Deep in the gutters of the congested literary world exists a hard working, devoted DIY culture. Self-published pamphlet style books called “zines” are the medium through which many independent writers expose their work to the world (or at least to their local writing scene). Martin Appleby, the owner and editor of the English literary zine, “PAPER AND INK,” decided to let us in on some of his opinions on the do-it-yourself printing culture.
First, tell me about yourself and the zines you publish.
“My name is Martin, I live in the South East of England and I edit, design and distribute PAPER AND INK, which is a submission based literary zine.”
Other than publishing, what other DIY activities do you take part in?
“I am fortunate to live in a town that has a thriving independent culture, so there are plenty of DIY gigs, art shows, cafes, shops, and businesses. I try to support as much local, independent stuff as I can – from friends’ bands to cafes.”
What are some of the biggest obstacles for indie publishers these days?
“Finding an audience is the absolute toughest thing. Publishing is easy, literally anyone can do it, but getting people to take a chance on what you have published when they may never have heard of the writers/artists that you are publishing is HARD. That is why I am eternally grateful for every zine that I sell, and it makes it even sweeter when people take that chance and then return for more.”
In your opinion, what are the benefits of reading physical material versus digital?
“This is something that I have thought about a lot over the years. One of my main reasons for starting the zine to begin with is my disdain for e-readers, but I guess what it all comes down to is personal preference. I spend so much of my time looking at screens on a daily basis that reading is my escape from that. For me, you can’t beat having a tangible, crisp page between your fingers.”
Is DIY dying?
“I don’t think so, in fact I think the opposite is true. As people become more informed and aware of how greedy, money-grabbing, tax-dodging, soulless corporations operate, DIY culture will only thrive.”
What do you think is the driving force behind independent publishing?
“Most independent publishers make little to no profit, they largely do it for the love, and for me it is no different. It is just about having fun! Supporting great artists, giving unknown writers a chance, giving them confidence, giving them an outlet, and having a damn good time doing it.”
With the amount of time that is involved in writing, editing, printing, folding, stapling, and selling these books, it’s obvious that zine creators must have a real passion for exposing art and writing to the world. Any writer dealing with rejection from publishers should realize that there isn’t a need for a middleman between them and their audience. Printing zines is both fun and rewarding, and should be tried out by anyone who writes, draws, or takes photography.
You can purchase issues of Martin’s zine, PAPER AND INK, here, and check out his website here. Submissions for issue ten are now open, and I highly recommend anyone with material on the subject, “Birth and Death,” to submit. DIY or DIE!
YouTube Channel: Salford Zine Library
Featured image via Paper And Ink’s Facebook Page