We Make Zines

a place for zinesters - writers and readers

I am working on an article about We Make Zines for the upcoming issue of Zine World. My deadline is December 24th. I am not really a journalist, so the article will probably be pretty basic, but I would like to get input from a variety of folks. Anyone who wants to answer any or all of my questions, please do so by Friday, December 19. You can either post your answers here or email them to me at cajungal[at]Safe-mail[dot]net with "zine article" in the subject line so I won't think it's spam.

In your response, please include the name you go by on We Make Zines, where you live, what zines you make now or what zines you have made in the past (you don't have to give me your full zine resume, just a couple examples.)

Here are some questions to think about answering:

How did you hear about We Make Zines? Why did you decide to join?

If you are on other social networking sites, how is We Make Zines different/better/worse than other sites?

What impact has We Make Zines had on you as a reader and/or writer of zines?

What aspects (forum, groups, blog, email, etc.) of We Make Zines do you utilize most?

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How did you hear about We Make Zines? Why did you decide to join?

A few months ago I had a stall at the zine fair for This Is Not Art. Initially I was just going to sell my artworks and creatures, but then I thought I would have a go at making my own zine, so I did some researching on the interweb and came across We Make Zines. I joined so that I could get advice from the pros.

If you are on other social networking sites, how is We Make Zines different/better/worse than other sites?

I'm also on Facebook, but I find WMZ to be more interactive, possibly because we're all tied together by zines, but I think the forums also have a lot to do with it. A lot of people have been making zines for years and give really excellent advice.

What impact has We Make Zines had on you as a reader and/or writer of zines?

Given that I had only a very vague concept of zines before, it's fair to say it has completely moulded my idea of zines. As a reader (and swapper) it's been fantastic, I've come across such a broad spectrum of awesome zines, have liked pretty much everything I've been posted. The feedback has been really helpful too, have learned how to price, how to format... loves it ;)

What aspects (forum, groups, blog, email, etc.) of We Make Zines do you utilize most?

My page is good for showing off what I have made (I love the slideshow function), good to get an idea of what other people are making and make contacts. So that's definitely my fav. part.


Hopefully that's enough info for you Chantel, good luck with your article :)

-Em
I emailed you!
My advice is to stay away from Zine World. It's the worst zine of all time!
Yul Tolbert said:
My advice is to stay away from Zine World. It's the worst zine of all time!

That's a pretty huge statement. Why do you think Zine World is the worst zine of all time?
I'd say the biggest problem I have with Zine World is that it has so little diversity. Zine World reviewers all seem to want to pertetuate some sort of zinester sterotype that claims to be anti-establishment yet is ardently conformist at the same time. Take their reviews of science fiction zines, for example. They often say things like, "I don't like science fiction, so I'm giving this science fiction zine a bad review." Or, "If this science fiction zine were really good, then I'd like it despite my disinterest in science fiction."

Small press is not supposed to be about pleasing the Zine World staff. It's supposed to be about doing your own thing no matter who likes it or not. Zine World seems to DEMAND that all who produce zines do it the way Zine World likes it. Yes, you're likely to say that's not true. And maybe you're right. But the message I keep getting from them is that they don't want diversity and they have so little of it. Of course they have the right to do their zine in that way. But I say they can't call themselves a part of the alternative press if they keep doing the same thing in every issue.
I don't feel hijacked. It's an interesting discussion.
Sarah said:
Another thought:
Maybe what Zine World could use is a more diverse set of reviewers, not just people who are current/ex-punk kids who are into either political, personal, or punk zines or some combination of the three

I think what Sarah said is crucial.

If we are going to criticize Zine World, we need to keep in mind that reviews are written by individual people. I am a reviewer for Zine World. I try to review fairly, based on the quality of writing, art, etc. I don't know how other reviewers decide what to put in their reviews.

A couple things to keep in mind: #1 Zine World reviewers are assigned review items randomly. People who like poetry aren't automatically given poetry zines, science fiction fans aren't assigned science fiction zines, etc., nor are people who hate poetry zines purposely given poetry zines or not given poetry zines. For other review zines, reviewers choose what they will review, but not at Zine World. #2 As far as I know, everything that is sent to Zine World that is printed matter and independently published is reviewed. #3 Zine World reviewers have a limit of 75 words for zine reviews. Book reviews can be a bit longer. It is extremely difficult (for me at least) to give more than basic information in 75. I can hardly ever fit constructive criticism into a 75 word review. I feel responsible to Zine World readers to give them as much information as possible to help them decide if they want to purchase a zine, which again is very challenging with a 75 word limit.

So yes, I agree, more diverse Zine World reviewers and writers. Jerianne would probably appreciate the help.
I once published a zine I called Zine Solar System -- a zine that could be described as an improved version of Zine World. Of course few people were interested in it despite its diverse content. Meanwhile, Zine World continues with its substandard, unchanging format. I'm of the mind that Jerianne prefers to keep Zine World as it is with its lack of diversity and all. And I doubt very much that she'd listen to any advice I have on how to improve her publication.
Quite startled by this, there may be things you don't like about Zine World but it certainly isn't the 'worst zine of all time'. That's a) ridiculous and b) rather rude - as is assuming Jerianne wouldn't be interested in listening to advice, because she comes across in her pages as if she's keen to take other views on board. Not listening to you and not agreeing with you are quite different things.

Well done you for making this self-described 'improved version of Zine World' that few people were interested in, anyway. What fools we all are.

Yul Tolbert said:
I once published a zine I called Zine Solar System -- a zine that could be described as an improved version of Zine World. Of course few people were interested in it despite its diverse content. Meanwhile, Zine World continues with its substandard, unchanging format. I'm of the mind that Jerianne prefers to keep Zine World as it is with its lack of diversity and all. And I doubt very much that she'd listen to any advice I have on how to improve her publication.
I make a publication whose subject matter is (generally) not exactly of ususal interest to the kind of zinester you mention are the only ones who review for Zine World. In fact, I've gotten some pretty dismissive reactions from that community in the past. I sent of a couple copies to Zine World anyways and felt I got a fair and honest (and positive) review from someone who admits thay don't know about or normally even care much about the subject matter.
Just my two cents.
I also have a problem with the idea of a zine that does reviews. It seems to me that zine reviewers tell people what and how to think. I long assumed that zinedom was an escape from that sort of mainstream activity. As such, I prefer to let people think for themselves than tell them what to do. Of course there is a difference between making suggestions and making commands. But Zine World reviewers seem to make massive commands on what zines they think people should or shouldn't read.
Zine World is constantly asking for volunteers... step up if you think you have something to say... seriously. BE the person who reviews zines of those genres. I am sure Jerianne would LOVE the help! Sitting on the sidelines complaining and not fighting for change... um... wait... isn't why we write zines? To be heard?

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