A fanzine (see also: zine) is a nonprofessional and nonofficial publication produced by fans of a particular cultural phenomenon (such as a literary or musical genre) for the pleasure of others who share their interest. The term was coined in an October 1940 science fiction fanzine by Russ Chauvenet and first popularized within science fiction fandom, from whom it was adopted by others.
Typically, publishers, editors and contributors of articles or illustrations to fanzines receive no financial compensation. Fanzines are traditionally circulated free of charge, or for a nominal cost to defray postage or production expenses. Copies are often offered in exchange for similar publications, or for contributions of art, articles, or letters of comment (LoCs), which are then published.
The last major feature of Fanzines is their ephemeral nature. One wag typified them as having "the regularity of an anemic spleen and the life of an Italian government". The vast majority of Fanzines never got past issue one. Others like Locus graduated from fanzine to prozine.
Another kind of fanzine was the APA, An Amateur Press Association or APA is a group of people who produce individual pages or magazines that are sent to a Central Mailer for collation and distribution to all members of the group.
APAs were a way for widely distributed groups of people to discuss a common interest together in a single forum before the advent of computer bulletin boards or the Internet. Many were founded in the 1960s and 1970s by fans of science fiction, comics, music, cinema and other topics as a way to develop writing, design and illustration skills. Many professional journalists, creative writers and artists practiced in APAs and some still participate. To some extent APAs have now been supplanted by internet chat groups and email mailing lists.
See Wikipedia for more information.