We Make Zines

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So, I heard about Unique LA (http://www.uniquelosangeles.com/) from a friend of mine who's friend sells her crafts there. It's a crafts/handmade goods type fair with an emphasis on local/USA-made goods. It's fairly cheap for a table, so I emailed the organizer to ask if my distro would be a good fit, and she said totally and that they had a small press company there last year.

The only time I've ever tabled at anything was at Art LA as a favor to an artist who makes collaborative zines/publications. Although there was a room dedicated to art publications, most of the people attending were there to check out what the galleries were showing, etc. so I sold hardly anything.

Since Unique LA is more of a buying event, but not zine-oriented, I'm a little boggled on how much stuff to bring. I would probably bring most of my catalog, but pretty much all of the zines I carry I have 10 copies or less of. Should I stock up some more? I definitely would if I were gonna table at a zine fest, but I'm not sure about this.

Any advice would be totally appreciated!

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Even at an all day zine fest, i have never sold 10 copies of one item. I think the most i have ever sold of one single item is 6 at an event.

I have only tabled with zines at one crafty type fair... but it wasn't with my distro. It was a fund raiser for the Richmond Zine Fest... we had SOME zines, but other items were more "yard saley" type things. Well.. at the end of the day most of the VHS and CDs were gone... the zines sold somewhat.

This probably just makes you more confused... but i thought i would at least share my little bit of experience.
I've done quite a lot of craft fairs here in the UK, and never sold many zines. I guess most people who come to a craft fair might not know what they are, and aren't really shopping for them. I think it would probably pay to bring some other handmade things with you. I always sell loads of badges/buttons and stickers and the odd larger thing.
Thanks for your input ladies!

I'm still debating whether it's worth it or not. I definitely want to go to the SF Zine Fest this summer, but it would nice to do something locally as well. My other option is the LA Renegade Craft Fair, which is more expensive to get a table at BUT is probably a bit more established.

I think I still might do it. It would probably be good promotion, even if people don't buy much stuff. Although I love Los Angeles, I feel like it's so big and hard to find/foster community here. And part of what I want to do with my distro is build a sense of community among artists, writers and zinesters in LA. So maybe it would be a good idea to do it.

I hate dilemmas like this! :)
You know, if it's a matter of getting customers to KNOW what you're carrying (in those 3 seconds that their glance goes over your stuff) why not put clearly written small signs above (or below) each stack with a one sentence synopsis of what's inside each?

Something like 'This issue has all cartoons' or 'Musings on Nature'.

And a main sign on the table with an invite--'come check out home made magazines, all original & small print runs'

It saves having to explain everything and is a quick reference to get someone's curiosity piqued. Otherwise people stand back and just glance, not taking the time to really let anything sink in. People just do NOT take the initiative and pick things up on their own if it's too 'odd', I've found. Even a friendly smile and a 'hi' can drive off some...sad to say. You get better response by taking some of the mystery out and after that first step is done, someone comes forward to glance further, pick one up, flip through.... You WANT to get them to pick something up, it helps with the buying process.

I've sold stuffed toys at a lot of small craft fairs, and with items not the norm you can't push too hard, but make it funny or unique and have a sign there, people step up to the table. I had two issues out of my cartoon booklets at the last event and they did really well, selling 22 of each. The fact they had cats in them helped a LOT I know, but still, the response was good. At Science Fiction events and SCA people expect to have the seller talk to them, but regular craft fairs you end up scaring customers away if you say too much or make it too one-on-one. The crowd seems to want a disconnect, so you have to work around that by having your signs do the work for you.



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