Since I have never even attended a "zine show" I'm a little nervous about exhibiting at the Portland Zine Symposium this weekend. Part of the problem has to do with a sentence out of the tabling guidelines...
"In order keep the Portland Zine Symposium focused on zines and to maintain the DIY spirit of the Portland Zine Symposium, at least 51% of merchandise at any table must be handmade zines and/or independently published materials."
Sure, THRICE Fiction is independently published... it's just Bob and myself... but we're hardly "Do It Yourself" when it comes to the actual production of the magazine. Digital copies are given away for free, but anything people want to physically purchase is professionally printed. So... the question becomes "Will we be welcomed with our slick printed magazines and books?" or "Will people stop by just to slap me in the face and set our table on fire?"
I honestly don't know.
So last Wednesday I went to Flickr and did a search for Portland Zine Symposium photos.
It's just table after table of handmade books that looks like they were copied at Kinkos and stapled together in somebody's living room.
So now I've gone from being "a little worried" to being "a lot worried." I considered canceling, but I had already bought a non-refundable airline ticket and spent a lot of money printing a book to sell. "Oh well," I thought. "Guess I'll just show up and hope we're 'indy' enough that I don't get slapped and set on fire."
And then realized I don't want to risk getting slapped, so I decided to hand-make a zine instead (which is something Bob had suggested years ago... go figure).
This was easier said than done, as there wasn't time to hand-draw a new zine from scratch. Not knowing what else to do, I figured I'd just assemble some stuff from my blog and see how that went (which is something else Bob had suggested years ago... go figure). Ultimately I decided to make a zine filled with Bad Monkey cartoons. I figured since everybody loves monkeys, this was my best chance of not getting our table set on fire.
Then I spent the next couple nights cobbling together a zine. Then I ordered a booklet stapler and a stack-cutter. Then I printed copies (in color, because I'm That Guy). Then I spent the next couple nights saddle-stitch stapling everything together. My stack-cutter never showed up, so today I had to go bother a print shop to trim my books for me.
And so now I have a hand-made zine for our table...
To make them seem more "hand-made," I worked hard to get them looking beat up and aged. All the interior pages are yellowed and textured. The cover has wear and tear marks printed on it. Then I took each copy and rubbed it on a gem cutter's cloth to add a little bit of scuff. They're as hand-made as I can get, given the time constraints I'm under...
Overall, the experience of making this zine sucked. And I'm still not 100% convinced that the DaveToons will even make sense out of the context of my blog. Oh well (again).
But... it definitely has me anxious to try making more zines in the future. With more time and less anxiety, it seems like this kind of thing would actually be something fun to do!
In the meanwhile, everybody cross their fingers that my first zine show doesn't end up with my getting slapped and a visit from the fire department...