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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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Following advise from this thread, I've started to sew my own zines... (well, the other reason is that here in France they don't have the same staple's format that my stapler needs, so I will have to wait until I got back to buy new supplies). But I have to say that is enormously time-consuming, like 15 minutes to sew an issue (yes, I do quite little stitches, and now I've just read here that's the thing not to do... great!) Probably it would be easier if I had a sewing machine or if I'd use a thicker thread.

Anyway, I've never had anyone complain about staples in my zines... I just staple them to the inside.

Bird in the Hand said:
I like it when people sew the binding together! I DON'T like it when people leave their staples open for my weary little fingers. I happened to get stabbed by one offending zine following a fair on Sunday and will not be reading that zine.
For stapling, you can also use a regular-length stapler and staple into a carpet or corkboard, then bend down the sharp ends with your thumb. Might want to put a band-aid on first though, and it obviously wouldn't be economical for big print runs. (Also, had no idea that there were different types of staples in different countries... VHS tapes, DVDs, AC plugs, and now staples, you learn something new every day.)
Yep, that's what I usually do with my regular-lenght stapler.

In fact, it's the same staple system in both countries; only that size 23 is extremely difficult to find ("it doesn't exist", as French vendors always claim when they don't have something in stock). I've even tried in big stationery stores but I couldn't find them anyway, so I think I will keep sewing for a while :) Last night I sewed a couple of zines with fewer stitches and it didn't turn out so bad.

Erica S. said:
For stapling, you can also use a regular-length stapler and staple into a carpet or corkboard, then bend down the sharp ends with your thumb. Might want to put a band-aid on first though, and it obviously wouldn't be economical for big print runs. (Also, had no idea that there were different types of staples in different countries... VHS tapes, DVDs, AC plugs, and now staples, you learn something new every day.)
interesting reads. thanks for the tips!
At Goodwill, we have numbered pages, and since it is on the thicker side, a table of contents is great. It's essential to have contact information, volume, and issue, if not a specific date, a month is good. We set up a facebook page for easy contact and event information, as well as a website with back issues and more detailed information on contributers and interviewees. We also take submissions this way anonymous or otherwise. We learned the hard way about cluttering up pages with too much text and images, making margins too small, etc, and are still learning!
In another note, please please please do not make an "educational" zine that uses wikipedia as a source. C'mon guys, I saw a few of these at the Chicago zine fest last year and wondered why the effort was made to make a zine this way.
yeah I said the exact same thing! I can wiki things for myself thanks. ;)

Devin B said:
In another note, please please please do not make an "educational" zine that uses wikipedia as a source. C'mon guys, I saw a few of these at the Chicago zine fest last year and wondered why the effort was made to make a zine this way.
Hey, i'm totally new here and just getting my hands inky, so I'll just ask.... could you explain a little more to me about what you would put in your Live Journal as opposed to your zine content ? I have a blog and my thinking was to sort of tie the zine & blog together in some way but your comment makes me wonder if that's not such a great idea.... but  I can't come up with why it might be bad. Any thoughts I would appreciate. Thanks :)

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 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?
Ahhh :) hey Devin.... all of this way way helpful - thanks!

Devin B said:
At Goodwill, we have numbered pages, and since it is on the thicker side, a table of contents is great. It's essential to have contact information, volume, and issue, if not a specific date, a month is good. We set up a facebook page for easy contact and event information, as well as a website with back issues and more detailed information on contributers and interviewees. We also take submissions this way anonymous or otherwise. We learned the hard way about cluttering up pages with too much text and images, making margins too small, etc, and are still learning!
In another note, please please please do not make an "educational" zine that uses wikipedia as a source. C'mon guys, I saw a few of these at the Chicago zine fest last year and wondered why the effort was made to make a zine this way.

This is such a great topic! So many good points have been hit on already that I find it hard to come up with something beneficial to add. I definately agree that the binding of a zine is important, as well as page numbering and contact information. If someone really enjoys yr zine and want to let you know this they can only do so if they have yr contact information or if they want to pass yr name and contact info on to others who may like yr zine... a lack of contact information is really only going to harm the zinester.

 

I think its important to always remember to give appropriate credit in yr zine to others who have contributed or to others whom you have "borrowed" information - it's like writing a paper in school... you need to be sure to reference where you obtained information so that proper credit is given and copyright infringement is avoided. And if you decide to review another zine within yr own zine.... PLEASE include contact information on that zine. I have found myself interested in a zine after reading its review but to only be disappointed that there was no info on how I could obtain that zine.

 

And when using black and white copies of photographs in yr zine....please make sure they are not so dark that the reader cannot make out what the picture is of. I find that if I have to spend a lot of time trying to decipher what something is that I lose interest in that zine rather quickly and it gets put aside and may or may not be picked up again at a later date.

 

A lot of good points here, but now I might just go ahead and make a zine out of all the 'do not' suggestions by everyone else.

 

Stand by for my unstapled, unidentified black and white zine full of dark images that shouldn't have been photocopied, with no contributor bios, tiny font, rubber bands hanging off various pages, etc, etc...

I'm quite new to zine making (I've only been making zines for about a year) that I learned over the past year that I learned over the past year and well...I learned because they were little mistakes I made along the way:

1.  Never staple together the master copy even though you can easily take out staples stuff can very easily get accidentally ripped. It makes photocopying a little bit more difficult then it needs to be.

2.  don't forget to number your pages this is so important!! Order mistakes can create so much unnecessary frustration.

3. Invest in a good quality glue stick. I had to replace my glue stick three times because it ran out on me when trying to glue together zine pages, it was very annoying. I blame the shitty quality of the glue.

4. Don't forget to include contact info and name.

5.  don't forget  to factor in margins if not words could easily be cut off.

 

I think clearly pricing your zine is pretty important, too. That way people know what the cost is for ordering and don't have to waste time (and potentially postage) asking. 

And, while editing is important, you should have someone else look over it, too. Chances are, you've been staring at your zine content for somewhere ranging from days to weeks. Let someone look at it with fresh eyes. Case in point? I worked on my zine for almost a month leading up to Philly Zine Fest last year, was very pleased with the content and having gotten done in time. I had a collate/fold/staple party with a friend, and it wasn't until she got home with a copy that we realized I had misspelled the name of my zine on the cover. Yup. That happened. 

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