Enter the Broken Pencil Zine Awards

Celebrating international zine and self-publishing excellence since 2017.

Since its inception in 2017, the goal of the Zine Awards has been to honour outstanding work coming out of the ever-expanding zine universe, and to acknowledge the talent and hard work of emerging, established and experimental self-publishers for their contributions to zine culture.

Awards & Categories

The award for each category will be announced and given out live at a ceremony as part of the Canzine Festival of Zines 2021 this Fall. As of now we anticipate that Canzine will be virtual rather than in person.

Of course, not all zines fit in categories smoothly — some might contain elements of more than one, and some might not fit any of these at all. When it comes time to submit, please pick the closest matching category you see!

Awards will be granted for the following categories in 2021

Click the image to zoom in. Click here for a text version.

Winners in each category will receive:

  • A BP Zine Awards trophy
  • $100 for each category winner
  • Best Overall Zine gets an additional $400 totalling $500 in prize money!
  • Zine awards winner stickers to put on their zine indicating they are a winner (category finalists get stickers too!)
  • Winning creators will also be profiled in Broken Pencil Magazine and on brokenpencil.com, along with excerpts from their winning zines.
  • Winning zines and nominees are sold on the Broken Pencil Zine Store, which we exhibit, bundle and sell on their behalf at zine fairs, stores and libraries.

How to Enter the Zine Awards

Please read these instructions carefully and send any and all questions to [email protected].
You may also want to scope out our Frequently Asked Questions page.


Step 1. Select the Submittable form for you and choose payment option

If you are a current Broken Pencil subscriber or Zine League member:

  • Please use the Submittable form marked “For Current BP Subscribers Only”
  • Current subscribers to Broken Pencil can submit up to three zines for a flat fee of $14 USD. There will only be one payment option for you, and you can submit one, two, or three zines in this form.
  • Submit the info and files for all of your zines on one form.

If you are not currently a Broken Pencil subscriber:

  •  Please use the Submittable form marked For New and Renewing BP Subscribers.”
  • New subscribers will pay $25 for their first entry, which includes a one-year subscription to Broken Pencil  (yay!).
  • Select only one payment option to reflect the number of zines you’re submitting. Submitting a second zine is $9 more (total $34 for two zines), and submitting a third is an additional $6 more (total $40 for three zines)

    Sliding Scale
    If the price of entry to the zine awards is a barrier for you, please contact [email protected] to inquire about accessing a sliding scale entry fee.

Step 2. Fill in the rest of the form

Now, fill in your contact information and the details of your submissions. Some fields are required and some are not, including the fields for details for entrants submitting multiple zines.

We also ask for a cover image and artist image — it’s really helpful to have digital stuff handy in one place from the promo period all the way through the print feature in the mag.

Step 3. Pay up and send the zines

Lest we forget, the most important part— the zines! The form will prompt you to upload the PDF version(s) of your work and fill out the remaining contact information and details. Whee!

Continue to finish the payment, which will generate a receipt. You’ll need this if you’re mailing a physical copy as well.

There are two format options for how to send your zine submissions:

Option 1. Upload the electronic copy only (no print version)

Simply attach the PDF file of your zine entry to your Submittable form.

Option 2. Mail hard copies AND upload an electronic copy

  • You can also mail us physical copies of your zines. Please try to send two copies of each entry, one for BP and one for the guest judge. Three is even better if you can spare it.
  • Unfortunately we can’t arrange to send back zines after the Zine Awards, sorry!
  • If you are mailing a zine, Submittable will still require a file upload. Please submit a PDF copy of each entry in some form, even if you mail us physical copies as well, and even if you super prefer zines as printed matter. We know, we know. For many, zines are a paper medium. Not all of us even have PDFs of zines. WTF Broken Pencil really? etc. etc. Read on.
  • The reason we do require an electronic copy to have the image files handy in one place throughout the Zine Awards admin, outreach and coverage. We use these for promotion, announcements, the zine awards ceremony and presentation and the magazine feature. Really, we come back to these throughout the year, especially for shortlist nominees. If your zine was made fully and only by analog means, please consider taking some pictures and putting them in a PDF.
  • Note that judges will receive the physical printed zine for any submission that has one. If you really don’t have a digital copy, attach a PDF telling us about it and to check our mail.
Mailing Instructions
To snail mail your zine to us:

  1. When you pay on our Submittable page, it should generate a unique receipt.
  2. Save and print this receipt! Or write down the number in a pinch.
  3. Send a copy of the receipt along with two (2) copies of each zine submission(s) in the mail. We have a Canadian and an American address.


Location Address Send via Frequency
Broken Pencil Zine Awards
PO Box 203, Station P
Toronto, ON M5S2S7
Canada Post only
(No couriers)
Picked up twice weekly
United States 
Broken Pencil Zine Awards
c/o Gutter Pop Comics
1421 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216 USA
USPS or Standard Couriers (FedEx, UPS etc)
Picked up every 6-8 weeks depending on border restrictions. we promise to make sure all submitted zines are collected in time.

The deadline of July 31st means you must have registered your zine and paid through Submittable by that date.

Please mail your zine as soon as possible after registration, as we need to receive it within two weeks of the deadline’s closing to give time to the judging process.

Step 4. Wait while judging magic occurs!

Our team of judges bring experience and expertise from all corners of the zine creator spectrum. With support from Broken Pencil’s editorial team, all zines will be read by at least three people.

We’ll work collaboratively to select winners in each of the categories. Zines will be judged against other zines in their category based on their content, form, creativity, talent, innovation, gutsiness, and general merit, and the decision will be made independently a guest judge or several who has particular expertise.

The judges may also recommend to select and award one Overall Zine of the Year Award from amongst the category winners.

Note: Unless requested otherwise, all entries will also be considered for review and a small excerpt in the magazine as part of Broken Pencil’s ongoing reviews of zines from around the world. Let us know if you’d rather we do not review your zine.

Step 5. Did you make the short list? Golly gee! Congratulations.

There will be 5-8 nominees/finalists in each category. Finalists will be notified by September 15th if they have been selected, and the list will also be announced on the Broken Pencil website. Expect to hear from us via email about coming to the ceremony, distro-ing your work through our zine store, and spreading the good news. Be patient with us! We want to give every zine a fair shot. If you’re worried about whether or not you missed something, you probably haven’t — wait a week, and then email [email protected] if you still need to follow up.

Step 6. The Zine Awards Ceremony

The Zine Awards are typically awarded live and in person as part of Canzine Festival of Zines and Underground Culture. The 2021 date and location are on hold due to uncertainty about COVID-19, though we are most likely planning to do a third Virtual Canzine at this time.

Step 7. Grand Prize?!!

Each of the winners will receive a trophy, $100 cash, stickers to put on their zine indicating they are a winner and more. Should the judges deem one of the winning zines the Zine of the Year, the creator will win an additional $400.

Winners will also be interviewed and profiled in Broken Pencil Magazine and on brokenpencil.com, along with excerpts from the winning zines. Should you wish to participate, winners and nominees will also be sold on the BP online store, sold at special displays at zine fairs and stores, and presented at special displays at libraries.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to [email protected]

Help promote the zine awards!

Share this page! Posters and digital assets in a range of sizes will soon be available as well.

If you’d like a stack of postcards for your zine library, zine fair, small press shop or other establishments, email [email protected] and we’ll coordinate to get you some.