Good question! There’s loads of definitions floating about on the web, but here’s one that we think is reasonably accurate:
A zine (/ˈziːn/ zeen; an abbreviation of fanzine, or magazine) is most commonly a small circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images usually reproduced via photocopier.
A popular definition includes that circulation must be 1,000 or fewer, although in practice the majority are produced in editions of fewer than 100, and profit is not the primary intent of publication. They are informed by anarchopunk and DIY ethos.
Zines are written in a variety of formats, from desktop published text to comics to handwritten text (an example being the hardcore punk zine Cometbus). Print remains the most popular zine format, usually photocopied with a small circulation. Topics covered are broad, including fanfiction, politics, poetry, art and design, ephemera, personal journals, social theory, riot grrrl and intersectional feminism, single-topic obsession, or sexual content far outside of the mainstream enough to be prohibitive of inclusion in more traditional media. The time and materials necessary to create a zine are seldom matched by revenue from sale of zines.
Our Cherry put together a zine about zines called “What is a zine?” – you can read it, download it and do anything you like with it here. There’s some copies knocking about in the zine library itself and you’re welcome to take them with you.
So there you go. When it comes to submitting your zine for inclusion in the library, there are no criteria or anything. If you think that what you’ve made is a zine then that’s good enough for us.