Rampant Media Consumption #4

January 30, 2015 — by Microcosm

Here's how we're rolling with reality this week. 

Tim poetry

I have the (bad?) habit of just kind of flying through books of poetry. I know it's usually the style of writing that demands the most attention, with each word or line-break having a very deliberate and specific meaning, but I often approach it like a song and go for the overall emotional impact. That's what happened the other day when I sat down with If I Really Wanted to Feel Happy I’d Feel Happy Already by Jordan pint of coffee and 160 pages of minimalist prose later, it was back on the bookshelf and I was slumped in my chair. The title is probably enough to know why. RIYL: All those other sad sacks (Mira Gonzalez, Spencer Madsen, Ellen Kennedy, Sam Pink, etc.). But you really can't go wrong with anything from Civil Coping Mechanisms.

But to be honest, I've spent most of my life lately catching up on Bob's Burgers. It's its own sort of poetry.  


I've been reading Humor by Stanley DonwoodHe's one of my favorite artists, he did the covers for all of the Radiohead albums (except Pablo Honey). This isn't an artbook though... this is a collection of his nightmares. Which is surprisingly entertaining. Some of it is pretty gruesome, but most of it is oddly funny.

Also, I've been skimming through How to Stay Alive in the WoodsIt's pretty good, once you get passed the killing-small-animals part.

And of course the new Tape Op magazine...which is always great. Especially while listening to lots of Portishead.


I started using Facebook in earnest again last week, after months away. In part, this was for awesome reasons like creating pages for the Crate Digger book and Feminists Against Freeways. But from there things got out of hand and I was right back to the glazed-eyed clicking and scrolling that I've sworn off so many times. That ate up every moment that I'd normally give to pleasure reading. On Thursday I wasn't feeling well and intended to rest all day, but there was social media, gnawing at my brain. Today I'm using Self Control again and my brain is once more my own.


I went to yet another book reading last night at Powell's, this time on Hawthorne. Which might work into some of our many parenting titles.

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The Business of Publishing

January 28, 2015 — by Elly

One of our most frequently asked questions here at Microcosm is something along the lines of: How does publishing work anymore? make a zine!

We have a few ways of answering that. 

Want a big picture look at the state of the industry, Amazon, the Big 5, and where small fry like us can fit in (and thrive)? We've got you covered


Or would you prefer brass tacks instructions that you can follow along at home? We have that, too.  

We have it in book form: Joe co-authored Make A Zine, which tells you not just how to lay out your type-written treatises for photocopying and handing out at punk shows, but how to publish books with spines, from editorial nuts to distribution bolts. 

I wrote a blog post a ways back about running a small zine production operation out of my living room and funding it on Kickstarter.

For people who want to take their book publishing enterprise even farther, Joe has an ongoing series, The Business of Publishing, over on my blog from way back in 2014 when we ran separate enterprises. Each post offers an in-depth guide to a new aspect of the industry, geared toward advanced beginners. If you put out a book through CreateSpace and are wondering why you aren't getting ahead, read this!

There's remarkably little candid information we've found out there about how to publish books in a way that makes economic sense. (Sorry, Smashwords. Sorry, Amazon. You are all sharks, you're out to screw over authors, readers, and other publishers, and you know it.) 

One refreshing exception came this week from our friend Amelia Greenhall, who wrote this extraordinarily detailed and useful account of founding a financially successful quarterly journal. (A word of caution: She was able to raise her entire first-year operating budget up-front. If that's not in the cards for you, you may need to be a bit scrappier.)

Another great resource on some elements of the most important but undervalued work that publishers do can be found here. The head of our former distributor, IPG, kicked off an extraordinarily helpful series on "habits of successful independent publishers." (My favorite part: "They spend a lot of time in bookstores."

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Rampant Media Consumption #3

January 23, 2015 — by Microcosm

Here's how we're allocating our attention spans this week:

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Bike stuff for bike shops!

January 21, 2015 — by Elly Blue

Hello, bike shops! The bicycle transportation revolution is happening, bigtime! More people than ever are getting on bikes for fun, community, and transportation—and we've got stuff that they are really, really stoked about.

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Rampant Media Consumption #2

January 16, 2015 — by Microcosm

This week's media roundup. Music, dad stories, nonsense facts, Reborn Dolls, jewelry theft, HIV poems, brownie baking, French New Wave, bad movies, great radio, obscure music, troll hunters, flag enthusiasts, and a funny quote about Lady Chatterly's Lover.

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Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever Valentine's Day Spectacular

January 13, 2015 — by Microcosm

We've been thinking a lot about love lately.... specifically about the great historical couple whose epic spats and charming make-ups grace the pages of so many of our favorite books. You know who we mean: Glenn and Henry. Our friend Brett Marren put together this little video in homage to their romance, and to Valentines everywhere, warts and all.

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Microcosm Staff: Meet Taylor Hurley, our developmental editor

January 12, 2015 — by Elly Blue

I'm an editor at Microcosm, which technically entails me overlooking the structure of each book we have going to print. I look specifically at obvious things like spelling, grammar, tone, etc., but also whether or not certain ideas have been fully developed, whether main ideas have been adequately explained. Since this job allows me to work from my computer, I operate mostly from my bed or random coffee shops. I don't like looking at books unless I have a lot of time to spend with them, so it often ends up being something I will set aside a whole day or so for anywhere from 3-5 days a week.

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Introducing our Rampant Media Consumption

January 09, 2015 — by Elly Blue

What we're putting in our brains this week: Music to hibernate to, indie novels and coffee, the original American novel, soccer, Cleveland, The Room, radical childbirth, bicycles, et un petit peu de francais

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Meet the Microcosm Staff!: Erik Spellmeyer, salesman extraordinaire

January 07, 2015 — by Elly Blue

Microcosm is growing! Our team is working around the clock (yes, our schedules are all over the place!) to bring you the books, zines, t-shirts, patches, and of course the Slingshot Planners that you need to super awesome your life. I'll be interviewing folks for the blog as they come up for air. Starting with our bespectacled Sales Manger... Mr. Erik Spellmeyer!

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2014 Financial Report

January 01, 2015 — by Elly Blue

Everything we earned and spent in 2014, with pie charts and comparisons to Amazon! ten dollar book microcosm amazon

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