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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | July 5, 2020

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Jeremy Staples' seven step music zine

Ash Hauenschild

Ever wanted to start your own music zine?

It seems so easy at first – a simple mix of craft project, creative expression, and that resolutely punk ethos: do it yourself.

Making Bizoo

Making Bizoo

Then the complications set in.

How will this thing be printed? Who’s going to hand it out?

And what exactly is a saddle stitch?

All too soon, you’re knee-deep in butcher’s paper and broken ink cartridges with nothing but a great title (Bowie Today!) to show for all that hard work.

Luckily, a lifelong devotee of the format will be running a music zine workshop at the State Library of Queensland this weekend.


Jeremy Staples cut his teeth founding Toowoomba’s first zine (Bizoo) back in 2001 before progressing to a number of niche publications.

His bilingual photography zine Faces of Nippon even managed to raise funds for a Japanese orphanage after the 2011 tsunami – no mean feat for this notoriously expensive hobby!

With plenty more detail at the workshop, here are Jeremy Staples’ seven basic steps to a music zine:

1: Ask yourself why

Music zines are some of the most active zines around.

Are you making a zine for love? Are you making it to support a community?

The differences between a zine and an online blog are dramatic.

It’s having a physical item in your hand that’s portable and tactile, an object.

There’s a physical story to it.

2: Set goals

Zines in particular are not always easy to gauge the success of.

Receiving an email or finding someone else who also engages with your zine may be a success.

3: Build a team (or go it alone)

I’d be steering towards working as a group because you don’t need to slog away all by yourself in a dark room.

You can share the entire experience with someone.

4: Set a deadline

As with any artistic pursuit, if you don’t have a goal it can just keep going on and on.

Set a deadline so you can actually achieve it.

5: Write that content

Jeremy Staples

Jeremy Staples

Zines provide a platform for anyone to document whatever they feel.

With Bizoo we were just saying what we wanted.

There were a number of legal cases.

The joy of the internet is being able to directly contact your favourite band so much easier, rather than a number of handwritten letters and phone calls.

6: Lay it all out

The production of zines is always in-house.

Is it going to be a completely analogue zine?

Are you going to use computers at all?

That’s a personal preference.

7: Print. Distribute. Repeat?

Bizoo changed dramatically over time. The first three issues were photocopied, stapled and folded at home, and then distributed by hand.

Over time we became a lot bigger than your average zine.

We printed 5,000 copies and distributed all across Australia.

Even if you’ve invested two years of your life into a zine, you’re still expected to sell it for $3 because that’s the culture.

It’s a beautiful thing in one aspect, but how do you make it sustainable?

Beg, borrow and steal is the key to releasing a zine and making it accessible.

Get that feedback and then do another issue, or it could just be a one-off thing documenting something.

The details:

What: Jeremy Staples’ Music Zine Workshop

Where: State Library of Queensland

When: July 28, 2013 from 10:00am

How much: $16

Website: State Library of Queensland

Other: Online bookings prior to the event are essential.


Images sourced from Jeremy Staples