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Synonyms: Fanzine Flyer
See also: Zines
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A flyer is a single-leafed paper advertisement that can be posted on walls, distributed by hand, or sent through the mail.[1]

Fans have made and used flyers to advertise conventions, clubs, or zines for sale. Flyers can convey useful information. Flyers can also be pure artistic fannish expression in themselves.


Zine Flyers

A zine flyer is an advertisement for a fanzine. The early zine flyers appeared in the back of fanzines themselves and were sometimes interspersed with zine reviews and letters of comments. Since space in these early zines was at a premium, the flyers would often only contain a name and an address in order for the buyer to send a SASE for more information. Later flyers would be printed and handed out at conventions or included with sales of fanzines sent through the mail.

Most flyers were plain, printed in black and white, and contained mostly text with minimal artwork. To make their flyers stand out, some fanzine publishers would print on colored paper. Others would include color artwork especially if the fanzine itself had a particularly striking color cover.

Flyers were also used to spread information about other fannish topics such as conventions and fan campaigns.

Flyer Delivery

Starting in the mid-1990s with the increasing use of email, flyers, especially zine flyers, were posted to mailing lists.

Because publishers could not control where the flyers might be sent after the intial e-mailing, they would often contain a warning to keep the information in fan friendly spaces. Ex: In their 1998 zine flyer, Almost Foolproof Press appended at the bottom of each email: Please do not post this info to any newsgroup or web page. Forward to e-mail lists only with permission, please. One publisher, Gryphon Press, refuses to this day to allow her e-mailed flyers to be shared on open mailing lists or to appear anywhere else online.

With the advent of the World Wide Web, fanzine publishers began posting their fanzine information to their websites. This gave them an opportunity to offer previews of the fan fiction and art. However, many zine publishers still email their flyers to mailing lists and send printed copies to conventions.

Commentary from Susan M. Garrett Regarding Zine Flyers

"It's said that many zine editors lavish more care on flyers than they do on the zine itself. This may or may not be true, but a well presented flyer could be an indication that you're dealing with someone who can put together a worthwhile package. Conversely, some editors put out a flyer rather quickly and haphazardly when a zine has been completed, so that eighteen months of zine work doesn't show up in the "we're here" piece of paper stuffed awkwardly into your SASE. In any case, a flyer can give you an idea of content, page count, and perhaps layout of the product. (Note - From limited market research, flyers are generally used more often for orders by repeat customers, rather than new readers. We don't know why, we just know that's the way it is.)" (from a The Fantastically Fundamentally Functional Guide to Fandom)

Zine Flyer Contents

A typical flyer could contain:

  • fanzine title
  • table of contents
  • story summaries
  • excerpts
  • list of fandoms represented (very important in zines that multiple fandoms)
  • page or word count, the latter became important when wordprocessing allowed editors to increase margins and spacing to make smaller zines appear larger
  • whether there was a color cover or interior art
  • publisher's address and pricing
  • whether an age statement was required

Some Zine Flyer Examples

Other Flyers

Flyers were also used to advertise conventions and fan clubs, and to alert fans to fan campaigns.

In the time before online social media, a fan in 1996 did her part to spread the word about the cancellation of Forever Knight via flyers:

I didn't have a "stack" of flyers with me on my trip to Seattle, but I took a handful of "text" only flyers (with a nice header) that explained the situation (succinctly), gave Feltheimer's address and FAX, and our SOS webpage for anyone interested in helping. I gave one to the reservationist at DFW airport, left one by a phone, one in the ladies room, several in the waiting lounge, one on a magazine rack in the gift shop, two in the seat pockets on the airplane, and gave one to the stewardess as I got off the plane. In Seattle I left one on a coffee shop window sill laden with trendy, area newspapers, and seven in the University of Washington library (xerox room, ladies room, reading desks, one by the research monitor, and even stuck one on the wall of a prominent stairwell leading to the main floor). At the hotel I left a couple for housekeeping, with a note thanking them for a nicely kept room, gave one to the clerk as I checked out, and left one by their telephones. Left a couple of more at the Seattle airport, one in the pocket on the return flight, and several in the Supershuttle that brought me home. Not many, and oddly placed, so I have no idea if this will garner a single letter -- but if even one person writes, it was worth it. Unfortunately, the Seattle airing time is something like 1:00 a.m., so it was difficult to find anyone who actually watches. But then, isn't that the problem to begin with? Well -- now I'm going to generate a stack of flyers and do them locally.

I *still* think airports are a great concept for hitting the masses. Several people armed with scotch tape and a mass of flyers (carry in a book bag, no one will notice) could hit all those nooks and crannies in one fell swoop. There are plenty of waiting lounges with lots of bored people sitting around. If nothing else, a sudden pelt of anonymous flyers directing people to the webpage and Feltheimer might make news somewhere. Wouldn't hurt anything, and a few people might pick up on it. Comments?

As I've told the other Dallas area listers, coffee-houses, libraries, and community colleges are another prospect. [1]

Some Convention, Fan Campaign, and Fan Club Flyer Examples


  1. ^ FORKNI-L Digest - 14 Jan 1996 to 15 Jan 1996 - Special issue, Archived version