There’s no doubt that we’re in a golden age of self-publishing. DIY zines – from the politically charged pages of Azeema and Skin Deep to the photographic majesty of Loose and Rhondda Valleys – are springing up all over the globe in their droves. But while it might be easier than ever to get your zine onto paper, standing out from the seemingly overcrowded self-publishing market can be a tough task.
Matthew Walkerdine from independent publisher and Glasgow-based bookshop, Good Press Gallery, says while that might seem like the case, the market might not be as crowded as you might assume. “Maybe with magazines but not self-published zines,” he explains. “There’s still plenty of room.” Still nervous about getting your product out to the audience it deserves? Here, Matthew shares some simple tips to stand out.
MAKE SOMETHING YOU LOVE
“If you make something you love and want to make, it will stand out on its own. Have belief in your ideas and enjoy making the publication. That will shine much brighter than thinking you’ve happened upon a subject that hasn’t been covered before.”
IT’S OK TO GO SOLO
“It depends on the scope and what skills others will bring to the publication. If you get carried away in a conversation with someone else discussing the idea, that’s the person you should work with. If you’re just doing it because they’ve got more social media followers or because you want less work to do and so bringing another person on board will help, don’t bother making the zine.”
FORGET STICKING TO A BUDGET
“As long as the content is genuine, you don’t need a budget. Don’t print 500 copies because you think that’s what you should do. That’s where your budget will get eaten up as will the space in your wardrobe. Print 20 copies and see how it goes. Print 40 more when they fly out your front door.”
DON’T WORRY ABOUT BEING SKINT
“It’s not important at all. It depends what you’re in it for too. If you’re just wanting to get spotted by Urban Outfitters for a window job, many won’t be interested in your publication anyway and may see through your motivations. We’re big believers of living within your means and for many, that means very little money.”
FIND WHAT SOCIAL PLATFORM WORKS FOR YOU
“Use a platform you’re comfortable with and into. I like Instagram and so use that but I’m less keen on Facebook, so use that less. Find your own spot and it’ll work for you.”
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