Zine Guide by Matt Halloway


What is a zine? (Pronounced like Magazine without the maga) A zine is an independently created publication. It is often created by any means necessary and/or available more often done out of passion for a subject rather than for commercial success. Currently, they are typically photocopied but there are many out there that are handmade, silk-screened, and a few that utilize offset printing. A zine can be about whatever subject its creator decides upon. Some typical subjects are music, comics, personal writings, fan-based writings, science fiction (Sci-fi zines are often called fanzines, and many feel that the term zine is derived from that), literature, anthology/art, and reviews however, it is completely open.


Brief History of the zine: 1454 Johann Gutenberg invents the printing press.  Once the press begins to enter the public’s hands and the public becomes somewhat literate, powers that be fear the power of the free press.  Printers win the right to publish in England in the 1700’s.  Self-publishing was often too expensive for most.  Ben Franklin self-published “Poor Richard’s Almanac”.  Samuel Adams and other Americans print works to help bring about the Revolution (The Pamphleteers). Russians did the same with “Samizdat”.  British mad genius artist & poet William Blake self-published using etched copper plate engraving. Mid-1800s: Inexpensive small table-top printing-presses (more than toys, but not much) introduced and "Amateur Journalism" became a popular hobby, especially among boys -- Todd Lincoln published on one from the White House, and Lloyd Osbourne did a "zine" with contributions from his step-father Robert Louis Stevenson.  Mimeograph introduced by Edison c. 1875 and soon became standard office (& church basement) equipment. Dadaists begin self-publishing in the early 1900’s.  1929: Readers of science-fiction magazines started communicating by way of mimeographed or spirit-duplicated "fanzines", and still publish them, though most now use xerocopy.  Mimeograph technology in the 1950’s is used for self-publishing by the beats.  1960’s introduced the photocopier as self-publishers form publishing houses.  Punks in the 1970’s exploit the photocopier and the form closest to today’s zine is created.  The zine explosion in the 1980’s is documented by Factsheet Five (a now defunct zine that reviewed zines).  The original editor of it, Mike Gunderloy, originated or popularized the word "zine" and established most of today's "Zine Ethos" (non-profit, trading, DIY, importance of feedback from readers, &cet), based on his background in the s-f fanzine tradition. Technological advances in the 1990’s makes professional editing and publishing tools accessible to the general public.  Mainstream media becomes interested in zines which had for the most part remained in obscurity for years.  The interest is more as a novelty rather than as an art form or legitimate publication.  Retail stores began to carry zines as part of their books or comics or music.  Towards the end of the 90’s, many people who had published popular zines for years stop publishing or move into more mainstream creative positions or begin to devote their time and creativity towards web sites sometimes called e-zines.  The 2000’s-The zine explosion of the 90’s made many people aware of zines but an often lack of quality jaded many would-be retailers and readers.  The absence of many of the publications that were staples of zinedom and lack of mainstream attention has created a fresh, new, open environment.  While a number of sub-par zines are still being created, the awareness of what has come before has helped motivate individuals to create book-art with zines.  Many zine publishers have returned to many almost forgotten printing methods such as silk-screening, letter pressing, linoleum cuts, and hand stitched bindings. The use of the web has created farther stretching networks of people working within the same medium as well as providing publishers a virtual retail area, increasing reader access to remote locations and allowing more people to see content than the self-publisher could afford to non-virtually print.  Annual conventions have also aided to regenerate public awareness while strengthening relations among self-publishers. 


Why publish a zine? To see your work in print. To share what you can create. To encourage others to be creative. To find and connect others with similar interests. To get mail. To make new friends. To create the publication you always wished existed. To teach yourself something new. The individual reasons to create are zine are as diverse and unique as the individuals who create zines. Often someone wants to see their work in print by any means necessarily. “Amelia: … it's a way in which people communicate on a very passionate, free and sometimes intensely personal level as it is a medium which isn't bound by censorship. it allows people of all interests and agendas to voice their opinions, art and rants to a wide audience in a relatively cheap and fun way.”


Getting Started: Once you decide that you would like to make a publication, the work begins. The most important thing that you can have is determination and the ability to see things through to completion. Next is the ability to make the time to dedicate to it. There will always be other things to focus on, but it takes active sacrifice to make a publication go from idea to reality.

Supplies you need to access to: All supplies are available at most photocopy shops. The more that you own yourself, the more you can do at anytime. However, it isn’t recommended that you purchase many of the supplies until you have put out your first publication and see if it is something that you would like to do.

Supplies that can help: Type writer or computer with a word processing program, Scissors, glue stick, Stapler, Cutting Board, Exacto Knife, Sharpie Markers, Blue Pencils, Cutter, Scanner, Ruler, Paper Trimmer, Copier. Often you can find materials to use/borrow.

Things that should be within just about every publication: A Cover, A back cover, Contact information, Table of Contents and page numbers (once you have a collating fiasco, you will learn the importance of page numbers)


Protecting your identity: The world can be a dangerous place. It is recommended that you get a Post Office box for correspondence and a separate email address for your online correspondence. A Pen Name can help but if you are looking to make money off your publication and will be accepting checks, that can get tricky. You will have to make your own policy on who you will and won’t deal with.

Lay out While creating your publication, if you are planning of making it out of folded pages, you need to think in four page segments. (For Example, if you create a 23 page piece that you are planning on copying on paper your are folding in half and stapling, it will take 6 pieces of paper for 24 pages, but that will have the piece either beginning or ending on the front or back cover. If you include a cover, back cover, contact information, and table of contents, you will need to create one more page of content to go up to 7 pieces of paper and 28 pages. Sounds more complicated that it is)


Cover______________          (Actual Page 1)___________________Back Cover

Page 1  (Intro)                                                             (Contact Info)             Page 10

Page 2_______________        (Actual Page 2)________________               Page 9

Page 3                                                                                                              Page 8

Page 4_                                    (Actual Page 3)_________________             Page 7

Page 5                                      Centerfold                                                       Page 6


When you are ready to print, it can help to make a blank paper mock up of what you would like to create. Pick your pages and decide on the flow of your lay out and then it’s off to the photocopier. Identical machines will have different levels of quality. Search around and find the best quality for your time and money. Once you have your layout decided and all of your pages filled, copy and paste your work onto pages the same size as you are going to print (unless you did your lay out on computer). You can use the “2 pages to 1 double-sided page” feature to transfer your cut and pasted pages to create a master copy. With your master copy, you can feed the machine and use the feature “2 sided to 2 sided”. Some machines can collate and separate and some can even fold and staple for you. It depends on the machine. After making your copies, you can fold and staple and then distribute!

Helpful tips:

á       Give yourself a half inch margin of your content on each side to give the photo copier space for variance.

á       Color pictures and shading often get slaughtered by a photocopier. When using other’s work, this can become a problem. Black and white originals with bold lines often turn out closer to the original on a photocopier. To semi-gauge how a picture will turn out, squint at it until it become blurry. Blue’s will often disappear or appear light while red’s will often copy as black.

á      Layout, especially the first time, will take much longer than one would expect. Don’t run everything the second the master copy is ready. Make a copy that you can read through and edit. Then re-edit. Once you are really satisfied, print your run. Don’t be afraid to step back from your zine for a little bit. Give it room to breath so that it is right when it is finished. Once it is finished and you send it off, it is on it’s own.

á      The more you do yourself, the cheaper things can get. Your time is worth something. Shop around and explore options.

*       Never underestimate the value of a great relationship with your printer.

*       A zine can be a great place to explore and express your feelings and to say things you have always wanted to say, but once something is printed and distributed, there is no way to recall it, and there is always the chance that every single person you know could see what you have printed. The chance of that with a zine is slim, but you should believe and be able to stand up for what you print.

*       The one who creates the publication is ultimately responsible for everything printed.


á            If you plan to mail many copies, keep the weight (including envelope, if used) slightly under an ounce (or two or whatever) to get your full money's worth from the Post Office.

*       If you are going to use a computer, make sure that everything you worked on is backed up in more than one place. Have a hard copy somewhere and it is recommended that you store your work somewhere online as well.



Places to submit your publication for Review:

(Guidelines for submissions: The dollar amount at the end of each listing is the cover price for each publication. It is recommended that one sends the money with some stamps and include a legible name and address to see if it is the type of thing you would want to be reviewed in. To have your publication reviewed, send your zine and take a piece of paper and put your name, your publication name, your address and your email address and your website if you have one and attach it to the back cover if it isn’t clear within the publication. Some reviews can be brutal. Don’t take them too seriously.)

Zine World (Attn: Jerianne) Press PO Box 330156 Murfreesboro TN 37133-0156 ($5)

Almost Normal Comics Attn: Wee PO Box 12822 Ft Huachuca AZ 85670 (Online)


Comixville PO Box 697 Portland OR 97207-0697 ($1)

The trouble with normal Attn: Boone PO Box 329 Columbia MO 65205-0329 ($3)

Poopsheet c/o Ricko Bradford, PO Box 2235 Fredricksburg TX 78624


Slug and Lettuce attn: Chris PO Box 26632 Richmond VA 23261-6632 ($1)

UGZ attn: Jay c/o PMB 419 1442 A Walunt St Berkeley CA 94709 ($2)

Maximum Rocknroll PO Box 460760 San Francisco CA 94146 ($4)

Slug (Zineland) 2225 S 500 E #206 SLC UT 84106 (Available for free in Utah)

Xerography Debt c/o Davida Gypsy Brier PO Box 963 Havre De Grace MD 21078 ($3)

Zine Guide PO Box 5467 Evanston IL 60204 ($5)

Beating Hears of the World Unite  c/o Jyoti PO Box 444 Wollongong NSW 2520 Australia ($8)

Broken Pencil PO Box 203, Stn P, Toronto ON M5S 2S7 Canada ($6)

ProperGander (Josh Rios) PO Box 434 San Marcos TX 78667 ($5)

Punk Planet PO Box 6014 East Lansing MI 48826 ($6)

Utne Reader Associate Editor Karen Olson 1634 Harmon Place Minneapolis MN 55403 ($5)

The Deathship c/o Violet Jones PO Box 55336 Hayward CA 94545 ($5)

Razorcake PO Box 42129 LA CA  90042 ($5)

Thrasher Magazine Zine Thing PO Box 419 Tempe AZ 85280-0419 ($6)

Ten Page News attn: Owen, PO Box 9651 Columbus OH 43209 ($1)

Vice 122 W 27th St 11th Floor NY NY 10001 ($6)


Publications to submit your work for publication:

Guidelines for submissions: You might want to check out the publication first before you submit to it to see if it something you would like to work with. When sending for a publication, provide contact information and be patient. When submitting work to a publication, be even more patient. You might not always get in, or worse, your work will get accepted but the publication won’t come out, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying.

Out of the Blue c/o Justin, Larned PO Box 471 House Springs MO 63051 ($3) candidcartoons@yahoo.com

Bog Gob c/o Howell, Richard PO Box 4425 Chattanooga TN 37405 ($2)

Not My Small Diary c/o Delaine Derry Green1204 Cresthill Rd Birmingham AL 35213 ($2) delangel3@hotmail.com

A Multitude of Voices c/o Matt Holdaway 1945 B Berryman St Berkeley CA 94709-1955

The Hungover Gourmet c/o Dan Taylor PO Box 5531, Lutherville, MD 21094-5531 ($4)

Eyeball c/o Chris Sharpe PO Box 211411 OKC OK 73156 (Underground reporting $4)

Glue c/o Chrissy 45 Clifton Heights Lane Marblehead, MA 01945 (DIY crafts, $2)

White Buffalo Gazette Elmore Buzzizyk PO Box 2452 Butler PA 16003 (Open, $1)

San Francisco Reader c/o Jeff Troiano 503 2nd St Petaluma CA 94952 http://www.sanfranciscoreader.com/

http://www.cherrybleeds.com/ (Online E-Zine)

Lowhug c/o A.j. Michel, PO Box 2574, Champaign, IL 61825 lowhug@yahoo.com


How to Copyright your material: If you put the © symbol with the current year and your name, your work is copyrighted. To officially copyright your material send a copy of your zine to:

Library of Congress, Copyright Office, Washington DC 20559.

They will send you a form, fill it out and send it back with the proper fees and two copies of your zine. The proper form to fill out for a zine is Form SE (reserved for serials). To unofficially copyright your material, send a copy of it to yourself, registered mail, and don’t open the envelope.

Or go to http://www.loc.gov/copyright/ for more information


Libraries that accept and display zines:

Independent Publishing Resource Center 917 SW Oak #304 Portland OR 97205

Salt Lake City Public Library c/o Brooke Young 209 E 500 South Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Seattle Zine Public Library 1254 10th Ave E Seattle WA 98102

Pennsylvania Zine Library c/o April Freyer P.O. Box 209 Wilcox, PA 15870

NY Zine Library c/o Alisa Richter Mailbox #1333 735 Anderson Hill Road Purchase, NY 10577

Ontario Zine Library c/o Jen /11 ascot ct /Welland Ont /L3C 6K7/ Canada

Long Haul Infoshop 3124 Shattuck Ave Berkeley CA 94705

Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center 218 W Main St, Ste 110, Urbana IL 61801

Bread and Roses Library PO Box 63132 St Louis MO 63163

Alternative Media Library PO Box 204902 New Haven CT 06520

Junto Local Ninety-One, 2D-91 Albert St., Winnipeg MB R3B 1G5

Misfit Theater Zine Library PO Box 68939, Newton, Auckland, New Zealand

Civic Media Center Library PO Box 13077 Gainesville FL 32604-1077

On Ramp Library 5307 N Minnesota Ave Portland OR 97217


Highly Recommended Reading:

Stolen Sharpie Revolution PO Box 14332, Portland OR 97293 ($3) www.microcosmpublishing.com

Whizzbanger Guide to Zine Distribution c/o Shannon PO Box 5591 Portland OR 97228 ($4)

DIY Comix PO Box 14185 Portland OR 97293-0185 (1 Stamp)


Other Reading on the subject:

Re-Search Guide to Zines Volume I     ISBN 0965046907

Re-Search Guide to Zines Volume II     ISBN 0965046923

Start Your Zine by Veronika Kalmar    ISBN 0786882174

Make A Zine by Bill Brent                       ISBN 0963740148


Conventions: A zine convention is a usually a place where people who produce zines will be setting up their publications on tables for sell and/or trade. Often this is a place where people who are interested in zines will come to purchase zines and to meet people who produce them. More often than not people will travel for a convention. There will often be other activities during and after the convention like workshops and informal gatherings.

A list of Conventions:

Alternative Press Expo (APE) San Francisco, California Area www.comic-con.org

Beantown Zinetown (BTZT) Boston, Massachusetts Area www.richmackin.org

Toronto Comics Arts Festival www.torontocomics.com

Olympia Comics Festival, Olympia Washington frankcrash@juno.com

Small Press And Comics Expo (SPACE) www.backporchcomics.com/space.htm


Portland Zine Symposium Portland Oregon www.pdxzines.com

SFZine Fest, San Francisco, California www.sfzinefest.com

LA Zinefiesta Los Angeles, California lazinefiesta@yahoo.com

SPX, Bethesda Maryland www.spxpo.com

MOCCA Arts Festival, New York City www.moccany.org

Allied Media Conference, Bowling Green, Ohio www.clamormagazine.org/amc2003/

New Orleans Book Fair www.nolabookfair.com



Distro’s: A distro is a self-made zine distribution. It is often run by one or two people who will have people mail them their zines and they will sell the zines. Often the zines are sold to the distro on consignment or at half to 60% of cover price. Some distro’s only need a master copy of your zine and can make their own copies and are on the honor system.

Distro Directory c/o Olivia Pepper P.O. Box 12258 Eugene, OR 97440 USA ($2)

ShadowSide Distro c/o Alli PO Box 761 Mountain View CA 94042            www.shadowside.com

Stickfigure Distro & Mailorder PO Box 55462 Atlanta GA 30308            http://www.stickfiguredistro.com/

USS Catastrophe PO Box 12299 St Louis MO 63157                      www.usscatastophe.com

Vox Populis Distro PO Box 253 Roselands NSW 2196 Australia http://www.voxpopulis.org

Microcosm PO Box 14332 Portland OR 97293                                 www.microcosmpublishing.com


Stores to sell your publication: To sell your zine through a store, send them a copy with a SASE and request that they consider selling your publication. Typically they will pay 40%-50% of cover price or will sell it on consignment. It is up to the store how many copies they want and if they want to sell your publication at all, so be considerate. Once they get your copies, often they put a low priority on your invoices, so be patient, but don’t be afraid to remind them. Keep copies of your invoices, just in case. To generate an invoice, include all of your contact information and a break down of materials sent and the cost.

Atomic Books 1100 W 36th St Baltimore MD 21211

Axis Records & Comics 1431 A Park St Alameda, CA 94501 /510-864-8682 axisrecordsandcomics.com

Comic Relief 2138 University Ave Berkeley, CA 94704 /510-843-5002

Fat Jacks 2006 Sansom St Philadelphia PA 19103 /215-963-0788

Quimbys 1854 W North Ave Chicago IL 60622

Fat Jacks 2006 Sabsin St, Philadelphia PA 19103

33 1/3 Books 1200 N Alvarado St, Los Angeles CA 90026

Flyrabbit 155 Haryard Ave Allston MA 02134-2702

Left Bank Books 92 Pike St, Seattle WA 98101

Reading Frenzy 921 SW Oak St Portland OR 97205 / 503-274-1449

Star Clipper Comics 379 North Big Bend Blvd St Louis MO 63130 /314-725-9110


For more information about getting a grant for producing a comic go to http://www.xericfoundation.com/

For more information, go to http://www.juxtapoz.com, http://www.moderntales.com/

http://www.altgeek.net/, http://www.cherrybleeds.com/, http://www.grrrlzines.net/

http://www.invisibleinkradio.com, http://www.lilycat.com, http://members.cox.net/okiezine/

http://members.aol.com/vlorbik/zine.html, http://www.zinethug.com/index.html

http://www.zinebook.com/, http://www.topwebcomics.com/top.php, http://vox.i85.net/