Sunday, 26 February 2012

Zine Reviews: Feb '12 - vlog special!

I decided to do something different this month, and put February's zine reviews as a vlog!  It's a bit rough, but then it is only my first vlog.  Let me know what you think! :)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Zine News Round Up: 12.02.12

photo by Hello Amber (

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


1. Zine Releases
 - The first issue of Now In Lemon is out, featuring illustration, art, and a bit of writing.  More info at
- Toastycats #6, a comic by Magda Boreysza published out of Scotland, is out now!  Buy your copy here.
 - A new perzine, Any Old Iron, is out now, featuring musings on nude modelling, colouring for grown ups, comics, a lino print, and other lovely stuff. Get in touch with Hannah to buy or trade.

2. Upcoming Events
 - Cardiff Book Arts Fayre: Saturday 25th February at Turner House, Cardiff, 11am til 5pm.
- Tooting Zine Fair: Saturday 25th February at Construction Gallery, Tooting, 12pm til 6pm.  There are still free stalls and workshop spaces available!  For more info on the event, visit (and check out their cute flyer!)
 - Loosely Bound’s Zine Extravaganza: Saturday 24th March at 1 Tyrell Street, Bradford.  The collective are looking for stallholders for the event - Please email your expression of interest and a link to your website  by Monday 12th March.
 - Ladyfest East London: Sunday 1st April in Hoxton Square.  A day of zines, music, workshops, and cake!  The organisers are looking for people to get involved – email for more info.
 - Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention: Saturday 19th March at Victoria Baths, Manchester.  There are plenty of spaces for stallholders left –more info on applying for a table can be found here.

3. Submission Calls
 - Pandora Press, a feminist comp-zine created by the Swansea Feminist Network, has extended its deadline for submissions until 20th February!  For writing prompts and detailed info on how to submit something, check out the SFN website.
 - A new UK film zine called Human Batteries is looking for submissions for its first issue.  More info can be found on their comprehensive flyer.
 - Most of last week’s submission calls are still open too!

4. Distro News
 - Vampire Sushi Distro is closed for a few days for a post-zinefest stock check.  There will be new zines in stock when they re-open!
 - Over at Pushpin Publishing, the 'Answers on a Postcard' series of crafty business zines are now half price, just £1 each. They also have a new artist bookmark by illustrator Chris Summerlin, which is free with all orders over £6.

5. AOB
 - Instead of including zine reviews in the fortnightly zine news posts, I’ve added a list of UK zine review blogs to the sidebar.  Check them out!  If you write a UK zine review blog and want to be added to the list, email me!
 - Not really UK-related, but just to let you know that Alex Wrekk has launched an awesome Stolen Sharpie Revolution website, which features lists of zine events, distros, and resources from the international zine community.  Also, we’ve been mentioned a few times there!  Check it out -

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Feature: Working With Distros

This is a guest post by Lizzy Goddard, who has been running Marching Stars Distro since July 2007.  These opinions are all Lizzy's own. Every distro is different; probably because every distro is run by an actual, gloriously unique person/collective.

Marching Stars at London Zine Symposium 2011

Distros. You’ve heard of them. You’ve seen them around. You might have even ordered from one. Why then are so many zinesters so nervous about working with us?! We want to stock your zines! I’ve run marching stars zine distro ( ) for 4 ½ years and this little guide is based on a “Working with Distros” Workshop that I ran at Camden Zine Fest 2011. I hope to run it again at future zine events, because I love talking about distros and my experiences of running one. But more importantly, I want zinesters to feel more comfortable working with us, because we only exist because of YOU and YOUR ZINES.

What is a Distro?

Distro, short for distribution or distributor, quite simply, distributes zines on behalf of zinesters. Lots of zines, in one place. Distro is both a noun and a verb. I run a distro and I distro zines. I truly believe that distros are very much part of the zine community, and here’s why:

Role of a Distro

From a zinester point of view
- get your zine out to a wider audience
- get your zine to a different country
- promotion of your zine
- get your zine in with similar zines
- get your zine sold with other zines you respect and love
- money/shifting your stock
- getting your zine out there without giving your address/etc

From the zine reader point of view
- get lots of different zines in one order
- save on postage
- pick up zines you might night ave otherwise heard about
- lots of similarly themed zines in one place
- might trust the distro owner’s opinion

From the distro owner point of view
- there aren’t other distros selling what you want to buy
- help make lots of zines available in one place
- promote zines in non-zine places (e.g. gigs)
- collect together zines on a certain theme in one place
- help make international zines more accessible here
- not competitive

3 main ways distros work
Quotes taken from ‘Stolen Sharpie Revolution 2’ by Alex Wrekk.

1. Buy zines outright at wholesale prices. “This is when a distro pays you wholesale price for the zines upfront, before they sell any copies or sometimes before they receive them.”
 - Wholesale price: “The discounted price you would offer a distro for buying multiple copies. You can specify a minimum quantity if you like. Most wholesale prices are around 50-70% of the retail price.”
 - Retail price: “The price that you sell a single issue of your zine for and the price you would like other distros to sell you zine for. A high price can detract distros and potential buyers from your zine."
2. Consignment. “When a distro pays you the wholesale price after all or a portion of the zines have sold. Some distros work on a regular time frame like quarterly or monthly. This can vary from distro to distro” 
3. Flat copies. You send the flat pages of your zine to the distro

3 main ways distros sell

1. Online (usually through a website with integrated paypal or online checkout)
2. At shows and events (both zine-specific and non-zine specific)
3. Paper catalogue (good old snail-mail)

Do’s and Don’ts

- reply to emails
- only send zines for consideration that you can make lots of and intend to for quite a while (i.e. not a limited print run)
- include a note with important info on (email address, wholesale/retail price, etc)
- email when you have new issues out
- package zines well when you send them
- keep accurate records
- ask questions if you don’t understand
- send personalised emails
                - maybe look up the distro owners name?
                - tell them how you heard about them? Why you chose to submit to them?
- not look at what the distro normally stocks and offer something totally different
- send a zine for consideration and then never reply to emails
- have a ridiculously high wholesale price
- not send zines (either before or after payment), the ultimate ‘not cool’.
- expect to make money out of it

Things you can expect from the distro
Distros are run on love alone. I cannot stress this enough.  But now I’ve put that out there, the following things you can expect from a distro (in due time – life does get in the way sometimes!):
- replies to emails
- accurate records
- zines promptly added to the website
- updated website
- your zines being promoted
- their choosing ‘good’ zines and maintain a certain standard

Distros aren’t for everyone
Sadly selling your zine through a distro isn’t for everyone, but a lot of the problems with distros applying to selling your zine in general.
- No control over who reads your zines/where they end up
- Might work out that you lose money
- Might not like the description of your zine
- Some distros wholesale zines to other distros (they’ll say, but just heads up)
- Producing in the quantities they want if it’s a limited print run
- Zines can stay in distros for months/years after you’ve stopped printing them
- Zero contact with the reader

- You might not get a reply. This is probably because it’s really hard for distro owners to reject zines (no-one likes to say no to what people have lovingly created).
- Try not to be too disheartened and consider submitting elsewhere.
- Definitely submit future issues (or ask if it’s ok to submit future issues)
- There are lots of reasons why a distro might reject a zine including space/money and it not ‘fitting’ with other zines stocked. Reasons I’ve, sadly, had to reject zines include: poor spelling/grammar; hard to read; poorly photocopied/put together and too expensive.
- If your zine is rejected, or you just don’t hear from them, feel free to ask why they rejected it and hopefully you’ll get some constructive criticism (or hear it was rejected for some reason out of your control).
- Remember, distros are run on love, so at the end of the day it is the prerogative of the distro owner to decide what they do and don’t want to stock, and that can be a little irrational.

Where to find distros
- The links over there -->
- Google
- Zine fairs/events
- ‘Links’ section on most distro websites

So, I know that’s quite a lot of information, but it’s really not that scary. You haven’t got much to lose in submitting to a distro, and stand to gain a huge amount – so go for it!