Woohoo! Is it weird to say that I’m proud of myself? Because I’m totally proud of myself.
Despite anxiety, a sleepless night (after about a fortnight of bad sleep), more anxiety, an early wakeup to get down to Melbourne, crying multiple times, and going into a completely new situation, I made it! I have conquered it all and gone to my first zine fest. (And tabled there, too!)
I didn’t take a stack of pictures (I wish I had), but there are plenty to be seen online.
I packed up nearly everything in my green picnic basket. Zines sure do get heavy in a hurry. We were running a smidge late from the start, which didn’t help anything. Haha. Wanderer was brilliant at distracting me along the two-hour drive.
People who had tables had an hour to set up before it was open to the public. Fantastic! Most of us had our table set up within the first half hour, so we had an opportunity to wander, buy, trade, etc. I got some trades in pretty quickly and had fun meeting a few Instagram friends in person to boot. It was a bit strange to talk face-to-face, but I think mutually acknowledged awkwardness is a little bit easier to deal with. Hehe.
Flair! I have flair! Bloomurder had some badges for sale, and I couldn’t resist. Especially because I love her Shakespeare’s Lovers zine series.
The table! My ‘sea green’ butterfly material wasn’t nearly big enough, so blue octopuses went for the win.
Even Zine Ninja made an appearance at the table! I ended up switching things around two or three times because a.) zine people like to stack rather than fan out their stuff and b.) I was feeling quite paranoid about taking up too much space. No one commented or even looked at us funny, though, so it was all good.
Memorable moments included a softly-spoken but incredibly intense man who didn’t know anything about zines or Melbourne. Another was woman who, when told about Dear Anonymous, proceeded to lecture me and Wanderer about how people should put their name on things. (We later caught her giving a lecture to another zine tabler.)
One great set of moments was when a woman walked over and bought one zine… then came back and bought one more… and then came back a third time! Fun, fun.
The whole thing was such an excellent experience – especially for someone who was freaked out by the whole prospect. I didn’t have to be a salesperson (though some people were, and that’s okay), and a lot of people seemed to appreciate being left to browse. Everyone was quite polite, I felt as safe as I possibly could at a public event, and I even found the courage to wander amongst the tables. At one point, I had a panic and froze, but no one minded or even stared. It was lovely.
If only I’d had money for more zines!
We left early so we could get some food (sushi love!) and get on the road to get back at a decent hour. Of course, we pulled out of the car park to discover we had a flat tyre. Something about Melbourne…
We made it home safe and sound – me with this awesome zine haul and a lot of good feels. I wish I’d had more cash as well as more time, but this was – as I said – a fantastic experience. I feel fully confident about going to zine fests in the future and maybe even tabling again.
A huge thank you to Sticky Institute for putting the whole thing on!
*I fully intended on posting this yesterday, but an “ASAP!” journal order meant I spent the entirety of yesterday making a journal.