Zines 101

Zines
Zines

Good day, lovely Teacup readers! I’m Sonya, and my lovely hostess Kristin has so wonderfully agreed to let me not only do a post on zines for you during my month of sponsorship, but also offer a few of my own issues for a giveaway! So scoot a little closer to your screen while I offer up some resources and basics in a bit of Zines 101 for you.

Books
Books are my preferred way to learn about subjects, and zines are no different. Although a lot of libraries I’ve encountered over time don’t have many books on zines–sad face–if you’re willing to spend the money, I have some suggestions for books to learn with.

Stolen Sharpie Revolution by Alex Wrekk: This was the first book on zines I got, and it’s probably been one of the most useful. SSR provides a wealth of information on zines, DIY supplies, and the USPS. It’s a quarter legal size, with a cut-and-paste look to mirror the zines it will teach you about.

Girl Zines by Alison Piepmeier: If you’re interested in something a bit more historical to read, Girl Zines is a good way to go. This book will give you the basics on the history of feminist zines, especially those from the ‘90s. Its subject does tend toward feminist zines in particular, but it’s still a great way to learn some history and get thinking about your own connections with the craft.

Various Compilations/Anthologies: Lastly, if you’re someone who likes collections more than single issues (think graphic novel compilations of comics), I’d recommend checking out some different zine anthologies. Ones on my shelf currently include Mend My Dress, A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World, and a personal favorite, Telegram: A Collection of 27 Issues. Often these can be found in Distros, which brings us to my next resource list…

Zines
This a note from Heather of Stranger Danger and a flier from Vampire Sushi (which also has a note on the back; the Stranger Danger one is on a flier from Chicago Zine Fest). (I keep them both in my Filofax!)


Distros
Distros (distributors) are my favorite way to order zines, even though Etsy can be more convenient sometimes. Distros are typically themed in their curation, so you can find ones specializing in feminist zines, anarchist zines, nerdy zines… I’ve even found some while browsing around that had a selection of herbalist zines!

Stranger Danger: Another one of my firsts, Stranger Danger was the first distro I ordered from and is always the first one I check when I’m in the need for more. Not to mention that Heather, who runs the distro, is just super nice. The last time I made an order, Heather sent along a few extra issues to make up for taking a little longer to send out the order–though it didn’t seem long at all to me, honestly.

Fight Boredom: Fight Boredom is based in Canada and a thoroughly different ordering experience from Stranger Danger (or Vampire Sushi, below). Amber, who runs the distro, asks you to do a bit of math when you order. The zines in the catalog don’t have accompanying “buy now” buttons; instead, they have their price plus their weights, and when you order you let Amber know which issues you want via a message in Paypal and send through the appropriate amount of money. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can do it the old fashioned way and snail mail your order with concealed cash and a list of what you’re ordering.

Vampire Sushi: Vampire Sushi is based in the UK and like every other distro runner I’ve encountered, Tukru is a total sweetheart. When I’m feeling a little better about opening my wallet, I’ll make a special order from Vampire Sushi because even though it might cost me more, it’s nice to help everyone out once in a while. Often I can find the same issues from here as I can from, say, Stranger Danger, but honestly, who doesn’t love mail from another country once in a while?

Websites/Pages 
Lastly, and unsurprisingly, the internet is always a good to find some information on something new, at least to begin with.

How to Make a One-Page Zine: If you’re interested in making your own and don’t know how to start, I would recommend a one-page zine. It takes one sheet of paper and is small enough that you shouldn’t feel pressured to fill pages and pages with content. Plus, as the tutorial shows, you can add a poster if you’re so inclined!

WeMakeZines Ning: The WeMakeZines ning is a great way to find other zinesters, some local and some not. There are discussion boards for trading, learning, and connecting, so after you’ve finished that one-page zine I mentioned, you can let everyone know you’re up for trades.

Etsy: Etsy seems to be the perfect resource for anything handmade, including zines. It has by far the widest variety I’ve seen in terms of subjects, from Sailor Moon mini zines to half-page feminist perzines to zines about cats. So if a distro doesn’t meet your needs, Etsy probably will.

And now, for those of you who like games of chance: a giveaway! Today I’m offering not one…not two…but THREE issues of my own zines. The lucky winner will receive a copy of One-Girl Bicycle Club #004 (my personal zine) and Small Parts #001 + #002 (my prose poetry/mini story zine).

Zines

A huge thanks to Kristin for letting me share something I love so much with her readers and offer up some of my own writing as well.

This giveaway is CLOSED.

Sonya blogs at Sonya Cheney and is a zine mastermind. I’m so grateful to her for providing this primer on zines! I’ve got quite the reading and research to do now, how about you?