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Everything you want to know about a zine fest...

... but were afraid to ask.

I am thinking of writing an article about zine fests making a simple "how-to" that will go in the Richmond Zine Fest program and offer it up to any other fests or a mini zine for reprinting.

I think a lot of people visit zine fests and don't know what to expect and don't know what to do or what is proper etiquette. I know some things are touched on in Stolen Sharpie Revolution, but i kind of want to make something separate available for free when one comes to a zine fest or can order from a distro if curious.

Some things i am wanting to touch on:
- It's okay to browse
- It's okay to ask questions
- Definition of a distro
- trading etiquette

As an attendee or tabler, please let me know what you think would be valuable info

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Amber... you hit the nail on the head with your first two sentences.  It's courteous to greet your "customers" and not be standoffish (even if you are introverted).  I greet everyone who comes to my table and use no sales tactic at all.  Sometimes I may interject a short opinon on a zine that the person picks up from my distro, but I leave it at that.  Example if someone picks up issue #20 of Culture Slut i may say, "Oh that zine is great, it turned me on to using the Diva Cup instead of tampons!"  (Though i probably wouldn't offer that info if a dude picked it up!)  that's about as salesy as I get unless someone wants me to actually help them shop.  "I'm looking for something for my 15 year old sister.. what would be good for her?"  Then I'll offer more information and help.

Amber / Culture Slut said:

I don't think there's anything wrong with a chatty seller. I say hello to everyone who stops at my table and I try to be friendly, usually you can get a feel for whether or not the person is feeling conversational. I used to have little descriptions for each of the zines on my table, though that's more difficult now that I have a distro. So I just tell people not to be shy about flipping through the zines and asking questions.

"Read me" notes are also a good idea. I'll use this example; I distro a zine called Don't Be A Dick. It's about consent, and it's written by a straight cis guy for a similar audience. I think there's lots of really important info in it, but guys at my table often seem hesitant to pick it up, and I figured they had a fear that picking it up in front of me was like actually admitting to being a dick or something. So at my last event, I put a little note in front of it, on hot pink paper with a few words about the content and wrote, "You're not a dick!" By the end of the day, I'd sold 'em all.

I think the problem comes when browsers start feeling pressured to spend their money - it's just an awkward position to put someone in and I don't think it's very fair. I'm speaking as someone with ample experience on both sides of the table. The hard seller doesn't come along very often, but when they do...

Really good question? I want to know the answer too. I went to a zine fest once. It looked like most people had about 30 to 50 copies depending on how expensive they are and how large.

twilight gecko said:

how many copies of zines do you usually take with you?

this thread is cool. However --is there a collected version of all the advice one should try and keep in mind 

Talk a lot, and share ideas.

Yes, you can touch what's on the table.

It's open to any age demographic.

When I go to one I look at the creative covers (folding, hidden areas, the binding, use of other materials) and get so many ideas. 

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