Have you ever had an idea you felt was too short for a full-length novel? Maybe you wanted to create a short collection of poems or a graphic novel. Getting your work published can seem like a daunting task, and many have trouble figuring out where to start. Writers and artists will oftentimes look for alternative ways to get their works out into the world. Self-publishing is an exceptional way to gain some exposure and work with indie writing and publishing communities. If you are a writer or an artist who would like to start issuing your own work, it might be an excellent time to start creating your own zine.

Let’s start this off with an explanation. What is a zine?

I recently took a small zine workshop where they taught some brief history of zines, what they are, and how writers use them today. A zine, pronounced “zeen,” is a small publication that can be used to express different sorts of messages. Zines first came to the publishing scene as small replacements for magazines, hence the name “zines.” People began self-publishing zines and selling them, or just passing them out for free, and used them as informative pamphlets. After gaining popularity, they became trademarks for groups such as sci-fi enthusiasts as well as the punk rock and alternative rock communities. However, authors and writers started using the zine platform to promote their short stories, poetry, and even comic strips. Zines can be used to express any subject matter. A fun example of this would be an informative zine that teaches someone how to create a short story.

From poetry to short stories, there are no rules that determine what can and cannot be made or created in this format. Think about your latest short story. Could it be created into a zine? Maybe you have a collection of poems you want to publish. The zine is the perfect way to do this. The beauty of the zine is that it doesn’t have to look like a typical book. You can be as creative as you want.

Most zines are incredibly illustrative and handmade. They are normally made in small quantities and created by the authors themselves. There are no rules as to how a zine is produced. Using this method would be a perfect opportunity to collaborate with another writer and/or artist. The creation of the zine does not have to be perfect. In fact, imperfections are often associated with the zine’s aesthetic. Zine consumers are looking for unique pieces to add to their collections. Many poets use them to publish exclusive content and will sell them in limited quantities. Having them be such exclusive items may bring a cult following to your work, attracting a good group of dedicated followers. Another benefit that comes from this form of publication is that the production of a zine is relatively inexpensive.

What would you do with your zine? Your stories are waiting to be told.

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