is something I’m still figuring out, so I can’t tell you exactly how to do it, but there are a ton of options.Photo by larrybobsf on Flickr, some rights reserved
Point is, zines are a great way to try out indie publishing for yourself. They can be a form of artistic expression, another place to vent your frustrations with the world or just something fun to do. No matter what, take your zine, make it your own and rock out.