Zine Review: Side Project #5

Side Project #5
Samantha EE, Teresa Watts, Sabrina Wong, Sophie Raynor, Evelyn Paolino
@sideproject_mag (Twitter/IG/FB/Pinterest)

Side Project is a series about DIY and living creatively. In this issue, there are artist interviews, how-to instructions for a couple crafty projects, and various articles. This zine is the magazine that I always wanted to read growing up.

At $10, Side Project is definitely in the higher price range for a zine. However, for the price, you are getting a full colour, 46 page zine printed on nice paper. Aesthetically, it’s a very pretty zine. Everything is very neat, colourful, nicely laid out, and readable. It’s chock full of information and is a zine you can sit and pour over for hours.

In layout and feel, it’s very much a magazine. Those can be fighting words in the zine arena, but with ‘a zine for creatives’ on the cover but ‘mag’ in the URL, I don’t think the Side Project team is going to take it badly. I think they understand that they walk an interesting line.

Side Project puts me in a very strange space that I’ve never been in before. On one hand, it’s a zine. On the other hand, it’s almost not. It’s so perfectly well put together and perfectly created that it almost throws me a bit. There is often a sort of grit – a misprint here or a wonky staple there – and handmade feel to zines that Side Project doesn’t have because of its production.

That’s by no means at all a bad thing – please don’t take me wrong in that. And I certainly don’t mean to say that all zines have misprints or wonky staples. I only mean to say that Side Project is certainly different to my usual zine read.

In many ways the magazine-like qualities work very much in its favour. The combination of the aesthetic with pieces about creatives who live in Australia and sell on Etsy was really inspiring. It made me feel like homegrown creators can get the real recognition they deserve. I loved reading about talented people I could identify with as a creator and enjoyed articles on subjects I give a damn about.

On that note, my favourite piece of the entire zine was definitely the piece on Imposter Syndrome. I didn’t know that the feelings I hold all the time actually had a name and that other people feel them, too. I like that they didn’t just write about it but also added on some tips for making your imposter feelings work in your favour.

All up, this zine is gorgeous to look at and enjoyable to read. I can think of a few DIY friends I’d like to get copies for. DIY, Etsy sellers, and other creatives will enjoy it.

It’s Etsy’s Fault

I’ve been debating a bit whether to post today. Not because I don’t want to but because, well, I’m just so grumpy – and it’s only Tuesday.

Nothing has been catastrophic, but it’s one of those times when it wouldn’t take a lot of convincing to believe that the world really does just like messing with me. Things have been that way for a while, but this week started with an email from Etsy…

We’re writing to let you know that Australia has introduced new goods and services tax (GST) rules that will apply to cross-border supplies of digital products and other services to Australian consumers beginning 1 July 2017. You can learn more about the new Australian regulations here.

What this means for your shop

Beginning 1 July, Etsy will begin charging GST on seller service fees and Etsy Payments processing fees (“Seller Fees”) for Australian sellers unless they are registered for GST and have submitted an Australian Business Number (ABN) to Etsy.

Do you sell digital items?

In addition to the changes above, if you sell digital items in your shop, Etsy will be responsible for collecting and remitting the GST on those items. Etsy will automatically include applicable GST in the purchase price, and you do not need to collect GST on those items separately. If you’re wondering what this means for your business, we encourage you to contact a professional advisor.

I like Etsy, but by my research so far, it was already the most expensive way to keep a shop front with listing fees (that expire and need renewing), transaction fees, processing fees, so on and so forth. Now this? Now it’s even more expensive.

On top of that, they’re automatically increasing prices on my digital items, which pisses me off.

It’s not just me bearing greater fees – it’s people who want to buy my zines.

Thanks, Etsy. Thanks a lot.

“It says you can register for GST, Nyx. Don’t be grumpy.”

Yep, I could register for GST, be spared the fees and ignore the fact that people have to pay more for digital products. That’s business, right?

Here’s the thing, though: GST registration is a requirement for businesses that have a $75,000 turnover. I have absolutely no doubt that there are Australian sellers making that much, but I am far away from being one of them.

So what’s the big deal? That I don’t know if it’s a big deal. That I need to make an appointment and pay $80 to someone who knows whether it’s a big deal. If I do register for GST, it could mean quarterly reporting, which means paying someone $80 four times a year to deal with the whole GST thing.

This all when I’m operating at a loss as it is.

The big deal is that Etsy is popular and it knows it, so it doesn’t give a damn about the small sellers who are hoping to better their lives and get out of their current financial situations by offering something to the world.

There is a culture of non-profit and trade within the zine community, and I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is being stuck with more – not new, not the first – fees on a website that touts itself as being so wonderful and helpful to creators.

Oh, I know the response I’ll get about how it costs money to run a website, have staff, so on and so forth, but that is no comfort when there were already listing fees (that expire), transaction fees, and processing fees. They’re piling on fees with absolutely no thought as to the ramifications of people who were hoping to be granted the promise that Etsy so temptingly waves in the faces of those who are able to do little more than make their handmade creations in an economy and a society that doesn’t value them or what they do anywhere else.

That, my friends, is why I am grumpy today. I’m tired of forever ‘surviving’ and then being told to ‘just do better’ when I stop being okay with merely existing.

Call for Submissions: In Praise Zine

Fandom zine now accepting submissions!

What is fandom?

There are many different ideas about what fandom ‘is’, but according to my own experience, fandom is a group or community of fans who engage in discourse about a subject of common interest. The fan experience is what comprises a fandom, and what drives fan work and celebration.

What are you looking for?

Articles on any subject related to fandom, including fandom meta discussions. (e.g. the ‘right’ way to tag on AO3, your opinion on how creators and fans interact, an analysis of racism in a certain fandom)

Narrative Stories! I want to know how fandom has impacted you, personally. Did you meet your SO through fandom? Your best friend? Did you meet a creator at a con that changed your life? Why do you write fanfiction?

Interviews, reviews, and critiques. Have you spoken with an author about fandom? Or a fanfiction author about fandom? Do you have something to say about the way that a piece of media has treated its fans? Maybe you’ve reviewed all the cons in your area and have an opinion on the best ones?

Art and Comics: While we are not accepting fanart, we are accepting and encouraging fandom artists to write comics about the fan experience, fanfiction, fanart, talking to your fandom friends vs. non-fandom friends, how reviews make you feel, how characters make you feel, etc.

I want to contribute! What do I do?

You can contact In Praise through ask, or through email, inpraise.zine@gmail.com. Submissions will only be accepted through email. If you have a question or a pitch, you can contact me to chat about it. We’re looking for about 20-30 submissions, but if we receive more we will consider two volumes or a very large book. I cannot offer any payment, but all participants will receive a free digital copy of the zine. If this changes either through the success of a kickstarter or the patronage of a larger organization, we will let you know!


All written pieces should be 200-2000 words long. If you are submitting a larger piece, with references or a deep critical analysis, I will consider pieces up to 4500 words. If this is the case, I would recommend you send a pitch or abstract before spending a significant amount of time on the piece.

The zine will be published in trade size, 6”x9”, so please make sure any art submissions include a .125” bleed around the edges. You can submit up to five pages of comics. This will be a color run, but please use minimal or spot color.

You will be able to determine how you will be credited, by username, full name, alias, etc.

Will this zine be available to purchase?

Yes! We plan on creating a kickstarter to back the publication and gauge interest in additional installments. There will be both digital and physical copies available to purchase.

When’s the deadline?

The deadline for submissions is July 31st!

Zine Review: Proof I Exist 22: International Zine Month

Proof I Exist 22: International Zine Month
Billy McCall

International Zine Month is July, which means it’s coming up fast!

Proof I Exist 22 is about International Zine Month 2015 and the love of all things zine. If you’re not familiar, IZM has an ‘activity a day’ list created by Alex Wrekk (http://www.stolensharpierevolution.org/international-zine-month/) to go along with it, and Billy made a zine to document his progress.

You all know I’m always going to read a zine about zines, and adding in the perzine side of things is like hitting the zine jackpot for me. Talk about enjoyable and inspiring. As Billy himself says, this is a zine nerd’s zine, and I am all over that.

As much as I like that Billy made an IZM zine, I like that he didn’t make a zine of the prompts alone. He includes things like the zines he writes, the story of his first zine, and other things mixed in with the prompts. It makes the zine-y goodness that much better – plus I really enjoyed reading Billy’s story about his very first zine.

Aesthetically this zine is a bit different with the half-fold running vertically instead of horizontally. I found it interesting how one small choice could make it seem to different.

A fun sneaky little surprise in this zine is the mini-zine you find tucked inside. Have I mentioned that Billy called this a zine nerd’s zine? Because he’s not only embraced that but takes it to all kinds of fun levels.

As you may have guessed at this point, I love this zine and would love to see many more people celebrate International Zine Month in the same way.

Zine Review: Thought For The Day: The Body Image Issue

Thought For The Day: The Body Image Issue
Chloe Henderson

Thought For The Day: The Body Image Issue is a series of black and white photos featuring short thoughts on beauty and body written on various body parts (save for the last page, which is a drawing).

By their nature, mini zines are often quick reads. While this one is no exception, it’s a quick read that I have enjoyed several times over.

There’s something about this zine that really captured me and had me going back over the pages. Body image can be a sensitive and complicated issue, and this zine approached it with both vulnerability and humour. (Knees are weird.)

I love that the body thoughts are actually written on skin. What may have been a simple decision at the start had made all the images somehow more intimate. The words have more of an impact on me than they would have typed or written out on paper.

I really enjoyed this zine and hope that there are more ‘thought for the day’ zines in this series. Though honestly, a series of more of the same would be most welcome, too.