Elevate Difference

Make A Zine!: When Words and Graphics Collide!

Remember when self-publishing didn't mean having a blog? Remember when you spent time proofreading your random scraps of writing and rearranging clips, when you felt like you had time with your work instead of longing for the compulsive, furtive click of the "publish" button? In a time when ubiquitous technology is rapidly replacing print media as we’ve known it, spending six months on a themed booklet of your own musings might seem odd. Yet maybe it is exactly the return to simplicity that we need.

Longtime zine makers and self-publishing enthusiasts Bill Brent and Joe Biel are the perfect folks to make a case for their media. The combined expertise of the authors and contributors—mostly notable zinesters who also happen to be friends with Brent and Biel—makes this one of the most useful compendiums I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Originally published in 1997, the second printing of Make a Zine!: When Words and Graphics Collide! is heavily revised and updated to include more examples of long-functioning and successful zines, tips on budgeting your projects, and a lovely resource section in the back that is full of zine distributors (often known as distros), zine reviewers, and zine libraries.

Quite frankly, after living with an angsty zinester as an undergrad, I was pretty disillusioned by what I thought the medium and the community has the potential to be. Only recently beginning to explore zines with real interest, this book has restored my faith in self-publishing and provided me with newfound hope. It pushed forward my backburner ideas onto the main hot plate. I’m proud to say my first zine is in the works, in large part because of the solidly helpful, inspiring advice of Make a Zine!

Like some zines, Make a Zine! contains a few spelling errors and mistaken URLs in the reference section (like, ahem, the one for this very blog). I actually don’t say this as a criticism, though. Like a zine, this book isn’t perfect, and you shouldn’t expect it to be. It remains a tremendous, well-researched and enjoyable resource.

Make a Zine! is an inspiring, easy, and digestible read for anyone, whether you’re already immersed in a cut-and-paste world, a graphic designer with a penchant for radical thought, or a newbie trying to find the best way to make yourself and your ideas known. You'll gain insight into your practice, find some new ideas, or get the motivation for which you’ve been waiting. Seeing your words instantly published on the screen can making blogging an appealing prospect for many, but if you’re someone who wants to hold the tangible results of your work in your hands, grab this small publishing manual to get started. The thing you'll need most are ideas and time.

Written by: Brittany Shoot, December 8th 2008

hey this looks intresing. i might have to pick this up one day. doing a zine you seem to get a lot of armchair quartebacks,maybe reading this book could help ward some of that off...