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.