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I'm trying to build up my catalog before I open for orders. Right now, I have about 10 zines, and I'm having trouble finding more. Well, more that I like. I message people on Etsy about their zines, and order them if they look like something I'd be interested in carrying. I've advertized on LJ and this website. I am going to make some paper ads, so that should help.

How do you all find zines for your distro?

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It's a mixture of me reading a zine I picked up from somewhere and then contacting the zinester about stocking it, and receiving zines for consideration. As your distro gets bigger and more well known and people feel they have a better idea of what you're "about" you'll get more people contacting you.
well, you ran a distro before, so you undoubtedly have plenty of experience building up a catalogue from scratch. though i guess the scene has changed a bit since you closed down the old distro.

when i started paper trail, i culled only from stacks of zines i had that i wanted to distro. i didn't put out a general call for submissions until after i opened, & i opened with a catalogue of maybe forty-ish zines. the zines i carried at first were friends' zines (either pen pals or real life zine friends from around boston), zines i'd gotten from distros & liked, zines i'd picked up a zine fairs, etc. i just got in touch with all the zinesters, explained the distro project, & asked if they wanted to be involved. i even contacted some zinesters whose zines were pretty old--like a few years old. & it worked out in a lot of cases, because they either had newer issues i hadn't seen yet, or they were motivated to start getting back into zines after i contacted them. not everyone got back to me, but enough did that i was able to build a pretty strong catalogue.

now i just try to keep my ear to the ground of the zine scene. i check in here fairly often to see what new zines are popping up. ditto with the zine-themed LJs. if something intrigues me, i get in touch about ordering or getting a sample copy for consideration. it helps that paper trail is well-established & has a good reputation, because people usually just send me zines for consideration without me having to ask, & when i do ask, people are like, "oh yeah, i've heard good things, i'll send you a copy."

but i don't want paper trail to just be a catalogue comprised of zinesters who are active online, so i am always scouring nooks & crannies for more zine. i am constantly hitting my zine-reading friends & zinesters i work with up for recommendations, & that has worked out really well. i've come across some real gems, just through word of mouth. when ever i travel, i go to infoshops & zine libraries whenever i can & pick up everything that catches my eye. i read every zine that crosses my path, from trades to consideration stuff to freebies at zine fairs, to see if there's anything i might want for the catalogue. some of my favorite zines have come to me in weird ways, like:

* i used to be in a reproductive health collective, & myself & some of my collective friends went to an anarchist conference in another city, where we had a mini-convergence of women in reproductive health collectives across the country. i mentioned zines a bit, & the distro, & when the DC collective did a zine about HPV, they sent me a copy for consideration. it was perfect for paper trail & now i stock it. the woman i worked with to get copies then went to nursing school & wrote a great zine about being a radical nurse. i am adding that zine to the catalogue this week. she doesn't really have an online zine presence or get her zines out much, so the fact that paper trail has her stuff is pretty much due exclusively to both of us having been in these collectives a few years ago & crossing paths at an anarchist conference.

* another zine i carry was sent to me by a zinester friend on behalf of the woman who wrote it. she just sent it to me because she thought i would like it. i did, & i got in touch with the woman who wrote it, who was surprised to hear from me, but happy to send copies for the distro.

* another zine i am picking up in the next week or two was recommended by a zinester friend i already carry. i'd asked her to keep her ear to the ground & let me know if she had zine recommendations for me. she said she didn't read many zines anymore & didn't know of anything new. then she wrote again the next day & was like, "WAIT, my friend just did a new zine, after not making zines for like five years! it's awesome, you should order it!" i knew the friend a little from, again, anarcha-feminist conference path-crossing stuff, & was psyched to hear she had a new zine out. i ordered it, it was awesome, we talked...yeah.

it's just been really helpful for me to keep putting myself out there & pursuing all of my interests, because you never know where awesome zines are going to turn up. i actively try not to keep my zine life confined to just acknowledged zine circles because i will miss stuff that way.
Most of the zines that i have right now, i already had read and liked them so i contacted the creator and just asked. Others, i put out a call on LJ and here on WMZ. Now with the site up, i have the submissions section.

Are you getting submissions at all right now?

I have gotten some i like and some that i didn't really feel fit with what i am going for.

Are you trying to stick with a certain theme with your distro? I think i opened with about 40ish titles and am still getting more in. (Ugh... just not on the website right now because Dreamweaver has currently crapped out on us and i cannot update til it's fixed).
i take submissions now too. i pick up one for about every ten i receive. submissions are a total crap shoot. i feel like the one-in-ten i pick up has generated some of the best zines i have carried, total gems i never would have known to look for on my own. but the nine-in-ten i reject has also been some of the worst of the worst zines i have ever read in my 18 years of reading zines. zines so egregiously, horrifyingly terrible that i couldn't even finish them. that i didn't even want to donate them to a zine library & thus inflict them on the innocent zine-reading public. (but i did anyway.)
I am taking submissions, and it's just very slow-going. Like Ciara, I carry very few of the zines I receive for consideration. I'm being more picky this time around, but I think it's better to be that way.

I think part of the problem I'm having is that I've been out of the zine loop for a few years. I need to attend some zine fests (hopefully I can somehow make the NYC one) and just make connections with people again. And I'm sure things will pick up once I open the catalog.

I would say more but a) Lost is coming on and b) I think my fever is coming back - don't feel so good right now :-\

Thanks everyone.



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