We Make Zines

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I'm pretty new to zine-making. I produced my first one, Journeyman, back in May, and sold about ten copies, almost entirely to readers of my LJ and associated communities, with a couple of sales via Etsy.

I've just produced issue 2, and I've put it up for grabs on the above channels, where it's been for a few days now. No-one has bought it as yet, though. While I'm not expecting enormous sales, it would be nice to shift a few, so I've been wondering about how to publicise myself. I'm keen to avoid spamming communities and groups, and I want to make sure I don't do anything that would be considered bad form - so if anyone can help me out on how to ethically and politely pimp my wares around the world, I'd be very grateful for any advice you can offer.

Oh, and buy it too. :)

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-Submit it to distros. They exist to distribute zines!
-See if there are places where you live that carry zines. Bookstores, record shops, coffee shops, community spaces, etc. If not, go talk to places that might and see if they'd be interested in selling them on consignment (then find other people in your town who make zines and get them to do the same!)
-You mentioned LJ, so maybe you're already part of the zine communities on there. I dont think its bad form to post about your zine, as long as you limit it to one post, you know? Its a good tool for getting it out there, why not use it?

What is your zine about?
Thanks for the pointers. What's the best way to deal with distros? I have no real idea about what to ask them or how to price things etc. - I'm not in this for the money but I can't afford to operate at a loss...

I've plugged on a few LJ comms so we'll see how that goes.

My zine is about a lot of things of interest to me, and the first two issues contain travelogues, book and music reviews, poetry by myself and others, photography and how-to articles, with a DIY ethic to them.
I don't know any distros (including my own) that don't have specific instructions to tell you how to submit your zine. Your pricing is completely up to you. The distros are usually going to work on a 50/50 or 60/40 (at the most) deal.

http://www.clickclackdistro.com is mine.

Also... put info on your page here. Post in the "New issue" thread. The LJ communities exist for zine promotion. ALso send your zine to the review zines out there... Zine World, Broken Pencil, Maximum Rock N Roll, Razorcake, Give Me back, etc.

Lee Osborne said:
Thanks for the pointers. What's the best way to deal with distros? I have no real idea about what to ask them or how to price things etc. - I'm not in this for the money but I can't afford to operate at a loss...

I've plugged on a few LJ comms so we'll see how that goes.

My zine is about a lot of things of interest to me, and the first two issues contain travelogues, book and music reviews, poetry by myself and others, photography and how-to articles, with a DIY ethic to them.
small ad-verts...20 to an 8.5X11 sheet
i send 'em in my...mostly...world-wide
mail-art, but also with any zine(ry)...i
would not do distros as preference for
personal notes/swaps/correspondence
is best for me
On the etsy note- is it worth it to keep relisting?
Party Line Zine said:
Well, if it helps any, I just bought a copy from your Etsy shop, since you mentioned it, and it looked interesting to me. I look forward to reading it. :)

Thanks, I'm very grateful. :)
Man, oh man, the zine thing is a topsy-turvy, higgledy-piggledy beast, to say the least. I started doing zines about fifteen years ago (yes, I'm an old man) and really kicked it up a notch about two years ago, putting out ten or fifteen publications in a pretty short period. Granted, quantity is not always quality, but I was feeling prolific and I knew a printer who worked cheap.

I followed the lead of the Christ-enthusiasts and dumped copies wherever people might find them -- bus stop benches, public restrooms, voting booths, libraries, Scientology centers, wishing wells, petting zoos...

Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

I sent my favorites out to a whole host of reviewers, both print and web-based.

Again, nothing.

Cast your mind forward....

I havn't put out anything in a year due to life-shattering personal events (although I am putting the finishing touches on a grand finale which should be out soon), but all of a sudden I'm being inundated with requests for a certain zine which I cobbled together at the last minute for a zine fair in 2008!! I swear, I've sold, traded or given away close to 200 copies of that thing in the last few months. But do folks care about the other twenty or so zines I have in stock? No, not so much.

My point being, you never know what people are going to want to read, so keep on keeping on. Word of mouth is the key, but it takes time. Even if you have a distributor, it doesn't matter a whole hell of a lot unless you get yourself out there. Donate your stuff to libraries with zine collections. That seems to be a golden ticket in some ways. Trade with people on this site. Although this is my first visit here in many moons, I've met a bunch of top-notch folks who've spread the good word to their pals. Again, word of mouth (or fingers, if you will).

For every zine you sell, you can bet your bottom dollar that another ten or twenty shysters peruse those publications while they reside on various toilet tanks and coffee tables. Is that what you'd call a legacy? Maybe not, but it's something. Take it for what it is.

Hope I helped.

Love and sturgeon,

Dr. Danny Swank
i'm not sure distros are always the way to go. when i sent my first issue out to a bunch of distros, nothing really happened, and now i kinda find it a waste of time and postage to keep sending it out to people who i don't know seeking their approval, when they probably can't even relate to me anyway. working with distros means you have to follow their guidelines and if you look at a bunch of the zines they have on their site, they're all kinda the same and about the same stuff all the time with the token "person of color" zine thrown in for good measure. and i'm just over it.

just give your zines to your friends and trade with other people on here and write for a lot of other people's zines to get your name or pen name out there. and always mention your zine on your facebook/myspace page and make links to your etsy page so people know how to buy it. also if you are on other networking sites (i'm on afropunk.com) you can make a page for your zine on there and talk about it randomly and write a bunch of comments and then people will be interested in buying it that way. i get a ton of sales from my afropunk friends and some of them are in bands and have blogs with huge followings and they write about me or i ask them to. you just have to think outside the box and network with other writers and whatnot.

i also highly recommend ariel gore's book "how to be a famous writer before you're dead".
CocoaPuss Zine said:
i'm not sure distros are always the way to go. when i sent my first issue out to a bunch of distros, nothing really happened, and now i kinda find it a waste of time and postage to keep sending it out to people who i don't know seeking their approval, when they probably can't even relate to me anyway. working with distros means you have to follow their guidelines and if you look at a bunch of the zines they have on their site, they're all kinda the same and about the same stuff all the time with the token "person of color" zine thrown in for good measure. and i'm just over it.

I can see where you're coming from, but I've had a good experience and I'm in favor of distros, when done right. An Australian distro/infoshop contacted me out of the blue about a year ago and requested some copies of Frothy and some of my other zines, which I sent them (it cost about $10 in postage). A couple months ago they e-mailed me and said they had $60 waiting for me. Not a bad deal, even though it's far from instant and requires a bit of effort up front.

The few distros that are left in the world are run by pretty solid people, from what I've seen. Because of the nature of distros, there will be a lot of overlap in what they carry, but that's all the more reason to get your unique and interesting zine in their catalogues.

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