Hello zine fans & friends of mine,
I am starting a zine distro called Sleeping Creatures Distro that carries only high-craft, deep-content zines local to the NYC area. I've wanted to start my own zine distro since 2011, when I volunteered at a zine library called ABC No Rio, and I re-connected with my own zine-writing past. Since then, I've written 6 issues of my own zine, Alex. And since then, I successfully created my first big project (a literary journal, Storyscape) and passed it over to an editor & her team, where it continues to thrive. I am ready to create my next big project, and this project is Sleeping Creatures Zine Distro.
Here is the website template (keep in mind I'm in the process of building it)
First of all: zines are hand-made, personally crafted publications that lie somewhere between magazines and love letters (or maybe personal diaries.) They are beautifully and thoughtfully made, carefully crafted little publications. They are truly special creatures, and I am so thrilled to curate a collection that brings more art and more writing out into the world.
Secondly: a distro is an online zine distributor who sells zines--kind of like a store sells magazines. Usually the distro attends festivals and tables at events. Fun, right?
The greatness factor: by focusing only on local zine makers, my zine distro will be able to hold readings in the city separate from zine festivals (which I'll also attend). I also plan to solicit work from writers and illustrators who ordinarily do not make zines, so that my distro will actually increase the number of zines in distribution (and we'll have different stock from other distros). I want my distro to be art-generating, in addition to being conversation-generating. Cool, right?
What's the business plan? Well, I basically just need the start-up costs. After that, I'm in business. I've already started asking zine writers to contribute, so I am already in the process of building the stock. I've made the template for the website, which is functional, it just needs content: there's a gallery page, an area for a catalog, a shopping cart, etc. What I need now is the funding to purchase the initial stock of zines and the PO box. After that, the distro will cover its own costs.
Timeline: realistically, I believe I can have the basic, first parts of the distro running in February, and the rest of it will fall into place in the following months. My first objective is to secure the grounding zines that speak to the mission statement of the distro, which will provide stock to sell and also establish the kinds of zines the distro wants to carry. Towards this end, I've already contacted four zine-writers and have three zine-writers lined up. I will keep contacting writers throughout December. Then, once this project is funded, I will pay all the writers and stock the distro. After that, I'll make announcements on my zine lists and start selling... I'll also be advertising the distro as a place people will want to submit work to. Within six months, the distro will be a bee hive of activity. I also already have one location established who will host a reading when the distro opens. We are talking about March as an initial launch date.
Risks and challenges
One great thing about zines: they are special, but they're also made to be intentionally inexpensive. The economics of zine distribution is not that risky. It's more risky than starting an online journal, but less risky than starting a print journal. How's that for parallels? The worst thing that could happen here is I could buy a bunch of zines that are slow to sell, and so I offer them as trades instead and end up with a huge personal library of zines. But I feel extremely confident that won't happen, because I have very good taste in zines. They're going to sell. They are!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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