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Zine fest VENDOR Info
Special notice regarding MZF 2021:

The information below pertains to a "typical" year where our fest is held in person.  Obviously things aren't quite so typical now: due to the pandemic we've pivoting to being online, distant, and otherwise safe this year.  Please check out all the details on the 2021-specific site here.

(Or, if you're looking for guest-related info, there's a whole separate page for that right over here)

Pre/registration faq:
How do I sign up to table at MZF?

Registration for the fest happens via our website--typically in January--for that year’s fest. It is a multi-step process that begins with interested vendors joining a lottery. The lottery link is only visible and active for a short time so please follow our Instagram or Facebook page for announcements about upcoming open registration dates and/or join The Bindery’s mailing list at the bottom of the homepage here.

When you join the lottery, you will be asked for some information about yourself and your zines, and will also be asked to agree to our safer spaces policy. Full details are on the registration site in terms of what happens next!

Officially registered vendors should stay tuned for email communication from the MZF Zine Team as the fest nears regarding day-of needs and info!

Can I register or pay any other way?

At this time, no: all MZF registrants must use our online process. Someone may register for the lottery on your behalf, and/or pay for you when you reach that point: no problem. MZF zinesters who are familiar with past festivals may recall being able to pay in cash, in person. Please note that this is no longer an option. If you have a specific need or circumstance regarding registration or payment, please reach out to us: we can try to work to accommodate you.

How much does tabling cost, per slot?

Registration is the same price for everyone: $20 plus a small processing fee.

What counts as a “spot?” — well, two things (both of which are the same price). We provide 8ft tables and 6ft tables, as space allows. Each zine vendor gets one half of a table and chairs as needed.

This means you are either getting 4ft of linear space, or 3ft. MZF prices them the same knowing that some zinester’s items take up a lot of room due to their size, quantity or bulkiness—while others need hardly any space at all. (Aka someone with many zines, books and shirts vs. someone with just a few editions of one zine.)

We ask our community to look out for one another by selecting the option that’s best for you, knowing that 4ft slots are limited. If you really don’t need that extra foot of space, please leave it for someone who does! Your fellow vendors will thank you

Can I register twice for more than one slot?

Nope. In order to keep our fest as diverse and accessible as possible with limited space, we ask that each registrant stick to just one half-table of space. Zine fest always sells out of vendor slots, with a huge waitlist. (Often only 50% of folks get in who’d like to!) Help us accommodate as many of your fellow community members as possible by sticking to your one slot.

Can more than one vendor share a half table?

Absolutely. MZF recognizes that some zinesters may only have a zine or two to sell. Feel free to partner up with a buddy and share your spot with someone else. Please just let us know in your registration notes so that we can market everyone properly!

Are there any hidden commissions or fees?

MZF doesn’t take any commission on sales at the fest, or charge you anything beyond your registration. Your work is your own: your profits are your own. We do ask our community to pay a small online payment fee that MZF gets charged by our payment processor: by paying an extra buck or so you are part of a community effort to keep the fest up and running each year. Thank you!

Is there a policy about what I'm allowed to sell at MZF?

“Allowed” is a strong word—but we do ask that every vendor focus on zine-specific sales. At least 70% of your offerings should be zines or zine-related. (You can read more about what we mean by “zine” and why we have this policy here.)

Otherwise MZF does not censor materials or content as long as it is in keeping with our safer spaces policy.

Can I get a refund if I don't end up attending?

Due to the limited nature of our space, and the fact that we always sell out, we ask that all vendors make a serious commitment to attend. Registration fees are used in advance to support the fest, its programming, marketing, workshop materials, and scholarships—that’s money we can’t get back once it’s spent on making the fest fabulous for everyone!

We therefore cannot offer refunds if you do not attend (or for any other reason). MZF recognizes, of course, that life is far from perfect and emergencies do occur. Please reach out if extreme circumstances apply.

How many visitors attend MZF?

Good question. Because MZF happens at the library, which is open to the public for regular hours, it’s hard to know exactly. But we estimate that between 300 and 400 guests pop in throughout the day depending on weather, etc. Plan accordingly!

Info for registered vendors
I have a question, who do I contact?

We're happy to help and we're here for you (especially those coming from out of town who may need extra advice on lodging, transit, etc.)  No problem.  Reach out to The Bindery by email or phone any time: our contact info lives here.

When should I arrive at MZF day-of... and then what?

MZF officially opens to the public at 10:30am. We therefore recommend you arrive between 9:30 and 10am to check in and get set up. (Directions to the library are located here.) When you arrive, come find the MZF welcome table at the base of the central marble staircase at the heart of the library.

A friendly Zine Team member will help check you in and tell you where your table is, either upstairs or down. You’ll be all set to unpack and get started!

**Important note on no-shows: if you do not show up by 11am, your spot will be forfeited to another zinester (we encourage our wait-listers to show up just in case this happens). If you are having trouble arriving on time, please text The Bindery at 414-482-3630 and we will try to accommodate you. That said, please plan enough/extra time for travel, traffic, etc.

Is there someone to help me unload my car and set up?

Zinesters should be as self-sufficient as possible but we understand some folks may have specific needs or particularly large/bulky items. If you know this is the case, it’s best to let us know in advance of arrival. We have a small team of volunteers available to offer spare hands if possible, day-of, plus other zinesters may be willing too! (Notes below re loading zones....)

Is there an un/loading zone to park in?

Vendors who would like to temporarily park while loading in items have five options:

  • There are a few 15-minute-only parking spaces on Wisconsin Avenue directly in front of the library’s main entrance. The main entrance is not ADA compliant and involves stairs.

  • There is an official loading zone at the library’s main rear entrance which is on Wells Street between 8th and 9th. This entrance is ADA compliant: fully ramped and elevator’d!

  • There is a side entrance on 8th Street at the SE corner of the building that has a “no parking zone” next to it (marked with a sign). This is not an official loading zone and MZF cannot suggest nor endorse disobeying Milwaukee street regulations. We can casually note that folks have pulled up there for a few minutes with their flashers on in the past, no problem.

  • Further north on 8th Street, near the entrance of Centennial Hall, there is an official loading zone, marked by signage. It is perfectly legal to park here with your flashers on while you unload. Note that the Centennial Hall entrance does NOT connect to the library’s interior. You need to use the entrance at the SE corner of the building.

  • There is small, official loading zone at the library’s entrance on 9th street about halfway up the block. (There are also many metered spaces along 9th, and one may be open to “stand” in temporarily.)

  • Important note: Please do NOT park in or otherwise block any ADA accessible parking space—even temporarily.

Is there a policy about what I'm allowed to sell at MZF?

“Allowed” is a strong word—but we do ask that every vendor focus on zine-specific sales. At least 70% of your offerings should be zines or zine-related.  Buttons, posters, books, printwork, and other merch are also welcome, of course--but the majority of what's on your table should be zine-ish.

Why?  Milwaukee Zine Festival specifically focuses on zine art and culture.  This focus helps our community thrive & bear witness to itself, while also educating the general public about the importance (and brilliance) of zine-specific ethos, form, and history.  The city of Milwaukee is lucky to be the home of countless craft fairs, maker-festivals, art shows, book stores, comic shops, and gallery spaces of all kinds. (That’s why we love it here!) By keeping our festival zine-focused, we are purposefully and proactively allowing space for the types of underrepresented voices and marginalized work that often don’t fit well in these other venues and contexts.

Luckily, the definition of a zine is broad enough to include all sorts of wonderful, powerful, small press creations! (More specifics on that are here.)  Not sure if what you want to vend “counts” as a zine? No problem: don’t be shy. Just reach out to ask before signing up to table.

Otherwise MZF does not censor materials or content as long as it is in keeping with our safer spaces policy.

If I need assistance during the fest, what should I do?

Zine Team members are around all day to help you: find us either behind the registration table, in the Rare Books Room, or just floating around the main floor. The team can be identified by bright teal aprons with the orange MZF logo on them. Public Library staff and security are also around all day behind the various circulation desks.

The Zine Team can answer questions, offer a hand, or even watch your table for you if you need to use the restroom, feed your parking meter, etc. We’re here to help: just ask!

Is there wifi access?  How secure is it?

Milwaukee Public Library provides free internet access to the public: there is no password—it should just pop up for you to select on your device. Milwaukee Zine Fest makes no guarantees on internet security, however: please contact MPL directly with questions regarding their network.

Are there outlets to plug things in?

The space has limited outlets and MZF can’t guarantee you’ll be near one. We provide a few extension cords and power-strips just in case, but if you know electricity is 100% essential to your sales system please plan to bring an extension cord or reach out directly to discuss in advance.

How many visitors attend Milwaukee Zine Fest?

Good question. Because MZF happens at the library, which is open to the public for regular hours, it’s hard to know exactly. But we estimate that between 300 and 400 guests pop in throughout the day depending on weather, etc. Plan accordingly!

What should I bring to MZF?

Your wonderful work, obviously! But beyond that here are some key things we recommend:

  • Lots of change in small bills (there is free wifi if you need it for any digital POS system).

  • A tablecloth or covering of some kind (we don’t provide one).

  • A sign, cards, or another way of letting people know who you are and how to find you after MZF.

  • Spare zines to trade with others and/or to archive with both MPL and UWM’s collections.

  • Lots of water/snacks (stay hydrated, friends)!

I have no idea how to price my work: help!

We have no idea either! Really, this is completely up to you and prices vary widely at MZF depending on the item being sold. Think about how much you spent on materials to make your zine, and how much time/creative energy you put toward it. Factor in your registration fee for the day. Also, vendors all have different goals: some want or need to make a profit; others just want to share their work/voice/ideas. Sometimes zinesters will even have free items, or zines “for trade” instead of “for sale.”

Basically, a zine for $2 would not be out of place at MZF, nor would a zine for $20.

What time does MZF end?

We announce official dates/times each year as the fest gets closer.  Typically Zine Fest closes to the public at 4:30pm because the library closes at 5pm. To respect our colleagues at the library who just want to go home after a long day of work, everyone needs to be completely packed and out of the library by 4:50pm to allow them to do their final security sweep and lock up for the day. We love MPL: please help us do right by them by planning more than enough time to pack up and leave. Socializing can happen at our after event(s)! See below.

Do I need to be there all day long?

We request that all vendors stay for the entire open period (typically 10:30am to 4:30pm day-of). Even if you sell out of zines early! Why?  Three reasons:

  • It’s great for you! Visitors stop in all day long and up to the very last minute. We want as many folks as possible to see and purchase your work and/or just meet you and learn about your zine process.

  • It’s great for visitors! We want our guests throughout the day to have a wonderful experience, flush with zines a’plenty, while experiencing as diverse and wide a group of makers as possible!

  • It’s great for our community! Perhaps most importantly, being together all day strengthens our bonds to each other, and allows us to present our community to the public as one that is strong and whole.

If you absolutely need to leave early, please let MZF know in advance of the fest so that we can discuss options.

Does anything social happen after the fest?

We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from vendors and visitors alike that they’d love to meet up after the fest to socialize more. However, we also get feedback that folks are too exhausted by fests’ end: after-events in years past have been sparsely attended. Stay tuned for details this season on whether we’ll host an after-party or not.

Once the fest is over... then what?

Don't worry, while the festival is just once a year, The Bindery runs zine programming, publication, and sales all year long!  Follow along on social (@thebinderymke) to keep up with future workshops, gatherings, and opportunities. If you are a local zinester insterested in partnering up with The Bindery to run classes, show off your collection, sell your work, or otherwise join the Zine Team to help us grow, please be in touch!

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