Guest Author - Gail Kavanagh
Back in the dark ages of dot matrix, I published a couple of fanzines. One was called Lodestar and was based on the universe and characters of the BBC cult series Blakeís Seven, which was one of the hottest themes in fanzines back then. It was the advent of computers and printers that prompted me to get into publishing fanzines. Before then, editions were painstaking typed and handcranked on Roneo copiers.
Fanzines are still flourishing today, although the web has made it even easier for publishers. The huge site fanfiction.net is really just one really big fanzine. Many fanzines are online, and setting up an ezine, blog or free website to start your own fanzine makes the whole process a heck of a lot easier than it used to be.
All you need to start your own fanzine on the web is a free blog or website. Wordpress and Blogger offer great free blogging platforms, and for a free website try Webs.com. You need to come up with name for your fanzine, and this will probably be drawn from your main sf/fantasy interest. Is this fanzine going to be about one particular movie or show, or is it going to be more general?
You need to choose a name for your fanzine, like Jedi Journals for Star Wars, or Captainís Log for Star Trek, if you donít already have one in mind. This also serves as the name for your blog or website, so it should be catchy and unique.
What do you put in your fanzine? Fan fiction is a priority, because this is what fans are usually looking for. You will probably have to use your own at first, and you can invite other fans to contribute their fiction as you get more readers. No one expects to get paid for fan fiction (after all, the copyright belongs to the original creators!).
But you should also include some more general material, such as movie reviews, what the stars of your favorite show are up to now, screenings and rescreenings, letters to the editor (always an eagerly read section), filk songs and poetry (filk songs are familiar melodies with fan lyrics), and other items of interest. Take care using images - you will need to source images that are public domain or creative commons or get permission to use them, which is why so many fanzines encourage fan artists to contribute sketches.
You can publicize your fanzine on forums for you particular fandom or list them online, such as at Directory of Ezines. Publishing a fanzine is tremendous fun, it puts you in touch with people who share your passion, and gives you skills you can use in other areas of your life.
History of fanzines: