About the zine
Underground Writers are a group of dedicated volunteers who run a quarterly zine and online writing platform to support emerging writers across Australia. Our editorial team consists of student and emerging writers and editors who release reviews of debut novels, interviews with industry experts, writing tips & tricks, and monthly opportunity round-ups to foster a supportive and diverse community of Australian writers.
Founded in 2009 by a passionate group of individuals, though the editorial team has changed over the years, the dedication to helping emerging writers has always remained. Our team is currently led by Editor-In-Chief Jemimah Halbert who is supported by Dylan Dartnell, Jess Rae, Jess Gately, Kate Lomas Glendenning, and Shelley Timms.
Why did you create a zine?
Our founding members were writing students who were discussing how scary the step was to publishing their work. At the time it seemed like a big jump from their notebooks to some of Australia’s big journals like Westerly or Island. They realised that if they felt that way, then there were probably a lot of other people who did too, so they decided to create their own zine to foster and encourage emerging writers and provide feedback on their work so that those big journals didn’t seem quite so daunting. They wanted the zine to be free so that members of the general public were more likely to read the work and not just other members of the writing community.
What is your experience of the community?
Sometimes the local zine community can be hard to find. You have to know about it for one and most zines don’t last very long due to lack of funding. Places like Melbourne and Sydney have thriving zine communities but sometimes the zine communities in places like Perth (where we’re based) can be a bit hard to find. Joining online communities (like the Zines Australia Facebook Group) has been the best way to find local zines and the best way to find out about new zines and zine fairs.
What advice would you give?
Running a zine isn’t something you do for money. It’s something you do for the love it. Be prepared to spend money on what you’re doing and don’t necessarily plan to make that money back. If you want to make money from it, have a solid marketing plan. Know who your audience are and market to them accordingly. Also be aware that if you’re not paying your contributors, you are not going to get the best quality content so if you want to get the best quality content you need to have a source of income to pay people.