Zine Publisher

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For the article about physically producing fanzines, see Zine Production.

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The Publisher and the Editor

Boldly Writing notes that in Forum #12, the listings of fanzines published by the various "presses" first out-numbered those put out by individuals not calling themselves a "press." In zine production, especially in the early days, very little distinction was made between the publisher and the editor; they were often the same person or persons.


Since zine publishing is done by humans, the road from a zine being a twinkle in a fan's eye to an actual printed zine in the hand of someone who ordered it was a long, long journey, often fraught with drama and mishap. Information zines such as Datazine are filled with evidence of zines in planning stages that never made it off the ground. See Proposed Zines for some examples.

Zines were sometimes "at the printer's doorstep" but stillborn, published and ordered but never received by their orderers, promised issues were published very late, and all the stuff in between.

Zine eds blamed real life and all its accompanying realities of illness, over-enthusiasm and lack of experience, job loss, personal fall-outs with friends, divorce, child custody battles, custody battles over-written materials, personal injury accidents, grief regarding the Challenger explosion, the various failings of the the post office, loss of fannish interest, anger at newly provided canon material, lack of submissions, printers who destroyed "objectionable" material, fear from TPTB and their cease and desist letters, personal bankruptcy, arson, theft, flooded basements, mid-life crisis, and death.

Datazine's personal statement column was rife with zine eds apologizing for late zines, zine eds canceling zines, and fans complaining about zines they'd ordered that arrived late or not at all. Some fans waited years for the zines they'd ordered to arrive, suffering silently as well as very vocally.

In 1986, Datazine reported that Intergalactic Trading Company had done a test to determine how timely zine eds were in getting material out to those who'd paid for it, concluding that "most fanzine publishers are reliable." [1]:

Sixty orders were placed from ads placed in an issue of Datazine. In the first two weeks, 35% of the orders had arrived. By the end of six weeks, over half of the orders had been filled. After a polite letter of inquiry was sent asking the progress of the orders, a few more arrived. Just over 10% of orders were still not filled or heard from after ten weeks. A second letter prompted several more to come in... After twenty weeks there were still a few zine editors who'd cashed their checks and still not sent fanzines. The conclusion was that you could expect quick delivery of your fanzine about 50% of the time, slow delivery about 40% of the time, very slow delivery 5% of the time, and at least 5% of the orders would never be filled. [2]

In 1986, one patient fan wrote:

I have been in Trekfandom since there WAS a Trekfandom -- nineteen and a half years. Faned are wonderful people, and for the most part, they're honest. But fast they are not... While it is a delightful surprise to get a zine practically by return mail, it doesn't bother me to wait six weeks to two months. I've gotten zines that I had paid for three years before! In all these years, I can remember only twice having paid for zines that I never got -- and who knows, those zines may just show up some day. [3]

In 1987, a fan wrote of her track record ordering zines:

My situation: 1983 -- 16 inquires not answered; still waiting for four zines; 1984 -- 8 inquiries still pending; 1985 -- 13 enquires still pending; 1986 -- 12 enquires pending, four orders pending... They could not all have been lost in the mail! [4]

Proposed Zines

For a list of proposed zines that never completely made it off the ground, see: Proposed Zines.

A List of Zine Publishers

See List of Zine Publishers

Also see Category:Zine Publishers.


  1. ^ from Datazine #42
  2. ^ from Datazine #42
  3. ^ from Datazine #43
  4. ^ from Datazine #50