Friday, March 1, 2013

Summary: Gunderloy, The World of Zines (1992)

Gunderloy’s book is, I presume, intended to be not just a how-to guide to producing your own zine but also an encyclopedia of zines currently being published (at least that’s what I assume comes between page 4 and page 145).  But the third part of the book is a detailed DIY guide to having your own zine: coming up with your niche, producing, printing, binding, mailing, and financing.  

After explaining why zines are so great and why they’re called zines, Gunderloy clarifies why people create and distribute zines: 1) because they’re fun; 2) because even if they don’t make you famous, they’re fun; and 3) because despite the fact that you can’t make money from them, they’re fun.  This is one of Gunderloy’s key points about zines—they’re a lot of work, but the people who make them do it because they like it.  More specifically, Gunderloy writes, “People are building networks independent of big business, big government, and big media.  The zine world is in fact a network of networks” (2).  Zines thrive off of groups of people’s interests, the more specialized the better. 

Step 1—Production.  Needed: writers, writing, artists, art, and the means of production, i.e. a typewriter, computer with word processor, or typesetter; glue (rubber cement or wax), knife, ruler, blue pencil, red pen, patience, transfer letters, glue blob (for erasing glue), and a clean folder. 

Step 2—Printing.  Need one of the following: hectograph (gelatin printer), ambitious typewriter (machine and operator), “ditto machine,” Thermofax, mimeograph (pictured), photocopier (recommended—part of the reason for fanzine explosion), color photocopier, ambitious computer printer, or an offset printer (i.e. a business, not the actual machine, which is expensive). 

Step 3—Bindery.  Needed: scissors, paper cutter, collating rack, rubber tips for fingers, “folding bone,” band-aids, stapler (saddle stapler or long-arm stapler preferred), labor force, beer, and pizza.

Step 4—Mailing. Needed: US Postal Service, UPS, rectangular packaging.  Options: First Class/Priority Mail, Second Class mail (yearly statements required), Third Class mail (media under 16 oz.), Fourth Class/Book Rate mail (drop kicking included for free), Library Rate (librarian friend required), or Bulk Mail (planning ahead required).  For international mail, options include First Class and Sea Mail (slow).

Step 5—Financing.  Needed: business savvy, cover price, sample price, exchange conditions, subscription price and terms, system for keeping track of subscribers, labels, stickers, and distributors. 

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