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What Is Independent Publishing?

The Soapbox supports people in producing their own publications, such as zines, artist books, chapbooks, and other printed materials.

Will we publish your book for you? No. We’re here to give you the tools to produce your own work. Generally, work made at The Soapbox can be considered handmade in some way. To give you an idea, let’s explore some terms:

Zines: Sometimes described as homemade magazines, these are small-run self-published items that are often produced on the photocopier. We’ve seen some nice hand-printed covers for these produced in our studios. We’ve seen people screenprint a whole little handmade book and call it a zine. Definitions are slippery things. Distribution is often by mail or in person at a Zine Fest, where creators and distributors (distros) set up at tables to sell and trade.

Artist books: Similar idea, different level of production, different distribution networks. They might be described pieces of art in the form of a book, or as grown-up picture books produced in a limited edition. These often involve higher amounts of craft — letterpress printing and screenprinting on handmade paper, bound by hand — but the accessibility of Print-on-Demand services has created more commercially produced artist books. Artist books are often distributed to special collections libraries, sold at artist book fairs, or found in gallery environments.

Chapbooks: Short poetry publications, sometimes self-published or hand produced. (Sometimes neither.)

Other printed materials: We like art. Especially if it’s made in multiple copies. Especially it’s made at The Soapbox. Our studios lend themselves to the making of posters, fine art prints, one-of-a-kind blank books just waiting to be filled, and printing thank you cards to send to your grandmother.

The lines between all of these categories is often fuzzy. We’re here to support Independent Publishing in its many forms.