Frequently Asked Questions
Last Update: 2010/04/20
What's a zine?
A zine (an abbreviation of the word fanzine, or magazine; pronounced "zeen") is most commonly a small circulation publication of original or appropriated texts and images. More broadly, the term encompasses any self-published work of minority interest usually reproduced via photocopier on a variety of colored paper stock.
A popular definition includes that circulation must be 5,000 or less, although in practice the significant majority are produced in editions of less than 100, and profit is not the primary intent of publication.
Zines are written in a variety of formats, from computer-printed text to comics to handwritten text (an example being Cometbus). Print remains the most popular zine format, usually photo-copied with a small circulation. Topics covered are broad, including fanfiction, politics, art and design, ephemera, personal journals, social theory, single topic obsession, or sexual content far enough outside of the mainstream to be prohibitive of inclusion in more traditional media. The time and materials necessary to create a zine are seldom matched by revenue from sale of zines. (definition from Wikipedia.org)
What's a distro?
Short-term for the word distribution, distros are a source for independent publishing (like zines), indie music labels and other diy crafts. Generally speaking they don't turn much of a profit as stocking and selling their products is a labor of love, much as it is for those who create what they sell. Zine distros often have websites that you can place orders on. Usually these are small scale diy projects run by an individual or small group of friends.
Additionally, the process for being distributed (or distro'ed) is much less formal than with conglomerate publishers - sometimes zinesters can just send in a note and a copy of their zine and, if the owner of the distro likes it, they'll agree to sell any number of copies.(definition from Urban Dictionary)
Will you sell my zine?
Maybe, it depends on your zine's theme(s) and a few other details. You can check out the submissions page for more information.
What's a one-shot zine?
A one-shot is a zine without multiple issues. One-shots are typically utilized when a zine-makers wishes to write material, or about a subject, not typical to their zine. One-shots may sometimes appear in broadside format, this meaning that the zine might be printed on one side of the page. (definition from ZineWiki)
Is there a difference between a split zine and a compilation zine?
Yes! A split zine is a zine written by more than one author. Generally a split zine combines two existing or new zines in one issue. When reading the zine from the front, the first half is one zine, at the halfway point the text is upside-down, by flipping the zine over and reading it from the back side, you can read the other zine in the split issue. Split zines may be utilized for various reasons, including sharing photocopying costs and distribution, partnering up with a friend to collaborate on a project, or when two zine-makers write about similar subjects.
When more than two authors are involved, the resulting work is usually referred to as a compzine - a compilation zine! A compzine - coined by contracting compilation and zine - is a zine comprised of pieces written by more than one zine-maker. Compzines are usually themed, such as featuring pieces by zine-makers from the same town, or pieces on the same subject (ie, food, ethics, first sexual experiences, etc). Usually this type of zine has one editor who chooses the theme and then sends out submission calls in the form of fliers, letters and/or posts on online zine communities. The editor then compiles the submissions she/he receives and prints the compzine. Contributors are usually listed in the front or back of the zine, with their contact info, and typically receive a free copy of the zine when it's completed. (definitions from ZineWiki)
Now that we're at it, what's a review zine?
A review zine is resource publication that writes and publishes opinions and contact info about zines sent in for review. Most review zines include columns, articles, postal charts or other resources in addition to reviews. (definition from ZineWiki)
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