Publishing Your Own Zine – A Guide
Publishing your very own zine can be fun and rewarding. Here are some things to consider, and some tips to help get you started.
Decide On A Theme:
The sky is the limit here, and chances are you have already decided what the theme of your zine is going to be. If you are just inspired to publish but you are not quite sure exactly what it is you want to do, however, there are hundreds of options. You can do a local music publication, poetry (yours and that of others), comics, interviews, or any and all of the above and much much more. Deciding on an overall theme early on will help you to guide editorial decisions from that point on. You may even want to decide on a few semi-permanent “departments,” or sections, so that if people want to contribute their work to your zine, they will have an idea of what it is you are looking for.
Now is as good a time as any to create a title for your zine as well. Try to work on making the title something that will stick in people’s minds. Consider also having a permanent subtitle (such as “The Street Poetry of Des Moines”) so that the general public will have an idea what is is that you are trying to accomplish, and so that your online version will pick up more hits from search engines.
Blog It, Too:
While your main idea may be to produce a print zine, you can also put it online for free and do it very easily. There are a few options as far as free blogging programs, but the main two are Blogger and WordPress. Both of these blogging programs are free, and have lots of templates to choose from so you can customize your blog-zine as you see fit. The advantage to having an online presence, of course, is that you can receive so much more attention in your chosen niche, and that you can update your content easily and on a daily basis – or several times a day, if you wee fit.
Text, Art, and Layout
No matter what the theme is of your zine, you will want to make sure that you have a nice balance of words and art. People have a hard time digesting too much of one or the other (especially when it comes to large blocks of text) and the eye just naturally favors some variety and a fair amount of white space. Take a look at some of your favorite zines and make note as to how they use text and art to the best effect.
If you have (or have access to) a layout program like InDesign or Illustrator, you can use it to lay out your zine. If not, MS Word should be able to do an acceptable job.
Printing and Binding:
Use a high-quality laser printer to print the pages of your zine. As far as binding, there are numerous options, ranging from a simple saddle stitch you can do with a stapler or booklet maker, to plastic comb, spiral coil, or even thermal (hardcover) binding. All of the above machines can be had relatively cheaply, and are very easy to use, so if you are going to be in the zine business, it might pay to have your own machine on hand to save money.
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