“A DIY Guide to Putting Out Your Very Own Zine”
In the 1980s and 90s photocopied, or Xeroxed, zines were very popular. They were an affordable way for a publisher to put out an anthology (or collection) of stories. Unfortunately, due to the advancement in printing, the traditional zine has been replaced by glossy, professional looking magazines, and people took advantage of the internet to produce (mainly free) online zines (these were short lived). Now, with technology being the way it is, podcasts and (YouTube) video blogs are the new thing.
So, why write a column about putting out your very own zine, you may ask, when the article could be a guide to putting out a podcast or YouTube blog? Well, it doesn’t have to be this way.
I think there’s still a place for the traditional zine in modern publishing.
Nostalgia: we all love some nostalgia.
Affordability: cheap to print (or use your workplaces machine). Do a deal with work. Buy the paper and give them some money towards the ink or toner if needed.
Helps create the publishers persona or brand for you, the writer/publisher. Jack Bantry – he’s the Splatterpunk guy, (not to be mistaken for David J. Schow – the older, original Splatterpunk guy!).
Creating a market for short stories, these are disappearing rapidly so you could do your bit (we all could – how cool would that be?) and help the “scene” grow and become stronger.
Do something similar (and probably cheaper) with your own stories, like a chapbook.
Better still get together with some other writer friends. For example: if four of you put in a story and then all chipped in on the printing cost in would cost you next to nothing (especially if you used the works copier); and it would give you…
Something to sell at conventions: you can print as many as you want, whenever you want, and take them to the next convention you are attending.
So how do you put out a zine?
Create your own style (brand). I’m a punk so I have gone with what I know. I also love splatter fiction. There we have it. Splatterpunk Zine.
What do you include? Whatever you want: fiction; non-fiction; illustrations; interviews; book reviews. It doesn’t even have to be fiction, it could be essays.
You can pick the style or genre: extreme horror; Splatterpunk; Bizarro; ghost stories; quiet horror, crime, Sci-if, a guide to picking and eating wild mushrooms in North Yorkshire. It really can be whatever you want.
Once you’ve decided what you want to produce you get writing or invite or go down the open submissions route. There lots of computer programs to help you layout the zine (you’ll probably already have some on your computer) and you can get fancy programs like InDesign. Or you can be old skool (old is cool) and go cut & paste with some scissors and glue. Create a master copy and go the printers.
Then you’ve just got to sell them. Keeping the costs down will help with a low sale price. Set up your own website (free using places like WordPress), linking to pay sites like Big Cartel (again, free) will allow people to pay with PayPal, or just get out there to conventions and book/zine fairs and sell them.
There’s no right way to put out a zine, I’m no expert, just get out there and have a go.
It’s also DIY!
See you in the queue at the photocopier, JB.
Jack Bantry is the editor of Splatterpunk Zine. He works as a postman and resides in a small town at the edge of the North York Moors. THE LUCKY ONES DIED FIRST, published by Deadite Press, is his first book.