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December 01, 2023, 06:09:58 pm - @756.92
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Author Topic: Zines and Zine Making!  (Read 1958 times)
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« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2023, 04:52:26 pm »

This has inspired me to make a zine! Maybe I'll upload it to my website and drop the link here!!!

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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2023, 09:58:34 am »

I've been wanting to make a zine or two for a while now but I just haven't gotten around to it. maybe I finally will after seeing this thread, it seems like such a fun way to be creative!

I'm gonna try using the electric zine maker by alienmelon on itch.io to make mine. this tool looks like it's good for making digital zines in a printable format, and the interface is very early 2000s internet aesthetic which I enjoy~

:omg:  this looks like a super cool tool! it would be really good for making printable mini-comics  :grin:  quoting so i can find it easily l8r  :ok:

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« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2023, 09:44:37 pm »

Zine Production Log:

Ok its a year later and I have a new zine out; this one much bigger and Iv been publishing it myself - the first orders should go out on Monday; but I wanted to give some info on what it's like to make and sell print zines online as a homepage owner!

Firstly what setup do I use:
  • Some sort of way to make zines - I use Affinity Suit, but you can use literally anything; including scanning a hand-drawn one
  • A printer - I use a Brother HLL2350DW Monochrome Laser - this does black and white only (146 euro)
  • Paper! (About 20 euro for 500 pages of general paper and 250 of special paper)
  • Long Arm Stapler (I paid 40 for a nice one, but you can get these for 20)
  • Paper cutter (50 euro with extra blades where I live; you can get cheap ones for 30)
  • Envelopes (I paid 11 euro for a 150 pack, for A5 zines you want C5 envelopes, C6 for mini zines)
  • Covers (I paid about 18 euro for 60 A5 plastic covers)
  • Staples come in big packs (I paid 6 euro for 5000)
  • Printer Ink (This is a whole topic, but I paid 40 euro for inks to start with)
  • Scissors, pens, cutting mat, and tape are all nice to have too.

All in setup costs from nothing to the basics are around 300 euro.

Inks and Printers:
Laser printers are much more cost-effective than ink-jet ones and they produce cleaner long-lasting pages. (For those who don't know: here is a video explaining the difference ) - All my tests with laser have been super painless; I don't think I could handle this project dealing with an inkjet, but for a very small production run it might be a great way to start if you already have one that works!

One issue you'll run into; Most printer inks are quoted for text document printing - e.g. "You'll get 3000 pages from this ink cartridge", but that quote is for 5% ink coverage of an A4 page. My zine designs are around 50% ink coverage. So I can expect to get around 300 pages per ink cart. My zine is 16 A5 pages - so that's 8 A4 pages (4 double-sided) - plus an extra card page; that means I can print about 35 zines per ink cartridge.

You can buy name-brand ink for laser printers in double 6000 packs for 85 euro (WAY too much) or non-name-brand for 40 euro. So we can break that down 6000 pages = 60ish zines = around 0.70c per zine in ink or 8c per page.

This is a really important thing to know because if I go to my library they charge 20c per page - depending on printing costs in your area, it may be cheaper or more expensive to print yourself.

Colour printing is WAY more expensive and complex in every possible way, so I would not recommend it.

For a nice zine, heavy paper is recommended but certainly not essential - Im using 120gsm paper (this also seems to be quite economic and I was able to get it at 3c per page), it's lighter than a business card but heavier than most flyers. You can get fancy/coloured papers for your cover pages if you like but these are very costly (about 20-30c per page)

If you're printing at a print shop, check to see if they allow you to bring your own paper (most do, but remember laser printers need laser safe paper)

Its a little hard to tell since I reworked pages many times and used material I had already written or made in the past - but Id say it took me a full week to make this zine or about 2-3 fully completed pages a day.

Im not sure yet how long it will take to make the first batch, but Iv set aside a full weekend to be safe. Id say it takes about 5 minutes to make a zine after cutting n everything.. so maybe I'll be done in an afternoon.

Writing addresses, doing inventory, and going to the post office will also take time - so I think production of 20ish zines might take a half day.

All in all, it costs me about 1.10 euro in materials to make a zine. Postage including an envelope costs me around 2.30 euro. Transaction fees on credit card/paypal sales around 95c. Zines sell at 6 euro plus 2.50 shipping - thats 8.50 minus 95c, 1.10 and 2.30 = 4.15 is left for me (lets say some things go wrong, plus I put stickers on them; so to be safe Id say 4 euro is left!)

It cost about 230 euro in static setup costs (printer, cutters etc) .. sooo 230 / 4 = 57! I must sell 57 zines in order to break even  :grin: After that the money can go towards supples for future zine making or towards my site costs.

In total I can (with the supplies Iv already purchased) make about 60 zines - 60-57 = 3 * 4 = My maximum take-home profit is 12 euro. Ooph, that was a LOT of work for 12 euro (assuming that many sell), but from here on out Im set up and future costs will be significantly lower.

Who buys zines:
It seems like most of the people buying zines are from this forum, my newsletter, Mastodon, or are IRL friends/family - so these are people who actively engage with me, or are internet friends. I haven't gotten the impression that any casual visitor to my site has ordered a zine; that makes sense, but it's also worth thinking about - do you have a gang of friends who will order your zine? Realistically, running MelonLand and all my sites gives me an unusually big group of potential zine wanters - I am aware this is a unique position, and I'm very thankful to everyone who makes it possible :loved:

However, I think zine fairs are great too; people like to buy a zine from someone they've met in some way, so it's not a reason not to make a zine, but its worth being aware of.

Ko-Fi as a shop seems to work well, I have had no complaints - I decided to use it over my gift shop, mainly becouse I think my gift shop scares people away from providing payment info  :tongue:

Conclusion (so far)
I will update this once the first batch has been shipped; however, I thought Id wrap up by saying that my zine experiment is modestly successful! I might lose money; but at least a thrid of the costs have been covered so far (15 zines) and I had a lot of fun designing the zine and getting everything setup!

I would say, it has taken a lot of commitment, logistics, time and research. It's quite a big project to get into, so if you are planning to make zines like this, be ready for that!

An alternative approach would be to hand draw zines; that would save some of the setup costs like the printer etc; but it would be much more time and you'd still need to think about a lot of the postage stuff.

My conclusion so far is that this is prob not for everyone; but for a few people, it might be a good project to get into - now that Im setup I definitely wanna make more zines!

EDIT 1: I had the maths in this completely wrong, it has been updated; why do numbers change very time I count them  :ohdear:
« Last Edit: July 07, 2023, 02:57:21 am by Melooon » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2023, 10:08:53 pm »

I am happy and impressed how much effort you put into your zines :ozwomp:

To be honest, kind of as a "counter weight" to your post being very professional about the making and quality of zines (I assume, because you want to charge money and want the people to have something worth that), I have to say: I hope none of you read this and is afraid their zine or future zine isn't good enough.. or needs high quality paper and amazing print and outstanding content, with a huge upfront cost. I might be the only one, but what I associate with zines is something underground, cheap, made seemingly on-the-go/with limited time and resources, something thrown together when the usual thing was not available. Something to share revolutionary or transgressive thoughts that may or may not be frowned upon or illegal (obviously, in terms of the web revival, it isn't :p). They may be ugly, or not cohesive within their pages, but they can be really expressive. They might not be neatly stapled, but holes in them with the pages bound together by thin bands. Maybe some safety pins. Some recycled elements.

It doesn't have to be clean and polished if you can't or don't want it to be, if you can't justify the upfront cost or don't want to sell to get that back in. I think it can even add to the charm/character and underline the specific message if it is looking a little rugged, cheap, hasty, wild. Existing as an antithesis to the hypercurated content we otherwise often see.

I would totally not mind if I got zines from people that look a little worn, where the print has failed a little on some pages, and all that. Please don't think people don't wanna see that at all costs; I think it's very counterculture/punk. Make it work with what you have access to and the space, time and energy you have; and don't be afraid that people can see that in your zine. People investing in their crafts and releasing something polished and thought through is amazing, but I love people who make do with what they have, get creative about solving problems aside from buying the easier thing, and are not afraid to show that. It can make you more relatable to groups that are outcast or disadvantaged in society too. A zine can be a reminder and proof to many of us that others think something is good and presentable the way it is even if it screams poverty or a lack of art skills or is printed at the local cheap shop. I find that incredibly liberating to see.

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« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2023, 08:44:51 pm »

I've been SUPER into zines lately, especially collaborative zines.

My first zine was a personal, one-person piece on my experience growing up religious. It's one of those zines that's formatted almost like a comic.

My second zine was a collaborative project, of which I was the sole mod for everything! Which I am NEVER doing again!! But it's a community piece on the lives of "serious", per say, fictionkin.

My current zine project, which is currently in the creation stage, is "Oops! All Autistic!", which is a multifandom collaborative zine about autistic characters in animation. I'm also working as a contributor for the trans Danganronpa zine, which is exactly what it says on the tin and is also currently in the creation phase!

Right now, I have two zines ordered; both fandom ones! I'm super excited for both to be shipped!


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« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2023, 04:14:02 pm »

I received my Melon Zine today :unite:

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