First off, be very very sure you want to produce your ‘zine. It can be a very thankless arduous task, especially when you’ve got set publication dates. The need for passion was probably best stated in the 1996 British Doctor Who fanzine November Spawned a Monster, where they said:
If you feel keenly interested enough in any subject to bother spending your precious hours compiling a magazine only a very small number of people will read, then you must care passionately about your subject. You should, surely to God, actually have something of your own to say about it. There’s no merit in being dispassionate. That’s what all the professional magazine and books are required to do. You don’t have to do anything. It’s yours. It’s blank paper until you scribble on it. If all you’re writing is ‘William Hartnell, 1963-1966…’ then why the dayglo purple fuck are you wasting everyone’s time?
Given you’ve got the passion, then the next part is to target exactly what you want to cover. You may want to create a very general production, or a very focused one. The former may be a pain to promote and to make it cover-to-cover interesting, while the latter leads to burnout unless the subject matter is very deep. Part of this targetting must take into account how many issues of your production you intend putting out, and how many external contributers you expect.
Now go back, re-read that last paragraph and actually think about it. Seriously, work out your scope before you start!
This is all complicated by the widespread blossoming of the internet and the world wide web in recent years. A newsletter suddenly is far less attractive when many of your readers will be online and probably getting their news the same way you do. If you’re going to do a straight newsletter, you’ll have to make it THE newsletter!
This page last updated by David J Richardson on Sun, 9 Feb 2003.