Broken Pencil is the magazine of zine culture and the indpendent arts. We are a quarterly magazine based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Read more about us and check out what we do and why we do it at

Broken Pencil is looking for works of fiction from diverse writers that conform to no principles, no guidelines, and no preconceptions. We want work that hurts you to write, and us to read. Stories should be no longer than 3,000 words. Payment varies, depending on the status of our finances. Right now, we pay between $50 and $100 per piece.  

Be patient. We only come out four times a year and due to the volumne of submissions it can take us a while to read your work. But we want to assure you that every story you send to us is read with care and consideration. Please note: by submitting your story to Broken Pencil you are also agreeing to becoming a recipient of our monthly e-newsletter. You can unsubscribe from our newsletter at any time. 

Optional Submission Fee: 

We ask for an optional submission fee to offset the cost of keeping an open submission policy. All submissions will be treated the same regardless of whether or not you opt-in to the submission fee. Friends, Broken Pencil is a not for profit magazine devoted to zines, independent print culture and fiction on the edge. Please consider supporting us! 

Ends on July 1, 2019$10.00 - 25.00
$10.00 - 25.00

Celebrating international zine and self-publishing excellence

Announcing the Broken Pencil Zine Awards 2018!

Broken Pencil Magazine is excited to announce that we will once again be rewarding the best of the best in zine culture with the Broken Pencil Zine Awards 2018!

For the second year, North America's magazine of zine culture and the independent arts will be accepting submissions from all over the world in search of the finest independently published zines, comics and micro-journals.



We will be rewarding fabulous zinesters for their eminence in the following categories:

  • Political zine – zines dealing with issues of oppression, activism, organizing, political identity, intersectionality, feminism, anti-racism, queer struggles, political histories and resistance
  • Perzine – diary zines, personal reflections & essays, thought bubbles, etc.
  • Comic zine – indie/underground comix, mini-comics, serial illustration
  • Artzine – photography, silkscreeny/risographed/special printed zines that are not comics, photozines, design-oriented stuff, illustrations, photography, 3D and conceptual, low-fi artbooks etc.
  • Compilation Zine – a zine containing multiple pieces/texts by multiple authors around a specific topic
  • Literary zine – poems, stories, flash fiction, serializations, chapbooks, literary experiments, post-literature, text as art and all that stuff
  • Micro literary journal – literary journals (printed on a press) that publish fewer than 750 copies per issue
  • Fanzine –  genre fanzines, pop culture zines, concert reviews, punk music, record reviews, tour diaries, anything music or entertainment focused!

We wanted to acknowledge a range of zines while also comparing them to their peers, so we developed these categories.  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! 

All publications entered should be made in the following time period: April 2018 -- June 2019. We accept entries from anywhere in the world, but non-English language works should be accompanied by translation so our judges can fully evaluate them. Otherwise, we'll do our best!

How to Enter

Step 1. Pay your submission fee

Select Broken Pencil Zine Awards 2019 and select your price. The entry fees for the BPZA go toward funding the prizes, honoraria for judges, and administration.

You can submit up to three zines made between April 2018 and June 2019.

The first zine submitted has an entry fee of $25. This includes a 1 year subscription to Broken Pencil magazine worth $32! (Overseas entries will receive the digital edition of Broken Pencil due to the high cost of mailing.)

~ Got more than one zine? You can also add second and third submissions for $10 each. There’s a maximum of three zines per person.

~ Existing Broken Pencil Members submit their first zine for $14 and get their second and third submission FREE! Submit your second and third submissions by uploading them in the PDF section of the form. 

~ If the price of entry is a barrier for you, please contact about accessing a sliding scale entry fee.

You’ll be prompted to select one of the zine categories for each purchase. If your zines are in different categories, please signal the different categories in the PDF file name and/or send us an email at

By entering the contest, entrants agree to be added to the Broken Pencil weekly email newsletter list. Entrants may unsubscribe at any time.

Step 2. Submit your zine

There are two ways to get your zine to us.

You can either send us an electronic copy by attaching a PDF of your zine to your Submittable order. Or you can mail us some zines (two copies of each entry). If possible, please, please submit a PDF of your zine, even if you mail us physical copies as well. 

If you are mailing us a zine, Submittable will still require you to attach a PDF. If you do have a PDF of your zine handy, please attach it, even though you are mailing it too. If not, attach a PDF telling us to check our mail! 

To 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!
3. Send a copy of the receipt along with two (2) copies of your zine in the mail, addressed to Broken Pencil Zine Awards, PO Box 203, Stn P, Toronto ON M5S2S7

Unless requested otherwise, all entries will also be considered for review and excerpt in the magazine as part of Broken Pencil’s ongoing reviews of zines from around the world.

The deadline of July 1st means you must have registered your zine through Submittable by that date. Please mail your zine as soon as possible after registration!

Note: When you submit your zine, you will also be asked to provide an image file of the zine cover, and a headshot of the zine maker/editor in case you are a finalist or winner so have those ready to go.

Step 3. Wait while judging magic occurs!

Our team of judges from across the zine creator spectrum, with support from Broken Pencil’s editorial team, will deliberate over the zines and select winners in each of the categories. They will judge each category based on their content, form, creativity, talent, innovation and general merit.

In the case that there is one zine which clearly takes the cake, the judging panel may also decide to award one overall Zine of the Year Award to one of the category winners.

Step 4. Finalists are announced!
There will be 5 finalists in each category. Finalists will be notified by August 15th if they have been selected, and will be announced on the Broken Pencil website!


The Zine Awards will be awarded live and in person at the end of September as part of The Canzine Festival of Zines and Underground Culture held annually in Toronto.

We unfortunately cannot provide travel or accommodation funding for our nominees at this time.

However if you plan to come to Canzine and accept your award in person, we can hype up your appearance, make sure you have a table to sell your zines and otherwise help you out. 

Step 6. Grand Prize?!!

Each of the winners will receive a trophy, $200 cash, stickers to put on their zine indicated 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 $200! 

Winners will also be profiled in Broken Pencil Magazine and on, 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

Broken Pencil Magazine