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How to Create a Fanzine

Get Focused
Pick a Format
Production Tasks
Six Sexy Proofing Tips

Pick a Format

In fact, paper fanzines have taken a big hit courtesy of the world wide web. Suddenly, everyone can spout their opinion for (almost) free. A panel was held at the Whovention 2000 convention in Sydney that asked if paper fanzines were dead. Opinion was varied, and, I think, quite a few opinions changed.

A few argued paper indeed was dead, or as close to it as could be. It involved too much hassle at the producer’s end (printing, copying, mailing, over and over) and at the consumer’s end (paying, especially if you don’t have a cheque account). In some ways, it’s hard to argue against that. And unless you’re very successful (in fanzine terms) it’s very hard to get more people viewing your work than even a poorly-advertised web page. There’s just too much initial inertia to overcome to get subscribers to send their money.

So what’s the alternatives? Let’s put paper, web pages and Acrobat (pdf) in a shoot-out!

Pro: Can present layout the best. It’s "real". It’s permanent. Easily read away from a computer.
Con: Expensive to produce. Labour-intensive. Unlike the other options, colour is probably out-of-bounds.

Web Pages
Pro: Cheap to produce and distribute. If you go with a simple layout, easiest to produce. Can add video, sound or other neato things.
Con: Design and layout greatly restricted, even if you dictatorially declare a particular version of a particular browser of a particular operating system must be used. Not "real", hard to tie the various elements together. Most people consider web pages ephemeral: here today, gone tomorrow.

Adobe Acrobat (pdf)
Pro: Free to layout the most complex, colourful design you can imagine. Cheap for all.
Con: That wonderful design will probably not be printed out, and thus will be viewed in low resolution through a screen-size window. You might have to buy the full version of Adobe Acrobat.

Time for a couple of quick polls on which media you prefer (they require javascript to appear, apologies to those without). You can add and view fuller comments after you vote.

Production Tasks

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This page last updated by David J Richardson on Sat, 11 Jan 2003.