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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

An Interview with Imogen Davies, Ergi Press

By Alice Maher

Photo by Imogen Davies

This issue, we speak with publishing hopeful Imogen Davies, from Ergi Press, a York-based creative writing zine for LGBTQ+ creators. The zine was established when Imogen’s peer Kate pitched her idea for a queer-oriented zine to her postgraduate cohort.

The name “Ergi” is strikingly unique - Imogen explained that it is “derived from the Old Norse derogative which suggests effeminacy or gender nonconformity.” The team felt the need to reinvent this term with their belief that there is “no way to do gender wrong.” “Ergi” harks back to York’s Viking history and “reflects the zine’s playful, no-rules attitude when it comes to gender expression and sexuality.” The zine's main content will be flash-prose, poetry and art submissions with the ethos being “the more creative the better!”

The small team of five behind the zine are mainly Publishing and Creative Writing MA students who state that they are “keen to get stuck into the industry as soon as we can!” For them, founding the indie zine felt like a “fun way to learn more, experiment with different roles, creative software and responsibilities,” and also to get a foot in the door of the industry. Ultimately, however, “Ergi” is a creative outlet in which the small team can express their “boundless passion for queer art and writing.”

“Why did you choose the zine format over other formats?”

“Ergi is a zine created as a homage to the punk and LGBTQ+ history of zine-making. The medium has been used for generations by creatives in minority groups, so we wanted to take the form and smarten up its edges for creative writing and art.”

“When will Ergi Press publish its first issue and where can we find it?”

“Our debut issue will be released in Spring - the exact release date is still TBC. The first edition will be digital but we're interested in venturing into the realm of print if the first issue takes off.”

“Have you faced many challenges during the process of creating the zine?”

“This project hasn’t been without challenges. It’s been tough to generate interest in the zine when there’s such an oversaturated market for creative content, especially on social media where everyone's clamouring for attention. We’ve been on a steep learning curve, but through these initial challenges we’ve learnt how to communicate as a team despite our different schedules and we’ve found strategies to create a buzz around our publication. Through our hard work we’ve found a place in a vibrant community of writers, poets, artists and zine creators. The support we’ve received has been heart-warming and we can’t wait to give back to the community with the zine’s release.”

“What skills have you developed during this process?”

“As a team, we’ve had to navigate the most successful ways to gain traction on social media, as well as learn exactly what the publishing process requires from start to finish, including time spans for all tasks. We’ve even dipped our toes into grassroots marketing, connecting with local independent booksellers to display the posters we’ve designed to promote the zine. As a whole, the experience has been extremely rewarding. To any publishing hopeful thinking of starting a side project, we’d say “go for it!”

“Which other platforms or creators inspire you?”

“We’re a team greatly inspired by flash-fiction and short-story publishers such as Dead Ink and Comma Press. We’re huge fans of Lucy McKnight Hardy and love the poetry pamphlets produced by The Emma Press for their great design, luscious production value and focus on thought-provoking voices from all backgrounds.”

“Who should we follow for the latest information on the zine and future projects?”

“You should follow @ErgiPress on Twitter and Instagram for immediate updates as well as our three main editors: @TheKateasrophe @imhidinginabook and @alexbestwick_. You can also find our designer on Instagram @juicyfigcreative.”

Finally, why do you want to work in publishing?”

“As huge fans of literature and poetry, working in publishing is the dream! We see publishing as a varied, vibrant and ever-evolving industry with a focus on human connection. Stories play such a key role in shaping our society and culture, and whether it’s editing manuscripts, designing covers or coming up with marketing strategies, publishing is a key part in that, which is very exciting!”

We would like to thank Imogen and the Ergi Press team for taking the time to talk to us and share such an eloquent insight into their passion for the publishing industry.



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