Community Manager
16 Jun, 2019
Ignite Chelmsford – Independent Publishing

June’s Ignite Chelmsford meet-up was buzzing with a friendly, community vibe from familiar and new ignite attendees. The subject to be discussed was Independent/small press publishing, focusing on zines and comics.
The event was held in Transition Chelmsford, a local community and co-working space a few steps from Chelmsford Train and Bus stations.

First to speak was Hayley Wells-a local illustrator who discussed why she enjoys making zines and why anyone can make them if they wish.

Hayley started by telling us that a ‘zine’ is classified as any small, short-run booklet that is not-for-profit and generally printed on a domestic photocopier. She said that there are often ‘barriers’ in the traditional publishing route and this often puts people off of starting, but this needn’t be the case if you self-publish. She went on to say that she not only produces zines by herself, but also in collaboration with others and a mix of subjects can be covered. Often, zines are made to spread awareness of a subject-for example; mental health, gender identity, community-but they can about anything and everything. She went on to explain that zines have their own unique quality-they can be imperfect and are often in the author’s own handwriting, which makes them unique and allows for the author’s voice to come through the work. Finally, Hayley said there are no rules to making zines “just enjoy the process!”. Hayley had some of her zines on display and she asked the audience to add some words for a future zine!

Hayley also gave some resources for anyone that wants to find out more:

Next up was Andy Oliver, Editor-in-chief of Broken Frontier who also organises Small Press Day and is a speaker, judge and panel member at various comic book events nationally.

Andy started work in traditional publishing companies, but became disillusioned in the industry and so started a blog called “Small pressganged focusing on small self-publishing projects. This evolved over time into a business and website called Broken Frontier. Broken Frontier is run by a small group of enthusiasts who publish and mentor new comic book creators. Their website is also a source for finding out the latest news in the small press world. Broken Frontier pride themselves on getting involved in the community and offer an initiative called ‘Small Press Creators to watch’ which enables them to mentor, offer advice, give coverage to and generally help the creators to progress. Their website has carried out over 1,000 small press reviews and hundreds of creator interviews since 2011. Andy also told us that comic book and small press publications have a huge scene that is getting bigger-giving a voice and community to many people.

Thank you to Hayley and Andy for speaking at Ignite’s June meet-up.

 Upcoming events shared by attendees:

Following the talks, two of Chelmsford’s newest councillors-Councillor Marie Goldman and Councillor Eleanor Sampson joined in some social networking, getting to know our local artists and community. An inspiring evening for all!

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