We Make Zines

a place for zinesters - writers and readers

So I am pretty new at this whole zine thing, but already I am facinated. This is what I have been searching for! I am so very excited to become part of this.

However, I have a road block: I have made a zine, I have looked at online distros, but I have not distributed beyond my close circle of friends and I have not asked for any zines 'cause i am sort of terrified of giving away my home address. I am under 18, I am a very private person when it comes to the stuff I create and buy. I'm not doing this behind my parents back or anything, just out of their way (I tend to be very much in their way with most projects, and I would like to avoid that with this).

Any ideas? Insights? should I just get over it? Or should I investigate a PO box? Can I even get a PO box as a minor? Just looking for ideas and information here.... thanks!

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My parents have given me the go ahead, so I can get one! yay. And luckily they are fine that it is about zines. Although, general pen pal might be fun at some point too... hmmm.... PO boxes have so much potential!

I think I shall take a visit to the post office and ask them about ID. I do have a birth certificate and social security thing (I think).

Just a question, is it most common to send a zine in an envelope, or something that won't bend? Because the smallest (and cheapest) box they have is 3" x 5.5" x 14.5". Do you think a mailed zine could fit in that (I don't think I will be getting more then a couple pieces of mail at any given time).

Again, thank you for all the help and advice! Everyone is so nice around here. :)
Most zines do get mailed in envelopes (and I actually prefer that, but that's been discussed in another thread) but most can be pretty easily folded. I'd assume if it can't fit in the box they'll hold it behind the counter for you, but don't quote me on that. The box size actually does sound a bit small. If the next size up isn't a lot more money I would go with that, but if it is a lot more I'd just get the cheapest one and deal with it. Like I say, assuming they'll hold your stuff behind the counter if it doesn't fit it shouldn't be a huge issue either way.
a half-sized zine is 5.5" by 8". that's a pretty standard zine size. i would recommend going one size bigger than your post office's smallest box. that way you can be sure that zines will fit, & also slightly bigger packages (like if someone sends you a tape or a t-shirt or some other kinds of surprise or gift), they will fit. but anything that doesn't fit will be held for you to pick up.
I usually mail zines in folded over construction paper taped shut if i'm just sending a zine + a letter. Maybe you can cut costs that way.
warning about using construction paper: it is actually more fragile & soft than regular office paper, & doesn't actually hold up very well in the mail. almost every package i have ever received that has been wrapped in construction paper has been torn & damaged, & in at least half the cases, contents were missing. construction paper works okay if you cover the entire thing in packing tape (not scotch tape!), but if there are any corners or folds that aren't seriously sealed up, the construction paper will be damaged.

ditto on newspaper! this seems kind of "no duh" to me, but i had a constant plague of people sending me packages wrapped in newspaper last summer, & every package was all shredded, shorn, & damaged.

if you can't afford envelopes, it's really better to just write the address on the outside of the zine & tape the edges closed. office paper is more durable than construction paper, newspaper, etc. but even better than that is re-purposing used envelopes from packages you have received, or from the recycling bin at the post office, or wherever. or...cough up for envelopes. sucks to spend money on something you're using once & sending away, but it beats having your package torn to shreds & lost in the mail.
On the subject of envelopes fitting in PO boxes, here's a very important reminder: ALWAYS write or stamp "DO NOT BEND" on your outgoing packages. Big letters, red ink and front & back are best!

In my experience at least (several post offices in a couple of states), postal employees are usually pretty respectful of that stated request. However, if that's not on the package they generally don't seem to care how they manage to fit it in the box!


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