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Hi Everybody,

I was just going through a pile of zines I have. Some as old as 4 years. I was looking for a few particular ones, but thought I would separate them as ones I know I want to keep and ones to look at/read later.

As I was going through them I found a number that had used rubber bands for "binding" and a few that were just folded with nothing holding them together. In my opinions these ways of holding a zine together suck.

For example I dropped the box. Zines everywhere. Zines that are not stapled together come apart and unless I really know that zine and care, I don't care enough to try and figure out how it goes together (unnumbered pages too) so that zine will get thrown away (which I think I have done to 2 zines in my life). Also, zines that are not bound in any way will fall apart in your bag and are more difficult to read (because you basically have to hold them together).

The rubber band method seems like a good idea at the time, but rubber bends loose their elasticity pretty quickly and will break and often stick to the zine, so you are left with jacked up zine covers and no binding, which will make it prone to falling apart easily.

Since there seem to be a lot of new zinesters on this forum I thought I would pass on this bit of info. Obviously, just my opinion, but I do have 14 years of zine collecting and writing to base it on. :-)

Feel free to add on your opinions and advice of what you would recommend not doing in zine making.

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Gianni Simone said:
Rick, do you mean in any case? For example, I have an old rare mini comic from the 80s you would kill for. There's no way you are going to find a copy of it, anywhere. Do you think I could make a copy for you, or should your desire remain unfulfilled forever?

Well, the situations I'm really thinking of are (a) copying bits of a zine and including them in a new zine, or (b) copying and reprinting a whole zine in a quantity that could be thought of as a "print run". You know, like reprinting sans permission to add it to one's distro or something.

I think making a single copy (or a handful of copies) is kind of a gray area but generally okay, especially for a scenario like you describe -- something way, way out of print (especially if the original publisher, who could have remaining copies, isn't reachable). Or for archival purposes, historical documentation, etc. When this is done (especially if the zine is reprinted in facsimile form) I think it's pretty important to add a notation that it is in fact a one-off (or whatever), what date is was made and by whom. That's important info for both cataloguers and collectors.

I think the main distinction I see is the distribution part. I don't see one copy going to one hardcore fan/collector as being "distributed" but if it's a new print run of a 100 or something -- especially if money is chaning hands -- then that's a different story...
i used to put my name on the cover of my zines in high school, but something doesn't seem right about it now. granted i write a perzine, so its generally all of my thoughts and what not, i just feel like putting my name on the cover is very "oh em gee check me out i'm so cool"...plus its just more text to add besides the zine title (which for my zine, "motor city kitty", can take up a bit of space since i usually do quarter-sized zines), issue number, price and what not. lastly, i go by "bri zine", a nickname given to me when i was 17, which often confuses people because they think i write something called "the bri zine." if i were to put my name on the cover, i think people would be that much more confused.

i feel the name on the cover is a personal choice and its not like i'd turn a zine down if the author's name WAS on the cover. i just don't think of it as something that should be a little more 'mandatory' like being safe with staples haha...of course your name should be somewhere on the zine (unless you're going the anonymous route) but i don't think it has to be the cover.

Colin Tedford said:
As others have said, please number pages (makes it easier to refer to things when people write to you, among other things!), include contact info, and make it legible. Also, I really like to have the author's name (or pen name) clearly on the cover - it surprises me how many people don't do this. Date (or at least season & year) of 1st printing is good. And as mentioned above, DO NOT staple through the edge like you would a regular unfolded stack of paper. If you must, please tape over it with duct / electrical / bookbinding tape to prevent injury. But really, a long-arm stapler doesn't cost that much, especially if you plan to keep making zines - and you can always use the one at the copy shop if need be.
i once got an email from a guy who told me my zine was too much like a blog or diary entry. he told me i needed to write more reviews because thats what other zines did. he'd obviously never heard of a perzine, and i highly disagreed with him, but i did look back on the issue i had given him, and saw how the writing could have been better.

i still don't think it is anyone's place to tell you what to put in your zine (because the whole point of a zine is to write or draw whatever you want!), but i put a lot more thought into my writing now. i think about if this is just something i'd post on my livejournal or if its really "zine-worthy." thats probably more of just a personal choice but maybe something for new zinesters to consider?
This is a good point, Niku.

I have gotten to the point now where I choose mostly basic sans-serif fonts. If you use fonts with serifs or fancy fonts that are too thin, then if the copies you are getting made are not the highest quality, they can be very hard to read and sometimes kind of disappear. Which is really annoying to the reader and to you! So, think about the copy quality of all those cool fonts before you use them. Do a test on the printer you are planning on using. You can always use the cool fonts for the headers and titles.

Niku said:
has legible font been mentioned?.....
I frequently send my zines without staples, to the people photocopy as many they want. surely some people don´t like it, but for me it´s easier to photocopy than take off the staples. i don´t worry with copies. well, send me zines without staples, makes me be more organized and make the zines with all the pages with all their pages together in the pile XD
uh, yeah, i don´t like that zines who (re) use pages of great magazines...
Ben Hutchings said:
I think you are asking more about layout and stuff, but as for content one thing i dislike is when folks include material they found on the internet or in an email, such as funny viral emails or something.
It seems cheap somehow!
Bri zine said: "i feel the name on the cover is a personal choice and its not like i'd turn a zine down if the author's name WAS on the cover. i just don't think of it as something that should be a little more 'mandatory' like being safe with staples haha...of course your name should be somewhere on the zine (unless you're going the anonymous route) but i don't think it has to be the cover."

I may be wrong but I think Colin did not really mean the front cover. You could put it on the inner covers, for example, where other info (e.g. address, etc.) usually end up. That's what I do anyway. But as you say, everybody has the right to remain anonymous.

Bri zine said: "i once got an email from a guy who told me my zine was too much like a blog or diary entry. he told me i needed to write more reviews because thats what other zines did. he'd obviously never heard of a perzine, and i highly disagreed with him, but i did look back on the issue i had given him, and saw how the writing could have been better."

I always take these things as "constructive criticism," which does not mean I'm always going to follow people's suggestions, but at the very least their opinions help me put things in perspective. Even in your case, it made you think about what you were writing.

Krissy PonyBoy Press said: "I have gotten to the point now where I choose mostly basic sans-serif fonts. If you use fonts with serifs or fancy fonts that are too thin, then if the copies you are getting made are not the highest quality, they can be very hard to read and sometimes kind of disappear."

This is an interesting point of view because so far I've always heard the opposite opinion. There are even some hardcore font lovers who for a number of reasons would like to get rid of the whole sans-serif group. One thing everybody seems to agree with is that sans-serif fonts are good with big sizes, while serif fonts (e.g. Time New Roman) works best with small sizes. This is because the serif portion of the font make the letters stand out more. I'll have to ask around about this...
Gianni Simone said: "I may be wrong but I think Colin did not really mean the front cover. You could put it on the inner covers, for example, where other info (e.g. address, etc.) usually end up. That's what I do anyway. But as you say, everybody has the right to remain anonymous."

No, I definitely meant on the front cover. I currently organize my zines by author (except the anthologies, of course), and having a name on the cover makes life a lot easier. It also helps with recognition - if someone liked your zine, and you publish a one-off or another title, they can recognize that and may be more likely to pick it up. I understand not everyone wants to, but I'm a big advocate for it and thought maybe it just never occurred to some people. It's true, though, that the main thing is to have a name (real or pseudonymous) and contact info somewhere in the zine.
Colin Tedford said: "No, I definitely meant on the front cover. I currently organize my zines by author (except the anthologies, of course), and having a name on the cover makes life a lot easier. It also helps with recognition - if someone liked your zine, and you publish a one-off or another title, they can recognize that and may be more likely to pick it up. I understand not everyone wants to, but I'm a big advocate for it and thought maybe it just never occurred to some people."

You are right, Ted: It never occured to me to do such a thing. I usually prefer the "magazine look," at least in my zines, which means the zine's name features prominently, but to find my name you have to look at the inner front cover. Anyway I think yours is an interesting point of view.
I'd never really thought about this... Dates are important though even if your not archiving esp if it's a perzine.

Alex Wrekk said:
I spent a bunch of time reading zines after the Portland Zine Symposium and even wrote some letters to find t hat there was not contact info anywhere and some people don't even put their name in them! How and I supposed to get my old school zinester mail on if I can't send a letter!

Also, I think it was a zine librarian lamenting the fact that zines don't put dates on them and it makes it impossible for archiving. i think since 2002 I have been putting the season and the year in my zines like "Summer 2008" because I never really feel like tying down to one dates, but it seems that putting a season ties it down well enough.
my major pet peev for zines is when people apologize for quality/content/whatever. never apologize! just do your work, people!
I think Amber read my mind! :)

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