a place for zinesters - writers and readers
Define these terms in your own words (or what they mean to you):
Zine: Rather hard to define, but you might try this article: http://www.zinebook.com/resource/wright1.html
Zinester: A bit easier. Someone who makes zines, but I guess, maybe too, somebody who reads them, enthusiastically, habitually, or compulsively.
Distro: A person or group who DISTRIBUTES zines. Many I suppose would deny being a "business", though a few might not mind being so described. Many, but not all zinesters, are anti-profit, anti-business, etc. (I'm a multi-economy libertarian.) I guess they're organized & operated differently, but many are "co-ops" or "collectives".
DIY: An acronym for Do It Yourself. Duh. Hopefully self-explanatory. Personally I think it's sort of a buzzword and honored in the breach more than practiced (by myself included). I'd love to see the "ideal" more deeply explored among zinesters, and in zines, not just web forums.
What sort of content does your zine contain?
My religion, politics, philosophy, entertainment choices & reviews (movies, books, music, zines, documentaries & more), letters of comment, poetry, story & essay submissions (many from prisoners), obscurities, rants, whines, rambles, more things than I can remember at the moment.
How do you make your zine (your methods, your tools)?
Typewriters, pre-Internet wordprocessors, a computer with Word 97, an HP inkjet printer, a ditto machine, copy shop copiers, paper, invisible tape, scissors, staples, old pictures found in old books, encyclopedias & magazines (I photocopy from the books from the books & old magazines first), prisoner art. That's a start.
Why do you make zines, how did you get introduced to zines?
I've had a yen to write and publish since I was a kid and experimented with it long before I knew about zines, or that anybody else did anything similar. I thought it was my own brilliant idea.
My circuitous path to zines started with a "little magazine" called Animals' Agenda, ca. 1983, which led to the libertarian "Nomos". Nomos's ads led me to Southern Libertarian Messenger, and that ad-filled "newspaper" (as Mr. Harllee insisted on call it), led me to Factsheet 5. The rest is pretty much history.
Do you distribute your zine? If so, How do you?
I have distroed my zine through Quimby's, believe it or not, 3 to 5 at a time. They sold very slowly. Quimby's was the only distro that accepted my zine. One told me my zine "didn't sit well on the shelf". That and a few similar responses I got from distros, made me decide not to try too hard in getting accepted by a distro. I "distro" my zines myself through review zines such as Zine World, FS5, Xerography Debt, etc. I also have a circle of zinepals, traders, "the usualers", I keep on my mailing list in a give-and-take fashion. I've gotten comparatively few responses from my Internet ads.
Is there anything you do that makes your zine unique or special from other zines?
No. I really don't think so. All zinesters just express themselves in their own way on what is fun or important to them. That's what I do, and in that way, I'm not really unique at all.
Do you categorize yourself as a zinester? Why or why not?
I call myself a zinester, partly out of convenience, but I also consider myself part of the larger and older self-publishing tradition that goes back to the 19th century, maybe even the middle ages of the Gutenberg press. I'm also an "Ajay" or amateur journalist, and an apa-zinester. (apa: amateur press association).
What do you like to see in other people’s zines?
Interests, concerns, enjoyments that reflect my own, intelligently and thoughtfully expressed and explored. I like to see a "sense of community", that for some reason, I just don't *quite* see, as much, on most web forums.
What is a zine’s goal?
Depends on the zinester. To inform, discuss, explore. To entertain, to shock, to protest. To create and experiment. To share community with other likeminded (often socially marginal) zinesters. Maybe more.
Tell me about your zine.
I'm lazy. Hope you don't mind if I refer you to my profile page. (Click on picture.)
Any suggestions for my zine or my research project?
Yes. The article I gave a link to above is a must-read, but I think it has a bias toward a more recent self-publishing culture. You might also try "Amatuer Journalism", "Amateur Press Association" and "Little Magazine" on Wikipedia.
I don't want to sound outraged or anything, but I take exception that your college would consider zine culture a "youth culture". I would say the Internet, YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, iPods, iPhones, txtng, etc. are more "youth culture" than zines. Zines are as much, possibly more, a marginal/outcaste "middle-age" culture as/than a youth culture. Zines are yesterday's youth culture, more than today's.
Self-publishing, amateur journalism, fanzines and zines are all part of a continuum spanning generations, based on a love of the printed publication and communication and expression there-through. Men, women, teenagers and kids, young and old, have all contributed to it, and have loved it. It's this larger culture that I feel a part of.