1) The first tip that I believe is extremely important is to READ AS MANY ZINES AS POSSIBLE. Zines come in different shapes and sizes— they can be small, medium, or large. They can be one page or 500 pages. Therefore, reading as many zines as possible can help you decide the shape and size of your zine. Furthermore, when making zines it is also important to think about layout. Zines have different ways in which they could be folded— folio, quarto, etc.— looking at other zines can help you decide how you would like the layout of your zine to look. Not only that but reading other zines can help you discover the themes and topics you would like to explore in your zine. They can help you begin to think about your own writing (consider structure and style). Reading other zines can help you hone your writing skills. But wait, there’s more, reading zines is just a fun thing to do! They can open your eyes to new topics that you’ve never thought about before and they can spark creativity.
2) Connecting with other zine makers can also be extremely helpful for a new zinester. Zinesters who are more experienced can point you to the right direction. They can suggest websites in which you can get more information about zine making. They can even serve as a good start for constructive criticism. If they’re nice enough (and many are) to accept your zine, then they can tell you what’s working and what’s not. Another equally important thing about connecting with other zinesters, is that connection plays an important role in the zine world. With this connection you can build a zine circle, start zine discussions, build amazing friendships, and it can be a safe place where thoughts and ideas get shared. Getting your hands on zines is really easy. You can get involved in zine trades, where zinesters trade zines among each other. You can also purchase them on Etsy or at local stores like Printed Matter, Inc.
3) Attend zine festivals and zine launches. This will give you an idea on what other zinesters are writing about. This will also give you an idea on the kinds of zines people like. But the most important thing about attending zine festivals and zine launches is meeting other zinesters and networking. It’s a good place to let people know, “I make zines too!” And hey, maybe in the future you would like to hold your own zine festival/launch. If so, attending zine festivals and zine launches can give you an idea on how you would like your zine to be received, and you can get information on how to organize a zine festival/launch.
4) Promoting your zine is extremely important. If you would like your zine to be well-known and to be read by many people, then shamelessly promote it. You can do this by involving your zine in social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, maybe even a blog). You could share your process when making zines as well as the themes you are conveying in your zine. This is a good way to get people interested in what you are doing.
5) Making zines can be a long process depending on the kind you are making and what you are trying to convey. If you are looking to put something out quickly, consider making a mini-zine. However, I think it is important to understand that making a zine isn’t always going to be a quick process. If you want to put out a good zine, then it takes time and dedication. It involves a lot of editing as well as a good eye for detail. While this may all be true, don’t forget that making zines is heaps of fun. Not only that, but making zines can give you a good feeling knowing that you are making something that can possibly help others feel less alone, laugh, and feel good. Remember to take a chill pill, relax, and have loads of fun creating zines!
Written by Solansh Moya
Pictures provided by Solansh Moya