We Make Zines

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So...college and beyond. This is my 'I-really-really-want-that' dream that I want to pursue: Become a 'pro-zinester'...My own publishing, buttons, organize events, the works...ect. Is there a certain major in college I should go for?? What did you guys do?

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Like Ciara, I'm from Ohio & started making zines in the absence of a local zine community. I did make one or two zines with a local friend (and through that process found out that collaborating on a zine was more difficult and stressful that I thought it would be and that distributing zines in my local community was something that made me uncomfortable) and eventually meet a few people from Ohio who also made zines, but zines never became the central focus of those friendships. There was a bit of a punk community in my area, but zines we never really part of the local music scene and the zines that I wrote (short "creative non-fiction" type personal zines) were not generally lauded by that community.

I can understand the draw of wanting a zine community -- in some ways I love the idea of being able to hang out with other people who make zines -- but ultimately, for me, zine making has been both a solitary and rewarding process and the long-distance relationships I've developed with other zinesters through the mail or messageboards have been enough for me.

As far as "pro-zinestering" goes, I think the feedback you've gotten is pretty solid. When you go to college, something gets sacrificed. In my case, it was zines. I ran a zine distro for a few years and made the decision to close it during my freshman year of college. I just felt there was no way I could run my distro the way I wanted to (you know, efficiently) without neglecting my coursework, so for that time in my life, I chose to make school my priority. I learned a lot about my own writing through my literature and creative writing classes (my degree was in English Education with a focus on literacy in adolescent females), but it also depends on what you're willing to put into the experience. If you don't engage in your classes, it's easy to drift through the whole experience and end up feeling as though you've wasted your time.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

ciaraxyerra said:
i'm with alex. i grew up in ohio. i was the only person i knew who was making zines. even my closest friends, who were feminists & into punk music to some degree, thought zines were a self-indulgent waste of time. i didn't even tell them i made zines. i just mailed them to people & had pen pals. & slowly, as i grew up, i got to know more people in real life who made zines, or at least knew what they were & were interested in them. but even when i had a lot of "real-life" friends who were making zines, we didn't really talk about zines much. we would give each other zines & talk about really good zines we'd read recently, but our friendships were based on other things. when zines are really important to you, it can be nice to have people around you who at least have a clue as to what zines are, but a "local zine scene" really isn't necessary to still make cool zines & get your zines out into the world. mail is still your best friend in that respect.
You dont actually need to go to college to be self-employed, do you? To get arts funding, going to arts school would help. But its not necessary.
oh no - i had already suspected as such. if anything i just wanted to slip that in there to see if that was the case.

arts grants are great, but they can lead to an art hack culture too. real artists get pushed out, pushed underground in Australia mostly.
i don't think it really matters what your degree is in, I think it matters more on what you want to write about. I have an interdisciplinary degree in black women's studies and holistic health so naturally my zine is about black women and health. but things like graphic design are hard for me. i would recommend taking some classes in photography and art and design or something. but those could be at night at some local community college. journalism, creative writing, and business classes are all good too.

i just read this book by ariel gore called "how to be a famous writer before you're dead" and there are a ton of ideas on how to really take your writing to the next level. ariel started "hip mama" which is a parenting zine and the circulation is about 10, 000 right now. she's also written a lot of books and been featured in a few anthologies and teaches writing in portland so starting a zine can get you fairly far if you aren't lazy, and work hard. her book is awesome. you should really read it, maybe even buy it because you'll want to refer back to it later.

i think some big magazines probably got started really indie and in someone's basement so it is possible. good luck.

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