Small press champion Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier has delighted me with a review of my small press book Merde in France: Learn French the Pop Culture Way, which you can read here.
I’m pleased to see Merde in France is described as “the most eccentric piece of self-publishing” in the round-up list and overall it seems to be a positive review – what more can you hope for?
Andy also reviews books by the fabulous Brigid Deacon (I love her artwork!), Alexandra Cook and Rozi Hathaway (who I met and whose work I admired at the First Publications table at the Alternative Press Takeover this year), and Alys Jones.
There’s so much talent out there that goes by largely unnoticed (just to be clear, I’m not talking about myself here – I know I can’t really draw!), so it’s good to know that people like Broken Frontier take the time and effort to read new publications and keep an eye on those who show a bit of promise. Andy is hoping to do two “Small Pressganged” Zinewatches each month, so keep an eye on the site for further reviews.
I’m fairly new to this zines / small press world and if I’m honest I find the marketing side of things a little hard. I have tried to get in at UK zine fairs but they always seem to be oversubscribed and unable to offer places to people new to the business like myself. So it’s really nice when a great site like Syndicated Zine Reviews mentions your work – makes you feel like it might be worth carrying on even when you’re not sure how to get your work out into the world.
If you’ve not checked them out before, there are two reviewers in the UK (Nathan Penlington and Martin Appleby) as well as reviewers in the US and Australia. You can check out their bios to see what they are interested in and then contact them to see if you can send them copies of your zines for reviewing purposes. Luckily for me Nathan Penlington (a writer and performer/stand up comedian) very kindly agreed to take a look at my zines and has given me a favourable review for my “learn French the pop culture way” book Merde in France. Yeah!
Nathan Penlington’s review of Merde in France can be found here
Since the brilliant Takeover event in London last month I’ve had some good news – Morrissey: Misery in Bitesize Chunks is now being stocked by Rough Trade, Gosh! Comics and Orbital Comics. Orbital Comics have also been kind enough to make Morrissey: Misery in Bitesize Chunks one of their Staff Picks of the Week this week – look! I’m absolutely chuffed to pieces about that.
There are still copies available on Etsy at the moment as well.
I’m now working on ideas for some other mini pop culture comics / zines. Hopefully have something else to post here shortly.
I have a new book ready in time for Takeover 2015, which is on Saturday 9 May (midday – 7pm). Come along if you want to buy a copy – 47/49 Tanner Street, London, SE1 3PL.
My second small press book – Morrissey: Misery in Bitesize Chunks
Anyone who has read (or tried to read) Autobiography by Morrissey knows it’s not the easiest of reads. It took me well over a week to read 130 pages and I knew other people who struggled with it too. So I thought I would do the world a service and read it on behalf of those who just couldn’t manage it but wanted to get the nub and the gist of the whole brouhaha.
Morrissey: Misery in Bitesize Chunks is my lighthearted summary of Autobiography by Morrissey, complete with my own illustrations. As a friend said, it is like the York Notes for Morrissey’s Autobiography. So read this if you gave up on the Autobiography or if you read it but just want a reminder of selected highlights.
There are only 100 copies available of this book, all individually numbered. It’s 14 chapters, 15 illustrations and 39 pages of deaths, despair and foods beginning with the letters T, C and P.
The rules are: you need to have purchased a copy of Autobiography by Morrissey BEFORE you purchase this book. We’re Morrissey fans here!
Here’s some extracts to give you an idea of the contents:
If you can’t make it over to Takeover 2015, you can buy the book on Etsy here. It’s £5 (plus p&p).
I have to say I’ve been a bit slow on the uptake sorting out the marketing / selling of my comic book Merde in France but things are gradually coming together – if you haven’t already bought a copy but think you’d like to learn French the pop culture way you can find it here:
Tiny Noggin Etsy Shop
In the fabulous Orbital Comics in London
From the wonderful Rough Trade website
And this is exciting (for me), you can also buy it from me in person at the Takeover 2015 event in London on Saturday 9 May:
Follow the link (above) to their webpage to find out more, but basically it’s free to get in and there will be loads (a Victorian warehouse full!) of independent comic and zine artists there selling their small press publications. They will also be running workshops and holding talks, so there is plenty to do from midday to 7pm. Being a newbie I will be in the First Publications Corner, not surprisingly with my first publication Merde in France, but I am also hoping to have at least one other item ready by then – maybe the Morrissey comic, here’s a taster image from that:
Or maybe something else – I have so many ideas for small press books I want to make but so little time. I’d better crack on if I’m going to have something new ready for Takeover 2015 on 9 May, maybe see you there!
I’m currently working on 3 comic books at the same time (I know, I should just stick with one and finish it before starting another…) and trying to sign up for some small press and zine fairs. But in the meantime I thought I’d share a few bits and pieces I have made for friends:
A birthday dangly thing (!) for a friend who loves the comedian Russell Howard:
Another birthday present – a Frank Sidebottom side-table for a friend who loves Frank (you know he does, he really does!):
Some Lee Hazlewood items I made for another friend – I painted the applique for the cushion with fabric paints (it took ruddy ages!) and I embroidered and cross-stitched the handbag:
I’ve just had my first comic book printed up. It’s called Merde in France – named after Jacques Dutronc’s song – and it’s a teach yourself French book.
It all started years ago when I realised that the French phrase J’en ai marre was actually nothing to do with the guitarist from The Smiths. Although, to be fair, he probably was a bit fed up from time to time…
Anyway, I taught myself French by listening to French music (it’s my thing) and singing along with it and I still conjugate verbs and remember vocab by going through song lyrics in my head. But not everyone would want to learn French that way. So, if you prefer, you can learn French the Tinynoggin way and do it with word association. What I’ve done with Merde in France is to draw some pop culture icons who remind me of French words for one reason or another. So if you want to say “I’m fed up”, you just think of the guitarist from The Smiths and say his name with a French accent: “J’en ai marre!” There you go, you’ve just learnt your first French phrase. Easy peasy.
There are 28 illustrations (or should I say drawings? I’m not what you’d call an illustrator by any stretch of the imagination!) and here are some examples below to give you an idea of what kind of thing you can expect from Merde in France:
Please note, some of the words are a bit naughty (apologies for Mama Cass’s potty mouth), so it’s not a book that’s suitable for children. Some of the other pop culture icons included in the book include Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ron Mael, Mr T and Morrissey.
If you’d like to buy a copy of Merde in France, it costs £5 plus p&p and you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to order a copy or buy one from my Etsy store. The first print run is limited to 100 copies.
Here’s a link to the Tinynoggin Etsy store. I’ll update this page when I have the book placed with any friendly comic stores.
Post Script: The lovely people at Orbital Comics in London have kindly taken a few copies of Merde in France now, so you can buy it there if you want to peruse it first!