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Print zine pulishing is too expensive (Duh!)

Maybe for some it's not, but for me it is. That's why the last print zine I did was about a year ago. You add that problem with the fact that very few if any people are willing to buy my zines, and the expense goes through the stratosphere. I have to conclude that the only way to afford producing print zines is to either become extremely wealthy or only produce a zine once a year or so. Or perhaps I can produce the kind of zines that the zine public wants. But if I did that, I would no longer be expressing myself freely. Plus that's too much like the mainstream press where you're also not allowed to express yourself freely. I guess that's what happens when you live here on spaceship Earth: The biggest ship of fools in the universe! A planet populated by the human race: The ultimate mainfestion of evolution gone mad! Just had to bring that up.

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i'm still holding out to make money with my zine. i try to get the word out as much as possible and so far people have been buying them. i also try to write for other people's zines too. it keeps my brain sharp. these zines are bigger and more well known so then once someone sees my name, they'll want to buy my zine as well. i treat it all like a business.

i think if you want to make money you can. you can write about what you like but market it the right way and people will eat it up. i'm also trying to get it to some distros. we'll see.

your thread is kind of a downer. i'm new to the whole zine world and if i thought like you, i'd never write again. sorry you're struggling, but i think you should keep at it.
Publishing one zine a year could work for me. In fact, I only published one zine last year. But the lack of audience problem remains. I mean, what's the point of printing a zine if you don'ty have an audience for it?
I publish only in pdf. The only cost is my time, I can distribute anywhere on the planet for $0 postage, full color is not a problem and interactivity from the zine to the web is easy.
because it's fun?

Yul Tolbert said:
Publishing one zine a year could work for me. In fact, I only published one zine last year. But the lack of audience problem remains. I mean, what's the point of printing a zine if you don'ty have an audience for it?
Whatever happened to zinesters perfecting the art of the scam? Steal your copies, scam postage, do your zine on work time, etc.? I'm totally not understanding people printing zines at corporate national chains and not trying to rip them off. Fuck Kinkos, Staples and Office Depot, they are big shitty corporations. Befriend someone that works there that's underpaid and work a deal to pay them cash under the table and not ring it up. Or use a cheaper indie printer, who could really use your business anyway. When I started my old zine in the early '90s we were all sharing tips on alt.zines on how to scam free copies at Kinkos, soap your stamps so they could be reused, and other ways to scam the system. Photocopying costs really haven't gone up that much, it's just that zinesters seem to have forgotten the DIY art of scamming.

As far as finding an audience for your zine, I think in today's online world you really have to work a niche, promote the hell out of yourself, or slowly grow a loyal audience. It's not like it was that much easier to sell hundreds of zines 10 years ago Yul. You know, you were doing it then. And there is a hell of a lot less competition these days because there are so many fewer zines being published.
Why do you think no one wants to read your zine? Maybe no one knows about your zine. Tell us about it, how we can get a copy, etc. Do you ever go to zine fests?

You could also give your zine out, do trades, submit to distros, post about it online...there's a lot you can to do let people know about your stuff.

Even if you don't have a huge audience, it's still cool. Making a zine shouldn't be about how many people read it - it should be about expressing yourself and creating something.

As far as costs go, do you have any friends/family who can hook you up with free copying? Some people here might be able to help you out.
I agree with Dan 10Things. The art of the copy scam is a glorious thing. Now, I don't want to name names, but I used to know a guy who'd simply dress blandly yet professionally, walk into a Kinko's (located in a business park) during busy periods, rattle off a few hundred copies and meander off amidst the workaday hubbub. "Stealing from corporations is a victimless crime," he'd say. "Shareholders are lazy pricks who don't have the guts to invest in themselves. In fact, you may call me a modern day freedom fighter..."

Beyond that, it's true that everyone hoping to spread their work has to sell themselves to some degree. Unpleasant as it may sound in theory, publicity and connections are vital to gaining a wider audience. I've seen some amazing zines just fade off into the night because the publishers expected extraordinary quality to lead to success. Nope, civilization is a toilet and the turds always seem to bob to the surface while sensitive genius is flushed away. Sad, but true.

So is self-expression worth the cost? Well, that's a question best left to the individual.
it depends on what your zine is! keep it b&W, small and half size and its cheap as... hell, its cheaper now to copy than it was when i started back int he late 80s. at one stage for me it was cheaper to use an offset printer back then than photocopying! as for getting people to see it? spread the word, trade... send review copies out to zine world and the like... we doing this for fun anyway... sure it would be nice to cover costs but hell, a good trade makes my day.
I work for a non-profit... i don't scam at work.

I don't know what Kinkos or any other place you think you can scam from any more... i haven't seen an "honor system" corporate copy shop in YEARS. I am not about commiting Credit Card fraud... so can't work it that way.

BestAvailable said:
Don't people scam copies from work anymore? One of the benefits of working for the Man...
we all die anyways and all media shall end up in the great landfills! may as well make the zines! i'm not into freedom fighting, though

Dr. Danny Swank said:
I agree with Dan 10Things. The art of the copy scam is a glorious thing. Now, I don't want to name names, but I used to know a guy who'd simply dress blandly yet professionally, walk into a Kinko's (located in a business park) during busy periods, rattle off a few hundred copies and meander off amidst the workaday hubbub. "Stealing from corporations is a victimless crime," he'd say. "Shareholders are lazy pricks who don't have the guts to invest in themselves. In fact, you may call me a modern day freedom fighter..."

Beyond that, it's true that everyone hoping to spread their work has to sell themselves to some degree. Unpleasant as it may sound in theory, publicity and connections are vital to gaining a wider audience. I've seen some amazing zines just fade off into the night because the publishers expected extraordinary quality to lead to success. Nope, civilization is a toilet and the turds always seem to bob to the surface while sensitive genius is flushed away. Sad, but true.

So is self-expression worth the cost? Well, that's a question best left to the individual.
I used to print Musea monthly. But now it's bi monthly and instead of 500 copies it's 300 - which now costs about the same as 500 used to. Some of it is because after 16 years I'm a little burned out, but a big part of it is the cost.
What about taking a few ads from local coffee shops, punk record labels and such to offset your printing costs? When the Small Publisher's Co Op was printing tons of zines, they'd discount printing if you ran their ad on the back cover. Think creatively folks. If you think it's expensive for us little guys to print, imagine what it's like for a newspaper or larger magazine, there is a reason why so many are folding. I published a magazine for 5 years and we ended up about 40 grand in debt to our printer before we decided to pull it... I'm still paying for it 3 years later. But I still wouldn't change the experience for anything. I think it's a lot easier to be a small independent zine publisher in tough times because the cost of publishing is really just printing and postage, with few other costs.

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