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Alt.zines FAQ (last modified 19 October 1999)

The first incarnation of this FAQ, composed in 1995 by Jerod Pore, is available at <http://members.tripod.com/altzines/jerod.html>. The second, compiled in 1998 by Peggy Swanson, is available at <http://members.tripod.com/altzines/peggy.html>. The current version is maintained by Ninjalicious and is available at <http://members.tripod.com/altzines/faq.html> as well as being posted to alt.zines every month.

Table of Contents
1. About alt.zines
1.1 What is alt.zines?
1.2 What are the guidelines for posting to alt.zines?
1.3 What sort of zines are discussed in alt.zines?
1.4 What are the other newsgroups with "zine" in their name about?
1.5 What newsgroup should I post news about my exciting new marketing newsletter to?
1.6 Is spam a big problem on alt.zines? What can I do to help?
1.7 Is crossposting a big problem on alt.zines? What can I do to help?
1.8 What are the people on alt.zines like?
1.9 Who are the regulars on alt.zines?
1.10 Who are the people behind all those other names I see dropped?
1.11 Can you explain all those stupid inside jokes?
1.12 Wow, alt.zines sounds really awful. Where else can I talk about zines on the Internet?

2. About zines
2.1 When did zines start? What was the first zine?
2.2 What's the origin of the term zine?
2.3 What are zines? What aren't zines?
2.4 Are e-zines zines?
2.5 Are comix zines?
2.6 Are apas zines?
2.7 How many zines are there?
2.8 What varieties of zines are there?
2.9 What are zine review zines?
2.10 What about Factsheet 5?
2.11 How do I get other people's zines?
2.12 How do I contribute to other people's zines?
2.13 How do I make a zine?
2.14 What software should I use to make my zine?
2.15 How do I get people to contribute to my zine?
2.16 How do I copyright my zine?
2.17 How much money will I make doing a zine?
2.18 How do I get advertisers?
2.19 How do I distribute my zine to the zine world?
2.20 How do I distribute my zine to the world in general?
2.21 Where I can I find out more about these "zine" things?

1. ABOUT ALT.ZINES

1.1 What is alt.zines?
Alt.zines is a Usenet newsgroup set aside for the discussion of zines. The group was created in 1992 by Jerod Pore (if you really want to get technical, Jerod's friend Ed Vielmetti created it at Jerod's request). Since that time, alt.zines has seen more than 26,000 postings, more than 23 of which were on topic.

1.2 What are the guidelines for posting to alt.zines?
From the charter: "alt.zines is a place for reviews of zines, announcements of new zines, tips on how to make zines, discussions of the culture of zines, news about zines, specific zines and related stuff." Related stuff includes zinish subjects such as the act of writing, personal politics, mainstream vs. underground culture and the like. Nothing is really off-limits as long as you can tie zines into it somehow, which is usually easy.
        The charter contains only three "no-no's", all of them on technical points: no crossposting, no posting e-zines, and no binaries (more details below). Other than that, the group requires only standard netiquette, the important points of which are: read the FAQ and lurk before posting; quote only what needs to be quoted; use private e-mail for "me too" messages, flames and other items not of general interest; use appropriate subject lines; keep hype out of your announcements; keep signature files short and to the point. If you've never read a Netiquette guide before, take a quick look at <http://www.fau.edu/netiquette/net/elec.html>.
        Non-zine-related ads are not welcome on the group.

1.3 What sort of zines are discussed in alt.zines?
Although many people on the group also maintain websites or e-zines, alt.zines is primarily about paper zines. Most discussions of e-mail newsletters, e-zines, webzines and the like are more at home in the group alt.ezines. Those who wish to post ASCII e-zines should use the group alt.ezines, and those who wish to post binary e-zines should use the group alt.binaries.zines. Alt.zines is a place to discuss zines, not to distribute them.

1.4 What are the other newsgroups with "zine" in their name about?
As mentioned, alt.ezines is for discussion of electronic zines, and also for the distribution of ASCII electronic zines. You can find Alex Swain's ancient alt.ezines FAQ at <http://www.factsheet5.com/ezines.faq>. Alt.binaries.zines is for trading zines, zine images and zine ads with other zines in binary form (i.e. GIF, JPEG, TIFF or archives). Alt.zines.samizdat, alt.zines.ballsout-squeegee and alt.zines.y0lk are unused groups created by people with too much time and ego on their hands.

1.5 What newsgroup should I post news about my exciting new marketing newsletter to?
As these are not zines, they are unwelcome in all of the zine-related newsgroups. Try alt.garbage.worthless.

1.6 Is spam a big problem on alt.zines? What can I do to help?
It's getting better, but some people still seem to think alt.zines is a good place to announce commercial newsletters and websites. The best way to fight this is to forward all spam messages, including all the headers, to the offender's service provider (just replace the part of the spammer's address before the @ with "abuse"). Replying to spam publicly can be good for a laugh but doesn't actually help, since the spammers don't read the group. People posting announcements about zines for auction on eBay or other targetted spam will often desist if you send them a polite e-mail asking them not to use the group for commercial purposes.

1.7 Is crossposting a big problem on alt.zines? What can I do to help?
The days of Tim Brown and Bill Palmer are over, thank god, but some people occasionally crosspost messages between other groups and alt.zines. Off-topic, crossposted threads are begun by trolls or egomaniacs and then perpetuated by people who don't understand message headers. People can usually be persuaded to stop crossposting to alt.zines with a simple e-mailed request. The best way to help save alt.zines from the scourge of crossposting is to avoid participation in all crossposted threads and to send polite e-mails to people who crosspost informing them that alt.zines does not welcome crossposted messages.

1.8 What are the people on alt.zines like?
Almost everyone on alt.zines writes from the USA or Canada, though we'd certainly welcome participation from people beyond the sea. It's a diverse group of people with strongly-held opinions and not much inclination towards compromise, so there is a lot of arguing. In spite of this seeming touchiness, most of the regulars on alt.zines are friendly and eager to help others. We're making steady progress toward our goal of getting the percentage of messages ending with "fuck you" or "nazi" down to a reasonable level -- now down to 72%!
       Oh yeah, most of us make zines, or used to.

1.9 Who are the regulars on alt.zines?
Current posters, who post about things other than their own projects, include:
* Agnes DeLappe (aka Agnes Delightful), who handles A Reader's Guide's public relations. "Criticisms based on your imagination or crack or whatever aren't worth much."
* Asha Anderson (aka Jeff Texas), the well-spoken but hot-tempered publisher of Reddog. "I may not be the best example of the glories of Free Speech."
* Ben Joseph, the most venerable user among us. "If you can't think of anything better to write about than your wife cleaning the lint screens on the dryer or talking to your sister on the phone, you probably need to reconsider your desire to self-publish."
* Bill Brent, the relatively quiet publisher of Black Sheets and Make a Zine!. "Being a pioneer always sucks because the hassle factor is so high and the pay is so lousy."
* Cali Macvayia, the witty publisher of Delusions of Grandeur and Aspirins and Kalashnikovs. "Practice your 'Zinester Snort' -- that little exhalation of oxygen you make when you see zines less-majestic than yours."
* Carter Cullen, the mostly silent publisher of My Moon or More. "One thing I've noticed since starting up a zine is that it's the most unrewarding thing a person can do."
* Dan Halligan, a DIY library worker with strong feelings on punk and ISSNs and publisher of 10 Things. "There are completely different opinions of what good manners are, to me it means treating people as equals and how I would want to be treated."
* Davida Gypsy Brier, the relatively quiet publisher of Slow Leek and Glovebox Chronicles. "Zine writers are rather migratory, and addresses often change faster than underwear."
* DBPedlar, skunk enthusiast and publisher of Skunk's Life. In the words of one of DB's skunks, "Silliness aside! Mark the calendar, this is a first."
* Don Fitch, who makes up for the rarity of his posts with their i/n/c/r/e/d/i/b/l/e/ l/e/n/g/t/h/ Impressive Detail.
* Doug Holland (aka Pathetic Doug), king of glamour and glitz and publisher of A Reader's Guide.
* eggonface, one of them sarcastic types.
* H.D. Miller, the thoughtful, occasionally confrontational publisher of Travelling Shoes. "I once developed a cure for athletes foot based upon a patented combination of buttermilk and zinc oxide. I've travelled extensively in Burkina Faso. I don't mind saying that I'm also something of a cocksman."
* Hien Group (aka Timbley), oddly-named publisher of Baby Split Bowling News and Office Supply Junky. "To paraphrase PT Barnum, people are fuckin idiots."
* Holly Montgomery (aka Techno Gypsy), occasional visitor and publisher of Goin' SANE. "Finishing an issue is like giving birth. I'm happy that the pregnancy and birth are over, so people can tell me how cute my baby is."
* Jason Adams, the funny publisher of 1000 Interlocking Pieces. "It doesn't matter what size your zine is, it's what you do with it. And my little digest can drive you wild."
* Jeff Kay, occasional visitor who publishes The West Virginia Surf Report. "I think I'm still a pretty cool old guy. I mean, how many people do you know with a Korn sticker on their colostomy bag?"
* Jeff Potter, alt.zines' resident philosopher and publisher of Out Your Backdoor. "Charade. Reversal. A night of smug pleasure and contentment. Retrenchment. Stasis. The uncool cool rather than the cool uncool. Minds slamming shut in imitation, stitched closed by the pins of body art. Lockstep. Power schmower."
* Jeff Somers (aka The Emperor Over the Sea), the clever mind behind The Inner Swine. "Under laboratory conditions I have nurtured my own ego into a huge, healthy beast with rippling muscles and thick, downy hair. But I have also entrusted servants with Elephant Guns to blow its brains out if it ever slips its chains and starts hurling feces around the place."
* Joel McLemore, a fan of perzines and hate literature and publisher of Popular Delusion. "I wish for just five minutes you could have to live under a truly authoritarian regime, to have your fingers broken, to have a red hot poker shoved up your ass until you broke out into the Horst Wessel song. Then maybe you would realize that words have meanings, and words such as fascist shouldn't be used lightly."
* Ninj (aka Jeff), the silliness-loving zine patriot behind this FAQ and publisher of Infiltration. "What really annoys me is that a third of the messages posted to this group are posted by people who don't read it. That, and cancer."
* Paul T. Riddell, maintainer of the Healing Power of Obnoxiousness website. "Y'know, if we just spayed and neutered Young Republicans, we wouldn't have this problem."
* Peaceluvjoylaughtersmiles, a secretive type with a persona not befitting his or her alias. "On behalf of my dear departed father, Ralph Peaceluvjoylaughtersmiles, and the entire Peaceluvjoylaughtersmiles family, I must speak up for the family name."
* sarahfrances, the maintainer of the atmydesk website who occasionally emerges from the shadows to complain or wave at acquaintances. "My problem with a lotta lefties I've met is that they wouldnt really know what it's like to be 'labor' or a 'worker' as they've gotten their rosecolored view from reading,not working."
* Shaun Richman, alt.zines' ironically named resident socialist and editor of The Torch. "The girls go crazy for those scrawny/fat, pale anti-social zinester guys! The bloodshot eyes, the paper-cut hands, the breath that smells of stamp and envelope glue, the sense of moral superiority."
* shawn., on-topic poster and publisher of Johnny Can't Read. "there was the incident involving Conrad Black and me. but alas, due to the terms set forth in my internship contract i am not at liberty to discuss office sexual hijinx."
* Stacey Case, organizer of Toronto's Cut and Paste zine shows and publisher of Rivet.
* Steen Sigmund, an authority on the technical side of zines.
* Vincent Voelz, publisher of Breakfast. "Apparently, after generations of having the virtues of hyper-consumerism shouted at us from every idiot box and glossy magazine, we lowly readers have been reduced to creatures who can only think with their wallets."
* Vlorbik (aka Owen), quiet but plaintive sort who publishes The Ten Page News and Indy Unleashed. "fuck copyrights. i print whatever i want to print. of course i'll ask another zine publisher first as a matter of common courtesy. but this business of the law? to hell with it. the only people who can possibly benefit are people who can afford lawyers."
* Walt Stubbs, forthright newcomer who publishes Fingers. "I donít go around telling strangers to fuck off, fuck you, fuck this, fuck that, and fuck the horse you rode in on, but I do tell people what I think and I donít beat around the bush in doing so."
* Yojimbo (aka Dave), fairly quiet publisher of Filler!. "I want people to read all the same glossy newstand mags, read 'em all, see how lame and shitty and alike they are, and THEN by the grace of God or good taste, they will recognise the value of a solidly written fanzine with a different/unique/individual point of view."

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1.10 Who are the people behind all those other names I see dropped?
For better or for worse, other people who are recurring subjects on the group include:
* Aaron Cometbus, the publisher of Cometbus, probably the world's most popular digest-sized zine.
* Bill Palmer, the self-proclaimed net.writer/genius who occasionally includes alt.zines in his distribution lines.
* Chip Rowe, publisher of Chip's Closet Cleaner, the Books of Zines and maintainer of www.zinebook.com.
* Darby Romeo, the former publisher of Ben Is Dead and organizer of the Kill Zinesters tour.
* Doug Holland (aka Pathetic Doug), the publisher of A Reader's Guide and formerly Pathetic Life.
* Hal Niedzviecki, the publisher of Broken Pencil.
* Jack Saunders, the literary hero of Jeff Potter and publisher of the zine Beat Poet.
* Jen Angel, publisher of Fucktooth, the Zine Yearbook and former MRR staffer who stops in occasionally.
* Jerod Pore, tech-minded reviewer for Factsheet 5 who wrote original charter and FAQ for alt.zines.
* Jim Goad and Debbie Goad, former publishers of the hate-friendly Answer Me!, now unamicably divorced.
* Marc Parker (aka Azmacourt), former regular who assumed many false personae.
* R. Seth Friedman, the controversial former publisher of Factsheet 5 and former participant on alt.zines.
* Ruel Gaviola, the publisher of Amusing Yourself to Death and former participant on alt.zines.
* Robert Howington (aka The Loser), former regular who used to spam alt.zines with his newsletter.
* Stan Matters, former regular best remembered for his very funny anti-spam crusade.
* Sky Ryan, former zine publisher who had a fling with Jim Goad and later charged him with assault and kidnapping.
* Tim Brown, former zine publisher who spams the group ruthlessly with his juvenile crossposts.
* T.R. Miller, the publisher of the comic Luhey Doggy Doodles, which many find funny in a sad way.
* Zine Mao (an evil incarnation of Marc Parker), an idiot who mail bombed many users on alt.zines.

View previous messages about
1.11 Can you explain all those stupid inside jokes?
Look, we only have a few. We're not so bad.
* "Kris Kane is the devil." Some of the people who argued with Kris decided that their opponent was not only wrong but was, in fact, evil itself. Kris subsequently owned up to being the beastmaster.
*"Jeff." Since Jeff is the most common name for posters on alt.zines, it has become something of a default name.
* "Jeff Potter." In the words of Cali, "I'm convinced now. Someone once posted that Jeff Potter was nothing more than an elaborate practical joke, and I disagreed. He simply has to be." (P.S.: Is Jeff Potter folk or fractal?)
* "Gatekeeper/Gatekeeperism." Gatekeeper is the epithet that was hurled at Shaun Richman after he refused to share information with someone who didn't ask politely. The term gatekeeperism is sometimes bandied about when alt.zines people don't share information freely. Quoth Shaun: "Trust alt.zines to run any moderately amusing in-joke into the ground."
* "Not bad, for a 13-year-old girl." A favourite backhanded compliment, originally applied by Alice (in Wonderland) to her own zining efforts and later widely embraced by people who want to be judged sympathetically.

1.12 Wow, alt.zines sounds really awful. Where else can I talk about zines on the Internet?
On Usenet, you may find the newsgroups alt.etext, alt.ezines, misc.writing or rec.mags more to your liking. Catherine's zinesters mailing list is a place where (mostly female) perzine publishers can discuss whatever comes to mind (look up 'zinesters' at <http://www.onelist.com> to join). Shaun Richman runs a radical zinesters mailing list, for those with left-leaning politics (find out more at <http://sp-usa.org/ypsl/lists.html>). A few web-based discussion lists exist as well -- these are generally quite commercial and awful, so I won't recommend any. For some reason, the EFNet IRC channel #zines has nothing to do with zines; it is occupied by the same hackers that made the group alt.zines.y0lk. Some zine publishers were organizing ICQ discussions for a while but that era seems to be over. So really, alt.zines is the best game in town.
        A Reader's Guide and Chip Rowe also maintain announcement-only mailing lists; no verdict on either yet.

2. ABOUT ZINES

2.1 When did zines start? What was the first zine?
It depends on whether you place more importance on spirit or form. Some of the most popular answers to this question are: the Revolutionary-era pamphlets of the 1860s, the mimeographed science fiction fanzines of the 1930s, and the punk rock fanzines of the 1970s.

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2.2 What's the origin of the term zine?
The word zine comes from the word "fanzine", which in turn owes something to the word "magazine". Fanzines are short run publications written by fans, a definition which applies to many zines as well.

2.3 What are zines? What aren't zines?
In various incarnations, this is probably the most frequently asked question on alt.zines. With regards to form, most will agree that zines are paper publications with small print runs, usually serialized. With regards to spirit, most will agree that zines are driven by passion rather than profit. Beyond this, few blanket generalizations can be made, though people love to try. Some argue that a zine ceases to be a zine as soon as it sells more than 5,000 copies, or adopts a barcode or International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), or accepts advertising, or costs more than $3, or has a glossy cover, or looks professionally done, or has readable text... and so on.

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2.4 Are e-zines zines?
No, they're e-zines. In terms of form, e-zines are certainly different, as they are created and distributed electronically, generally free of charge, and they don't have that wonderful smell of fresh ink or toner. In terms of spirit, many e-zines are driven by passion rather than profit, though unfortunately the term has been tainted by a legion of online marketers (who apply the term to their commercial e-mail newsletters) and a tremendous number of style-over-substance webmasters (who apply the term to their websites).

2.5 Are comix zines?
No, they're comix. Comix, the term popularly, though not universally, applied to homemade comicbooks, are very similar to zines in terms of both form and spirit, so there is a great deal of overlap between the two communities. Many people make both zines and comix and sometimes combine the two under one cover, just to confuse the issue.

2.6 Are apas zines?
No, they're apas (amateur press associations). Members of apas produce and distribute their zines differently than most: each member makes copies of his or her zine for every member of the apa, then mails these all to a central mailer, who in turn compiles all the submitted zines into a bundle and mails a copy of the completed apazine to each member of the mailing list. (Thanks to Dale Speirs for this explanation.)
        And to anticipate your next three questions, no, mail art, paper newsletters and small press books aren't zines either, though there is usually some degree of solidarity between such projects and zines.

2.7 How many zines are there?
Obviously this depends upon which definition of zine you use, but there are probably between 5,000 and 50,000 publications currently being produced that call themselves zines. This guess is derived by looking at the number of zines sent to Factsheet 5 for review, and the number of unheard-of zines each of those zines mentions.

2.8 What varieties of zines are there?
Factsheet 5 used to split its listings into a dozen-or-so categories: Quirky, Medley, Books, Catalogs, Sex, Fringe, Publishing, Music, Punk, Grrrlz and (woman-symbol), Personal, Humor, B-Movies, Science Fiction, Spirituality, Politics, Queer, Comics and later Travel.
        A few genres are lucky enough to have special little words of their own. "Litzine" for example, is short for literary zine, and "perzine" is short for personal zine.

2.9 What are zine review zines?
The primary purpose of a zine review zine is to guide the reader to other zines, and in some cases to warn the reader which zines to avoid. Karl Thomsen maintains a much more thorough and detailed listing of zine review zines at <http://members.tripod.com/altzines/review.html>, but briefly, here are some that are more than a few pages long:
* Amusing Yourself to Death is a digest-sized zine that is supposed to come out every two months but most definitely does not. Ruel's been very sloppy with his correspondence lately. Each issue features an events listing, a few zine-related articles, a couple hundred alphabetically-organized zine reviews, and some zine-related ads and classifieds. [$3US to PO Box 91934, Santa Barbara, CA, 93190-1934, USA]
* Broken Pencil is a full-sized newsprint zine with a colour glossy cover that comes out about twice a year. It reviews and prints extracts from primarily Canadian zines, organizing these reviews by geographic location. Broken Pencil also contains a fair quantity of advertising; reviews of books, music and e-zines; and some fiction and non-fiction writing not related to zines. [$5CDN to PO Box 203, Stn P, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2S7, Canada]
* Muuna Takeena is a full-sized English language review zine from Finland, containing perhaps a hundred reviews per issue. [$2-3 worth of stuff to Talvipaivamseisaus Prod., Timo Palonen, Hepokuja 6 B 26, FIN-01200, Vantaa, Finland]
* Zine Guide is a full-sized newsprint zine with a glossy cover that comes out about once a year. More like an address book and proper-name index than a review zine, Zine Guide is filled with lists of the "Top Zines" in various categories, mentions of who's been interviewed where and lots and lots of ads. [$6US to PO Box 5467, Evanston, Illinois, 60204, USA]
* A Reader's Guide to the Underground Press (formerly Zine World) is a digest-sized zine that comes out about every three months. Each issue features an extensive news section, events listings, a few zine-related articles, a couple hundred alphabetically-organized zine reviews, and some zine-related classifieds. A Reader's Guide has a reputation as being "the mean review zine", which is generally unwarranted in my opinion. [$3.50US to 537 Jones #2386, SF, CA, 94102, USA]
Add a dollar to these prices if you're ordering from the wrong side of the Canada-USA border, or two dollars if ordering from overseas.

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2.10 What about Factsheet 5?
Factsheet Five used to be the king of the review zines, reviewing more than 1,000 titles per issue and enjoying widespread distribution on newsstands. According to its publisher, R. Seth Friedman, Factsheet 5 is on hiatus while he finds a new owner. According to almost everyone else, Factsheet Five is dead at issue number 64. Some people think the disappearance of Factsheet 5 is a tragedy, others believe zinedom can get along well with Amusing Yourself to Death and A Reader's Guide.

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2.11 How do I get other people's zines?
There are several ways. The best way (that is, the way that benefits the zine community the most) is for you to send the cost of the zine and a letter directly to the publisher. The cost of the zine should be paid in cash or stamps, as cheques, money orders and International Reply Coupons are a hassle, and postal worker theft is basically a myth. Your money will get through. It's important to enclose a letter telling the publisher which issue you want (many people make multiple zines), where you heard about it, why you're interested, and so on.
        The next best way is to order your zines from an independent mail order catalog or, if you can't bring yourself to pay for something site unseen, buy them at an independent store. Try to avoid shopping in chain stores if an alternative exists, as chain stores are the enemy of small press publishers.
        Wherever you get your zines, when you're done, write to the publishers and let them know what you thought. Mail is the biggest reward for most zine makers; they sure as hell aren't getting rich off your dollar, so if they informed or entertained you, you should definitely let them know.

2.12 How do I contribute to other people's zines?
Cali Macvayia offers this advice: "It's really *highly* recommended that you simply buy a few zines ahead of time to find suitable ones to contribute to. Posting your stuff here [to alt.zines] probably won't get anything but a few desperate e-zine publishers interested, and you'll be perpetuating the horror of online poetry that way. I fear for your soul, so I would really advise against that.
        "By buying zines to begin with, you establish a relationship of endearing love (okay, lust) with a publisher from the start. Some will be too afraid to lose their two-dollar cash cow to turn you down, of course, but most importantly you're actually becoming a part of the community in a more direct way. You get to see the zine, see if they even accept contributors, see if it's got the Xtreme Suburban Death Culture stamp of approval on it or not, but most importantly, you'll save yourself a lot of hassle."

2.13 How do I make a zine?
This is another of the most frequently asked questions on alt.zines, which is strange, since the answer is obvious: put ink or toner on paper, photocopy up a storm, and fold the results as you see fit.
        If this answer seems unsatisfying to you, chances are you've asked the wrong question. Try asking "How do I format a digest- or mini-sized zine properly?" or "Where can I get article ideas?" or "How do I get the interviews I want?" or "How do I staple my zine?" or "How do I fund my zine?" instead, if that's the kind of stuff you really want to know. You'll be much more likely to get the answer you want.

2.14 What software should I use to make my zine?
The three programs most commonly used are Microsoft Publisher, Adobe Pagemaker and QuarkXPress. Microsoft Publisher costs about $80 (US) and is a popular but low-end publishing program. Adobe Pagemaker costs about $400 (US) and recent versions of the program are quite decent. Pagemaker is easy to learn if you're familiar with other Adobe software, as it uses an interface similar to those used in Photoshop, Illustrator and the like. QuarkXPress costs about $600 (US) -- or less, with competitive upgrades -- and is the layout program of choice for high-end publishers, printers and service bureaus. XPress is probably the program to get, as long as you don't have to pay for it. In my opinion, whichever program you can get for free is probably the one to get, however Josh Saitz advises that "stealing is wrong." Word processors (Microsoft Works, Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect, etc.) and drawing programs (Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, etc.) can be tricked into helping you create a zine, but since this isn't what they're designed to do, sometimes accomplishing simple tasks can be a real chore.

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2.15 How do I get people to contribute to my zine?
In the words of Jerod Pore: "Produce a couple of issues, make it known that you want contributions. If you need contributions just to get started, why are you doing a zine?" To this I will only add that you should never solicit contributions unless you'll have the guts to reject them when they suck.

2.16 How do I copyright my zine?
As soon as you put your ideas onto paper they are automatically copyrighted. A lot of people don't realize that yet, though, so if you want to warn people that you don't want your content pilfered, include the notice "Copyright (c) Year by Your Name" (substituting Your Name with your name, Year with the year, and '(c)' with the proper copyright symbol - '(c)' has no legal meaning). Adding the phrase "All rights reserved" may afford you some additional protection in the USA, Central and Southern America. Sending two copies to the Library of Congress, National Library of Canada, or "whatever bastion of authority is appropriate for the nation-state you happen to live in" (Jerod's lovely phrase) may later help you prove your ownership of copyright on a particular work.
        Many zine people prefer not to copyright their work, not wanting to sully their work with a connection to law or the government. Some go a step further and proclaim their zine "anti-copyright" or "copyleft" to make it clear that they want their ideas freely shared. Whether a zine is copyrighted or not, it's always polite to contact a zine publisher before reprinting his or her words.

2.17 How much money will I make doing a zine?
None. Almost everyone loses money doing a zine. Don't be so disappointed! Most hobbies cost money. Zining is cheaper than heroin, and, some would argue, better for you in the long run. Aim for sustainability.

2.18 How do I get advertisers?
Dan Halligan offers this advice: "Number one is do a good zine. A good zine is easy to get advertising for. Reviewing music and interviewing bands helps, but there are plenty of zines that do neither and still get a lot of advertising. Fuck media kits, they are dumb, and most places will ignore them. Try sending a copy of your zine to them with a personal note asking if they would be interested in advertising. Some zines have offered free ads for an issue or two to get started with ads, I didn't, I just got a few local labels and record stores I talked to to do cheap ads, and then issue after issue more people followed suit. It's all about promo copies, people need to see and read your zine, they need to like what you are doing and feel that you are trustworthy and will keep publishing. Send them an issue with a note or a short form letter. Tell them how many issues you print, what your zine is basically about, when your next issue will come out, and your ad rates. Make it short, sweet, and to the point if you want them to read it. Depending on how much nerve you have determines how you follow up on it. You can call and ask them what they thought of the zine and would they be interested in advertising. You could send a letter or postcard maybe when your next issue gets closer to happening. Or you could be like me and don't follow up, if they like your zine they will advertise, if they don't, they won't."

2.19 How do I distribute my zine to the zine world?
Sending your zine to the zine review zines is one of the easiest and most effective means of getting your zine out there. If you can afford the copies and postage, you may also want to go through the zine review zines and send your zine for "review or trade consideration" to any zines that sound good to you, though you shouldn't expect to get reviews or trades from everyone. You should also mention your zine and give an idea of what it's about on alt.zines, and maybe post a link to a related website if you have one. These steps will officially announce your zine's existence to the zine community and hopefully lead to direct orders through the mail.

2.20 How do I distribute my zine to the world in general?
Once you have the zine world covered, take your zine around to local music and book stores and ask them if they'll carry your zine on consignment (that is, they'll take your zine now and pay you later if it sells). Try to get a 75/25 split (that is, you make 75 cents for every dollar they make off your zine) when dropping zines off in stores. You've done all the legwork and they don't have any distribution costs. Try to leave as many copies at every store as possible. Attending zine shows is another very easy thing to do, if you're lucky enough to live near a city that has zine shows (if you aren't, consider organizing one -- ask on the newsgroup for advice about this). Zine shows typically charge $5-$10 for a table, so you can probably pay your admission fee by selling 10 copies. Zine shows are a good place to meet other zine publishers in your area, and trade tips about local zining. You'll do even better in this area if you can convince a friend to watch your table for part of the show so you can wander.
        Distro is a path of slightly greater resistance, involving diminishing returns (larger postage costs and a smaller share of the profits), more paperwork and greater financial risk (some distros never pay). Distro can be broken down into three branches: mail orders, which take small quantities of zines from various publishers and sell them via catalogs; individual stores, who order zines to sell on their shelves; and major distributors, who order bulk quantities of zines from publishers and then sell these to individual stores. The major distributors often desire barcodes or glossy colour covers before they'll consider a title seriously. Everyone prefers to sell on consignment and throw out unsold copies, but some distros can be convinced to buy copies outright or to return unsold copies. Some distros are honest and organized, some aren't. Ask about a particular outlet's reputation on alt.zines before entrusting it with many copies of your precious zine.

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2.21 Where I can I find out more about these "zine" things?
Any information found outside of this FAQ is superfluous, but if you want to waste your time, you might try:
* alt.zines DMZ <http://members.tripod.com/altzines>: The demilitarized zone established by certain shady characters on alt.zines; contains various other handy resources, including Karl Thomsen's list of zine review zines, Dan Rhatigan's index of zine publishers and this FAQ.
* Broken Pencil Online <http://www.brokenpencil.com>: Contains Canadian zine event listings and an extensive archive of zine reviews from previous issues.
* F5 Web Edition <http://www.factsheet5.com>: Though the zine is dead, and the site is no longer updated, there is still some useful info floating around here, such as old FAQs, old reviews, and out-of-date info about the zine. Just make sure you don't subscribe!
* Killzine.com <http://www.killzine.com>: Advice from a variety of high-end zine/magazine publishers; unfortunately, this site hasn't been changed in a very long time and has become extremely dated.
* Zinebook.com <http://www.zinebook.com>: Chip Rowe's extensive and well-maintained site, featuring many good articles on the creation and distribution of zines, and interviews with several dozen zine publishers.

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