We Make Zines

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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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i second the "put a date on it" comment!  i'm reluctant to write to people, even if i loved their zine, if i don't know when the zine came out.  it could have been ten years ago and.. you know, people move around a lot.

as far as ways for binding zines, i like:

stapling [long armed stapler may be necessary depending on home many pages or how big the zine is, but my friend heather just uses a standard stapler and folds her zine so that the stapler can reach the middle.] i've learned that one really only needs one staple in the middle of the crease unless it's hella thick, then maybe two.

sewing.  people do this by machine or by hand.  i don't know how to do it well.  but it looks nice.

and!  if you're going to put content all the way at the edge of the paper, make sure you use a good model copy machine [like the ones at staples!] that have the "edge erase: print to edge" option.  i recommend getting to know your photo copier in general, for quality prints and fun layout tricks.  

Rubber bands piss me off. Also, if not stored flat somehow, like in a display, they end up bowing low low low to the ground and eventually look like trash. One of my pet peeves for life.

Paperclips work great. You can also machine sew down the binding on some papers, if you want to get creative.  Staples always work as well.

i'm new to zining, so all this advice is really great. i rubber-banded my first zine ever, never doing that again. also, margin space is really important. i'm learning that just now when i see my margins get cut off by the copying machine.

i hand cut my zine pages in small batches, but i'm looking to make bigger batches for wider distribution. do you guys invest in a paper guillotine, or are there places where i can cut paper for free?

look in print shops for industrial paper cutters they let you use! my local copy shop has a really good paper cutter they allow people who make copies there to use, and it can handle quite a few sheets at a time. even in the Staples near me, in their copy and print section, have a paper cutter. that one can't handle as many sheets of paper at once, but it's definitely better than hand cutting with scissors. and it's free to use! 

1. dont burn out, only because of people do not want to read your first issue, or the next three.
    -maybe you have not figured out where your audience is.

I am going to second what's already been said about fonts and stuff. If you're hand writing, make that legible, and if you don't have a good handwriting ask a friend for help or type. There are few things that are more off-putting than being really absorbed in a zine, and then suddenly there's a massive block of text in a bad hand writing and I can't bother trying to decipher it. Make sure you use a black pen or something equally strong, or that you can deal with contrast settings. Lots of handwritten stuff are very faded (needless to say, never use pencil).

Additionally, make the subject/style of your zine clear from the start. Sometimes I'm in the mood for DIY zines and find something that reads like a perzine, with only 2-3 pages of actual DIY. You don't have to do this, obviously, but it would be helpful if you could give your readers an idea of what to expect. I'm always nervous about getting zines I've never seen before, too, because every so often I see such cool features promised and then when I get there it's half of an A5 page in bullet points. Nothing wrong with that, but again, since people may look for different things depending on their taste and mood, it could make things easier.

I like zines who have a home base. A place you can visit for more information. Whether it be a blog, or a website you use, it gives the reader a chance to find out more about the zine, the author, other products available and other links to where your zine is being distributed. These blogs are free to use and it just makes since to offer a place for fans and readers to visit you and make comments, purchase other zines, or just pass through to see what's brewing. Just my opinion of course, but the zines with this link included are the ones I invest more time in.

Yes, though it has been a far more frustrating problem in my own zinemaking career. Margins are my Achilles's Heel!

Trent Rampage said:

oh - when the zine is designed in such a way that all the words are right at the edge of the pages so that when it is photocopied they get cut off and you cant read a whole article because of it.

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