Things NOT To Do When Attending Zine Fests

I love zines. I love zine fests even more, as they are opportunity to meet the creators behind wonderful pieces of work. This past weekend, I was a vendor on behalf of Conchas Y Contras  with my friend and co-host Janeane after being invited to apply. It was our first time ever doing an event that involved face-to-face interaction. Overall it was a great event and it was amazing interacting with other artists, creators and zine-makers. However, since being on the other side of the table, I noticed some reoccurring  behaviors that I would like to shine some light on.  It’s not a good feeling to be ignored and treated like a commodity rather than people behind the table. So if you are attending a zine fest (this can also apply to any events that have vendors) keep in mind that these following behaviors can be perpetuated as rude or downright insulting.

1.Ignore the vendors. 

This is probably the most common behavior that I saw not just at my table but several others. People will come up to a table, not even look at the vendors, touch their products and leave without saying a word. There’s nothing wrong with saying hi to the people that are vending, in fact that’s how I’ve met so many cool artists. I know that for some people talking to others is incredibly hard to do, but if you are capable of it, a simple “hello” makes a person feel seen.

2. Read through zines and not buy anything.

This is the one that really, really,  bothered me.  This isn’t the magazine aisle at the grocery store. Zines can be really expensive to make on top of all the fees for supplies and just to secure your spot in the first place. So for someone to suck up all the worth of buying a zine by reading the entire thing, simply just to walk away and not even ask about the price or even worse do what I mentioned in point #1. What a lot of people fail to realize is that, money is really hard for artists to come by on their work alone. Many of us don’t even break even. So to have a potential customer turn into a passerby because they wanted to read the entire zine is so frustrating. Flipping through a few pages are fine, reading the whole zine is not.

3. Pick up a business card and then put it down.

This didn’t really happen to us, but one of the vendors that was next to us mentioned this so I wanted to include it in my next point. As she pointed out, business cards are free and there to spread the word. So simply to touch one and then leave it can be seen as insulting. A caveat to this would to just take a picture of the business card and then put it back down.

4. Treat us like human beings. 

Because we are! All my points come around to this one point. We are artists and for many of us, we are selling our art babies to continue making more and get financially compensated for that. It’s a weird metaphor, but you get it.  A lot of people in the world do not value our work and feel we should give it out for free. As if the physical and emotional labor we put into our work is not real work. So please, if you have the means to do so, support an artist. Our work often goes underappreciated and unrecognized, so supporting us in any way means the world.

So my main point is treat artists like people instead of products. Love them and support them, whether it be financially, emotionally. Support them through social media. Write reviews. And I just want to shout out fellow artists. Most of our customers were people selling zines themselves. I love you all and hope we can all succeed together as a community.

Besides selling at zine fests, I also have a shop. I will link it here. Thank you for reading this far.


Make Your Own Shit:A Day at LA Zine Fest 2018

The idea of zines are new to me and are pretty goddamn revolutionary. Have ideas that won’t get published? Do it your self.  Want to write with your friends? Form a collective and get that writing out there. As someone that wants to get traditionally published one day, the idea of making zines is uncertain territory for me. The idea that I would not be taken seriously as a writer because my work appears in zines is terrifying.

I knew a couple of people going to LA Zine Fest and since Pasadena isn’t so far from my house, I decided to check it out. I had gone to LA Pages the week before which was my first experience with zine vendors. I fell in love with so many zines and the people that created them. The event was small and took up a community space next to a church in East LA. I thought LA Zine Fest would have a similar vibe. Oh was I wrong.

This year the event took place at the Pasadena Conference Center, which gives the idea that it’ll just be a large room. But the event was two floors, essentially the entire building. There were so many vendors peddling their zines, stickers, shirts, art. It was super overwhelming at the beginning but once I started slowly making my way around the booths, I calmed down.

As a woman of color, I know how hard it is to get your voice heard and get your message out there so I wanted to support women of color vendors for the most part. I met some amazing people and I want to highlight some.

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  1. Yeiry Guevara is a “writer, creative, problem solver”. Basically she is a modern day Renaissance woman from creating her own zines to designing graphics to sewing. I visited her booth and she was super warm and welcoming. Plus, shout out to a fellow Central American creator putting her work out there and thriving.

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2. Brown Girl Travels has a very special place in my heart because it was the first zine that I submitted to and they published a piece I wrote about traveling to Tikal located in my parents’ home country, Guatemala. I finally got to meet Ashley, who put together the zine, in person and we connected instantly. I love when internet peeps turn out to be just as amazing in real life.

the strange is beautiful

3. Shannen Roberts runs the site The Strange Is Beautiful which focuses on mental health awareness and self-care. She is also a musician that goes by Cusi Coyllur. Her booth was awesome because it was super interactive, from music demos on an iPod to Shannen taking pictures of new readers. I am a writer for the Strange Is Beautiful so it makes me happy when a new crop of followers appears.


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Overall I left the zine fest broke and happy. You can check out this Instagram post to see all the vendors I visited that day.   I also left feeling inspired. I’ve been working on my own projects and the zine format seems perfect for them. So stay tuned and maybe one day I’ll have my own booth at LA Zine Fest.