Becoming a Zinester


Zines were apparently what people made before blogs. They have that same kinda "my platform, my rules" vibe about them, and they range from grown adults making drawings and poems worse than five year old children to fully staffed professional publications. In my attempt to dress like the latter, I've run into a few speed bumps.

Everything from having a monochrome laser printer that prints terrible photos and ruins the gloss paper made for... other laser printers, to having neither Google Docs nor the updated Pages apps have 2 up page view, is complicated. Duplex printing is important, as is: changing the color profiles of pictures to look good in CMYK, paper weight in pounds and gsm, toner vs. ink, pigment inks vs. dye inks, binding styles and materials. The list goes on.

There are services that can help with this type of project. Magcloud, Blurb, and Amazon's CreateSpace are supposed to make self-publishing quality "books" incredibly easy. But, it turns out their business model is to take a commission off each issue sold in exchange for fronting the costs of the industry printers. So we pay a lot per issue, but can order tiny runs, and get a cut of each issue sold. They also sell it for us on their own platform, which earns us both money.

It's a great option for people who don't mind having other people own parts of their work like distribution rights. In very few industries do the people who make something creative actually own such rights anyway, so it really shouldn't bother me so much, but I definitely don't have an interest in standard issue contracts. They have all the power. Ultimately, I'd rather do it all myself. Go figure. 

It's taking a lot longer than I thought it would. But, it's fun work.