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Hi all,

I'm trying to get my community involved in zines, because I know my generation has a lot to say and I think it would be a great creative outlet for everyone. I am new to zines myself, and it's been a great creative outlet for me so I just wanted to share the joy, so to speak.  I've been trying to start this project called PrintLives to create compilation zines of the voices of my community. I gained the support of two other friends, hung fliers up all over town about PrintLives and a call for submissions, started a homepage for PrintLives on Tumblr... and still, no interest from the public. I didn't even get any feedback. Just... nothing.  I keep trying. No results. 

What can I do to increase public interest? What pieces of the puzzle am I missing? Do you have any tips on how to succesfully organize community involvement?

Thanks,

Lauren :)

 

Tags: community, compilation, organization

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just curious... where do you live?

Maybe:

-Focus on a more particular topic or subject with a more particular appeal to the community (like a local issue or current event)

-Advertise a more particular goal of the publication ("we want to preserve stories about..." or "we want to educate the community about...")

-Ask people directly to participate, so you can explain the project more and address reasons they mention for not participating

-Rebrand as a newspaper or newsletter, which could sound more accessible to people who don't know what zines are

-Find alternatives to advertising with fliers, like local publications or community spaces where you can make in-person announcements

-Get people you know personally to contribute to the first thing you put out, so you have someone tangible to show and have those people share with a wider network of people

I would try doing a collaboration workshop. People are busy working (not sure your age when you say "my generation") so they'll put stuff off if left to their own devices (as I'm doing right now, I really need to finish my zine!). These workshops would also give people a chance to meet and get to know each other. It can be really hard to get folks activated, but if you have at least one person you're doing it with that helps. Are there places that sell zines in your town? If there aren't signs of zine culture then it's harder for folks to see themselves in it. So just a few ideas,  --Margarat
Allentown, PA

NicoleIntrovert said:
just curious... where do you live?
Thanks so much! This is great, I will definitely try these out. Your fourth point especially hit home because usually when I tell someone about zines, they have no idea what I'm talking about, and then I have to explain it, which has oftentimes resulted in the listener turning bored and confused. I think referring to them as newspapers instead would be much easier. Clearer communication. And I will definitely round up some friends to contribute to the first project. :) 

Dan C said:

Maybe:

-Focus on a more particular topic or subject with a more particular appeal to the community (like a local issue or current event)

-Advertise a more particular goal of the publication ("we want to preserve stories about..." or "we want to educate the community about...")

-Ask people directly to participate, so you can explain the project more and address reasons they mention for not participating

-Rebrand as a newspaper or newsletter, which could sound more accessible to people who don't know what zines are

-Find alternatives to advertising with fliers, like local publications or community spaces where you can make in-person announcements

-Get people you know personally to contribute to the first thing you put out, so you have someone tangible to show and have those people share with a wider network of people

Thanks Margarat, I may be able to set up a collaboration workshop in the summer. My local library is always running all sorts of workshops, so I'll speak with them and suggest it.  I'm sixteen so I'm still a bit of a young'un I suppose, but I know exactly where you're coming from when you mention that people will put stuff off if left to their own devices... it's the same exact way in high school. I've sold my zines to a local comic store and a used book shop. As far as I can see, there's no trace of a zine scene around my area. There is, however, a pretty strong art scene, which is why I have a hunch that zines could really be something people would be interested in. They might just not know of them.  I'd like to get them introduced. It can't hurt to try, right? :)

Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go said:
I would try doing a collaboration workshop. People are busy working (not sure your age when you say "my generation") so they'll put stuff off if left to their own devices (as I'm doing right now, I really need to finish my zine!). These workshops would also give people a chance to meet and get to know each other. It can be really hard to get folks activated, but if you have at least one person you're doing it with that helps. Are there places that sell zines in your town? If there aren't signs of zine culture then it's harder for folks to see themselves in it. So just a few ideas,  --Margarat

I don't know if Allentown has changed a lot since I used to hang around there...  but there were plenty of people making zines there in the early 00's and a punk scene and what not.   Is Double Decker still around?  I would assume they have some zines there or that would be at least a place to hit up people who dig things that aren't necessarily mainstream media.  

 

I am super introverted (hence my pen name), so I have a really hard time understanding why you need other people to be involved with zines.   What is it that you hope to accomplish on a local level?   It's rather weird that there is almost nothing to do with zines in Richmond aside from the zine fest and the events we put on for the zine fest.   But those are highly successful.    What do you want year round from a "zine scene"?   Just other people to talk with about zines or to write with? 

 

There is a zine fest in Scranton this summer and there is one in Philly every fall, so you are in the middle of some zine activity. 

I think the suggestion of workshops is a good one, but I wouldn't sweat it TOO much about not having a zine community in your immediate area. It is, of course, nice to have people to share interests with, but the nice thing about zines is that it doesn't matter where you are-- mail goes anywhere, so you can have friends and project collaborators anywhere.

 

Having made a zine when I lived in a smallish college town with no local zine friends, when I lived in a city with a big group of local zine friends, and now that I live in that same city with no local zine friends, I see more and more how it's not essential for my local friends to be interested in exactly what I'm interested in. And I think it also goes to say that I'm also not going to want to hang out with all other people who make zines. My zine-making will continue to happen, whether or not I'm surrounded by like-minded people in my everyday life. 

 

That said, it is really nice to feel that your projects exist outside of a vacuum, but I wouldn't let concerns about community take away your zine-making time. You've got a pretty excellent community right here :)

 

 

I know where you're coming from, as I can be quite shy, but I guess I truly am an extrovert in that I tend to be overly enthusiastic and when I have a positive experience, I feel an innate need to share it with others. (It's a killer flaw of mine, I know.) 

 

Having makers of zines in my town to relate would be nice, but mainly, I just wanted to do something good for my community and got this idea that it would be neat to get people more involved in creative writing. I guess what I want out of a zine scene is to see people in my community contributing to d.i.y publishing, in this time where everyone is saying how "blogs and texting are going to take over print".

   

Double Decker is still around, although they don't really carry zines anymore. I am signed up for the Scranton zine fest though, and I will be sure to check out the one in Philly, too.

But you know, even though things have obviously changed in Allentown since the early 2000s, the Lehigh Valley in general is evolving into a pretty artsy place... So, even if people aren't directly involved in indy publishing, they're still enriching the community in other ways. So I guess I should just be thankful for that, right?   

NicoleIntrovert said:

I don't know if Allentown has changed a lot since I used to hang around there...  but there were plenty of people making zines there in the early 00's and a punk scene and what not.   Is Double Decker still around?  I would assume they have some zines there or that would be at least a place to hit up people who dig things that aren't necessarily mainstream media.  

 

I am super introverted (hence my pen name), so I have a really hard time understanding why you need other people to be involved with zines.   What is it that you hope to accomplish on a local level?   It's rather weird that there is almost nothing to do with zines in Richmond aside from the zine fest and the events we put on for the zine fest.   But those are highly successful.    What do you want year round from a "zine scene"?   Just other people to talk with about zines or to write with? 

 

There is a zine fest in Scranton this summer and there is one in Philly every fall, so you are in the middle of some zine activity. 

This is all so true, it would be nice to have local people to share interests with, but they are not a neccesary ingredient involved in the making of my own zine.  I started off wanting to encourage creativity in my community, and I still stand for that, but people are already creative in other forms, and that's awesome anyway. If people aren't expressing interest, then I shouldn't push it. I will keep trying, I'll see about the workshop, but if there remains to be no interest I will just continue doing my own thing and relax about trying to get others involved.

Thank you for your insight, it helped me really re-think everything. 
redhoodedm said:

I think the suggestion of workshops is a good one, but I wouldn't sweat it TOO much about not having a zine community in your immediate area. It is, of course, nice to have people to share interests with, but the nice thing about zines is that it doesn't matter where you are-- mail goes anywhere, so you can have friends and project collaborators anywhere.

 

Having made a zine when I lived in a smallish college town with no local zine friends, when I lived in a city with a big group of local zine friends, and now that I live in that same city with no local zine friends, I see more and more how it's not essential for my local friends to be interested in exactly what I'm interested in. And I think it also goes to say that I'm also not going to want to hang out with all other people who make zines. My zine-making will continue to happen, whether or not I'm surrounded by like-minded people in my everyday life. 

 

That said, it is really nice to feel that your projects exist outside of a vacuum, but I wouldn't let concerns about community take away your zine-making time. You've got a pretty excellent community right here :)

 

 

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