How to run your own independent magazine with Polyester’s Ione Gamble

Eight years on, Polyester is still independent and self-published, and the team’s devotion to seeking out new talent and trying out different outputs is the pinnacle of the zine’s success. Proving just that, Ione showed us the mag’s various mediums – print, podcast, digital and “of course” social media – which fuels the making of the platform. Along with tons of useful info about the topic, Ione explained how it’s so important to “diversify” your output in order to supply the cash flow. She also pinpointed how social media is both a useful and beneficial tool for growth, especially for those seeking to go against the mainstream publishing model. “We wouldn’t have had the magazine if we took a distribution deal… Now more than ever, someone is much more likely to find you through Instagram or TikTok than they are through a newsagents.”
The thought of starting up your own independent publication may sound daunting at first. But for March’s Nicer Tuesdays, Ione Gamble made it all that much easier as she gave us some trustworthy advice around the topic – the tricks of the trade that should certainly help any magazine enthusiast looking to get their idea off the ground. Starting off the talk, Ione ran us through her journey to date and the backstory behind founding Polyester Zine, an independent mag that puts “the people and the bodies front and centre that you wouldn’t really find anywhere else”. She launched the zine eight years ago during her university degree, after noticing how the current landscape was “completely at odds with all the things [she] loves”. This approach drove the DIY aesthetic of Polyester, as well as the tag line of “have faith in your own bad taste”, which is a “rejection of everything we’re told is good,” she said, “and everything we’re told is serious and worthy of time, which is so often rooted in racism, classism, ableism, all the icks and all the isms, and really finding something that rallies against that”.

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