I've lived in Utah my entire life but it's only been in the last two years that I've truly started engaging in places and events in Salt Lake City that support literary artists. Which is quite ridiculous when you consider how many times I traveled to Portland for the Portland Zine Symposium before finding out there was a zine community right here in SLC. I can’t remember exactly how I found out about Grid Zine Fest, but I’m incredibly grateful I was able to start attending and tabling as soon as it started in 2017. When I was there, truly engaging with the zine community for the first time, I was told about Alt Press Fest held at the Salt Lake City Public Library.
Alt Press Fest isn’t just a zine event. There are so many other varieties of mixed media and a completely different range of people who attend! It’s been running for so long and I’m kicking myself for never even finding out about it and attending.
This was my second year tabling at APF. Last year wasn’t very successful. I was placed downstairs next to a wonderful zine friend I’ve made and we didn’t see a lot of foot traffic since the majority of people didn’t seem to realize that there were two levels to the event. I didn’t have any books to sell, and I didn’t have any new zines either. This year there was only one level and it was good whether the entire time.
When I found out I was approved for a six foot table this year for APF, I made sure to immediately order copies of my novels to have at the table. I needed that push for myself. I’ve put off promoting my work for the last year and a half and haven’t been very kind of my pieces of art I spent so much time writing and creating.
I didn’t sell more than three copies of my books (1 of Seven Cities, 2 of Stereo), but I ended up selling a LOT of zines. More than I anticipated! One kind lady who was on vacation ordered 30 copies of my mini mermaid zine and now I’m going to spend my weekend working on putting all of those together.
There are always things I learn I need for the next event every time I do one. This time I was prepared with a Square card reader to take card transactions! For anyone needing to sell things at an event or table, the Square was easy to acquire, easy to set up on my phone, and then easy to use. It helped me keep track of all of my sales, how much cash I took, how many discounts I gave, and the fee I paid for my card swipes was minimal.
I did learn very quickly that now that I have a website and I’m trying to get my writing and author status back up, that I need to have business cards ready to hand out to anyone. I was so busy hustling to finish a zine called Things My Grandma Says On Facebook that I didn’t even think about business cards or having my website displayed or updating the information on my zines to reflect my website.
I’m looking forward to next years Alt Press Fest and to the Grid Zine Fest in April! I love the community I’ve found down here and I think I make more and more friends at every event. I hope everyone else who attended had as much success as I did.