As a young emerging writer, I am forever looking for publications in which I can get my work published – whether it be from short stories, extracts or even articles. There’s one option that I’ve continually overlooked: zine making.
– Laura Bartlett
‘Zines are a great stepping stone for emerging writers and indeed artists to expose their creativeness to a broader audience. Two great examples are Sydney based writer – Vanessa Berry and Melbourne (ex-Canberra) based comic artist – Mandy Ord. I possess many a (self published) zine and comic from these two talented ladies, and while both still create their own zines & comics, both also have published works via mainstream publishing means! It’s a case of putting yourself out there – not waiting to get discovered, but discovering yourself!’ Says Nat Clark – co-founder of the Canberra Zine Emporium. If that doesn’t give you a boost of confidence then I don’t know what will.
So where can you purchase a copy of zine to flick through, and see if this publication suits your writing style or aspirations? ‘For Canberra folks… there is only one place that I’m aware of whereby you can walk in and buy a zine – SmithsAlternative Bookshop (if there are other places – please let me know!). Otherwise a lot of folks hunt down zines via the internet – primarily through online distros (such as Melbourne based Sticky Institute, Sydney based Take Care Distro or Perth based Aunty Mabel’s Zine Distro… there is a plethora of Australian online distros); zine specific websites such as We Make Zines or, after a bit of research, directly through the zine practitioner (which I would strongly suggest, as it gives you the opportunity to engage directly with that practitioner and makes that practitioner feel loved!).’
When choosing to submit work, it’s always a task to try and choose which publication will sit well with the overall theme of your writing. ‘Zine topics are diverse! From personal journal type scribbles to scientific analogies – you name the topic, and there’s probably a zine out there that covers it! With everyone’s taste being different (thank goodness!) – I personally find journal zines (aka perzine) – well written ones, not, ‘And today I did this and then this and then this,’ – my zine read of choice. Like a great novel, if you find yourself drawn into the story and in some ways identify with that zine practitioner… then that to me is an indication of great zine topic! Actually, on very rare occasions…having finished reading a zine, I’ve wanted to reach out to that practitioner and invite them over for a cup of tea and a natter – this offer currently stands for American zine practitioner – Ciara Xyerra who produced the fantastic zine ‘Ella funt’ – a perzine about trying for a baby, its beautifully hand stitched and bound in elephant stamped cloth – how could I resist a zine that was named after fictional character Ramona Quimby’s favourite stuffed animal! When picking up, opening, reading and digesting a zine, you’ve got to remember that this publication – whether it be a black & white A4 photocopied sheet folded to A7, to that of a self published glossy art zine – has been (and one can only assume) thoughtfully put together by one person/persons or collective – in a way, they’re offering you – the reader – insight into their world. And what makes it even more special is that there is only a limited print run of these zines, which makes the worthiness of that zine even greater!’
As I’ve mentioned time and time again in previous blog posts, putting your work out there is scary. You are essentially putting yourself out there. What is a couple of days or hours reading for one person could be years of your life. That’s always daunting and you want to make sure that your work is put in the best of hands. ‘Every practitioner has their own reason why they put out their zine… for some its a stepping stone to greater things, for others it is a creative output.’ Says Nat.
‘For those who do price up their zines… I think (as I rarely sell my zines)… they do it to cover their costs – securing materials, photocopying, distributing, etc. money made from selling zines, is money reinvested into the production of. The zines that I produce, are solely of a creative output… some people bake, some people play politics… I zine.’
For more information about the Canberra Zine Collective, visit: http://www.facebook.com/CanberraZineEmporium?fref=ts