Sunday, 23 December 2012

Zine News Round-Up: 23.12.12

photo by Tukru

Sorry it’s taken me forever to update this blog – it’s been a horrendously busy few months!  Enjoy your bumper news round-up post for today!  Spill the Zines will be on an official holiday hiatus for a month or so.  Happy holidays everyone!

Cath x 


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


1. Zine Releases
- Hedgehog in the Fog 3 is out and available to UK peers for £1 sent by paypal to (or you can email for trades)
- Your Pretty Face Is Going Straight to Hell #18 is out now! Buy your copy at
- Macro Shrub #5, a zine about "music and the creators’ relationship with all things musical, noisy and sort-of melodic", is out now!
- Issue 19 of Lights Go Out, a music fanzine, came out this week! More info at
- Sky Nash's latest zine, My Phone Hates Me #5, is out now.  Details at
- Shape & Situate: Posters Of Inspirational European Women #4 is out now. 
- Melanie Maddison has released issue #6 of Colouring Outside The Lines this month, "a zine full of conversations with contemporary female artists".
- Fanzine Ynfytyn #19 was released last month – available for £0.80 + postage from Emma’s website.
- Music fanzine This Is Not A Serious Publication: Autumn 2012, is out now.  Buy your copy at

2. Upcoming Events
- Have we missed anything?  Let us know –

3. Submission Calls
- Pandora Press, a feminist compzine published by the Swansea Feminist Network, is looking for contributors for its 5th issue (theme: media).  Provisional deadline: 30 January.  More info at
- Lindsay Starbuck and Melanie Maddison are working on a compzine called ‘Remember Who You Are’, which looks at “our own individual, personal histories to see how we come to be the people that we are, with the politics that we have”.  More details at
- Ink Soup is comics and narrative zine based in Birmingham. They are looking for comics and artwork for their 7th issue entitled 'Under New Management' - for more info check out:
- Kat is looking for reviews, essays, quotes and artwork for her Stephen King fanzine, titled ‘Death Is When The Monsters Get You’.  For more info, email

4. Distro News
- Vampire Sushi Distro has been updated with lots of lovely new stock.  They are also selling e-vouchers if anyone is looking for last minute Christmas present! Check it out at
- Sad news: UK distro Pushpin Publishing is no more.  Marceline still publishes zine reviews over at, and sells zines about Japan, music, and craft over at

5. AOB
- Sheffield Zine Fair 2013 is in planning, and will hopefully go ahead in Spring.  if anyone wants to get involved, email Bettie at or Chella at

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Guest Post: Not My Genre!

This is a guest post by Sarah E. Hoffman about stretching your zine writing into new genres.  Sarah is a zinester, blogger, academic and gastronomist. She enjoys picnics, the smell of freshly baked bread and bobo tea. When stressed she bakes until the flour runs out. Sarah is married to a very understanding non-foodie, whom she is in the process of converting. Find her @Sarah999 or

image via

I used to have a variety of hobbies and interests but in the last five years I have become a person that has only one hobby. My hobby has permeated every aspect of my life and has become the lenses through which I approach every topic. My life is all food, all the time. However, this does not mean that I only write about carrots. I write about lessons, history, movement, surprise, and a variety of other topics. The following is an articulation of the process that I use to approach a writing prompt that does not strictly fall within the category of food.

Don't make assumptions. Your readers won't storm off in a huff if you write about something that is different from what you usually write about. Would you?

Keep your voice. Consistently writing in a unique voice can be the thread that ties all of your writing together.

Stretch. Find a call for submission that is the antithesis of your chosen topic and write a piece for it.

Brainstorm. Give each call for submission careful consideration. There is usually a way to write about your area while respecting the guidelines of the zine.

Make mistakes. It is acceptable to give up on a submission because the topic is too disparate from your area of interest.

Following this framework has the potential to make your contribution unique. For example, the expected contributions on the topic of red velvet cake would include family traditions, recipes, and birthday cake memories. The submission that results from combining robots and red velvet cake or bats and red velvet cake would be unique. If you write about the prompt through the lenses of a particular topic you will be remembered. Isn't that what we all strive for?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Zine News Round-Up: 21.10.12

photo by Bettie - thanks!

Hello, Bettie here. I'm doing the round-up this week because Cath is
super busy and I am super not! Take a look at the 'Write for us' page
if you want to help out too.

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

1. Zine Releases
- Vacant Minds #2 is a mainly art and doodles zines, and it's free (or
trade). Info at their Tumblr:
- Have we missed anything?  Let us know –

2. Upcoming Events
- Documentary Screening 'From the Back of the Room': 28th October at
Shacklewell Arms, London. A documentary about women in DIY punk. More
info at:
- Leeds Zine Fair: Sunday 4th November at Wharf Chambers. LZF now has
its own website at:
- South East London Zine Fest: Sunday 11th November at the Amersham
Arms, New Cross. Have a look at their blog: or their Facebook page:
- Queer Zine Fest London: 8th December at Space Station 65,
Kennington. Lots of awesome zinesters and distros have been confirmed,
but there are still spots available to table and other ways to get
involved. More info at:

3. Submission Calls
- Poor Lass Zine is a positive collective zine by working class
grrrls. The theme for the first issue is 'work' and it's gonna be
awesome! Have a look at their facebook page for more info and how to

4. AOB
- Zinester punx the Copy Scams are playing gigs and holding readings
at zine fests and other events around the UK on their Sinister
Zinester Tour! Check their Facebook page to see where they're heading:

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Zine News Round-Up: 07.10.12

photo by Melanie Maddison - thanks!

We're back!  Sorry for the long silence, life stuff sort of took over for a while.  As an aside, if anyone ever wants to give us a hand with writing for Spill the Zines, do get in touch!  Check out the 'Write for Us' page for more info. 

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


1. Zine Releases
- ‘Dirty Blyter!’ is a zine all about the sexual innuendo/subtext in Enid Blyton’s novels.  Buy a copy at folksy.
- ‘Lights Go Out’ #18: The 24 Hour Zine Thing Issue, is out now!  Buy your copy at
- Have we missed anything?  Let us know –

2. Upcoming Events
- REVOLT – DIY Riot Grrrl Ruckus: Saturday 13 October @ Taylor John’s House, Coventry. An evening of riot grrrl, spoken word, and burlesque (and I’m doing a zine reading!).  More details can be found at
- Birmingham Zine Festival: 12 – 15 October.  Want to get involved?  More info can be found at
- Documentary Screening- ‘From The Back of the Room’: 28 October @ Power Lunches, London.  A documentary on women in DIY punk cultures. More info here.
- Leeds Zine Fair: Sunday 04 November at Wharf Chambers.  If you'd like to get involved in organising the zine fair, or hold a stall at the zine fair then get in touch at
- London Queer Zine Fest: Saturday 08 December @ Space Station 65, Kennington.  The organisers are still looking for people to table, and to help out generally – if you want to get involved, there’s lots of info at

3. Submission Calls
- To commemorate the film screening ‘From The Back of the Room’ mentioned above, the organiser Charlotte is putting together a zine on women and punk.  Written submissions must be 200 words max, visual submissions must be black and white.  Deadline: 21 October.  Questions and submissions can be sent to

4. Distro News
- Marching Stars Distro is still on hiatus, but will be back soon with a new website! Keep your eye on twitter and tumblr for more info about when the distro will reopen.
 - Vampire Sushi has a new website design and new stock!  Take a look at
- Lots of lovely new stuff over at Pushpin Publishing -

5. AOB
- Are you on tumblr?  If you want to spread the zine-love with lots of new followers, share your tumblr over at the WMZ forum:

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Zine Reviews: August '12

Ellipsis #2
Sarah-Beth, Coventry – kittenesqueATgmailDOTcom
This is such a beautiful little zine!  Sarah-Beth’s second perzine explores topics including feeling overwhelmed by all the things she’s yet to learn (like how mortgages work) and feeling unsure as to whether she can discuss something if she doesn’t know much about it, a scathing review of the 50 Shades trilogy that clearly highlights the problematic nature of the story, lists of what she’s been up to recently and what she’s enjoyed recently, thoughts on fitness and body image, her feelings about Gala Darling, and girl-hate.  The layouts are gorgeous and carefully thought-out, with printed text (in a nice arial narrow font), stamped headings and the odd handwritten line here and there.   The cover sheet is very clever too – purple paper printed with purple ink.  ‘Ellipsis’ is one of my favourite UK perzine series – highly recommended!

And All The Rest Is Talk #1: Lungs And Lips Locked
Lindsey, UK -
In this 14-page half-sized perzine, Lindsey writes about how everyone is a little bit creative, her thoughts on war (“war means someone has to die”), her experiences of her own femininity and cross-dressing, and her new-found love for zines.  We also read a review of female-fronted punk band Drag, and a nice piece of prose titled ‘To See the World in a Grain of Toast’.  Mostly handwritten, with some magazine clippings and hand drawings alongside the text.  Feels very personal and hand-made, like the pages have been taken out of someone’s journal.

Mythologising Me #5
Ingrid, Oxford – mythologisingmeATgmailDOTcom
Ingrid describes the fifth issue of her perzine as being more honest than previous issues, exploring her feelings on some difficult and personal topics.  The longest written piece focuses on her career plans, frustrations at not being able to afford postgraduate study, and thoughts about why one’s job seems so integral to one’s identity (why do so many people ask “so what is it that you DO?”, as if your job is all you ‘do’?).  There are also lots of shorter pieces throughout, on topics including diary-writing, feeling nervous about standing up for what she believes in when others disagree with her, the internet and how everything has become intangible (ebooks, blogs, etc), feeling down and starting CBT, and making a bigger effort to stick to her vegan diet.  There’s a theme of self-improvement and looking forward that comes out in her writing, and Although Ingrid writes inside that she thinks this issue isn’t as cheery as previous issues, I think I would disagree.  Mostly written on her typewriters (I love the cursive typewriter font!), the layouts are among her best yet, with some hand-drawings and nice cut-and-paste artwork. 

Ok Werner
Jean & Brian McEwan, West Yorkshire -
A fanzine made by brother and sister Jean and Brian about their favourite filmmaker, Werner Herzog, this zine was put together on a self-appointed week-long “Herzog Holiday” at Jean’s house.  Inside we read reasons why they love Herzog’s work, common themes in his work, lists of their favourite films, their favourite quotes of his, and more.  I love it when people write enthusiastically about the things they love in zines, and ‘OK Werner’ is a lovely example of that.  I hadn’t heard of Werner Herzog until reading this zine, but I’m definitely going to check out some of his stuff when I get the chance.  Thanks Jean and Brian!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Zine News Round-Up: 12.08.12

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


1. Zine Releases
- Feminist perzine ‘Buy Her Candy’ #3 was released a little while ago!  Buy a copy, plus some cute crafts, at Bettie’s etsy.
- Tukru has released ‘Your Pretty Face Is Going Straight To Hell’ #17: A 24-Hour Zine!  Buy your copy at Vampire Sushi distro.
- Bloomigrant, a 24-hour zine written by the author of Bloomurder, is out now!  Details and order info can be found at etsy.
- Here. In My Head. #11, a 24-hour perzine, was released last week.  More info at my blog.- Perzine 'Ellipsis' #2 is out now! To buy or trade, get in touch with Sarah-Beth at her We Make Zines page.- 'We Are Adventurers' #1, a 24-hour zine about recent adventures, is out now!  Buy a copy from Tracey’s etsy. 
- Ingrid has released two issues of Mythologising Me: #5.5, a 24-hour zine, and #6, subtitled ‘Change and Consumption’.  Email her at mythologisingmeATgmailDOTcom to buy or trade.
- Jean McEwan and her brother have created a zine called ‘OK Werner’, about their favourite filmmaker Werner Herzog.  Buy your copy at
- 'Angry Violist' #6, a zine about music-making and experimental string playing, is out now! Etsy again.
- 'Elderflower Tea' #3 was released last week!  Details and ordering info can be found at Sarah’s blog.

2. Upcoming Events
- You can catch readings from Chella Quint’s zine ‘It’s Not You, I Just Need Space’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival tomorrow at 2.50pm, venue 156!
- Girls Get Busy Zinefest: 25th August at The Shacklewell Arms, London.  Spill the Zines has a table, so come and say hi!  More info can be found at the event page here.
- Zine Readings & Rock Music: 15th September at Chameleon Arts Café, Nottingham. Organised by Steve Larder (author of ‘Rum Lad’). Download the flyer here.
- Birmingham Zine Festival: 12th – 15th October.  Want to get involved?  More info can be found at
- Leeds Zine Fair: Sunday 4th November at Wharf Chambers.  If you'd like to get involved in organising the zine fair, or hold a stall at the zine fair then get in touch at

3. Submission Calls
- Bettie (of ‘Buy Her Candy’ zine) is making a compzine all about the 90s, and needs submissions!  There’s no fixed deadline as of yet, but Bettie is hoping to put it together in September.  More info can be found here.

4. Distro News
- Vampire Sushi and Pushpin Publishing have recently been updated with loads of lovely new stock!
- Marching Stars is on hiatus until September, when it will reopen with a new website, shopping cart system, customer order history, and an intergrated loyalty card system!

5. AOB
- Download Richard Herring’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival podcast (#10) to listen to a review of Chella Quint’s compzine ‘Adventures in Menstruating’!
- Bettie wrote a nice review of last weekend’s Little Zine Party’ event, which you can read at her blog.
- I was interviewed for culture blog 'twenty-four hours'! Check it out: 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Zine Reviews: July '12

Rum Lad #5
Steve Larder, Lincolnshire –
Rum Lad has to be one of my favourite comic zines – every issue features interesting handwritten stories, surrounded by Steve’s charming and rich illustrations.  This issue features a visual diary detailing the “organised chaos” of his band’s tour around America – travelling for over 10 hours at a time in their tour van, playing at pubs and house parties, sofa surfing, and exploring the American towns they visited.  The illustrations of the band members, the venues, the interesting personalities they meet along the way, and the American scenery, are all so full of character that they really draw you in to Steve’s story.  I liked the choice of topic too; it was fascinating to see the details of what goes on during a cross-country tour.  Rum Lad never disappoints – get your paws on this issue now!

Buy Her Candy #2
Another cracking zine by Bettie, which opens with a list of things she has been up to since the last issue, including planning a riot grrrl night, and watching Star Trek TNG.  We read about Bettie’s concerns surrounding privacy in her zines, a little guide to her favourite parts of Chorlton, her feelings as she approaches the end of her nursing degree, and her future plans for when she qualifies as a nurse.  The layouts are as pretty as ever, with handwritten and typewritten sections, and lots of cool pictures and patterns pasted in.  However, my favourite thing has to be the cover – a cartoon of Cinderella and Snow White sharing a passionate kiss, printed on lilac paper!  Gorgeous.

Sad Songs About Failed Relationships
This zine is very difficult to describe.  From the title and gorgeous cover, I expected some sort of dissection of classic break-up songs alongside a story about a break-up.  Instead, Kirsten briefly outlines the dissolution of a relationship with sparse words, cartoons of typical relationship anxieties (e.g. how many kisses to include in a text), and symbolic drawings.  On the last page, Kirsten provides a link to the “soundtrack” of the zine, which features some great songs about failed relationships, including Leonard Cohen’s ‘Take This Longing’, The Dresden Dolls’ ‘Delilah’, and Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’.  This was a nice touch, though I would’ve loved to read a discussion as to why those particular songs were chosen!  I like the fact that it’s not your typical break-up zine, and it’s been put together carefully and creatively.  Having said that, I love me some dense, wordy zines, and the lack of text just didn’t sustain my interest.   A very interesting concept though, definitely worth a flick.   Buy your copy for a mere 45p (I love cheap zines!) – this zine has a limited print run, so grab hold of one asap!

Nancy #1
Alex Creep, London –
An intelligent queer zine written by effeminate queer Alex, which discusses in detail the concept of a nancy boy (a femme gay man), the way mainstream gay culture marginalizes effeminate queers and the pressure gay men face to “act straight”.  Tied in with this larger discussion Alex brings in ideas about the concept of “camp”, the idolization of strong women like Lady Gaga by gay men as examples of “strong femininity”, the oversexualization of gay culture, and effeminate boys in anime and goth culture.  We also read Alex’s own story of coming to terms with his effeminacy, and a list of his favourite femme gays of TV and film, including Kurt of Glee and Lafayette Reynolds of True Blood.  The layout is functional – mostly black text on white background, with hand drawings of a few of the aforementioned queers scattered throughout.  Having never really considered the idea of “sissyphobia”, this zine was an illuminating read.  Alex did a good job of discussing a murky issue with clarity and good humour, peppered with stories of his own experiences.  Highly recommended!

Bloomurder #1
Laura, Bristol -
This little perzine features the kind of topics you’d expect from a first issue - bicycles, gigs (Adelaide Fringe Festival 2011), travelling stories, thoughts about femininity, and nostalgia.  In the middle there’s a very interesting little piece on Laura’s love of violent/horrific art (including Medusa by Caravaggio), which was my favourite part of the zine.  Bloomurder has a nice upbeat tone, laid out with cut and paste imagery and charming scratchy handwriting. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Favourite Zine Series #1: Sugar Paper

This is a guest post written by Caitlin Beth.  Caitlin is a feminist, zinester, ukelele player, and amateur music journalist.  

You’d pretty much have to be living under a rock these days to not have noticed a massive resurgence in crafts. Whether this is a feminist issue or not is another discussion for another time, but there is no denying that what was once seen as traditional pursuits, like knitting and baking, are all the rage these days, with both women and men. Riding the crest of this wave is the wonderful craft zine, Sugar Paper.

Every issue of the zine sees its two writers, Kandy and Seleena, set out 20 make and do projects that can be tackled by absolutely anyone with a minimum of cost. Sugar Paper makes it outrageously easy for anyone to give the various projects a go, and the way the zine is written makes the projects accessible, and makes them seem incredibly easy, which they very often are.

Everything about the Sugar Paper series screams DIY from the covers to the projects themselves. The 20 DIY projects in issue range from anything to knitting a scarf, baking a cake that looks like a burger, encouraging readers to vote, and even dance routines! Most of the issues come with free gifts too, making it even easier to get involved.

The format and the design of the zines are delightfully kitsch and retro, reminiscent of the old-school girls magazines that many of us grew up with, with the content being colourful, fun, and irreverent. The cover is always drawn by a guest illustrator, giving each issue a fresh feeling.  Many of the projects are written by guest writers too, making this a collaborative zine effort.

On Kandy and Seleena’s BigCartel store, you can buy all 9 issues of Sugar Paper, and the girls have also very kindly put together craft kits to buy too, with kits dedicated to cross-stitch and knitting, amongst others. You can also find the girls at the Sugar Paper blog, a blog just as delightful as their zine, which chronicles the pair’s adventures, as well as offering all sorts of crafty and arty inspiration.

Sugar Paper is the ideal zine to pick up if, like me, you love picking up knowledge and learning stuff from your zines. For someone as craft-phobic as I previously was, this has definitely passed on the bug. The girls recently contributed to the wonderful State of Craft book too, which is also really fantastic if Sugar Paper has whet your appetite for making and doing. The 9th issue of the zine has just been released, and is available to purchase right now on the Sugar Paper store: The Sugar Paper blog can be found at

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Zine News Round-Up: 08.07.12

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


1. Zine Releases
- ‘Drifting Clouds: Writings on Consent’ was released last week.  You can buy a copy at Princesa Pirata Distro.
- Hayley Foster da Silva has released the third issue of her feminist perzine, ‘Dancing Barefoot’.  To buy a copy, email Hayley at
 - ‘Feeling Alone: A zine about being an inpatient with BPD’ was released last week.  Buy your copy at
-  I’ve released the tenth issue of my perzine, ‘Here. In My Head.’, a special half-sized issue all about university.  More info on how to buy a copy can be found here.
- Angry Violist #5.5 is out now!  Created for the 24-hour Zine Thing.  More info about getting hold of one can be found on Emma’s blog.
- Issue 16 of CZDerby, a zine by the Derby City Zine Collective, is out now!  You can buy a copy or download a PDF at

2. Upcoming Events
- ‘We Face Forward’ Fanzine Workshop: Saturday 28th July at The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.  More info at
- ‘Little Zine Party’: Saturday 4th August at Ort Café, Birmingham.  A day of “stalls, screen printing & zine making workshops, zine readings, and making friends”!  To get involved, email the organiser Sarah at More info here.
- International Alternative Press Festival: Saturday 4th August & Sunday 5th August at Conway Hall, London.  Bringing together UK and European small press comix, zines, book arts and print!
- Birmingham Zine Festival: 12th – 15th October.  Want to get involved?  More info can be found at
- Leeds Zine Fair: Sunday 4th November.  If you'd like to get involved in organising the zine fair, or hold a stall at the zine fair then get in touch at

3. Submission Calls
- Want to contribute to CZDerby, a zine published by the Derby city Zine Collective?  Details can be found at
- ‘Pandora Press #4: The Pink issue’ has extended its deadline to AUGUST 12.  More info on how to contribute can be found at
- Some of last month’s submission calls are still open too!

4. Distro News
- Marching Stars is 5 years old this month, and to celebrate, all orders over £12 in July will receive a free tote bag!
- Vampire Sushi was updated last week with lots of new stock!
- Lots of lovely new stock at Pushpin Publishing!

5. AOB
- Marceline, the lady behing Pushpin Publishing, is running another Zine Challenge, which challenges people to make a zine in the next 12 months.  More info and details on how to sign up can be found at
 - We’re officially 1 week into International Zine Month 2012!  You can find out more about it all over at Stolen Sharpie Revolution.  What are you getting up to this month?  Join the discussion over at We Make Zines.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Zine Reviews: June '12 (vlog)

Happy International Zine Month!  Here's our latest zine reviews, in the form of another vlog.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

International Zine Month 2012


This Sunday (July 1st) marks the beginning of International Zine Month, and entire month dedicated to celebrating zines and independent publishing with people from all over the world.  Here are two excellent ways to celebrate IZM:

flyer by Alex Wrekk

1. 31 Days of International Zine Month.
Alex compiled a list of things to do for every day in July to celebrate zines, the postal service, zine libraries, and distros.  Some examples include teaching a friend or family member about zines, writing to a distro telling them you love what they do, and making your own envelopes.  The full list can be found at, or you can download a PDF of the above image to copy and distribute here.

2. 24 Hour Zine Thing
This challenge asks zinesters to create a 24-page zine in 24 hours straight, on any day they wish during IZM.  The zine must be created from conception to final product during this time, so you can't approach the challenge knowing exactly what you're going to create!  It's all about being adventurous and setting a challenge for yourself.  Read more and sign up to the challenge at

What are you guys hoping to do to celebrate International Zine Month?  Do any of these challenges particularly grab you?  Let us know in the comments!


p.s. For those of you who noticed, I'm sorry I didn't write any zine reviews on Sunday.  They're going to have to be a week late, because I'm rubbish.  They'll be done in the form of a vlog though, so hopefully worth the wait!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Zine News Round-Up: 17.06.12

image by Miss Tukru

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


1. Zine Releases
- Sky Nash has released a ‘Monsters Colouring Book’!  Contains 16 hand-drawn monsters to colour in.  Buy a copy at her etsy store.
- ‘Necronomicon’ #23 is out now!  The horror fanzine is available to buy for £1 at
- Handwritten perzine ‘And All The Rest Is Talk #1: Lungs and Lips Locked’ is out now!  Available here.

2. Upcoming Events
- ‘Little Zine Party’: Saturday 4th August at Ort Café, Birmingham.  A day of “stalls, screen printing & zine making workshops, zine readings, and making friends”!  To get involved, email the organiser Sarah at More info here.
- International Alternative Press Festival: Saturday 4th August & Sunday 5th August at Conway Hall, London.  Bringing together UK and European small press comix, zines, book arts and print!
- Birmingham Zine Festival: 12th – 15th October.  Want to get involved?  More info can be found at
- Leeds Zine Fair: Sunday 4th November.  If you'd like to get involved in organising the zine fair, or hold a stall at the zine fair then get in touch at

3. Submission Calls
- Do you make art?  Want to share it with the world?  Check out Shopia’s art-share project at
- Do you collect vinyl records, CDs, cassettes or all of the above? If so, Charlotte wants to interview you for a zine about female music collectors and women musicians!  Drop her a line.

- Seleena is looking for people to submit  interpretations of what the character Tino from 'My So-Called Life' looks like for her zine, 'Has Anybody Seen Tino'.  Artwork can be in any format (paint, collage, stitched) as long as it's A5. Deadline: June 30th. For more info, email Seleena at

4. Distro News
- Everyone’s open and full of new stock! Hurrah!

5. AOB
- July is International Zine Month, and July 21st is International Zine Library Day!  You can find out more about it all over at Stolen Sharpie Revolution.  What have you got planned?  Join the discussion over at We Make Zines.
- This is an interesting article that’s been doing the rounds recently – a librarian from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture in the Duke University Libraries writes about why they’re not digitising zines (I wish it was longer though, especially the section on print culture!):

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Guest Post: How To Run A Zine Event

crowd at Brighton Zinefest 2010 - image by Emma Jane Falconer

This is a guest post written by Emma Jane Falconer, which originally appeared on her blog 'Emma Makes Stuff'.  Emma is a zinester, illustrator, photographer, and film-maker.  You can find out more about her work at

For 3 years I was part of the group that ran the Brighton Zinefest. We started just with the idea it would be fun to have a zine event in Brighton and managed to build a successful and fun event. Sadly we don't run it any more because hardly any of the original organisers live in Brighton any more, and nobody appeared to take over, and it just wasn't practical to hold another.

People have occasionally asked or emailed me for tips about how to do these things, and rather than repeat myself I thought I might as well write this, and just refer people to it. Most of the info is from my experience of being part of running something myself, and from observations about other zine events I have attended over the years. I might come across as some kind of table-measuring organisation obsessive here, but all this preparation stuff makes the final event far less stressful. I'm sorry if some of this is very obvious advice, but sometimes it's easy to ignore the obvious when you're caught up in something. Hopefully I haven't missed anything important myself. I should also add that there is no 100% right way to do these things, but I hope these are practical tips that will save people stress.

Before you start:
Here are my tips

* You are not going to make any money from holding a zine event. 

* Only run a small-scale event by yourself. If you want to hold a bigger event, it's best to be part of a group. Otherwise you are likely to die of stress.

* If you have a group, you need to decide from the outset how it will be run. For the Brighton Zinefest we operated as a collective (with 5-7 per year), where each member had equal say and decisions were made by consensus. We recognised that people had lives outside of the event, and kept minutes of our meetings and emailed them to people if they couldn't make it that month, and the members increased and decreased their involvement week to week to fit in around their lives. Things ran very well because we respected each other and worked co-operatively. Bringing office politics and power struggles into organising an event that's supposed to be fun is pointless.

*Don't over-commit yourself. It's unrealistic to think that you will live, eat and breathe organising this event, and unrealistic to expect anyone else to. You also have a life, don't forget about that.

*On the other hand, don't expect to be able to skip out on all the tedious organising stuff before the event and expect it to run smoothly.

* Use people's strengths and work round their weaknesses. For instance if you're someone who tends to panic, get someone with a cooler head to deal with things that go wrong last minute and so on. Make use of people's contacts and real-life jobs and so on as well. For instance, one of our organisers was very involved with music and putting on bands, so he was able to organise a fund-raising gig much more easily than any of the other members of the group.

* Make a spreadsheet to keep track of finances from the outset and be diligent about it. Don't sink much of your own money into an event, especially if it's your first. You're better off holding something small in a cheap/free venue to start out with.

* Be prompt and organised about answering emails, and if you work in a group make sure people share their information so everyone knows what's happening and who's dealing with what.

* Don't underestimate how much time it takes to organise things. Trying to organise a huge event in a month is just going to be painful. If you don't have much time to spare, keep it small.


The first step is finding a venue and choose a date and time to book it. It's unlikely you have much of a budget, especially if it's your first event. There's not much money in selling zines, so the stallholders won't be willing to spend much for stall fees, and visitors don't really want to pay much of an entrance fee, so you need to find somewhere cheap. Holding a fund-raiser before hand is often better than trying to get stall-holders to pay more for stalls. Community halls, schools, universities and libraries often have suitable rooms available for low prices, and are quite likely to give you a heavy discount or even let you use it for free for a non-profit thing like a zine fair, especially if there are going to be free workshops. They also have tables and chairs already there, which is very important. Weekends tend to be best, because people are more likely to be free to visit then. In the UK afternoon fairs 12-5 seem to work the best, but you should choose what works the best in your country/culture.

It's also important to consider accessibility. It's very likely that people with wheelchairs, walking sticks, buggies and other things that don't go very well with lots of stairs will want to come. This is another reason why places like community centres, schools, etc are a good venue to choose, because they tend to be required by law in most countries to be equipped with step free entrances, lifts, disabled toilets etc. Places like universities also often have things like induction loops for hearing aids.

Find out what the venue's policies/facilities are regarding food. They might have a café in the building and not allow separate sales of cake, refreshments etc, they might not allow home-cooked food that's not from a certified kitchen or they might have a kitchen you can use for whatever you want as long as it's left clean (this is the most common thing in the UK). In the UK (I don't know about other countries) it's very popular for people to bring cakes to either sell from their stall or to donate to the event as a fund-raiser, and it's important to know if the venue allows this.

The ideal venue is accessible without stairs (so either is on the ground floor, or has ramps or lifts), has a generously sized main room for stalls, plenty of tables and chairs, another smaller room for workshops, facilities to make drinks, decent toilet facilities, a quieter area over to one side to let people relax and chat ( a craft table or library box of zines to browse is also nice in this area), is easy to get to and has parking. Of course it's not so easy to always find such a perfect place. In our first year we used a local hall that we were offered for free. It was accessible, had a kitchen, a stage, tables, a car park, clean toilets, and was in the town centre. The downside was that there was no separate room for workshops (we ended up having them at a local café/social club place), the hall was quite small, so it got very crowded, and to get to the kitchen you had to walk over the stage.

The second and third years we moved to a similar but larger hall, which offered us a very cheap rate. It had a kitchen with a serving counter onto the main room and separate rooms for workshops, but we didn't get to use all of the available space, because some of the extra rooms were up steep stairs, and it didn't seem fair to put too much up there (it's a very old building run on a low budget, and I think they're trying to get money for a stair lift). In the end we ended up putting six or so stalls up there, because there was literally no-where else to put them on the ground floor, but we preferred to keep as much as possible downstairs. The other disadvantage was that it was in more of a residential area, and on a steep hill, which makes it less likely to get curious passers-by pop in.

If you can, try to have a sitting down area with some kind of craft activity. It can be something as simple as some old magazines and pictures for making collages and some paper and colouring things on a small table in a corner. People with children will thank you for this. A popular thing to do is provide pre-cut sheets of paper for people to make a page for a collective zine, and a box to leave them in with a sign up sheet for contact details if you'd like to see the finished zine from the day.

Allocating stalls:

Before you go advertising or allocating any stalls you need to go to the venue and have a physical “dress rehearsal” with the tables and chairs. The inventories/floor plans venues will give you are often out of date or inaccurate. It's best to have 2 sizes of stall, small and large. Usually these are done as full or half tables on the typical large painting tables that most venues have. I've been to events before where they try to cram in 1/3 tables and it just gets cramped and messy. In my opinion you're better off having fewer stalls fitted in better. It's very important to know how many tables you actually have and how they fit into the room. I once went to a zine event and there weren't actually enough tables or chairs for all the people they'd given stalls to. I was running late due to a transport problem, and I got there all flustered and hot only to find I didn't even have a stall any more, and decided to not bother with the fair. Luckily I hadn't travelled very far to get there.

Large stalls are for people with lots of stock: distros and people with lots of back issues. It annoys the stallholders to get to an event and find that they have been given half a table for 15 different issues of a zine or a whole distro, and there's someone with a full table for 2 different issues.

Lay out the tables with plenty of room for people to walk, at least 6ft5 / 2m if possible, and try to avoid creating areas where people can get cornered once the event gets busy. Having a gap between tables for stallholders to get out is also helpful. Make sure to put out enough chairs: bare minimum is one chair per small stall and two per large stall. Also make sure that space allocation is fair, measure all the tables and give a set amount of space for large and small stalls. It's not fair to just go “half tables!” when all the tables are different sizes. Mark out your stall boundaries with masking tape and make a careful floor plan. This might seem excessive or pernickety, but it comes in very useful on the actual day, and means you don't accidentally over-allocate stalls, and you know where everything is meant to go. You should also allocate a large table for people to bring individual zines to sell, and a table for freebies.

For allocating stalls I think it's best to set a deadline for applications rather than doing first come, first served, because it stops people with great zines missing out on a stall because they didn't hear about the event. When you ask for applications you need to have clear policies on what people can have on their stalls spelled out in the info. For instance we said crafts are welcome, but stalls must be 75% zine, and we don't accept zines with discriminatory material (racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, etc). In the application ask people what size stall they want, if they are a distro or individuals, and to describe what their zine(s) is/are about and provide a link to their website or Etsy. If you are clear about these things on the outset you're far less likely to suddenly find on the day that you've given a stall to someone who runs a Klu Klux Klan zine or something. If you don't specify tables must be majority zine, sometimes it can turn into more of a craft fair with the odd zine. We also came up with a suggested price guide after visiting an event where people were trying to sell standard photocopied b/w zines for ludicrously inflated prices.

If someone writes in and says “I don't have any zines yet, but I plan to have made one by the event”, don't give them a table. Who knows if they will actually follow through. If they finish it in time, they can always put their zine on the individual zine table.

When you have chosen what people to give stalls to, remember to send a polite email to the people you turned down. Don't leave notifying people too late. Often people travel long distances to get to zine events, and if you leave it too long they might not be able to come, because they often rely on cheap advance tickets for travel. Give the stallholders plenty of info weeks in advance: travel directions, the time they should arrive, and a phone number to call on the day if they have problems getting to the venue or finding it. Make sure the phone number you give will actually be answered.

Workshops and volunteers:
Workshops at zine events are always really popular, and quite easy to organise at very low cost. You can usually get volunteers to give them. Popular things include zine readings, talks, discussion panels and demonstrations of DIY skills (we had over the years: screen-printing, basics of zine layout, vegan cooking, basics of comics and bookbinding). Make sure to have a set timetable for workshops, display it on your website/blog, and have it printed large and displayed very prominently at your zine event so people know what's happening, when, and where. Having your workshops in the same room as stalls is a bad idea because it's very easy for people's voices to get drowned out by the bustle of the stalls.

Having volunteers to help with the running on the day will also make it less stressful for you. Volunteers can help set up the tables right at the start, and put them away afterwards. It's good to have someone to mind the individual zines table and a donation bucket if you have one, and to do tea and coffee if you have the facilities.

I think the most important thing to do here is not start too late. It's a good idea to set up a website/blog as soon as you have a venue confirmed. On the website/blog at least have a summary of what will happen at the event, contact details for the organisers, how to apply for a stall and travel directions to the venue. You can also appeal for volunteers to help out on the day.

Get an artistic/designy friend to do you an attractive flyer with the date, time, website/blog, location and full address of the venue. If your flyer looks boring or scrappy and doesn't have the full info it's not going to help you get people to come. Print lots of quarter-sized flyers cheaply. Black and white photocopies are absolutely fine, you don't need to bankrupt yourself with glossy colour printing. Using coloured paper can make them look nice on the cheap. Send flyers to distros months before the event for them to send out with zine orders, and hand out flyers and chat to people at other zine events and other things where you think people might be interested in zines (gigs, craft/diy events etc). If you're shy, maybe get an outgoing friend to help you with this. The personal touch of talking to someone or receiving a flyer with some zines makes far more of an impact than an email or Facebook mailing list. Having a coloured-in digital version of the flyer available on your website/blog for people to post on their own blogs also helps you spread the word.

Make sure to contact your local listings magazine well in advance, they usually require you to send details a month before each issue comes out. Local newspapers are also quite often keen to cover these types of events too, especially if you don't live in a big city, so try to contact them. A few weeks before the event, go round local shops to leave flyers. Places like independent coffee shops, clothes shops and record shops are usually enthusiastic. Chain places usually won't let you. Be polite when you ask. If you have left flyers, return once a week to check up on the levels and replace them if possible.

Don't rely on Facebook events to help you promote. A lot of people get so heavily spammed with events that don't interest them and are happening 3,000 miles away that they barely pay attention to their Facebook invites. There's plenty of people who don't use Facebook or have an account but don't really bother with it too.

On the day:

Get to the venue several hours in advance to set everything up. If you aren't going to get in trouble for it, it's a good idea to fix up paper signs with arrows pointing the way from places like the local bus or train station. Make sure to have a clear sign outside the venue, this will also attract passers-by. Fix a sign on the door visitors should come in by too. If your venue has multiple rooms, fix up signs inside pointing to the other rooms so people don't miss them. If there are other things going on in the same building make sure to have signs showing where your event ends. Simple computer printed sheets of paper are fine for all this. If you have workshops, have large printed timetables of them pinned up everywhere. If your country/region uses multiple languages, try to have signs in all the languages, checked by a competent/native speaker if possible. You want the whole place to be easy to find and to look welcoming.

The stall-holders are usually told to arrive an hour before doors open to the public. All the tables and chairs should be set up before the stall-holders arrive, and I strongly suggest marking out the stall boundaries with tape and putting the stall-holder's name on the space. People tend to spread their stuff out to fill space, and if there's no boundaries marked it's easy to go over your space and not realise until your neighbour arrives and you have to move all your stuff again, which makes set-up take much longer. Having the stalls marked out and named also has the advantage that people can swap stalls to be near a friend without messing up the layout much, because all they have to do is swap the name labels on two same-sized stalls.

Stall-holders always arrive late or get lost, so don't freak out about it, they will get there eventually, and everything will work out fine. This is why giving them your phone number well in advance is a good idea. Having the stalls marked out and named means that if someone does arrive really late they can just be calmly directed to their space, and it hasn't been taken over by someone else, causing a big reshuffle. Have someone at the door with a list of stall-holders, checking them off as you arrive. Once the public start arriving, it's also a good idea to get someone with a microphone/loud voice to announce upcoming workshops.

Hopefully everything should be fun throughout the day, and if things do go wrong, don't worry too much, it's unlikely anyone will die because the zine reading started 20 minutes late. Make sure the person running the individual zine table keeps careful track of how many issues people left, how many sold, and the money made so there are no arguments at the end of the day when people come back to claim their unsold issues and money. When everyone has gone, put the tables away and clean up, and you're done.