TL;DR - Go check out the Stolen Sharpie Revolution project on Kickstarter.
Some long-time followers here may have heard me talk about zines a few times before. A zine is pretty much any self-published writing or art, but most zines are either personal stories, or how-to guides, or music fanzines. Zines are usually photocopied or offset printed, and usually only printed for dozens or a couple hundred people, most zines don’t have massive publication and distribution. They’re usually sold at zine distros online or through mail order, and usually cost $1-$5.
Before I was the “DFTBA guy”, before I was a YouTuber, or a musician, I was a zinester. I wrote my own zine called Pressed Between the Pages. I ran my own zine distro (which is where my username comes from), and my distro was pretty large as far as those things go. My distro was called The Fall of Autumn. We launched the very first Zinester Podcasts back in 2005, we launched Liz Baillie’s Freewheel webcomic (which later inspired my song “Boxcar Blood”), we launched ZineWiki (which has had over 20,000,000 visits), and published The Fall of Autumn Quarterly, a resource and review guide for zinesters, among many other projects.
During all this I had the opportunity to work with some really creative writers and artists. I loved it. Sadly I had to shut down the distro when I got into YouTube heavily because I didn’t have the time for both… fiveawesomeguys and DFTBA won out. =)
But I did stay in touch with a few of the friends I made while operating the distro. One of those friends is Alex Wrekk.
(October 2006, Alex came to visit me for a week and we made a split zine together called Timezones & Statelines)
Alex writes her own zine called Brainscan, now on its 31st issue. She helped start and build Microcosm Publishing, arguably the largest zine distro ever. She left Microcosm in 2006 and started her own button manufacturing company and zine distro called Portland Button Works. (BTW, Portland Button Works has made every 1” button DFTBA has sold, tens of thousands of them, and Alex presses them all by hand!). Alex has helped organize and run the Portland Zine Symposium for numerous years. And recently she started a band called the Copy Scams, who sing songs about - you guessed it - zines!
Alex is the embodiment of the word zinester. So who better to write and edit an ultimate “how to make a zine” manual, right?
That manual/book is called the Stolen Sharpie Revolution. And Alex is now publishing the 5th edition. You can help her do that by backing the project on Kickstarter. If you run a distro yourself, you can preorder a ‘distro pack’ of 10 copies for $60. If you’re a zinester, you can get a copy for $15 (shipping included) with a cool bookmark that includes handy templates for standard zine sizes. I backed at the $50 level which includes the new 5th edition of the SSR book, the templates bookmark, an SSR sticker, an SSR button, and a really rad SSR t-shirt.
Go check out the project if you have any interest at all in making your own zine. The zine community is a wonderful place. And there’s something neat about the tactile and ephemeral nature of most zines. Many are hand-made, by the author, and good luck tracking down really old issues, as they are usually rare surprise finds, or only located in small zine libraries across the country. So, yeah, read Stolen Sharpie Revolution, use its templates and guides, and then MAKE SOMETHING AWESOME!