By Antoine J. Hayes
Zines, short for fanzines, started out in the 40s, as a way for science fiction writers to get their work to the public. Since then, zines have taken on life as a means for writers/artists from marginalized groups to produce work. They fill a need for diversity that major publishers have neglected. Zines can take on many forms, and not all zines are made the same way. From my experience with zines and zine fests, I’ve put together my top 3 reasons as to why I love zines.
1) Rawness - As stated in the opening paragraph, zines are used by marginalized people to express themselves. When I attend zine fests, there is usually a lot of Black and queer vendors. It’s a place to hear their voices, see what they’re creating in a manner that is raw and bold. The content and manner in which presented often don’t fit into standardized formats.
2) DIY - I’m a big fan of do-it-yourself projects. One of the reasons why I self-published my books for over 15 years. Although a publication doesn’t have to be made by hand to be a zine, most of the ones I’ve come across are DIY projects; handmade collections, sometimes cut by hand, bound by hand. You can see the care in the craft from the maker in each piece. This also means that there is some variation -- they’re not all perfect replicas of each other.
3) Limited Print Runs - There’s no limit to how many copies of a zine can be printed at a time, however most of the ones I’ve purchased have a run of a few dozen copies. They’re rare, unique; it’s a cool feeling to know that you have one of a few copies. With that said, zines can be simple to reproduce; making duplicates on a photocopier is a popular means of producing zines. Taking cheaper means of production and limited runs into consideration, one can see that zine making isn’t about turning a huge profit, but more about getting the work out to a specific audience.
Do you love zines too? Share why in the comments.
Greetings and salutations,
Submissions to our zine are closed for the time being. That way we can focus on events and zine workshops. Our Zinester of the Month and distro are still accepting applications. Thanks to everyone who submitted or applied so far.
Words = Life,
Antoine J. Hayes, editor
Greetings and salutations!
I'm pleased to announce that we're now accepting work from Black writers from anywhere in the world. Previously we had it open only to Black writers in Baltimore; now we're location independent.
With this change, we are focusing on publishing the writing online first, with a print anthology at the end of the year.
We look forward to reading your work. Full guidelines and details are available on our Submissions page.
- Antoine J. Hayes, editor