Showing posts with label hints. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hints. Show all posts

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Guest Post: How I make my zines, by Emma Falconer


This is a guest post written by Emma Jane Falconer, which originally appeared on her blog 'Emma Makes Stuff'.  Emma is a zinester, illustrator, photographer, and film-maker.  You can find out more about her work at www.emmajanefalconer.com

This is how I personally make my zines, mixed in with a few tips for beginners. There's no right or wrong way (aside from doing things like accidentally making it unreadable once photocopied or forgetting about your margins and cutting off half the text). If you want a more in-depth guide to all things zine-related, I can recommend Stolen Sharpie Revolution. You can see all the back issues of my zines on my website.

What I put in them:

notebooks

I have these two notebooks. The small one is for jotting down ideas. When I think of things, it's usually not when I have the time to actually make them. If I don't write them down, I tend to forget.

idea book

The ideas notebook has pages set aside for various categories of things.

writing book

I usually write out the contents longhand first. I revise and edit them when I type them up on the computer. If I write them straight on the computer I'm more likely to get distracted. The important thing is to write about the things that personally interest you, not what you feel you "should" write about. Fads in zines come and go like anything else, and sometimes it seems like everyone is writing about a certain topic, and then next year it's something different.

Making the pages:
I make the pages on separate sheets and then glue them onto one master sheet.

collage box

I keep all sorts of interesting scraps in this old biscuit tin for zine and collage use. Things like magazine pictures, food packaging and travel tickets.

pages

For the backgrounds I cut pieces of paper about 1cm smaller in each direction than the finished page. That way the margins are built in, and I can't go over them. Things like old wrapping paper, tourist maps, the inside of business envelopes and magazine pages are good sources. You want high contrast patterns, things with delicate colours don't photocopy well. I try to have facing pages have the same background design if they're part of the same article.

papers

I also print off some patterns on the computer. You can get books of copyright free patterns that you are allowed to use for small-scale projects like zines.

scraps

I keep all kinds of interesting pictures in the tin too. The blue thing is a Bulgarian metro ticket. If I want to use my own photos, I up the contrast before printing them on the computer. Again think about how well the pictures will copy.

tools

The tools of the trade: glue, scissors, markers (I use Posca ones), correction pen. I recommend sticking to the well-known brands of glue. I've had bad experiences with cheap glue sticks not sticking very well. I wouldn't use fancy or best scissors, because you *will* end up with glue marks on them. I keep a scrap piece of paper to one side to glue on.

adding text

I print out my text set into columns. For one column per landscape page I make it 8cm across, for two 5.5 cm. I stick to 9/10 pt Baskerville for the text, and pick one decorative font per issue to use for titles. Too many different jarring fonts hurt your readers' eyes. The fine-tipped scissors come in very useful for this stage. They were £2 in Wilko. In the UK Wilkinson's is a great source for zine stuff. They sell cheap card-making supplies, which are the same things that are useful for zines (I swear by their paper folding tools).

I do pages when I feel like it, and set them aside until I have 24 that I feel will make an issue together. Sometimes they sit in the box for quite a while until they find a home. When I've got enough, I arrange them in order, and then write the pages numbers on the corners. Numbering your pages is very important, it makes assembling much easier once you've photocopied.

collating

I label my master sheet with the numbers (some tips here) and glue the page sheets on, then I'm ready to photocopy.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Guest Post: Not My Genre!


This is a guest post by Sarah E. Hoffman about stretching your zine writing into new genres.  Sarah is a zinester, blogger, academic and gastronomist. She enjoys picnics, the smell of freshly baked bread and bobo tea. When stressed she bakes until the flour runs out. Sarah is married to a very understanding non-foodie, whom she is in the process of converting. Find her @Sarah999 or http://wingedsnail99.blogspot.com.

image via http://bit.ly/Xfqmi0


I used to have a variety of hobbies and interests but in the last five years I have become a person that has only one hobby. My hobby has permeated every aspect of my life and has become the lenses through which I approach every topic. My life is all food, all the time. However, this does not mean that I only write about carrots. I write about lessons, history, movement, surprise, and a variety of other topics. The following is an articulation of the process that I use to approach a writing prompt that does not strictly fall within the category of food.

Don't make assumptions. Your readers won't storm off in a huff if you write about something that is different from what you usually write about. Would you?

Keep your voice. Consistently writing in a unique voice can be the thread that ties all of your writing together.

Stretch. Find a call for submission that is the antithesis of your chosen topic and write a piece for it.

Brainstorm. Give each call for submission careful consideration. There is usually a way to write about your area while respecting the guidelines of the zine.

Make mistakes. It is acceptable to give up on a submission because the topic is too disparate from your area of interest.

Following this framework has the potential to make your contribution unique. For example, the expected contributions on the topic of red velvet cake would include family traditions, recipes, and birthday cake memories. The submission that results from combining robots and red velvet cake or bats and red velvet cake would be unique. If you write about the prompt through the lenses of a particular topic you will be remembered. Isn't that what we all strive for?

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Guest Post: How To Run A Zine Event


crowd at Brighton Zinefest 2010 - image by Emma Jane Falconer


This is a guest post written by Emma Jane Falconer, which originally appeared on her blog 'Emma Makes Stuff'.  Emma is a zinester, illustrator, photographer, and film-maker.  You can find out more about her work at www.emmajanefalconer.com


For 3 years I was part of the group that ran the Brighton Zinefest. We started just with the idea it would be fun to have a zine event in Brighton and managed to build a successful and fun event. Sadly we don't run it any more because hardly any of the original organisers live in Brighton any more, and nobody appeared to take over, and it just wasn't practical to hold another.

People have occasionally asked or emailed me for tips about how to do these things, and rather than repeat myself I thought I might as well write this, and just refer people to it. Most of the info is from my experience of being part of running something myself, and from observations about other zine events I have attended over the years. I might come across as some kind of table-measuring organisation obsessive here, but all this preparation stuff makes the final event far less stressful. I'm sorry if some of this is very obvious advice, but sometimes it's easy to ignore the obvious when you're caught up in something. Hopefully I haven't missed anything important myself. I should also add that there is no 100% right way to do these things, but I hope these are practical tips that will save people stress.

Before you start:
Here are my tips

* You are not going to make any money from holding a zine event. 

* Only run a small-scale event by yourself. If you want to hold a bigger event, it's best to be part of a group. Otherwise you are likely to die of stress.

* If you have a group, you need to decide from the outset how it will be run. For the Brighton Zinefest we operated as a collective (with 5-7 per year), where each member had equal say and decisions were made by consensus. We recognised that people had lives outside of the event, and kept minutes of our meetings and emailed them to people if they couldn't make it that month, and the members increased and decreased their involvement week to week to fit in around their lives. Things ran very well because we respected each other and worked co-operatively. Bringing office politics and power struggles into organising an event that's supposed to be fun is pointless.

*Don't over-commit yourself. It's unrealistic to think that you will live, eat and breathe organising this event, and unrealistic to expect anyone else to. You also have a life, don't forget about that.

*On the other hand, don't expect to be able to skip out on all the tedious organising stuff before the event and expect it to run smoothly.

* Use people's strengths and work round their weaknesses. For instance if you're someone who tends to panic, get someone with a cooler head to deal with things that go wrong last minute and so on. Make use of people's contacts and real-life jobs and so on as well. For instance, one of our organisers was very involved with music and putting on bands, so he was able to organise a fund-raising gig much more easily than any of the other members of the group.

* Make a spreadsheet to keep track of finances from the outset and be diligent about it. Don't sink much of your own money into an event, especially if it's your first. You're better off holding something small in a cheap/free venue to start out with.

* Be prompt and organised about answering emails, and if you work in a group make sure people share their information so everyone knows what's happening and who's dealing with what.

* Don't underestimate how much time it takes to organise things. Trying to organise a huge event in a month is just going to be painful. If you don't have much time to spare, keep it small.

Venue:

The first step is finding a venue and choose a date and time to book it. It's unlikely you have much of a budget, especially if it's your first event. There's not much money in selling zines, so the stallholders won't be willing to spend much for stall fees, and visitors don't really want to pay much of an entrance fee, so you need to find somewhere cheap. Holding a fund-raiser before hand is often better than trying to get stall-holders to pay more for stalls. Community halls, schools, universities and libraries often have suitable rooms available for low prices, and are quite likely to give you a heavy discount or even let you use it for free for a non-profit thing like a zine fair, especially if there are going to be free workshops. They also have tables and chairs already there, which is very important. Weekends tend to be best, because people are more likely to be free to visit then. In the UK afternoon fairs 12-5 seem to work the best, but you should choose what works the best in your country/culture.

It's also important to consider accessibility. It's very likely that people with wheelchairs, walking sticks, buggies and other things that don't go very well with lots of stairs will want to come. This is another reason why places like community centres, schools, etc are a good venue to choose, because they tend to be required by law in most countries to be equipped with step free entrances, lifts, disabled toilets etc. Places like universities also often have things like induction loops for hearing aids.

Find out what the venue's policies/facilities are regarding food. They might have a café in the building and not allow separate sales of cake, refreshments etc, they might not allow home-cooked food that's not from a certified kitchen or they might have a kitchen you can use for whatever you want as long as it's left clean (this is the most common thing in the UK). In the UK (I don't know about other countries) it's very popular for people to bring cakes to either sell from their stall or to donate to the event as a fund-raiser, and it's important to know if the venue allows this.

The ideal venue is accessible without stairs (so either is on the ground floor, or has ramps or lifts), has a generously sized main room for stalls, plenty of tables and chairs, another smaller room for workshops, facilities to make drinks, decent toilet facilities, a quieter area over to one side to let people relax and chat ( a craft table or library box of zines to browse is also nice in this area), is easy to get to and has parking. Of course it's not so easy to always find such a perfect place. In our first year we used a local hall that we were offered for free. It was accessible, had a kitchen, a stage, tables, a car park, clean toilets, and was in the town centre. The downside was that there was no separate room for workshops (we ended up having them at a local café/social club place), the hall was quite small, so it got very crowded, and to get to the kitchen you had to walk over the stage.

The second and third years we moved to a similar but larger hall, which offered us a very cheap rate. It had a kitchen with a serving counter onto the main room and separate rooms for workshops, but we didn't get to use all of the available space, because some of the extra rooms were up steep stairs, and it didn't seem fair to put too much up there (it's a very old building run on a low budget, and I think they're trying to get money for a stair lift). In the end we ended up putting six or so stalls up there, because there was literally no-where else to put them on the ground floor, but we preferred to keep as much as possible downstairs. The other disadvantage was that it was in more of a residential area, and on a steep hill, which makes it less likely to get curious passers-by pop in.

If you can, try to have a sitting down area with some kind of craft activity. It can be something as simple as some old magazines and pictures for making collages and some paper and colouring things on a small table in a corner. People with children will thank you for this. A popular thing to do is provide pre-cut sheets of paper for people to make a page for a collective zine, and a box to leave them in with a sign up sheet for contact details if you'd like to see the finished zine from the day.

Allocating stalls:

Before you go advertising or allocating any stalls you need to go to the venue and have a physical “dress rehearsal” with the tables and chairs. The inventories/floor plans venues will give you are often out of date or inaccurate. It's best to have 2 sizes of stall, small and large. Usually these are done as full or half tables on the typical large painting tables that most venues have. I've been to events before where they try to cram in 1/3 tables and it just gets cramped and messy. In my opinion you're better off having fewer stalls fitted in better. It's very important to know how many tables you actually have and how they fit into the room. I once went to a zine event and there weren't actually enough tables or chairs for all the people they'd given stalls to. I was running late due to a transport problem, and I got there all flustered and hot only to find I didn't even have a stall any more, and decided to not bother with the fair. Luckily I hadn't travelled very far to get there.

Large stalls are for people with lots of stock: distros and people with lots of back issues. It annoys the stallholders to get to an event and find that they have been given half a table for 15 different issues of a zine or a whole distro, and there's someone with a full table for 2 different issues.

Lay out the tables with plenty of room for people to walk, at least 6ft5 / 2m if possible, and try to avoid creating areas where people can get cornered once the event gets busy. Having a gap between tables for stallholders to get out is also helpful. Make sure to put out enough chairs: bare minimum is one chair per small stall and two per large stall. Also make sure that space allocation is fair, measure all the tables and give a set amount of space for large and small stalls. It's not fair to just go “half tables!” when all the tables are different sizes. Mark out your stall boundaries with masking tape and make a careful floor plan. This might seem excessive or pernickety, but it comes in very useful on the actual day, and means you don't accidentally over-allocate stalls, and you know where everything is meant to go. You should also allocate a large table for people to bring individual zines to sell, and a table for freebies.

For allocating stalls I think it's best to set a deadline for applications rather than doing first come, first served, because it stops people with great zines missing out on a stall because they didn't hear about the event. When you ask for applications you need to have clear policies on what people can have on their stalls spelled out in the info. For instance we said crafts are welcome, but stalls must be 75% zine, and we don't accept zines with discriminatory material (racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, etc). In the application ask people what size stall they want, if they are a distro or individuals, and to describe what their zine(s) is/are about and provide a link to their website or Etsy. If you are clear about these things on the outset you're far less likely to suddenly find on the day that you've given a stall to someone who runs a Klu Klux Klan zine or something. If you don't specify tables must be majority zine, sometimes it can turn into more of a craft fair with the odd zine. We also came up with a suggested price guide after visiting an event where people were trying to sell standard photocopied b/w zines for ludicrously inflated prices.

If someone writes in and says “I don't have any zines yet, but I plan to have made one by the event”, don't give them a table. Who knows if they will actually follow through. If they finish it in time, they can always put their zine on the individual zine table.

When you have chosen what people to give stalls to, remember to send a polite email to the people you turned down. Don't leave notifying people too late. Often people travel long distances to get to zine events, and if you leave it too long they might not be able to come, because they often rely on cheap advance tickets for travel. Give the stallholders plenty of info weeks in advance: travel directions, the time they should arrive, and a phone number to call on the day if they have problems getting to the venue or finding it. Make sure the phone number you give will actually be answered.

Workshops and volunteers:
Workshops at zine events are always really popular, and quite easy to organise at very low cost. You can usually get volunteers to give them. Popular things include zine readings, talks, discussion panels and demonstrations of DIY skills (we had over the years: screen-printing, basics of zine layout, vegan cooking, basics of comics and bookbinding). Make sure to have a set timetable for workshops, display it on your website/blog, and have it printed large and displayed very prominently at your zine event so people know what's happening, when, and where. Having your workshops in the same room as stalls is a bad idea because it's very easy for people's voices to get drowned out by the bustle of the stalls.

Having volunteers to help with the running on the day will also make it less stressful for you. Volunteers can help set up the tables right at the start, and put them away afterwards. It's good to have someone to mind the individual zines table and a donation bucket if you have one, and to do tea and coffee if you have the facilities.

Promotion:
I think the most important thing to do here is not start too late. It's a good idea to set up a website/blog as soon as you have a venue confirmed. On the website/blog at least have a summary of what will happen at the event, contact details for the organisers, how to apply for a stall and travel directions to the venue. You can also appeal for volunteers to help out on the day.

Get an artistic/designy friend to do you an attractive flyer with the date, time, website/blog, location and full address of the venue. If your flyer looks boring or scrappy and doesn't have the full info it's not going to help you get people to come. Print lots of quarter-sized flyers cheaply. Black and white photocopies are absolutely fine, you don't need to bankrupt yourself with glossy colour printing. Using coloured paper can make them look nice on the cheap. Send flyers to distros months before the event for them to send out with zine orders, and hand out flyers and chat to people at other zine events and other things where you think people might be interested in zines (gigs, craft/diy events etc). If you're shy, maybe get an outgoing friend to help you with this. The personal touch of talking to someone or receiving a flyer with some zines makes far more of an impact than an email or Facebook mailing list. Having a coloured-in digital version of the flyer available on your website/blog for people to post on their own blogs also helps you spread the word.

Make sure to contact your local listings magazine well in advance, they usually require you to send details a month before each issue comes out. Local newspapers are also quite often keen to cover these types of events too, especially if you don't live in a big city, so try to contact them. A few weeks before the event, go round local shops to leave flyers. Places like independent coffee shops, clothes shops and record shops are usually enthusiastic. Chain places usually won't let you. Be polite when you ask. If you have left flyers, return once a week to check up on the levels and replace them if possible.

Don't rely on Facebook events to help you promote. A lot of people get so heavily spammed with events that don't interest them and are happening 3,000 miles away that they barely pay attention to their Facebook invites. There's plenty of people who don't use Facebook or have an account but don't really bother with it too.

On the day:

Get to the venue several hours in advance to set everything up. If you aren't going to get in trouble for it, it's a good idea to fix up paper signs with arrows pointing the way from places like the local bus or train station. Make sure to have a clear sign outside the venue, this will also attract passers-by. Fix a sign on the door visitors should come in by too. If your venue has multiple rooms, fix up signs inside pointing to the other rooms so people don't miss them. If there are other things going on in the same building make sure to have signs showing where your event ends. Simple computer printed sheets of paper are fine for all this. If you have workshops, have large printed timetables of them pinned up everywhere. If your country/region uses multiple languages, try to have signs in all the languages, checked by a competent/native speaker if possible. You want the whole place to be easy to find and to look welcoming.

The stall-holders are usually told to arrive an hour before doors open to the public. All the tables and chairs should be set up before the stall-holders arrive, and I strongly suggest marking out the stall boundaries with tape and putting the stall-holder's name on the space. People tend to spread their stuff out to fill space, and if there's no boundaries marked it's easy to go over your space and not realise until your neighbour arrives and you have to move all your stuff again, which makes set-up take much longer. Having the stalls marked out and named also has the advantage that people can swap stalls to be near a friend without messing up the layout much, because all they have to do is swap the name labels on two same-sized stalls.

Stall-holders always arrive late or get lost, so don't freak out about it, they will get there eventually, and everything will work out fine. This is why giving them your phone number well in advance is a good idea. Having the stalls marked out and named means that if someone does arrive really late they can just be calmly directed to their space, and it hasn't been taken over by someone else, causing a big reshuffle. Have someone at the door with a list of stall-holders, checking them off as you arrive. Once the public start arriving, it's also a good idea to get someone with a microphone/loud voice to announce upcoming workshops.

Hopefully everything should be fun throughout the day, and if things do go wrong, don't worry too much, it's unlikely anyone will die because the zine reading started 20 minutes late. Make sure the person running the individual zine table keeps careful track of how many issues people left, how many sold, and the money made so there are no arguments at the end of the day when people come back to claim their unsold issues and money. When everyone has gone, put the tables away and clean up, and you're done.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Ten Tips For First Time Zinesters


Ten Tips For First Time Zinesters

This is not an exhaustive list, however I’ve tried to bring together some of the strongest themes from the zinester interview series on my blog (which asks, amongst other things, what tips the zinester has for anyone thinking of making a zine) with my own experiences. I am by no means an authority on the topic but hopefully this list will be of some help to newbies or at least trigger debate! Please feel free to use the comments box to add tips of your own whether you are a first-time or established zinester, or even considering making your own zine.

Before you begin…

1. Read. Read as many zines as possible – this will give you an idea of what works well and what doesn’t. Think about what you enjoy in a zine and how you can transfer that to your own creation. Don’t just look at the words either – consider the different sizes and lengths of zines that are out there, and of course pay attention to layouts. Reading plenty of books too will help you hone your writing skills and consider elements such as style and structure.

2. Consider your privacy. It is important to think about this before you even begin writing as once your words are in print and out there you can’t get them back! Personally I choose to keep the name of the city I live in and my surname out of my zines, and these are factors I consider when writing any articles or re-using materials with my full name on in layouts. You might also want to set up a separate email address to use for zine-related communications if your main email address includes your surname. Of course many people do choose to print their full names and even their mailing addresses in zines and that’s fine too, but think before you print!

Writing and layouts…

3. Accept your zine isn’t going to be finished straightaway. Zines aren’t finished in an hour. If you’re really eager to get your zine out there as soon as possible, consider a mini-zine or a 24 hour zine (or even combine the two). Many zinesters perform several edits on each piece before producing their final version - although many good zines are written stream of conciousness style too. As with all things zine-related there is no hard and fast “rule” on this but I would advise that you take your time with writing, and double check your facts if you’re writing about (for example) a band or well-known author. Take the time to proofread your writing, or even better – ask someone else to proofread it for you as they will most probably spot mistakes you hadn’t.

4. Create an eye-catching cover. This is the first thing people will see when they look at your zine, and the image you will use for promoting it once its done, so it's worth investing a decent amount of time and effort in it. I often make several potential covers for each issue of my zine (or at least sketch out several potential ideas) before picking one. If you feel you don’t have the art/design skills to make the cover your zine deserves, consider asking a friend or another zinester if they will design it for you – many will be only too pleased to be asked and to oblige, as long as you give them appropriate credit.

5. Keep it neat and legible. Potential readers will want to flick through your zine at zine events (or see photos/scans of the inner layouts online) before they pay for a copy, and if these are messy and unattractive you may lose out on readers even if your writing is of a very high standard. (Not that having as many readers as possible should be anyone’s goal when making zines, but you probably don’t want to miss out on readers if you can help it.) Personally I find messy layouts are a huge turn-off when it comes to whether or not I will enjoy a zine no matter how good the content is. Call me shallow, but that’s how I roll (and I’m not alone in this – most zine review blogs frequently comment on the layout of zines they feature).

If you’re not visually artistic don’t worry – this is where “keep it neat” comes in. Your layouts don’t have to be particularly ornate or original to be good, just make sure everything is stuck down properly, that your text is neat and not too small (I made a major error in Not Lonely #1 by trying to fit far too much in and consequently using tiny text which copied very badly and almost illegibly) and that there aren’t crossings out everywhere. Two things I often see in zines that don’t look great and can be easily remedied with time and close attention are outlines around text blocks with stray lines coming off where the zinester’s pen has slipped and messy cutting-out of blocks of text/images for layouts (of course the latter can sometimes be a stylistic choice). And finally, keep an eye out on this blog for an upcoming article I’m writing on layouts for beginners!


6. Consider your content: Or, “all killer no filler!”. This is related to point number 3 – a good zine isn’t going to be finished in a matter of minutes. It’s very easy to spot when a zinester has put in content merely to fill up space and whilst a page or two like this may be inevitable once in a while (you miscounted the number of pages a piece would need perhaps, or you need to fill those last two pages so your zine is ready for a zine event the following day) your zine will be a disappointing read if a lot of the content feels like it is there purely for the sake of it. Give some thought also to the overall flow of the zine for the reader – if you want to include some lighter, fun pieces alongside heavier content then that’s great, but intermingling the two throughout the zine can (again, it won’t always) make a zine feel a bit disjointed.

7. Number your pages. It will make your life much easier when it comes to assembling your printed zines!

8. Just do it! This has been quite a long list of “do this” and “don’t do that” so far, but these are merely ideas and tips and as long as you have something to write with and something to write on, you are halfway there to making your zine. It’s easy to agonise over making everything perfect and to become stuck. I feel like this is potentially contradictory to everything else I’ve said here, but if you want to write a zine, just get on with it and write a zine! Do the best you can and get it out there. Once your first zine is out of the way you will learn and grow as a zinester and will have got the hardest part over with.

Once your zine is done…

9. Get it out there! As mentioned earlier, if you’re writing zines with the intention of becoming some kind of celebrity with hordes of readers (or if you think you’ll make any money off zines – most zinesters consider themselves lucky to break even over postage and printing costs) then you’re doing it for the wrong reason, but now you’ve taken the time to create your finished product its only natural you’re going to want to get it out there. Before you start promoting it consider the price you want to charge – copying costs do vary up and down the country but unless your zine is full-colour or in another way particularly expensive to print don’t expect to get more than 50p - £2.50 per issue, depending on its length. If you think you’re going to get back more than it cost to print your zine, you’ll be disappointed. Zines are made out of love, not the desire to generate cash!

Some ways to get your zine into the hands of readers are:
- Give it away! I gave away around 25 copies of each of my first couple of issues to friends, most of whom now order every subsequent issue and some of whom were inspired to make zines themselves.
- Set up trades. Email zinesters (its usually best to stick to those who are writing zines in a similar genre to yours, although again this isn’t a hard and fast rule) or contact them through social networking websites to arrange trades. Keep in mind fairness (for example people may not be keen to swap a 40 page ½ size zine for an 8 page mini-zine) and consider offering part-trades as well as direct swaps (for example your mini-zine in return for 50% off the usual PayPal price of their larger zine). Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from everyone (or anyone) you attempt to trade with straightaway – sometimes it takes people a while to reply to messages or they just can’t set up trades at the moment (e.g. for financial reasons - I am quite selective with international trades for this reason, although I always email and explain).
- Get it into distros. Ask your zinester friends which distros they’d recommend you submit your zine to, and/or have a look online. It’s usually worth making an order or two from a distro before you submit your zine to them so that you can get a sense of their catalogue and the type of zines they like to carry. Again, try not to feel discouraged if you don’t hear back from a distro/any distro quickly/at all. Remember a distro may say no to the first five issues of your zine but yes to the sixth – just keep trying.
- Send it out for review. If your zine is British, why not send it to Spill The Zines with a request for a review? If not, then there are lots of other blogs out there – have a look around the internet and ask other zinesters for recommendations. But please bear in mind point 10 when doing this!
- Promote and sell! Scan/take photos of your zine (including some examples of the inner layouts) and post them on your blog/facebook/twitter/tumblr/livejournal etc., along with a quick description of your zine, its price and how people can order a copy. Join We Make Zines to connect with other zinesters and to set up trades as well as generally promote your zine (look out for groups relevant to your zine – there are ones for perzines, mental health zines and feminist zines, amongst others). Etsy is a handy website to join for selling your zines - they do charge a small fee per listing but as the site handles the transaction I find its worth it to save a wee bit of potential hassle. Etsy is another way to promote your zine to those who might not have known about it previously, too.


10. Expect/accept compliments and criticism. Finally, once your zine is out there, prepare yourself for the feedback. Most of it will be positive, but don’t expect that everyone will love your zine. Personally I found it quite hard to hear (even constructive) criticism when I first put Not Lonely #1 out – I had poured a lot of myself into the zine, as well as a good deal of time, and felt quite defensive in response to critical comments. But in hindsight I’ve learnt that without people telling you what’s good/not so good about your zine you’ll never improve. And remember, no-one’s first issue is going to be amazing, so take what was best from it with you and leave behind the rest.