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How do I come up with an idea for a poetry zine?

Coming up with an idea for a poetry zine can be an exciting journey. Here are some steps to help you get started:

1. Find Your Inspiration:

Poetry is a deeply personal form of expression, and the best ideas often come from your own experiences, emotions, and observations. Reflect on what moves you, whether it’s love, nature, social issues, or personal growth.

2. Choose a Theme:

A theme can provide a unifying thread for your poetry zine. It could be as broad as “love and loss” or as specific as “the changing seasons in my hometown.” A theme can help guide your writing and give your zine a cohesive feel.

Notebook with various theme ideas for a poetry zine

3. Consider Your Audience:

Think about who you’re writing for. Are you aiming to connect with other poets, or do you want to reach a broader audience? Understanding your audience can help shape your content and style.

Consider your audience while writing for a poetry zine

4. Experiment with Styles and Forms:

Poetry comes in many forms, from traditional sonnets and haikus to free verse and experimental styles. Don’t be afraid to play around with different forms to see what resonates with you.

Open book showcasing different styles and forms of poetry for a zine
A mood board with images, colors, and words for a poetry zine

5. Create a Mood Board:

A mood board can be a great way to visualize your ideas and inspirations. You can include images, colours, words, and anything else that captures the vibe you want for your zine.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to create a poetry zine. It’s all about expressing your unique voice and perspective. So let your creativity flow and enjoy the process!

Where did Popshot start their print journey?

Popshot, a renowned platform for poets and illustrators, began their print journey with Ex Why Zed. Recognised for being zine printing experts, we at Ex Why Zed were thrilled to assist Popshot in bringing their creative vision to life. From the initial stages of design to the final print, we worked closely with Popshot to ensure their zine was a true reflection of their unique brand. Today, Popshot continues to inspire and engage audiences with their beautifully crafted zines, and we’re proud to have played a part in their journey.

For more tips and guidance on creating your own zine, check out our Definitive Zine Printing Guide.

Popshot's first printed zine with Ex Why Zed, marking the start of their print journey

Indie Poetry Zines: A Creative Explosion in the World of Self-Publishing

Hey there, creative superstar! Are you ready to dive into the world of indie poetry zines? These little gems are a hotbed of creativity, showcasing the talents of poets and artists alike. They’re a testament to the power of self-publishing, proving that you don’t need a big publishing house to make your voice heard. So, let’s take a closer look at these indie poetry zines that are making waves in the literary world.

1. The Chapess

First up, we’ve got The Chapess, a zine that’s all about showcasing the work of women writers. It’s a brilliant platform for female voices, offering a space for them to share their unique perspectives. The Chapess is a testament to the power of indie publishing, proving that you don’t need a big budget to create something truly impactful.

The Chapess Zine Cover showcasing women writers

2. OOMK (One of My Kind)

Next, we have OOMK, a zine that’s all about celebrating creativity and spirituality. It’s a beautiful blend of art, culture, and faith, offering a fresh perspective on what it means to be a creative individual in today’s world. OOMK is a perfect example of how zines can be a platform for exploring complex themes and ideas.

3. The Happy Reader

The Happy Reader is a zine that’s all about celebrating the joy of reading. Each issue features a deep dive into a classic book, along with interviews with notable figures in the literary world. It’s a must-read for any book lover, offering a fresh and engaging take on the world of literature.

4. Synchronise Witches

Synchronise Witches is a zine that’s all about showcasing the work of female and non-binary writers. It’s a space for these voices to be heard, offering a platform for them to share their unique perspectives and experiences. Synchronise Witches is a testament to the power of indie publishing, proving that you don’t need a big budget to create something truly impactful.

5. The Poetry Review

Last but certainly not least, we have The Poetry Review, a zine that’s all about celebrating the best in contemporary poetry. Each issue features a selection of poems from both established and emerging poets, offering a snapshot of the current poetry landscape. The Poetry Review is a must-read for any poetry book lover, offering a fresh and engaging take on the world of poetry.

So there you have it, folks! These indie creative writing books are a testament to the power of self-publishing, proving that you don’t need a big budget to create something truly impactful. So why not give them a read, or better yet, start your own zine? With Ex Why Zed by your side, you’ll have all the support you need to bring your creative vision to life. Happy reading, and happy creating!

Reflecting on personal experiences for poetry zine inspiration

The Diverse World of Creative Writing, Typographic, and Poetry Zines

Zines have always been a platform for self-expression, a space where creators can let their imagination run wild. Whether it’s a literary magazine like Shooter, a typographic marvel like No Cold Callers, or a poetry zine, each one is a unique piece of art. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at these three distinct types of zines, each showcasing a different facet of creativity and individuality.

Shooter Literary Magazine: A Platform for Varied Voices

Shooter literary magazine is a testament to the diversity of topics that can be explored in zines. Each issue is centred around a different theme, providing a platform for a multitude of voices to be heard. For instance, the ‘Cities’ issue features neatly arranged text following a grid format, showcasing the poetry and creative writing of various writers. The text is intertwined with full-colour pages, acting as a backdrop to the creative writing.

The Shooter zines are perfect bound, with a neat spine that comfortably accommodates the title and the name of the magazine. This binding style not only gives the zine a professional look but also ensures durability.

Shooter Literary Zine Back Catalogue
Unveiling the Artistry and Individuality of Creative Writing, Typographic, and Poetry Zines Ex Why Zed

No Cold Callers: A Typographic Feast

No Cold Callers is a zine that truly embodies the phrase “no rules for zines”. It’s a typographic feast, with layers upon layers of type stacked over each other. The inside pages are printed on 190gsm paper, showcasing what can be achieved with type.

The zine’s design is reminiscent of the iconic work of David Carson and Ray Gun, with its engaging one-colour print and consistent colours per page. The mix of images, photography, and a 70s style typeface creates a visually captivating experience. This compact, A6 wire stitch zine is a testament to the limitless possibilities of zine design.

Poetry Zines: A Canvas for Expressive Words

Poetry zines offer a canvas for expressive words, a space where poets can share their thoughts and emotions. One such zine is an A5 perfect bound zine with 40 inside pages printed onto 90gsm uncoated paper. The cover is a 300gsm silk card with matt lamination on the outside, providing a professional appearance and added durability.

This zine, along with others like it, showcases the unique ways of creating a typographic zine. Each page is designed to attract the reader and grab their attention, with careful consideration given to the size of the font to ensure legibility.

An example of a beautifully designed poetry zine
A creative typographic zine showcasing different writing styles

Styling Your Typographic Zine

When it comes to styling your typographic zine, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. The type on each page should be designed to attract the reader and grab their attention. The size of the font plays a crucial role in making your content legible. Check out our Definitive Zine Printing Guide for styling and aesthetic ideas.

For instance, you might want to consider using a larger font size for headers to make them stand out. For body text, a smaller font size would be more appropriate. Splash text, which is used to highlight important information or quotes, can be set in a larger font size and a different typeface to draw attention.

Useful Resources

For more information on zine creation and printing, check out these resources:

What are 4 forms of creative writing?

Creative writing is a broad field that encompasses various forms, each with its unique characteristics and purposes. The four primary forms of creative writing are:

  • Poetry: This form of creative writing is all about expressing emotions, ideas, and images in a condensed form. Poems can follow specific structures and rhyme schemes, or they can be free-form, flowing naturally without any set pattern.
  • Fiction: This includes novels, short stories, novellas, and flash fiction. Fiction writing involves creating imaginary characters, settings, and plots. It’s all about storytelling and the art of narrative.
  • Drama: Drama involves writing scripts for plays, screenplays, and radio scripts. This form of writing is designed to be performed by actors and is often characterised by dialogue and stage directions.
  • Creative Non-fiction: This form combines factual information with creative writing techniques. It includes memoirs, personal essays, travel writing, and literary journalism. The goal is to present real-life experiences in a compelling, literary style.
A collage of different creative writing styles used in zines

What are 9 types of creative writing?

Creative writing is a vast field with numerous types and sub-genres. Here are nine types of creative writing that you might explore:

  • Poetry: From sonnets to haikus, poetry is a versatile and expressive form of creative writing.
  • Fiction: This includes novels, short stories, and flash fiction, where writers create imaginary characters and plots.
  • Drama: Writing for theatre, film, or radio, drama involves creating scripts meant to be performed.
  • Creative Non-fiction: This genre includes memoirs, personal essays, travel writing, and literary journalism.
  • Song Lyrics: Writing song lyrics is a form of poetry set to music.
  • Speechwriting: This involves writing speeches for public speaking events, combining persuasive techniques with storytelling.
  • Journal Writing: This is a personal form of writing, often used for self-expression and self-discovery.
  • Blogging: Blogging is a modern form of creative writing, often used for sharing personal experiences, opinions, or expertise.
  • Graphic Novels/Comic Books: This form combines visual art with storytelling, requiring both writing and drawing skills.

What are five basic forms of creative writing?

The five basic forms of creative writing are:

  • Poetry: This form allows writers to express emotions, ideas, and images in a condensed and rhythmic manner.
  • Fiction: This includes novels, short stories, and flash fiction, where writers create imaginary characters and plots.
  • Drama: Drama involves writing scripts for plays, screenplays, and radio scripts.
  • Creative Non-fiction: This genre includes memoirs, personal essays, travel writing, and literary journalism.
  • Song Lyrics: Writing song lyrics is a form of poetry set to music.
An infographic illustrating the key elements of creative writing

What are three elements of creative writing?

The three key elements of creative writing are:

  • Character: Characters are the heart of any creative writing piece. They are the individuals the readers will follow throughout the story.
  • Plot: The plot is the sequence of events that make up the story. It’s what happens to the characters, the challenges they face, and how they overcome them.
  • Setting: The setting is where and when the story takes place. It can be as broad as a country or as narrow as a room.

What are 7 elements of creative writing?

The seven key elements of creative writing are:

  • Character: The individuals who inhabit your story.
  • Plot: The sequence of events in your story.
  • Setting: The time and place where your story unfolds.
  • Point of View: The perspective from which the story is told.
  • Theme: The underlying message or main idea of the story.
  • Style: The unique way in which the author presents the story, including word choice, sentence structure, and literary devices.
  • Conflict: The challenge or problem around which the plot revolves.
A visual guide to the various forms of creative writing

What are 6 traits of creative writing?

The six traits of creative writing are:

  • Ideas and Content: The main theme and the details that support it. This is the core of your writing.
  • Organization: The structure of the piece, the order of events, and the way you present your ideas.
  • Voice: The personal tone and style that reflect the personality of the writer.
  • Word Choice: The vocabulary you use to convey your ideas and create vivid images.
  • Sentence Fluency: The rhythm and flow of your sentences.
  • Conventions: The correct use of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting.

What are 10 rules of creative writing?

While creative writing is an art form that encourages freedom of expression, there are some general guidelines that can help you improve your craft:

  • Write Regularly: Practice makes perfect. The more you write, the better you’ll get.
  • Read Widely: Reading helps you understand different writing styles and broadens your vocabulary.
  • Show, Don’t Tell: Use descriptive language to show your readers what’s happening instead of simply telling them.
  • Create Realistic Characters: Make your characters believable and relatable.
  • Use Active Voice: Active voice makes your writing more dynamic and engaging.
  • Avoid Clichés: Strive for originality in your expressions and ideas.
  • Revise and Edit: Your first draft is just that – a draft. Always revise and edit to improve your work.
  • Write with Passion: Write about what you love or feel passionate about.
  • Respect the Rules of Grammar and Punctuation: While creative writing allows for flexibility, proper grammar and punctuation are essential for clarity.
  • Accept Feedback: Be open to constructive criticism. It can help you grow as a writer.
A visual guide to the various forms of creative writing

What are 7 styles of writing?

The seven styles of writing are:

  • Descriptive: This style is used to describe characters, settings, and events in detail.
  • Narrative: This style tells a story and includes elements like characters, plot, and setting.
  • Expository: This style aims to inform or explain, often used in academic or journalistic writing.
  • Persuasive: This style aims to convince the reader of a certain viewpoint.
  • Argumentative: Similar to persuasive writing, this style presents an argument and supports it with evidence.
  • Analytical: This style breaks down complex ideas or issues into smaller parts for better understanding.
  • Reflective: This style presents the writer’s thoughts, feelings, and reflections on a particular topic.
Examples of creative writing zines page layout

When it comes to creating a zine, one of the most crucial aspects to consider is the cover. It’s the first thing that your readers will see, and it can significantly impact their first impression of your work. One way to ensure that your zine cover stands out and remains durable is through lamination. In this post, we’ll delve into the world of lamination for zine covers, discussing its benefits and the options available to you.

What is Lamination and Why Do You Need It on Your Zine Cover?

Perfect bound zine with a laminated cover

Lamination is a process that involves applying a thin layer of film to the cover of your zine. This film doesn’t alter the colour of your printing underneath but serves to protect the fibres of the paper, allowing us to fold it without any issues of cracking. If you’ve got ink coverage where the sheets are folded, the paper, made of fibres, doesn’t like being folded. So when they are folded, if there’s ink on that area, the ink and the paper tend to crack. Lamination prevents this, ensuring that your zine cover remains neat and professional. Choosing to go without lamination could result in the cover cracking, which can make it look scruffy and a bit of a mistake. It’s especially important to laminate the front cover of your publication if you go for a cover weight of 170gsm or thicker.

You can immediately see cracking on the cover of this wire stitched zine, below. When the cover card has been folded, the ink has cracked and this has opened up the fibres of the sheet to leave a series of scuffed marks down the spine. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when it looks like this….

Benefits of laminating zine covers for durability and aesthetic appeal

Types of Lamination for Zine Covers

There are four choices for the lamination finish. Each option offers a different aesthetic appeal and texture, allowing you to customise your zine cover to your liking.

Matt Lamination
Matt lamination is the most common type of lamination used for zine covers. It offers a smooth and non-shiny finish, which can give your zine a sophisticated and professional look. Matt lamination is a solid accompaniment for uncoated or silk – not much of a sheen and it just feels professional.

Gloss Lamination
Gloss lamination, on the other hand, provides a shiny and reflective finish. This type of lamination can make your illustrations and colours really jump through, making it an excellent choice for comics or graphic novels.

In the image below we have gloss lamination on ‘Able’ on the left and matt lamination on Cunning Folk in the foreground. The gloss lamination has more shine and really jumps towards the reader but arguably makes the content harder to see when tilted towards the light. The matt lamination is more subtle and you wouldn’t really know it is there.

Choosing the right lamination option for your zine cover

Soft Touch Lamination
Soft touch lamination provides a velvet feel to the cover, offering a unique and professional aesthetic. However, this type of lamination is arguably not suited to zines, as old school Zines would not have even entertained the idea of using Soft Touch lamination.

Anti-Scuff Lamination
Anti-scuff lamination is a less common option, chosen probably once a year. Despite its name, it doesn’t really stop scuffing. It is an option, but we would advisee you to opt for matt lamination instead.

FAQs

What is the best paper for zine covers?
The best paper for zine covers depends on your personal preference and the aesthetic you’re aiming for. However, if you’re planning to laminate your cover, we recommend going for a cover weight of 170gsm or thicker.

What is the difference between matt lamination and velvet lamination?
Matte lamination provides a smooth and non-shiny finish, while velvet (or soft touch) lamination gives a soft, velvet-like feel to the cover.

In the photo below, Ephemera has gloss lamination and Cunning Folk is noticeably softer when compared against it.

Comparison of matt and gloss lamination on zine covers

What does lamination do for printing?
Lamination adds a protective layer to the printed material, preventing it from cracking when folded. It also enhances the aesthetic appeal of the printed material, giving it a professional and high-quality finish.

What is velvet lamination?
Velvet lamination, also known as soft touch lamination, provides a soft, velvet-like feel to the cover. It offers a unique and professional aesthetic

When it comes to zine production, the binding method you choose can significantly impact the final product’s look and feel. One popular method for binding zines, particularly those with a higher page count, is perfect binding. This method offers a neat, professional finish that can elevate your zine’s aesthetic which can command a higher cover price and allow you scope for more content within. In this post, we’ll delve into the world of perfect bound zines, exploring the design considerations, binding process, and technical tips you need to know.

Understanding Perfect Binding

Perfect binding is a method commonly used in Bookazine printing and for zines with 36 pages or more. This method involves trimming the inside pages into a text block, roughening up the left-hand edges, applying glue, and then wrapping a continuous cover around the text block. The result is a neat, professional-looking zine with a flat spine.

Why Choose Perfect Binding for Your Zine?

Perfect binding offers several advantages that make it an appealing choice for zine creators. You’ve all seen Little White Lies, Shooter and Moof, they are all perfect bound. Firstly, it provides a more high-end, professional look compared to other binding methods. This can be particularly beneficial if you’re creating a zine for a professional context or if you’re aiming for a more polished aesthetic.

Secondly, perfect binding allows for more illustrations, photography and poetry self-publishing and creative writing to be packed in. While wire stitching is suitable for zines with up to 40 pages, perfect binding can accommodate monster zines with up to 300-400 pages. This makes it an excellent choice for more substantial zines or Bookazines.

Finally, perfect binding creates a neat bind, with less bounce and curling on the inside pages compared to wire stitching. This can enhance the reader’s experience, making your zine easier and more enjoyable to read. If your spine is 4mm or thicker there’s even room to add your title, issue number and attention grabbing call to action.

Perfect Bound Zine Binding

Design Considerations for Perfect Bound Zines

When designing a perfect bound zine, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. One of the most important is the page count. Perfect binding is best suited to zines with a minimum of 36 pages. This ensures that there is enough thickness in the text pages for the glue to hold effectively. Attempting to perfect bind a zine with fewer than 36 pages can result in the pages pulling out, as there is not enough glue to hold them in place.

Another crucial consideration is the cover weight. Because of the amount of glue used in perfect binding, the cover needs to be resilient. We recommend a minimum of 200gsm for the cover. Anything thinner, and the glue may seep through, compromising the binding’s effectiveness.

When you come to create your perfect bound zine cover file, check out our dedicated page with super helpful video and illustrated guides plus downloadable InDesign templates to save you some head-scratching.

A Closer Look at Perfect Bound Zines: Design, Binding Techniques, and Tips Ex Why Zed

Finally, it’s important to allow for a 6-8mm hinge on the front and back cover. This ensures that the cover opens neatly and falls flat again. You’ll also need to allow for 6-8mm being lost on the inside front cover and the inside back cover, as well as the first 6-8mm on the spine side of your first and last text page. This area will be obscured by the glue, so it’s important to keep any important content at least 10-12mm away from this side of the page.

You can actually see on our example here that the text starts too close to the 6-8mm area and it is very nearly hidden.

To give you an idea on how big your spine will be, here is a list of spine sizes for common page counts and inside paper types:

Text pages onto 120gsm Uncoated
36pp to 44pp Text = 3mm spine
(ie: if you have 40 pages then you need a 3mm spine)
48pp to 60pp Text = 4mm spine
64pp to 72pp Text = 5mm spine
76pp to 88pp Text = 6mm spine
92pp to 100pp Text = 7mm spine
104pp to 116pp Text = 8mm spine
120pp to 132pp Text = 9mm spine
200pp Text = 14mm spine

Text pages onto 130gsm Silk
36pp to 40pp Text = 2mm spine
44pp to 56pp Text = 3mm spine
60pp to 76pp Text = 4mm spine
80pp to 92pp Text = 5mm spine
96pp to 112pp Text = 6mm spine
116pp to 128pp Text = 7mm spine
200pp Text = 11mm spine

Spine Size for Perfect Bound Zines
Spine gutter on perfect bound zine

When you come to set up the inside pages, lets keep the key information at least 5mm from the trim edges of the page. On the spine side of the page, 2-3mm tends to be slightly obscured unless the reader really force the pages flat. This isn’t a user friendly way to read a book so best to start content on the spine side of the pages at least 8-10mm in. Our image here shows the spine gutter area and you can see the central section is tough to fully read.

This is an example of a superb page layout for a perfect bound book. The text is neatly organised into columns which sit well within the constraints of the page’s parameters. The reader does not have to work hard to read the article and it is punctuated with awesome graphics and subtle page numbers in the bottom, outer corners.

Page Count in Perfect Bound Zines

Perfect Binding: A Recipe for Creativity

Perfect binding offers a world of possibilities for zine creators. This binding method allows for a wide range of designs and layouts, providing a canvas for your creativity and imagination. Whether you’re creating a personal zine or a professional publication, perfect binding can help bring your vision to life.

For more information on perfect binding and other binding options, check out our Perfect Binding Setup Guide and our Binding Options page on our website. These resources provide detailed instructions and illustrated guides to help you prepare your zine for perfect binding.

Perfect Binding in Action: Video Guides

For a visual guide to perfect bound zines, check out our YouTube videos:

FAQs

What is the best binding for a zine?

The best binding for a zine depends on several factors, including the page count, the aesthetic you’re aiming for, and your budget. Perfect binding is a great option for zines with a higher page count and a more professional aesthetic.

What is perfect bound binding?

Perfect bound binding is a method that involves trimming the inside pages into a text block, roughening up the left-hand edges, applying glue, and then wrapping a continuous cover around the text block. The result is a neat, professional-looking zine with a flat spine.

How do you make a perfect bound zine?

You will upload your print ready pdfs to Ex Why Zed. One for the cover spreads and one for the inside pages. We will then give your artwork a preflight check and report back any issues to be ironed out. We strive for perfection in the artwork before we eve consider printing.

What are the reasons that make the perfect binding preferable for binding zines?

When it comes to binding zines, perfect binding emerges as the superior choice. This method bestows your publication with a polished, professional appearance that sets it apart from the rest. It not only accommodates a larger number of pages but also imparts a sturdy bind that stands up to the test of time and use. In contrast to other binding techniques, perfect binding presents a more refined, sophisticated aesthetic, elevating your zine to a higher level of professionalism.

Page Styling in Perfect Bound Zines
Design Considerations for Perfect Bound Zines

What are the characteristics of perfect binding?

Perfect binding is characterised by its neat, flat spine, its resilience and its professional, high-end appearance. This method is also recognised for its capacity to hold a greater number of pages than alternative binding techniques.

What are the features of perfect binding?

Features of perfect binding include a flat spine, a continuous cover that wraps around the text block, and a 6-8mm hinge on the front and back cover. This binding method also requires a minimum of 40 pages and a cover weight of at least 170gsm.

What are the two types of binding a zine?

The two main types of binding for a zine are wire stitching and perfect binding. Wire stitching, also known as stapling, is suitable for zines with up to 40 pages. Perfect binding, on the other hand, is best for zines with a higher page count.

Conclusion

Perfect binding offers a world of possibilities for zine creators, providing a canvas for your creativity and imagination. Whether you’re creating a personal zine or a professional publication, perfect binding can help bring your vision to life. With its neat, professional finish and ability to accommodate a higher page count, perfect binding is an excellent choice for your next zine project.

For more information on perfect binding and other zine printing options, don’t hesitate to contact us at Ex Why Zed. We’re always here to help you bring your creative projects to life.

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