Once a strictly underground form of publication, zines are everywhere these days. Rider University is no exception to this rule, with a student-run one to call its own.
Titled Lo-Fidelity and run by four seniors, this off-beat publication offers a non-traditional forum for students to express themselves through prose, poetry and visual art. Its purpose is to expose good writing in America. For those who aren’t acquainted with zines, they are typically non-commercial publications with small circulations. This particular one publishes an eclectic mix that features many subjects and genres.
“I always liked zines,” said senior Sam Cicero, founder and editor of Lo-Fidelity. “I wanted to start one, so I did.”
He was inspired to start it the summer before his junior year. Realizing he could not do it alone, he recruited fellow seniors Andrew Kaspereen and Glen Binger to help him achieve his dream of finally publishing an issue, a dream that became a reality in January 2007.
The title is a reference to the nature of the zines according to Binger, editor of the fiction and non-fiction sections.
“Sam started the zine and wanted it to look really organic and handmade,” Binger said. “And our friends’ writing wasn’t getting any recognition, so he helped put us out there.”
The zine can be found online through its MySpace page at www.myspace.com/373239967, its blog at http://lofidelity-zine.blogspot.com and other literary databases.
In the underground community of literary works, Lo-Fidelity has received mention in many other zines, a good way of spreading the word about the publication.
Fellow classmate Kiley Rummler later joined the staff as the poetry editor. Since then, they have attempted to publish twice a year, but have only published one other issue and a smaller piece called B-sides and Rarities. Some back issues are available, according to their blog, for anyone interested in acquiring a copy.
What has taken them so long to publish a third issue? “We don’t believe in timelines,” was the general motto of the four editors.
The bulk of submissions was received through the Internet, other zines and through what Kaspereen has dubbed “guerilla advertising.”
These methods vary from placing fliers on the tables at Daly’s to putting small ads into certain books at the local Barnes & Noble in order to inform the literary community in the area.
“We chose books we liked to put fliers in, books for people with good taste,” Kaspereen said.
The advertising campaign was successful — maybe too successful, Rummler said. At one point, she printed over 20 pages of submissions for her section alone.
The other sections — fiction, non-fiction and art — have no shortage of submissions either. In an effort to showcase as many works as possible, the staff posted several submissions on Lo-Fidelity’s blog last week with a note that “there will be a print zine later.”
Submissions can be contributed at any time by emailing email@example.com. The staff prefers that work be “off the beaten path.”
They accept short fiction, non-fiction, poetry and visual art such as drawings and photos. According to the blog, all written work must not exceed 4,000 words and must be in the .doc or .txt formats. Art submissions must be in .jpeg or .tiff files and it is requested that photos and art be as large as possible. Beyond this, there are no formal standards for a submission.
“We’ll consider it if you put thought and heart into it,” Kaspereen said.
-Additional reporting by Allie Ward