Zines on my mind


So after I went for this talk on independent publishing last weekend, I had a little personal revelation. I’ve been for a few seminars / workshops on indie publishing by writers, but what intrigued me about this one was the panel. The speakers were artists, designers and illustrators, and they gave a fresh perspective on indie publishing. (The panel was by The Periodic, at Central Auckland Library, as part of Artweek Auckland).

The whole point of independent publishing is that you can publish anything you want.

As much as I appreciate the successful indie authors explaining the rules of the game – genre styles, word counts, sales strategies – for hitting the mainstream market, this talk drove in the point that independent publishing gives us the opportunity to NOT follow the rules.

Obvious, right?

Of course, the caveat to this is that you won’t have as large an audience, because the less mainstream you go, the more niche your work becomes. That’s just common sense. The way I see it, a ‘niche’ market is still a lot of people, and I’d rather be connecting with a smaller group of people who resonate with work that is true to myself, than a large group of people that resonate with work that I’m not really proud of. I just need to be more creative with my marketing.

Enter: Zines.

One artist, Sophie Oiseau, talked about zines and zine culture. She’s an illustrator, and the bottom line that I took from her, perhaps the bottom line of the whole session, was: JUST START. Start where you are, with what you’ve got, but make a start. What do you care about? What do you think the world needs to hear? Write, draw, cut, paste and make something to put that out into the world.

So that’s what I’m doing. 

Well, that’s what I’ve been doing anyway, really. The best advice I got when I first drafted my first book was to just write what I wanted, what was true to me and my ideas, and worry about where it fits later on. If it means something to me, chances are there’ll be other people who resonate with it as well.

What’s drawn me to the zine format is that it’s low budget, and handmade. I get to be a part of the whole process, and because it’s not a huge financial output I can be creative and experimental and not worry about potentially losing thousands of dollars (which print costs for a ‘real book’ are if you don’t go print-on-demand). Basically, it’s FUN.

So at the moment I have two ‘streams’ of ideas:

One is to just create zines that I feel like making; whatever takes my fancy at the time (which you can now purchase).

The other is a series on Creative Confidence. The title might change, but having the confidence and courage to go out there and create something new is hard. Confidence is something close to my heart ’cause I took so long to allow myself to be creatively free (still working on it, really) and I know how good I felt when I finally started doing what I really wanted to do.

I’m working on two zines in the Creative Confidence series at the moment: one will have a selection of interviews with inspiring women in the creative industry, and the other is on motivation. I’m hoping to get them both out within the next fortnight.

I’m requesting submissions by invite only at the moment, but as further issues are in the creation process I will be doing submission calls – so, if you’re interested, keep an eye out.

And thank you to YOU for reading my blog. I appreciate it, so do let me know who you are by dropping me a comment below or sending me a message (Twitter / Facebook / Instagram: @zrsouthcombe).

Would LOVE to hear from you 🙂



4 thoughts on “Zines on my mind

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