One of my goals for last year was to self publish a zine. If you are not sure what that is then remember, zine is short for magazine. A zine should have original content made by you. This website has a number to view and explains more about what a zine is.
I have made iBooks before, but never an actual paper copy of something I have created. The first iBook I made is featured on this post. I have made a few other which you can either download for free or buy for a small amount. You can find details of those from this link.
For my first attempts I wanted to use a platform that was free. I wanted to know about the process before investing my own money. Once I had made a few iBooks I then moved on to the next phase, an actual published zine.
First I needed a project and as luck would have it, I had just been invited to take part in an exhibition. That meant I had my subject matter, well partly. I used two models for the exhibition photos and I had a model release from one of them, but the other model never returned theirs. As they were both friends I decided only to include photos of the one who felt more comfortable with the process. I had the right to use the photos, but not the heart. It did mean I had less photos to choose from, but I felt I had enough for a short zine. If you do have a model featured in your zine, make sure you get a model release and have discussed the possible uses of their images before you start the process.
Next I needed to find a cheap and reliable publisher. I have seen some exhibition accompaniments or self published books that are stunning, obviously costing a lot of money that I could not afford at the time. My other choice was printing the zine myself each time an order came in, but the cost of ink made this uneconomical in the long run. The company I chose in the end was Mixam. There are a number of other choices, but in my opinion this one had the most intuitive platform and was very competitively priced. With this website, first you decide on the type of zine or book you want, as in the paper and binding, then you add that to the cart. Next you are asked to upload your pages. That means you make the zine first, offline, using any software you like. Once saved as PDF pages you then upload them to Mixam. I much preferred that to the websites that wanted you to make the zine online using their own software. To create the zine I used Pages as I have a Macbook.
AND then a week later…tada, you have your first zine printed. Opening a box full of your own handy work is pretty cool.
Now it has been a year since I ordered 50 copies, I have about 10 left. I sent some to the model, gave some away, and sold the rest. I covered my printing costs, but the cost of posting them around the world took away any profit. At the moment, for me, making zines is for my heart and soul, not for my pocket. For my small following, I found 50 enough. If I need any more than that I can log back in to Mixam and reorder more.
I am at the point where I want to make another one. The best way to make any money is selling them directly at fairs or exhibition, which is on my list of goals for the future. I went to an Etsy fair recently where I bought a zine about making zines by Kristyna Baczynski. It has lots if information inside.
Anyway, the hardest part of the process might be having a concept. I have a few ideas for my next zine and am in the process of putting something together. I will try to make the next one available both digitally and in physical form. If you do make a zine, let me know. I might not be able to buy every one, but I would like to hear about it.