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August 30, 2005

The Birth of a Zine

I donít know how many of you have heard of a ĎZineí before, but itís basically a self-published, not for profit mini-magazine, usually photo-copied onto plain white paper and stapled or tied in the middle. I think Zines are like blogs in a lot of ways, except they are not online and they often include hand sketches and handwritten text. Some are more formal than others, created on a computer and focused on a specific topic, like many blogs are, but some are like handwritten journals or scrapbooks about any topic scribbled on the pages. That could also be like blogs. As I looked into this Iíve seen that some covers look like Ďprofessionalí magazines, and some are simply the title of the Zine on a blank page.
Considering that Zines are self-published and the budget is usually low, the quality of appearance and format is determined by how much time, effort and love a person puts into their project. How often are Zines published? That depends on the author. Iíve looked at one that was published 4-6 times per year and one that was published once every year or so. It may take the Author that long to gather enough material, create enough artwork and put it all together.
Most Zines Iíve seen now have either been given away free, or with a small charge of one or two dollars each to cover production (photocopy) costs.
After a conversation with a friend about blogs, the internet and Zines (which I had never heard of until I got some handed to me at an event last week), I decided that it would be cool to take some of this stuff Iíve been blogging and put it into a Zine to be given or sold somewhere to people who donít use or have the internet. Itís a way to put the same material to multiple uses using a different media. Of course I had to come up with a name for it, and since I talk a lot about attitudes in life, you are witnessing the birth of the ďAttitudesĒ Zine. It will be mostly taken from things Iíve written here, but as I found out while putting it together, Iíve had to fill space with other comments about the topic. Also I found myself editing my previous material for better presentation.
Right now I donít know where Iíll be distributing my Zine yet, but it will be probably be downtown St. Paul. Seeing that I am down here a lot I thought it would be a good place to start. Since Iím new to this whole Zine world, I would also like to know if there are other places in the Twin-Cities that sells or distributes Zines. Iíve never seen them, but maybe I havenít noticed them because I havenít been looking for them.
The self-published, not-for-profit idea is really cool, just like these blogs weíve been reading and writing. But as my friend pointed out, not everyone has a blog, and many people donít have adequate access to the Internet. I see Zineís as another way for individuals to have a voice that they might not otherwise have. I also see a Zine as a way for people to read other peopleís personal thoughts without having to go onto the internet.

Attitudes, Issue 1 Ė Death - Starting at the beginning

For copies, information, contacts, ideas, etc., send me an email at carl1236@umn.edu

Posted by carl1236 at August 30, 2005 7:04 PM | ZINE


I read the free (ad supported) Minnesota Cyclist magazine whenever it comes out. Although I enjoy this publication, I sometimes feel that I could do it much better if I devoted myself to such a task. By better, I mean that some of their writing is a little rough and unedited and some of their pieces are thin on substance, and I think improvements could be made by a competing publication of some sort. I have considered trying to make a living by doing such a publication. It would be perfect for me, since my two favorite things to do are writing and riding my bike, and also because I don't really enjoy working for someone else.

Posted by: Jim at August 30, 2005 8:51 PM

I think you could do it Jim. Let me know if there is a way I can help you get started.

Posted by: John at August 30, 2005 9:10 PM

Arise! in Uptown Minneapolis stocks independent zines. I don't know of any place in St. Paul that does... but maybe the Sibley Bike Depot would keep a few on the counter?

I went to college in Eau Claire, WI where there's a great free ad-supported monthly zine. It's really well put-together, like a little Rake without the slick color polish.

That's the problem as I understand it--interesting readers in a new zine when the city already has big publications like the Rake and, um, that other one, for free. But good luck!

Posted by: Sui Generis at August 31, 2005 9:17 AM