If you have ever thought about publishing a zine, a great place to start is with Kickstarter’s Zine Quest II event in February. Here are some great resources for planning and implementing a new zine project:
- Zine Quest I had 108 projects, many of which came from first-time creators.
- Michael Prescott’s My Kickstarter Task List on the
Trilemma Adventures Blog is a good overview of the types of things a Kickstarter creator needs to plan and do over the course of a project.
Many Kickstarter creators use part of the funds they gather to commission art. Others do their own art, pay for the right to use stock art, or locate art that is free and legal to use. Creative Commons licenses are one way to designate the legal uses a particular piece of art (or other work) that has been made available for free.
Several large museums offer good quality scans and photos of the art and other items in their collection that have entered the public domain. Remember, a piece of art can be in the public domain, but images of it that you find online might not be. Below are links to museums and other sources that have images that are free and (mostly) available for you to use in your project. Some have certain limits on their use, and some require you to attribute the sources in your project. Make sure to check the specific type of license offered at each website to get the relevant details.
- Creative Commons Licenses
- Creative Commons Search Engine
- The Getty Open Content Program
- The Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection
- The Cleveland Museum of Art Open Access Images
- The Met Open Access Images
- The Public Domain Review
- The Rijksmuseum
- The Wellcome Library Creative Commons Images
- Wikimedia Commons
Some libraries and government websites have started to offer free images for the public to use. As with art, make sure to check the specific license (Creative Commons or other).
Many (if not most) of the zine projects in Zine Quest I offered both pdf and print copies. A PDF format optimized for phone viewing is gaining in popularity in the rpg world. It focuses on the use of website-style links for navigation, rather than internal bookmarks. If you have the time, it never hurts to offer both formats.
Most zines have words. Words need fonts and other typographic things.
Printing and Distribution
Some Kickstarter zine creators print and assemble their products at home. Some use print shops, local or online. Once printed, zines have to be distributed to backers. You can use Media Mail in the United States if your zine doesn’t contain advertisements, but it may be just as cheap (or more so) to use regular First Class mail.
The big question, though, is how to handle international backers. People who live in countries other than your own are likely to back your project, but it can cost a lot of money to mail items internationally.
My favorite way to deal with this issue is to offer fulfillment through DriveThruRPG. They have printers in various parts of the world, so using them to print and mail your zine greatly reduces the cost of shipping.
Kickstarter’s Fulfillment from A to Z guide lists companies that have experience providing various services to Kickstarter creators.