I’m pretty new to making zines. Having made a couple and forced them into the hands of friends who didn’t burn them or chuck them in the trash, I wanted to venture out to the wider Bay Area zine community. The East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest (EBABZF) seemed like the ideal place to do that, given that it seemed accessible to a newbie like me and half a table was $15.
Getting a friend to go into the Berkeley Community College to drop off my registration form and money (apparently he managed to get in to the office and leave it on someone’s chair. Is that creepy? I can’t tell,) meant that I actually had to start taking this a bit seriously and getting things photocopied and put together. For a novice, this is pretty scary. How many zines are too many? What if there aren’t enough? What if NO-ONE buys them? Why does everyone get upset when you say you want to sell your zines for 50c? Also the repetitive cutting and folding void when you realize you have 24 hours before the zine fest and you’ve got 100 bits of paper to fold. Ahem.
December 8th rolled around and I found myself trying to set up half a table with an oversized rug and my weird poetry zines in the bowels of the Berkeley Community College. The EBABZF crew were really friendly and stopped by every so often to check on you, something they did throughout the day which I really appreciated. In fact, I think the guy from Rad Dad even bought one of my posters, which was an unexpected cool moment.
People were ridiculously friendly, from neighboring tables (a big shout out to Marisa de la Peña who I sat next to for the day. You should check out her stuff here: marisadelapena.tumblr.com) to anyone who stopped by my table for a chat. I managed to trade for a load of awesome zines and people ACTUALLY bought my zines, despite my complete lack of sales banter. I’ve noticed there are lots of people who are very good at this. I am not one of them.
Given my hyper-excitement and inability to relinquish my table to anyone for longer than 5 minutes (I was forced to take a lunch break by concerned friends. Berkeley Farmer’s Market. $8 crepes. Discuss,) I missed all of the speakers, panels and workshops. Reliable friends and housemates tell me they were excellent, especially the silk screening workshop and Adam Mansbach’s reading. I did get to have a quick wander round the other tables though and was bowled over by the amount of creative people making funny, political, thought-provoking and beautiful art.