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Archive-Along: Making Blog Archives in Zine Form
My first Archive-Along project is a fairly analog method of preserving your best blog content. (I'll be talking about digital back-ups next week.) One very crafty way to create a permanent archive of your blog is to use one of the oldest and simplest forms of hard-copy-making there is: zine-making.
Consider this: your blog is, in many ways, an online magazine - published one article at a time. Your Twitter feed is also an online magazine - published one sentence at a time.
Well, why not take all that content and preserve it by creating your own self-published magazines? They might be just for you, or you might share or sell them. There are so many ways to approach it:
• You might, for example, arrange your blog posts by theme, and archive the best ones into zines about knitting or beading or crafty businesses.
• You could arrange your posts chronologically, and make a zine for each month's best content.
• If you tweeted from an event you attended somewhere, and your tweets tell a story about what you did and who you saw, why not compile them into a zine?
• If there's a really great discussion on your Facebook wall, you could archive that into a zine - and share copies with everyone who participated.
Why analog, when there's digital?
You may be wondering why in the world you'd make a paper copy of your blog, when it's so much easier to back it up digitally. Well you're right, it is (and, you should be backing up digitally, too).
My point with this post is to show you that your archives can take lots of forms. Zine-making is a great way to make your archive a crafty one. You probably wouldn't want to archive your entire blog like this, but for your best posts, it's pretty cool.
Plus, then you have an archive you can keep on your bookshelf and refer to quickly - which is nice, when you consider that sometimes finding specific posts in a digital archive takes some digging around.
Making the zines
Your zine archiving project can be as simple or as complex as you like. For example, if you're pressed for time, you might do something as dead-simple as the photo above: print out the blog posts you want to save, and bind them into a readymade cover of some kind.
If you're working with shorter-form material, like your tweets, then you can go old-school about it. You can print out your tweets, cut them up, paste them to pages, and photocopy the whole thing.
Or you might get fancy about it, and use some kind of page-layout software. (I'm using Pages for Mac here, but you can also use things like Word, InDesign, or Quark Xpress.) Establish an overall layout scheme, and then copy your words and images into it. Print out the pages and bind them, and you have a lovely little archive - in fact, you might even have a product to sell! (More on this in a moment.)
The great thing about zines is their handmade, personal quality - which, as it turns out, is a quality shared by most craft blogs. What a great medium, then, to create some personal hard copies!
Zine-making can also be a fun crafty project - you can sew bits of fabric to your zines. You can glue buttons to them. You can bind in sheets of fancy paper.
...And you can invite friends! Zine-making is also a great social activity. What if you had a crafty gathering where everyone made themselves a beautiful, embellished archive of their best blog posts?
Lastly, let me just whisper this in your ear...
If you're interested in publishing your own craft book, but you aren't sure you want to take the plunge into traditional publishing or ebook publishing, zines might just be your ticket. If you've built a blog with a strong readership, then you might find that you can produce a pretty, crafty zine from your older posts, and then sell copies in your online store.
I mean, let's face it - blog posts are plentiful and intangible. Hard to get most people interested in paying for those.
But a nicely-produced, tangible zine with cool crafty touches? One I can keep on my bookshelf and refer to anytime? That might just be a viable product.
The Archive-Along continues...
Rachel and I will be covering lots more creative archiving ideas in the coming days, and we'd love for you to join in! If you make yourself a zine, how about posting pics to the Archive-Along Flickr group? And if you blog about archiving, will you comment here and let us know, so we can link to you on the project's page?