Top 10 Tips For Writing A Fanzine

“The biggest and best thing about a DIY zine is having the freedom to do and say exactly what you want. There are no rules and nobody to answer to so the possibilities are endless.”

Rob Stone has been working tirelessly on the brilliant Positive Creed Fanzine since 2001. In that time, he’s experienced the joys and harsh realities of DIY publishing, and he’s kindly shared this guide… for punks who aren’t afraid of a few papercuts.

Before I begin this article I would just like to make it clear that I do not regard the following list as any kind of rule book or structure to writing a zine. It is merely a catalogue of things that I have learnt over the twenty years that I have been involved in DIY publishing. I also do not consider myself as any kind of authority on the subject. I have made a lot of mistakes during that time, discovered some utterly fantastic music and made contact with some extremely talented people. I hope that the following will help people out and perhaps inspire some of you to produce your own fanzine. Good luck.

10: Safety In Numbers

It’s important to carry enthusiasm but don’t allow yourself to get carried away whilst organising your first issue. Start off small and get a good feel for the potential sales that are possible. Perhaps begin with 50 copies and then gradually work your way up with each issue.

9: Research

When I use the word research, I am coming from the angle of putting together interview questions. I have read more zines than I can remember over the past twenty years and have come across many interviews where a zine editor has managed to arrange an interview with an interesting band/musician, only to ask the most basic and mundane questions.

If your approach to writing questions is lazy and soulless then there’s every chance that the answers will return to you lacking in substance. With the internet and social media now at hand, there is no reason why you can’t delve into the history of a band and construct in-depth questions. This will not only get you a better response, but it will also give your readers a far better insight into your subject. Continue reading “Top 10 Tips For Writing A Fanzine”

The Thriving Culture of DIY Publishing & Fanzines

“DIY publishing is anyone who has ever taken an idea and made it a reality.” Martin Appleby shares a love of punk fanzines and independent publishing.

Guest article written by Martin Appleby. Martin is a Hastings-based poet and writer, and the founder of Paper & Ink Literary Zine: a high-quality collection of fiction and poetry. Catch Martin performing at Manchester Punk Festival at 13:00 in The Thirsty Scholar.

Fanzines are as old as punk itself, and have always been an integral part of the scene, especially in pre-Internet times: an open and unbiased resource for spreading the word about new bands, albums and gigs. A cheap and easy format to make and distribute.

You may think that the format is now obsolete and unnecessary, what with the world wide web at everybody’s fingertips, but zines and zine culture is thriving, and the internet has not hampered that.

If anything, it can act as a formidable marketing tool for zine makers, now able to reach a far wider audience than they arguably could have ‘back in the day’ when zines were only shared at shows and amongst friends in their own scenes.

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Many punk zines have come and gone over the years, but a personal favourite of mine, Lights Go Out, has been consistently putting issues out since 2008. I recently caught up with the dude who runs it, Mr T, and asked him about his zine:

“For me it’s an important part of the scene; it’s an honest opinion. It’s a way to find new bands for people and also for me, with the amount of stuff that comes in for the team to check out, I always hope that every record is going to be my new favourite. Continue reading “The Thriving Culture of DIY Publishing & Fanzines”