It’s the way you sell ‘em
Making a zine is all very well – but then there’s selling it. This can be as simple as adding a shop section to your blog, but if you’ve printed your own project, it’s worth contacting as many galleries and design shops as you can to ask if they’d be interested in stocking your product.
Illustration collective Nous Vous (nousvous.eu) launched four years ago with a small publication, Pocket Sized. Nicolas Burrows says: “We managed to get this stocked in lots of places, all around the world. It is just a case of going into a shop and showing them your work, or sending samples.”
Confidence is key, he says: “I think the main thing is believing in what you’re asking people to sell for you. If you’re confident about it, they’ll usually take it.”
However, it’s important to be realistic about how many copies you can shift. Nicolas adds: “If you have the choice, don’t make any more than you need, or you’ll end up with piles of prints that you’re going to lose enthusiasm over in a few months. Or if you do get lots made, get them out to distributors sooner rather than later. Pre-order systems are quite good too, so you can generate interest and it keeps it a bit more special.”
If you have a seriously brilliant idea, you could try approaching an independent publisher, such as Nobrow, which makes and publishes gorgeous zines of selected artists’ work. Co-founder Sam Arthur says: “We are always looking for someone who loves to draw and has a story to tell.”
He advises: “Start off by making your own books. These could be one-offs or small editions; either way you will begin to get an understanding of the medium. If you start to get good at it, you are more likely to interest a publisher with an actual sample book rather than a pile of papers or a PDF.”