What Is A Zine Anyway? You Could Make One Yourself!
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s senior fall editorial intern Maggie Lardie. Find her on Instagram at @maggielardie. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like many other businesses, the publishing industry has experienced its fair share of struggles as forms of media shift and technology advances. Literary magazines, publishing companies and independent booksellers have lately been feeling the pressure from online retail giants like Amazon. It’s difficult to compete with something that makes buying/reading books convenient enough that you don’t have to leave the couch!
As daunting as all of this may seem, it’s far from the first instance in which people had to get creative about publishing. After all, even if you did decide to publish a literary magazine or story of some kind, it would just be crammed on top of a rapidly growing pile of similar works. While it’s great the internet has the capacity to contain any work ever written, that also just means journals, magazines and fictions can get quickly lost. In order to ensure that doesn’t happen, you’ll need a niche – something that makes your work stand out among the rest. This will make it easier to find your target audience and hopefully get your publication the attention it deserves. One of the easiest ways to get your work out there is via a zine (like the one you’re reading now!) But what is a zine exactly?
Short for magazine or fanzine, a “zine” is typically created by one person or a small group. They’re composed of original and self-published texts, artwork and images, and today, you can find a zine about practically anything! Zines have been around since roughly the 1940s, but never took off until the 1970s. Back then, zines were mainly used as a way to comment on capitalism, sexism, racism and homophobia (just to name a few topics). They were heavily preferred by punks in the 1970s, mostly because the self-published aspect of zines allowed for unfiltered viewpoints that could’ve been misconstrued if the work had gone through a publishing company.
Ironically enough, the zines that were initially created by punks to condemn the social topics listed above were criticized for their exclusion of women, people of color and queer people. More zines were then created to provide voices to these respective groups – and so on and so forth. Today, zines can be found about anything and everything, and are even stored in university libraries for educational purposes. They can incorporate stunning visual art, compelling stories, informational articles or even cooking recipes! The one thing they all have in common is that they’re all the product of many hours of hardwork from the individual(s) that bring them to life.
So, do you want to create a zine? You can! To begin, you’ll just have to find your niche. What sets you apart from all the others? What do you bring to the table that no one else can? Maybe you’re an artist or poet and you want to get your work out into the world, or maybe you’re a chef that just perfected their last original recipe. Whatever it is, it deserves to be shared!
Once you decide the contents of your zine, you’ll have to determine your platform. Will your zine be online or in print? Or maybe both? This is one of the rare cases in which the internet is actually beneficial to publications because it’s a quick and easy way to get your zine read. It’s also important to note that being the publisher of a zine doesn’t come with many monetary benefits. The time and effort you’d put into your work will be rewarded by the publication itself, along with the knowledge that your independence and dedication created a zine that can now be shared with the world.
Would you want to create your own zine? Do you prefer bookstores or Amazon? Let us know in the comments below!