A Zine, A Book, A Distro?

It started with a zine, which turned into a book, which turned into a small publishing venture, to which we’ll soon be adding a distro. A year ago, this whole thing was just a concept, and I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty damn proud of us, and I’d like to share a bit of our story with you.

Almost two years ago Neely asked me to help her with the layout and production of turning the first few years of her zine, Mend My Dress, into a book anthology. I couldn’t have been happier, and we spent the next six months casually finding old flats, scanning (on a borrowed scanner) and starting the layouts.

We took a road trip to the 11th annual Portland Zine Symposium, and on the train back from Portland, we were discussing finally finishing up the design and going to print with the Mend My Dress Anthology, and threw up our hands and decided there were just too many good zines out there that had been around for years and they should be collected in books. And so Mend My Dress Press became a concept.

Then, on February 14th, after months of research, layout, working with printers, reviewing proofs, making logos, getting our business license, creating a little blog, and making buttons, we received the first shipment of Neely’s book.

And we were over the moon! So we delivered some to Left Bank Books, packed our bags, and went off to the windy city (where neither of us had ever been) to the Chicago Zine Fest. We had a blast, met some people, like Osa Atoe of Shotgun Seamstress, Maranda of Telegram, Amber Dearest of Culture Slut, Jonas of Cheer the Eff Up, and so many more. We bought a bunch of zines, sold some books, and we totally fell head over heels in love with the city.

When we returned to the gray northwest, we debriefed and strategized. I took a class on photography books, which led to our release of The Cartography of Farmers Wives and A Traveling Song, and we started working with Alexis Wolf on An Ilse Content Anthology.

We officially released An Ilse Content Anthology at the 12th annual Portland Zine Symposium. The Symposium was 2 days of attending quite a few workshops, swapping stories, sharing evening beer with Jonas and Julia, getting a bunch of cool new zines and stealing Nathan Wade Carter’s personal fan from the table next to us because it was hot as hell. Oh, and we picked up a few zines for our upcoming distro.

The rest of August was pretty much non-stop. Alexis did a mini tour of readings in Seattle, Olympia, Portland, and Berkeley before flying across the pond to England, and Neely joined her for a few stops as well. Then we were in layout and proofing overdrive and we’re about a week away from the release of Osa Atoe’s Shotgun Seamstress Anthology (Pre-sale on now!) and the book will officially be released Monday, September 24th, at the first stop of the POC (People of Color) Zine Project Race Riot tour.

This next month we’ll be focusing on finishing up our last release for 2012, Maranda’s Telegram: A Collection of 27 Issues and sending it to print. We got the proof a few days ago, and we’re pretty excited about the whole thing. It’s over 440 pages of Maranda’s inspirational writing. Plus, it’s purple!

We’re also gearing up for Seattle’s Short Run Small Press Fest, where we’ll be showcasing all the books and some of our zines. The fest is on November 3rd, so if you’re in the Seattle area, please stop by and see us!

Along with this we have managed to work on our smaller projects, including a lyric book for Neely’s band and a split fanzine about Corin Tucker.

So, what else does the future hold for us? Well, we’ve got some cool books lined up for 2013, and as if running a small publishing house wasn’t enough fun, we’re starting a distro too! Sometime around the new years we’ll be rolling out the online distro. We’ll be spending the next few months indoors, hiding from the rain and reviewing zines, collecting inventory, rebuilding the website, and partying like it’s 1999. So please, send us some samples if you’re interested in being distributed by Mend My Dress Press.

We’re both so happy and inspired we’ve been able to meet and work with some awesomely amazing people this year, and we just can’t wait for all the new faces, projects, and places that await us.

Also, we’d like to introduce you to the newest intern over at Mend My Dress Press: Bernard Pickles. His favorite activity is shredding paper, but he also excels at being totally effing adorable!

xoxox,

Colleen

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