Books - M

MAKE A ZINE - Joe Biel {160 pages, Microcosm}

For a relatively small book (5"x7"), this packs just about all the information and advice on how to make a printed zine into a very concise narrative. It is also the 20th Anniversary re-print of the book and has been compiled/ written by experienced zinester and Microcosm founder, Joe Biel.

If you have ever thought, "I’d like to do a zine...." (and I mean a print one - not a website/zine like Scanner has become) and followed that thought with, "...but I don’t know how..." then this is for you. Biel takes the reader through every aspect of zine production and writes with clarity, wit and experience. He takes things back to the very genesis of zineage - why make a zine in the first place? He then offers 8 simple steps on zineage before looking in detail through copious chapters at zine making specifics.

And he does get into specifics including contributors, copyright, printing, layout, interviews, postage, distribution, paper quality, binding.. It’s exhaustive in its depth but not over-complicated. And you know what’s best about Biel’s attitude here? It’s friendly!! There’s no derogation or egotism; it’s not written from the pen of an elitist, in a "been-there-done-that" manner.

To break-up Biel’s narrative there are three additional essays looking at DIY Comix and the co-existence of zines within a corporate world. There are also plenty of illustrated graphics which add more detail to the narrative but again, keep things simple.

From my perspective, this would have been an invaluable tome when I first started doing Scanner some 20+ years ago. It answered all the questions that I had, and resolved some that I still have. It even includes a chapter on the history of (self)publishing and a look a zine communities.

For a first-time zinester, this very well could be your bible and is certainly your call to arms. Even for more experienced heads, I imagine you’ll find some hints, tips and finer points on how and where to take your publication to next without losing its DIY foundation and attitude.

While it might be true that you learn from your mistakes, when it comes to publishing your own zine, those mistakes can be costly; possibly to the point where it can actually cripple the publication. This book should assist all zinesters in avoiding at least 80% of mistakes which usually occur through the simple of premise of not knowing how to something but trying via trial and error.

So, if you ever did think, "I’d like to do a zine, but...." there’s but one thing to say: Buy this book and let’s....fucking....go!!!! (26.04.18)