In January 2022, Kickstarter officially announced that February's traditional Zine Quest start date would instead move to August——stranding zine creators with next to no notice. Zine Month, a creator-organized Zine Quest alternative originally formed to support projects off-Kickstarter, stepped in to assume the mantle of all-purposes February zine funding event in its absence.
Zine Month saw mass participation from creators, funding 153 total projects on Kickstarter, itch.io, and other purpose built or hacked-together crowdfunding platforms. Collectively, they raised over $825,000.
In this blog post, I will analyze the successes and failures of Zine Month as a sales event, communal support platform, industry trend, and political statement. Thanks to tireless efforts from volunteers, we have extensive sales data from all Zine Month projects to evaluate and compare against statistics from past Zine Quests.* If nothing else, Zine Month gave us some of the most comprehensive and significant data on sales trends that RPGs have ever seen.
The Zine Month That Was
Like Zine Quest before it, Zine Month is a diffuse entity. While Zine Quest boiled down to a loose set of official guidelines and Kickstarter search tag, Zine Month comprised a mailing list, website, Discord server, stats spreadsheet, hashtag, video seminar series, and more. No one of these things wholly defines Zine Month, and in this sense the event founders accomplished their stated goal of democratization.
To pin down what "ZiMo" truly was all about, let's investigate its constituent parts.