We Make Zines

a place for zinesters - writers and readers

My arts collective found an old spinning book rack and we're going to fill it up with zines from our distro and make a nice sign for the top and pitch it to some of the local businesses to see if they'd be interested in trying to sell some zines in their store.


The top sign is going to have the name of our distro on one side and a short definition on the reverse but we're finding it hard to settle on a good explanation.



I've come up with:


A zine (pronounced zeen) is a self-published publication of text and images.  Common topics include fandom, the personal, art, fiction, politics, humor, gender/sexuailty, religion/spirituality, crafts, food, and more.




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I think that works!

I think it might work better without the redundancy of "self-published publication."
I always like to include something about why zines are made. Something like "motivated by the desire to contribute to one's community, rather than money or fame..." I also think that it's useful to indicate that zines come out of a DIY and/or anarcho-punk tradition, to differentiate them from any old self-publication.
It seems almost pointless to get into a tug of war about which sub-culture "owns" the word "zine".

Factsheet 5 included all kinds of self-publications, not just the "stereotype" of what a zine "should" be in the last few decades or years. It welcomed many self-publishing communities and unallied individuals, from the many-layered history of self-publishing. The only thing they might have had in common was the love of creation, expression or communication. They were generally marginalized people with beliefs & values outside mainstream society, but definitely not ONLY punk, queer, or feminist

There were plenty of libertarian zines. The Thought, by Ronal Tobin, begun in 1980, was anarcho-capitalist, so certainly wasn't "anti-profit". Further, like me, one can be "not particularly motivated by profit" in making a zine without being "anti-profit", so for many self-publications, the defining element of "not being done for profit" isn't very relevant.

It seems like some people want to define zines in terms of their own ideology and aesthetics, and exclude others, who just make "any old self-publication".

I like having a profile page as a "website" and a place to "blog", so I'm grateful to WMZ and hesitate to leave it, but the whole zine scene seems to have gotten so narrow and exclusivist that I'm not even sure if I belong to it anymore. It used to center around a tacit inclusiveness in central review zine like FS5, where even if we didn't hold hands and sing Kum Ba Ya, we at least had our place at the "table" of review pages. Now we don't even have that on the Web. I think a printable E-Zine would be great and I'd even offer advertise it with my POB and distro it myself. But it's not a matter of time and expense, just the new insularity of the scene.

I'm a self-publisher and a papernetter. Whether my SP's meet the definition of a "zine" doesn't concern me much, because the "zine community" as it was in the FS5 era, is pretty much decimated, dead, or changed beyond my recognition.
We went with:

zine (pronounced zeen): a self-published booklet of text and images.
Common topics include fandom, the personal, art, fiction, politics, humor, gender/sexuailty, religion/spirituality, crafts, food, and more.

I feel like adding any more descriptors than that starts to get iffy. Almost all zines are published in a format similar to books and usually contain at least one word of text and one image, though.
Good luck with this! I think it's a great idea, and by definition, would be hard to please everybody when it's pretty much up for interpenetration, but it reads well what you've gone with. Fingers crossed it's well received by the traffic that see it, and results in more zine love spread!
This is my de facto definition: "A zine is a self-published, small circulation, non-commercial booklet or magazine." If I want to be more specific, I add: "usually produced by one person or a few individuals." That's become my go-to definition when I'm giving presentations or workshops.

If elaboration is required, personally I think it's more relevant to talk about the format (sizes, methods of printing) than the contents/topics. Just like a book can be about anything, and books have been published about everything from a to z, the same can be said of zines. Describing the physical attributes of a book will bring the picture to mind much more quickly, and the same is true for zines.

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