Sunday, 31 July 2011

Zine Resources

image by Shannon Gerard
As you may have noticed, we’ve added a new set of links in our blog sidebar – Zine Resources.  Sadly, we feel that many of these resources are underused, so this blog post is just to draw your attention to them.  This is mostly where we get our info from for the biweekly news posts – also via flyers, word of mouth, emails, and tweets that get pinged our way – so they can be very useful!  Hope you enjoy spending the evening exploring these sites (if you haven’t done so already)!  If you have any more useful zine resources that we've missed, let us know in the comments or email us so we can add to this entry.

A Wikimedia-powered site dedicated to zines and independent publishing.  It’s a cracking resource, featuring lists of distros, zine events, zine libraries, and much more, from all over the world.  There’s a zinester directory, which can be categorised by country, type of zine (e.g. perzine), or theme (e.g. feminism).  There are also pages dedicated to zine history, production, and distribution.  Sign up for free to become a contributor, where you can create pages about anything zine-related; though what the wiki really needs is pages on individual zine series or zinesters.  As you can see by the UK Zinester category page, Zine Wiki is desperately in need of updating.  The creators write that they would like Zine Wiki to act as a central catalogue for people interested in zines, where most zines would be instantly searchable from anywhere around the world, with the same quality standards as Wikipedia.  Sign up today and help make this aim a reality. 
(if you want your zine to be listed, but don’t fancy creating an account for whatever reason, you can always email me with the info you want and I’ll create a page for you!)

A handy blog that reposts submission calls for zines.  It consists of mostly US-centred submission calls, but if that doesn’t bother you too much then it’s a great place to find lots of zines to write for!  I’ve been using it for about 4 months, and have been published in 5 comp-zines since, which isn’t too shabby.  Go take a look today and see if any submission calls take your fancy!

A nice blog to pop in your Google Reader if you can’t be bothered to subscribe to many zine blogs.  The blog features zine reviews, news, announcements, and calls for submissions that are syndicated from various blogs (including this blog!).  It’s more of an RSS feed or forum rather than a blog, as the only original content featured are reviews by the editors, Jack and DanIt also features lots of useful links in its many sidebars, including lists of zine review sites, zine libraries, zine fairs, distros, and general zine resources.  I find it a little tricky to navigate – there’s a bit too much going on, with too many sidebars and adverts – but other than that, it’s good for a browse.  They also have a Twitter account syndicated there, which I recommend following (though most of the news they tweet is from the US and Canada).

Okay, so I’m pretty sure you all know about We Make Zines, but I want to talk about it anyway.  WMZ was a huge phenomenon when I first got into zines in 2008, but seems to have fizzled out a little recently.  Most people think that the rise of Facebook and Twitter has rendered WMZ a little redundant, which I think is a fair point.  Having said that, We Make Zines is still a valuable tool for zinesters to keep in touch with each other, not only due to the fact that it’s tailored specifically to zinesters, but also because many zinesters don’t use Twitter or Facebook!  The groups (the biggest ones include Perzines, Over 30 and Still at it, and Let’s Trade Zines), active forum, and event directory are all very useful tools that you can’t get anywhere else.  The location-based groups are great for bringing zinesters together - as well as the 200-strong UK & Ireland Zinesters, many subsections of the country have their own groups, including Kent, Wales, Midlands, East Anglia, and Brighton.  Members can create your own profile page where people can message you and leave you comments.  Zinesters can upload photos of their zines and projects to their profiles, join and contribute to groups, create events, upload videos, and IM each other.  Lots of fun!

A LiveJournal community dedicated to the UK zine scene, where members can advertise their zine, discuss zine issues, ask for advice, network, and trade with each other.  It could be a great resource but, again, is underused.  If you’re on LJ, add Zinescene_UK to your friends list and post your news there! 


PS - While we’re here, we’ve got an important announcement to make: Sheffield Zine Fair is now being held on the 25th September (Sunday) instead of the 24th as originally advertised.  Change the date in your diaries – we hope to see you there!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Zine News Round-Up: 24.07.11

Hello everyone!  Most of the news today revolves around the number of zine fairs coming up this year – how exciting!  We’ve linked to all the Facebook events so you can RSVP there.  Also a big thank-you to fellow writer Caitlin Gwynn, who trawled through the abyss of tumblr for UK zine news!  The things we do for you, dear readers! ;)

Don’t forget we’re still looking for writers, link exchanges, and British zine news from you!  Get in touch, we love reading your comments/news!

Cath x


1. Zine Releases
2. Upcoming Events
3. Submission Calls
4. AOB (Any Other Business)


1. Zine Releases
 - PapA Zine have just released their Summer Camp issue, which comes free with an animation DVD and lots of summer festival information. Available from their Etsy page for the bargain price of £2.
 - The "What Happened To Sisterhood?" one page PDF zine is available to download now at
 - Lil's Shop has just put up new zines to sell on her Etsy page, with such varied subjects as "Stuff That Should've Happened In The Harry Potter Films" and "Weird Pokemon". Her most recent zines are part of her series of zines made every day in July! She also sells VHS artwork and t-shirts via her Tumblr page.
 - David McMillan has just posted about At the Movies zine, featuring illustrated contributions from UWE Illustration students. You can message him for a copy.
 - Paul Williams has released his first zine, Culture is Not Your Friend, for £1. Get in touch at paulATmacabremagpieDOTnet to buy or trade a copy.

2. Upcoming Events
 - Girls Get Busy Zine Party @ The Alibi, London: 26th July. They'll be selling/trading Girls Get Busy #7, and playing great music to dance to.  9pm til late, free entry.
 - Edinburgh Zine Fair: 7th August. 12 til 5pm at the Forest Up!, 3 Bristo Place, Edinburgh. They’re still looking for people to table and hold workshops, so if you’re interested, get in touch at sdfgoodallATgmailDOTcom.
 - Cambridge Creative Fair: 3rd September.  Hosted by the Whirlygig Collective, 10.30am til 6pm.  For more info, email the organisers at infoATwhirlygigDOTme.
 - Sheffield Zine Fair: 24th September. The first zine fair in Sheffield, how exciting!  If you want to apply for a free stall, or volunteer to help out, get in touch at
 - Camden Zine Fest: 8th October.  Stall and workshop applications are now open, and they’re completely free!  Book yours at

3. Submission Calls
 - Black Sunday Zine is looking for some submissions from “those who love heavy metal and the darker side of life”. email your stuff to
Mostache Records are looking for submissions for the second issue of their music zine - if you and your band would like to be interviewed, or whether you have any reviews, recipes or comics, get in touch with them!
 - Gary Whitworth is looking for submissions for his zine, "Phonetography", comprised of photos taken with mobile phone cameras. If submitting photos, they MUST come with a short (100 words or less) backstory behind them. You can contact Gary on his Tumblr page, or at Twitter, @GaryWhitworth.

4. A.O.B.
 - There’s only a week left of International Zine Month! However you choose to celebrate it, let us know!  
- Interested in reading or contributing to a Dr. Who comp-zine? Join the discussion here:

Friday, 22 July 2011

Birmingham Zine Festival 2011: From Behind the Table

A little over a week ago, I tabled for the first time at a zine fest – the Birmingham Zine Festival.  Having only attended three other zine fests before, I was pretty nervous about it all, but also very excited! 

The festival was located in a shop called We Are Birmingham, a great venue choice due to its location in the city centre, only a few minutes from the Bullring shopping centre.  This managed to attract lots of non-zine types, and ensured that the zine fest was fairly busy all day.  The audience ranged from young alternative types, to middle-aged shoppers (including my mum and auntie, who came in to have a nose and ended up buying a few zines).  There were also a few parents browsing with their children – a particularly sweet moment was when a little blonde girl was running around putting pink stickers on all the zinesters in the vicinity. :)

The tables were all situated on the ground floor, which included many seasoned tablers that I’d seen at other zine fests this year, such as Marching Stars, Green Bean, and Lizz Lizz.  There was also a communal table full of free zines, which provided me with lots of reading material for the journey home! It was great to see that us vendors had a decent amount of room for our stalls, and the open layout of the venue made it easy for people to get close enough to the stalls to be able to take a proper look through the stuff on offer.  There were a large number of comics and art zines at this fest, which provided some interesting material for me to flick through on my walk through the tables (though I must admit that most art zines I come across are very overpriced).  Downstairs, workshops were being run throughout the day, including ones covering badge making, drawing, and t-shirt printing.  There was also a film screening by the Brothers McLeod in the late afternoon. 

Upon my arrival, I was given a paper bag full of BZF goodies, including pin badges, flyers, stickers, and a fancy name badge:

I sat down at my small table and laid out my zines and little hand-made placards.  I wasn’t sure how many zines to bring, so I decided to come prepared with 20 copies of each issue.  This was just the right number thankfully, as I sold between four and fifteen copies of every issue – I should imagine that running out of stock is incredibly frustrating halfway through the day.  I also brought a few of my EPs along for sale.  After having a bit of a catch up with my neighbour, Lizzy from Marching Stars, the doors were opened and the crowds started coming through.

My table!
The first thing that I noticed was that when making a decision on buying a zine or not, most people tended to quickly flick through the whole zine without looking at one page for more than a few seconds.  The layout seems to be what sells a zine – mostly, people didn’t even read the contents page or the intro. That’s something I’ll definitely keep in mind when making future issues of my zine.

Another thing that quickly became apparent, which I should’ve anticipated really, was the number of people who tried to buy a single zine for £1 using a ten pound note.  If I had been prepared, I would’ve brought lots of pound coins to prepare for being offered a tenner and not being stuck with £7 in change; unfortunately, the only way I could deal with it was to ask them to buy two more zines to make up the difference – I felt too rude to steal Lizzy’s much-needed pound coins.  Everyone I asked did so too, which was surprising, as I half-expected people to just put down the zine and walk away.  Sir Alan would be proud of my entrepreneurial skills!

I met a few cool zinesters who came up and had a chat, including Alana (who writes an awesome zine about being a girl skateboarder), Sarah Beth (Ellipsis), and AK from Princesa Pirata distro.  I was disappointed at how few requests I received for trades though – I only had two trades all day.  I was also disappointed by how few people tried to start conversations with me about zines and the process of making them, or even to share their thoughts on the festival itself – some people kindly stopped to introduce themselves and talk, but mostly people flicked through and walked on by.  I also had quite a few people come up and get really excited about my EP, but no one bought a copy.  Having said that, I understand that some may just have been too shy to know what to say - believe me, I’ve been there. 

At around 5.45pm things started winding down and others began to pack up their stalls.  I went through my stash and totted up how much I’d managed to sell throughout the day - 33 zines, but no EPs.  That was quite disappointing, especially since my CD is reasonably priced compared to some of the zines on offer, but I half-expected it since the festival is all about handmade creations rather than music.

So, in conclusion, not quite as friendly as I expected, but still a very enjoyable day, and from what I hear, a big improvement in terms of numbers and venue from last year’s fest.  My favourite way to experience a zine festival is definitely from behind the table!

(all photos in this blog post are by Birmingham Zine Festival, except the photos of my stall and name badge, which were taken by me)


Other great posts about BZF:

Photo sets:

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Zine Reviews: July '11

xyz #2: kids & babies issue!
Will, London –
xyz is a zine that focuses on sex, gender, and being queer; this issue focuses on those issues in relation to kids and babies.  Specifically, Will writes about how genderqueer behaviour is viewed in children (e.g. the Tomboy trope), mermaids, the agendered Swedish child Pop, how childhood is gendered at toy shops, and the development of gender and sex in early childhood.  Will also considers the phrase “think of the children!”, paternity leave, and the issues that genderqueer parents have to face, such as who gets called mum and who gets called dad.  My personal favourite, however, is a fantastic essay on how Disney villains are presented as queer, and how this attempts to normalise queerphobia for youngsters!  I’d never considered the gentlemanly flamboyance of male villains such as Hook and Jafar, and the androgyny of Ursula (with her plus-sized frame and clumsiness) and Cruella de Vil (with her flat chest and big chin) that make them so threatening.  An orange cover with pink interior pages, the layout is plain but eye-catching.  An entertaining and thoughtful read, xyz is fast becoming one of my favourite British zines.

Spellbook for Reckless Children #1
Ruth, London – driftsong.girlATgmailDOTcom
In this quarter-sized perzine, Ruth writes about some dark material, including living with an abusive partner, feeling trapped in the overbearing fortresses of her schools and mental health wards, and working nights in a dementia unit at a care home.  There are plenty of positive stories here too, such as the tale of her imaginary friend Rainbow Girl, her love of collecting objects she finds on the street, her body manifesto (which includes things such as giving herself permission to take up more space), and being creative.  The positive content is written in Ruth’s gorgeous handwriting with lots of cute little drawings dotted around the place, some of which have been coloured in.  The darker stories she shares in this zine are typed, pasted onto dark backgrounds.  The contrast of light and dark is quite jarring, if I’m honest – I found her darker pieces very haunting and moving, particularly the piece on dementia, which was written beautifully; it feels strange to immediately read a piece on climbing trees and drawing ladybirds on her arms afterwards.  But that’s just a small complaint.  Ruth writes in a beautiful way that draws you in to her world, leaving you wanting to read more, and she coasts from one topic to another effortlessly – the last five pages in particular were some of the best I’d read for a long time.  This zine has a lot of potential – I think in another issue or two, it’ll be perfect.

Mix Zine #3
Fliss, - flisscATgmailDOTcom

What a lovely idea for a zine!  Basically, it’s a mix CD that comes with a booklet revealing a story behind Fliss’ love for each song.  In the introduction, Fliss explains that she wanted to create a zine that was different to what she found at the London Zine Symposium, and how sometimes it feels alienating to be a female music geek in a male-dominated world.  The ideal way to experience this zine is to put the CD on, and read each description while the song plays, savouring each song before moving onto the next.  The only problem with the zine is that if you’re not into the music Fliss chooses, which all seems to have an indie-pop/rock feel, then you’re probably not going to enjoy listening to the CD.  Hence, I’m including the track listing here, so you can make your own minds up before purchasing:
1.      See See Rider – She Sings Alone
2.      The Ecstacy of St. Teresa – What’s
3.      Psychedelic Furs – Heaven
4.      My Autumn Empire – Hatchlings
5.      Mega City Four – So
6.      Pet Shop Boys – King’s Cross
7.      The Fall – Rose
8.      The Outsiders – Lying all the Time
9.      The Slickers – Johnny Too Bad
10.  The Moldy Peaches – Jorge Regula
11.  The Heart Throbs – Kiss Me When I’m Starving
12.  Denim – The Great Pub Rock Revival
13.  The Honeycombs – Have I The Right?
14.  Robyn Hitchcock – 1974
15.  Cat Power – Good Women
16.  Cinerama – Comedienne
17.  Mo-Ho-Bish-O-P – Drop Jaw
18.  Julian Cope – Black Sheep
19.  Seafood – We Felt Maroon
20.  Television Personalities – The Dream Inspires
21.  The Chameleons – Ever After
If you like the sound of the music, then you’ll love this zine.  It reads like a letter from a good friend, and the way Fliss writes about each song is really nice. A chaotic cut-and-paste layout filled with stickers and Fliss’ messy handwriting adds a certain charm to it all.

Steve Larder, Nottingham – stevejipwitAThotmailDOTcom / Isy Morgan, England –
A joint Rum Lad and Morgenmuffel zine, which tracks their adventure to Scotland across Cairngorms National Park, through to Edinburgh.  We read about their encounters with the locals, trekking through fields of snow without snowshoes, visiting zinefests and DIY workshops, making new friends, admiring the gothic architecture, and partying at the Forest Café.  We also read about Isy’s involvement with volunteer-run vegan kitchens and cafés, and the problems with how we eat today (mostly due to the focus on profits and efficiency instead of public health and demand).  Instead of dividing the zine into a separate front and back half, both Steve and Isy tell the story a page each at a time.  It’s a really lovely way of sharing their adventures, making the zine feel more like a collaborative effort.  Both have an unique illustration style, and write their story in a cozy, intimate way. 

The Venns: A quest for the perfect pub quiz team
Quint & Jow, Sheffield - nowandvennATgmailDOTcom
The Venns is a research project about finding the perfect pub quiz, where Quint advances her own Quiz Venn Theory based on research conducted at various pub quizzes in Sheffield.  This theory is illustrated with flow charts, pie charts, graphs, equations, and venn diagrams.  It’s a lovely zine for pub quiz enthusiasts, which also features articles on why Quint and Jow love pub quizzes, the archetypes within a pub quiz team (e.g. The Ditherer), pub quiz etiquette, sample quiz questions, and rules of pub quiz nature (including “never second-guess your first instinct”).  There’s also a list of pub quizzes in and around Sheffield to check out.  A fun little read that made me want to check out more pub quizzes (even though I’m terrible at them)!  I also highly recommend their blog,, which contains lots of humorous venn diagrams.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Zine News Round-Up!

Hello again!  As you have hopefully noticed, we’ve tidied up the blog a bit today by updating the links section and setting up our own Facebook page!  If you’re on Facebook, go over and ‘like’ us; you’ll be notified every time we update the blog, and make us all feel very loved. :)  On the topic of links, don’t forget that we’re still looking for people to trade with! Take a look at our link exchange guidelines here.  Also, we’re still looking for writers – more info here.

Enjoy the news and we’ll see you soon!

Cath x


1. Zine Releases
2. Upcoming Events
3. Submission Calls
4. Distro News
5. AOB (Any Other Business)


1. Zine Releases
 - I’ve released issue 9 of my feminist perzine Here. In My Head.  More info on how to buy a  copy can be found at my blog.

 - Illustrator Sky Nash has released another one of her art-zines, titled There Are a Few Things I Would Like to Send in the Post.  Buy a copy at her etsy shop.
 - Melanie Maddison has released issue two of 'Shape & Situate: Posters of Inspirational European Women', a zine of posters made highlighting the history and lives of radical inspirational women and collectives from Europe
.  Ordering info can be found here.
 - The first issue of Gurl Love zine is out now!  Temporarily out of stock, so maybe check back in a week or so at their Big Cartel store.

2. Upcoming Events
 - July 21st is Zine Library Day, a worldwide day created to honour zine libraries and their workers.  More info at
 - Edinburgh Zine Fair: 7th August. Hosted by Zorras, it's being held at the Forest Cafe from 12 til 5pm. More info here. RSVP on Facebook here.
 - Cambridge Creative Fair: 3rd September.  Hosted by the Whirlygig Collective, 10.30am til 6pm.  For more info, email the organisers at infoATwhirlygigDOTme.
 - Camden Zine Fest: 8th October.  Stall and workshop applications are now open, and they’re completely free!  Book yours at

3. Submission Calls
 - Pandora Press, the Swansea Feminist Network zine, and is looking for submissions for its first issue!  The deadline is 17th July. More info can be found at the SFN blog here
 - Gurl Love zine is looking for submissions for its second issue. The deadline is the end of July. Send photos, drawings, prose, poems or anything else Gurl Love related to gurllovezineATgooglemailDOTcom.
 - Sarah Deetz is looking for submissions for a teen zine – she’s looking for things like mini-essays, old MySpace/webcam photos, diary entries, teen bedrooms, love letters, and drawings, all from when we were teenagers.  For more info, email Sarah at

4. Distro News
 - Having existed offline for a few years, Princessa Pirata distro now has a website where you can order some great queer/anarcha-feminist zines! Take a look at
 - Marching Stars is on temporary hiatus. Also, Lizzy is always looking for people to write zine descriptions for her catalogue, so if you’re interested drop her a line.
 - Vampire Sushi is on hiatus for two weeks, as Tukru and Carl are on holiday in Finland.

5. A.O.B.- Don't forget that July is International Zine Month! To celebrate, you could make a 24-hour zine, throw a cake-and-zines party, a big zine sale, or just spend this week's earnings entirely on zines (what do you mean, you do that already?)!
 - A few people have written about last month's Zine Fest @ The Women’s Library, including Feminist Memory, Miss Tukru, and Ingrid.  Ingrid also posted a lovely photo of Caitlin and I looking after Lizzy’s Marching Stars stall:


Sunday, 3 July 2011

Write For Us!

Spill the Zines is looking to expand and feature some articles alongside its reviews and news posts, and we're looking for writers to join our team!  If you're a writer that's passionate about zine culture, we want to hear from you!

Some articles we'd be interested in include:

  • Zine Fest reviews
  • Zines as educational tools
  • Zines as an alternative media
  • Favourite zine series
  • Tips on zine-making
  • Layout ideas
  • Zine do's and don'ts
  • Zine anthology reviews
  • Reviews of books about zines
  • Zines & activism
  • Zines & self-expression
  • Friendships and the zine scene

We're pretty flexible with our writers; all we ask is that writers must be able to adhere to editorial deadlines.  You can submit as much or as little as you want!

What you get:
  • Writing experience: a valuable addition to a portfolio or CV if you're interested in pursing a career in journalism/media. 
  • An audienceSpill the Zines currently averages 1000 readers per month! If you decide to become a regular writer, a link to your personal blog will go in our sidebar, thus increasing traffic for your own projects.
  • A chance to make a difference: We're the only zine blog dedicated to British zine culture and news, and we're getting bigger and better every month.
Interested? E-mail the editor Cath at with a bit about you (age, location, what zines you like to read, whether you write or contribute to zines) and a topic suggestion.

Can’t wait to hear from you!