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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Small Press Day 2023

By Emma Regan and Frankie Harnett

Small press publications and independent comics are often too niche or controversial to receive any mainstream attention. The instigators of Small Press Day sought to rectify this by establishing an annual celebration of independent comics, self-published creators and DIY culture across the U.K. and Ireland. One of its founders, Andy Oliver, argues that due to efforts such as this, many people consider us to be in the golden age of self and micropublishing.

Falling on 5 August this year, the schedule of the day itself varies across stores but involves in-store signings with creators, stalls featuring local creators’ works, zine making workshops, giveaways and even mini comic cons. The heart of the event is giving small press publishing the attention it deserves and bringing the wider community together to support independent creators and stores.

Small Press Day was the brainchild of David Ziggy Greene. With roots in Broken Frontier’s annual publications, Six Small Press Creators to Watch and Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, the event was born in 2016 with the support of Alternative Press and Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier. It was inaugurated with the creation of a Twitter account and a date set for the first Small Press Day, 9 July 2016.

From the get-go, social media was central to the success of Small Press Day, with an immediate outpouring of support and voluntary aid from activists across the country. The first stores to offer support were Gosh! Comics, Orbital Comics, Travelling Man and Forbidden Planet Eire, however the event has since evolved to include comic stores across the U.K.

The grassroots ethos of Small Press Day has always been central to the event, so while the day was loosely organised by a self-proclaimed “informal group”, including David Ziggy Greene and Andy Oliver, it was primarily led by individual stores, with self-led localised itineraries and complete freedom in choosing their own creators. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has continued to grow and has further embraced its online presence, with hybrid events continuing to run.

Since Small Press Day is a celebration of self-publishing and grassroots comics across the U.K., Ireland and the internet, the events on 5 August will be in-store and online. Here is a rundown of events that have been announced and where you can find them:

As a prominent member of the small press scene in London, Gosh! Comics have a jam-packed day for customers to enjoy. The Soho store states small press and self-published comics are an integral part of its D.N.A., which is evident from its busy schedule. With an Avery Hill signing to kick off its festivities and a Broken Frontier current and former ‘6 to watch’ creator signing, Gosh! Comics is going all-out for Small Press Day this year. You can visit the Gosh! Comics blog page for a detailed breakdown of all the signings happening on the day.

Across the way in Ireland, Forbidden Planet Dublin will be doing things a little differently. Even though Forbidden Planet is a sci-fi and comic chain retailer, they don’t stop their stores from having a personality of their own. The Dublin store will be holding a pop-up marketplace, allowing creators to table as if they are at a convention. Similar events will be happening at the Glasgow and Wolverhampton stores.

Another must-see shop on Small Press Day is JAM Bookshop. Based in Hackney, the independent shop is owned by the creator of Small Press Day himself, David Ziggy Greene. Greene had always dreamed of opening a bookstore, and that dream came true thanks to crowdfunding. JAM Bookshop has yet to announce its plans for Small Press Day as of writing this article, but you can rest assured that they will have plenty of surprises in store.

Finally, to take part in Small Press Day online, simply follow the hashtag #SmallPressDay on Twitter and Instagram for updates.

If you feel inspired to join in the celebrations and want to host your own Small Press Day event at your bookstore, the Small Press Day website has a handy guide on how to get involved. Small Press Day will provide its official branding of web posters, social media banners and a customisable store poster and will even help promote your events on social media. The team will help source local small press creators or help small press creators reach out to their local event.



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