Other Information

Some observations about zines (and some opinions)

Zine trends come and go. Perhaps the most notable recent one is that COVID-19 expanding timelines has also led to more people on more projects at once.

We’re expecting an increase in EU/non-US shipping mods with the changes in taxes, the increasing US dollar, and emerging US customs fees on packages. We’re keeping one eye on international trade relations as we do our projects.

There are a lot of innovative projects out there, and we like mixed media ones. These might make a resurgence as shipping and courier prices go up around the world.

If you like graphs, there was a Fanzine Survey 2020 and a survey from 2018.

The common consensus among zine mods is that follower count is not an indication of sales. (To be accurate, sales should be estimated on “conversion rate”, or the number of people who buy after clicking to the shop.) But we still included a question in the mini survey we did as part of collecting data for what to add to this guide, and asked about sales as a percentage of follower count. The results of our mini dataset goes as follows:

3%, 13%, 25%, 26%, 33%, 33%, 36%, 38%, 55%, 66%


  • One person may have submitted multiple answers (no mod team composition info)

  • No idea about the circumstances (year, profit, charity, fandom, activity, platform...)

  • Encompasses all projects except free ones (digital, physical...)

  • It was an optional question and many decided not to reply

People remember stories. How do you want to tell yours?

Checklists / Worksheets / Templates

While we are (still) working on getting some more things presentable... ummm, have others’.

Others' resources

There are some checklists and templates in the zine guide written by Slumber. Here are the specific page links:

Inky-thoughts has put communications into a structure for those who prefer it:

Setting up a shop: https://sites.google.com/view/zinetheredonethat/home/mod/production/preorder-period#h.p_eNSbpa1cMaDD

Luna Chai's App Info, Finances, Project Info and Project Tracker templates: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1QQ9-Sq56K4S7yHyySKJf4I7jxF7qC78P

Finance template by @runqii - file is now deleted at link? there is a Wayback version, but it lacks all functionality (for obvious reasons)

Marketing checklist by @neneneems (2021)

Thank you!! And we will add any that are missing.

Additional Resources Masterposts

For maintained pages which have sections that we do not have in scope in our guide.

List of Zine and Fan Event promotional accounts by Fan Events Hub

Zine Resources Masterpost by Luna Chai

(We will add any that we have missing.)

Timelines and COVID-19

Last updated: January 6, 2022

Your timeline should be a combination of how much work you wish to undertake, and how long people interacting with your project will require.

For example, people in fandoms with many active zines, or with many personal projects, will most likely be more sensitive to timelines, and need longer for a creation period.

Though the “usual” way of making zines nowadays is a hype announcement, interest check, applications, etc, etc, by skipping or combining phases, the timeline can be compressed. (Zines which combine mod apps and interest check demonstrate this.)

  • Reminder: be mindful of setting expectations and communicating clearly.

When you set check-in days:

  • Most people do their work on Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays.

  • If check-in days are on Friday/Saturday, expect to support extension requests that cover the weekend.

  • If check-in day is during the week (e.g. Tuesday), have any forms or check-in methods ready on Saturday, to accommodate early check-in for people who work during the week.

  • Remind people at least 2-3 weeks in advance if it’s an important deadline (give them time to cram and ask for extensions).

Some people will have a lot of time to work on pieces over holiday periods (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year) while others have many other obligations and their time is zero. If your check-in is after the holiday, consider letting people check in before the holiday, to give them flexibility.

For fulfillment, be aware of the Lunar New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival on procurement from China.

  • Before the Lunar New Year, prices tend to be higher (high demand).

  • After the Lunar New Year, it may take 2 weeks for factories to return to normal.

  • Please accommodate this into your schedule if you are running something such as a calendar, or a Valentine’s zine.

Prices and shipping costs/shipping times will also go up before Christmas/New Year.

  • Some shipping carriers also like to increase prices permanently when the new year comes around. USPS is one.

COVID-19 has an impact on industries which require people:

  • Shipping times go up as there are less people to process packages (* Mostly applicable to Sea Freight; Air Courier prices have gone up instead)

  • The production of goods which require human processes, e.g. assembly of charms, sewing, some parts of the book printing process, may be slowed.

  • We have experienced packages ready to be shipped be delayed in being shipped out.

If you are ordering from China:

  • Regarding delays with EMS/UPS/FedEx/DHL etc., you can contact your rep to check with their freight forwarder about the current status of the route between factory and destination.

    • You can ask which port the items will be sent from.

    • Let your rep know how the date when you need the package by, and it can help you find the best cost/speed balance.

  • You can check the news and ask your factory for information about regional shutdowns.

  • Some regions and industries in China are being affected by electricity limits on the populace. This has increased the cost of goods and the amount of time it takes.

In addition to COVID-19, flooding and natural disasters have also caused delays.

Supply chain effects such as port disruptions have also caused some manufacturers more difficulty in acquiring their raw materials, meaning delays or increased prices to you.

  • Cost of raw materials for eco friendly packaging has gone up in the US due to shortage.

  • There is also a paper shortage in the US.

  • There is info about an acrylic shortage increasing prices.

Lastly, there has been an increase in money flowing through the zine space due to conventions being cancelled. When conventions re-open (as of the time of writing, conventions in USA are in fact slowly resuming again), and other avenues of expending disposable income also open up, it is safe to assume that there will be less money in online sales.

  • As conventions re-open, be mindful of manufacturers also becoming busy just before con season.

We have noticed emails possibly going to spam more often. (anecdotal)

PayPal's fee went up in 2021. It is now marginally cheaper to process payments via Stripe. (We recommend both)

Production has generally been hit severely in 2021. Items which might have taken 2 weeks are now taking a month.