So these past weeks have been filled with a bunch of big projects, all major opportunities that I want to pursue. Alas there are only 24 hours in a day…what I wouldn’t give to stop time and just keep working! However, this week I had to focus on finishing issue two of my handmade zine, Pensieri. I’m learning so much going through this process and thought it would be nice to write down lessons learned when it comes to publishing your own zine and showcase some photos from issue two!

CONTENT
So when it comes to compiling the content…I don’t normally have trouble with this part. My zine is more like a novella, not separate articles. I guess the way my mind works, it’s a big extravaganza about a particular topic. Issue one was about art journaling and now issue two is all about constructing pockets within papercrafting. I like focusing on one topic, sort of riding the excitement and exploration of delving deeper into one area. That happens to me naturally, so I guess it makes sense that my zine is created in that way, no table of contents – way too structured! It’s like a mini-book that you read through instead. I’m wondering now is if it’s too much all lumped together for folks to digest. You know how things make sense to you, but then it’s confusion for others? I do try to break things up by sections, but it’s meant to be read front to back. So I guess there’s room for improvement when it comes to organization and structure of content. Must think about how best to present a body of material.

PHOTOS
In issue two, I decided to add in color photos to the zine and that meant a lot of prototypes to create and photoshoots to setup. It was actually a really fun process because I’m also sort of into photography…but it’s definitely a lot of work. Sounds so simple to just write content and pop in a few photos – I guess it is simple – but just takes so much time. Not to mention adding color to a publication introduces a whole other set of issues when it comes to printing. Must consider time, effort and cost of including photography.

PRINTING
I still haven’t figured out the best printing process for my zine…especially now that it’s color. In the layout process, I was so caught up with creating content and adding lovely photos that I hadn’t thought about the cost of printing in color. No wonder certain magazines group their color photos and leave certain spreads black and white. It helps to reduced printing costs, because there is a significant difference in cost. I ended up with only one side of one spread that was black and white…with color on all other spreads. Printing a full-color publication costs a lot more…jeepers…who would of thought. Doh! Also, getting the print quality you are satisfied with is another challenge. There’s this huge balancing act to perform between what is affordable versus what is important for the integrity of the project. Wow…so much more than I had ever considered in the beginning. I also decided to upgrade the paper weight in issue two, but now I’m thinking it’s too heavy! If the zine became double the size it would suddenly get really bulky. Must pre-plan content in considering printing costs and logistics.

CONSTRUCTION
Which leads me to the construction portion of my zine. I call it a handmade zine because really each one is handmade by yours truly. I don’t like just stapling it together and can’t afford professional binding at this point…so I print in the booklet format and handstitch every single one together. It’s actually a very satisfying process because I like putting things together and adding the special handmade touch. It’s part of the reason why I created a physical zine instead of doing a digital online version. It’s just not as fun and enjoyable! Pensieri is created with an envelope cover, so I can include goodies on the backside and all the covers sort of change in design depending on the topic. I just like that aspect, it makes it special and I want folks to know that I really care about the presentation. I certainly understand the advantages of mass producing something and getting it out there, but again…if I just wanted to spread content I could blog about it. That’s the cheapest fastest way to get it out there. My zine is meant to be a personal experience, you can curl up with a nice cup of coffee and really enjoy it. Anyway, I realize I’m just ranting now, eek! Suffice to say I want that personal touch, but I need to be able to produce more copies, too. So I must find a balance between what I want and what is practical.

CONCLUSION
I suppose all these lessons mean that I need to plan earlier above all! Totally makes sense why publications are months and months ahead, because there are so many parts to figure out and so many details to resolve along the process. I can only imagine when a zine is collaborative, because it means even more moving parts and schedules to deal with. Since I’m working by myself, at least I have control over that element. Above all, I’m soooooooo estatic to have created a zine and ventured into this lovely world of self publishing – even on a small scale. I’m learning so much, having fun and so appreciating the love out there, supporting my efforts. Early this year, I would have never imagined doing this…being able to pull it off. It seemed like such a far away goal and dream. Not I’ve proven that it’s possible if you put your mind to it. Just go for it!

BTW, I’m a long time listener to CraftSanity podcasts and Jennifer is actually creating her own zine as well! I’m super excited and honored to be a part of that as well… how fabulous, no? It’s so lovely to think about how far along I’ve come…now I’m getting all reflective and this post is long enough… but I just have to say thank you again to all my blog readers. Thank you, grazie… for your support 🙂

You can find issues available in my Etsy shop. Please let me know what you think and thanks again for stopping by for a peek of my creative workspace. You can check out other creative spaces at kootoyoo every Thursday as well!

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