Out Now

How to Resist Amazon (and Why) 2nd Edition

How to Resist Amazon (and Why) 2nd Edition image

When a company's workers are literally dying on the job, when their business model relies on preying on local businesses and even their own vendors, when their CEO is the richest person in the world while their workers make low wages with impossible quotas… wouldn't you want to resist? Danny Caine, owner of Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas has been an outspoken critic of the seemingly unstoppable Goliath of the bookselling world: Amazon. In this book, he lays out the case for shifting our personal money and civic investment away from global corporate behemoths and to small, local, independent businesses. Well-researched and lively, his tale covers the history of big box stores, the big political drama of delivery, and the perils of warehouse work. He shows how Amazon's ruthless discount strategies mean authors, publishers, and even Amazon themselves can lose money on every book sold. And he spells out a clear path to resistance, in a world where consumers are struggling to get by. In-depth research is interspersed with charming personal anecdotes from bookstore life, making this a readable, fascinating, essential book for the 2020s.

Even Cowbots Get Blue Balls

Even Cowbots Get Blue Balls image

The latest in Microcosm's Queering Consent series is this m/m high heat erotic fantasy from S. Park!

In the distant future where hovercars flit between ruined cities, a sexy stranger comes to town. The hardworking cowboy owner of The Only Chance Inn is usually pretty hands-off with customers, but when the enticing stranger turns out to be broke, he offers him his own room. The immediate intimacy they develop is soon rocked by the stranger's otherworldly secret—and the innkeeper's fluid sexuality is put to the ultimate test, with supremely pleasurable results. In these five stories of erotic speculative fiction, S. Park explores themes of attraction, belonging, and identity. A lonely pair meets cute at a hotel bar, a demon hunter meets his match, a computer tech negotiates their new office's alpha-beta-omega pecking order, and a fairy-tale prince on a hunt bites off more than he can chew. Steamy, kinky, and emotional, these stories explore masculinity, sex, submission, and dominance in ways that can only happen when very different strangers from different worlds encounter each other.

Unf*ck Your Brain Workbook (updated & expanded!)

Unf*ck Your Brain Workbook (updated & expanded!) image

Bigger and better than ever, the bestselling Unfuck Your Brain Workbook by Dr. Faith G. Harper has been transformed from slender zine to substantial book! 8x10" pages are perforated so you can tear them out and the perfect size to photocopy so you can do an exercise more than once and track your progress! Exercises are geared towards recovering from trauma, stress, anxiety, depression, grief, addiction, triggers, and freakouts. Grab a book and a cup of tea and maybe even a friend and get to work because unfucking is totally possible!

Unfuck Your Grief

Unfuck Your Grief image

When we lose someone or something close to us—a loved person or animal, a relationship, our health, our dream, our idea of who we are—it hurts. A lot. Grief is both what we experience and how we heal. Dr. Faith Harper, bestselling author of books like Unfuck Your Brain and Unfuck Your Boundaries brings us a counseling and neuroscience perspective on grieving. She explains what is actually happening in our brains and bodies and what we need in order to allow it to happen fully. She also shows us how to identify and treat traumatic grief, the variety of grieving processes we experience, what grief looks like in the long term, when to get professional support, and how to ask the people in our lives for what we need (and to give ourselves the care we need as well). You'll also find solid advice on how (and how not!) to support a grieving person in your life. Wise, a little crass, and gently funny. 

Punk USA: The Roots of Green Day & the Rise & Fall of Lookout Records

Punk USA: The Roots of Green Day & the Rise & Fall of Lookout Records image

Updated and revised second edition with new interviews and photographs. Through hundreds of exclusive and original interviews, Punk USA documents the empire that was built overnight as Lookout launched a teenaged Green Day, sold millions of records, and rode the wave of the second coming of punk rock until it all came crashing down.

Born to Be Weird: Demented Fantasy & Bizarro Horror

Born to Be Weird: Demented Fantasy & Bizarro Horror image

Absurdist, comedic horror animates these stories. A public restroom even more horrific than most, with a stained toilet that can swallow a man whole, sending him to a sewage-filled hell. A riverbank lined with swaying mops given faces and philosophies. A secondary school that seems to waver in and out of reality not only in dreams, but also upon wakeful visitation. An isolated grotto, home to trolls and the posthumous shadow form of Elvis Presley. These are all settings of the peculiar, often unnerving events in Set Sytes’s collection of short bizarro fiction. By the author of How Not to Kill Yourself, this second edition of Born to Be Weird features hordes of new terrors and otherworldly adventures to make your stomach turn and skin crawl.

Self Taught

Self Taught image

Outsider artist and punk musician Tim Kerr brings his unique view of the world and the people around him to life in this new painting and photography collection from Don Giovanni Records, distributed by Microcosm. The raw feeling and wry outlook in these images will appeal to fans of Mostly True and anyone who's wondered what the spirit of DIY punk would look like through the lens of a camera.

Hello Cleveland

Hello Cleveland image

Hello Cleveland unlocks the hidden, larger-than life history and culture of Cleveland, Ohio, possibly the country's most misunderstood city. Locals, visitors, transplants, and people—who moved away as soon as they could—will gain a well-rounded picture of the city's passionate pursuits, dark corners, dubious claims to fame, and disarmingly friendly culture. Nick Perry, who grew up in Cleveland and then moved back as an adult, invites you to join him in taking a loving, brutally honest look under the hood. Develop an appreciation for local celebrities like Devo, Bone Thugs & Harmony, Lil' John and Big Chuck, and Dick Goddard the weather guy. Marvel at landmarks like the Great Lakes, the Metroparks, and the world's largest outdoor chandelier. There are plenty of downsides and none are sugarcoated. You'll discover why Cleveland is the reason for the creation of the Environmental Protection Act and how it's largely to blame for the widespread adoption of suburban city planning. But you can still find a heartwarming pride in rooting for sports teams that seem cursed to lose every championship. As the city's unofficial slogan says, "You've got to be tough," but there's a lot to love—especially when the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra wanders into the dive bar you're sitting in and starts to play an impromptu concert. 

Speak in Tongues

Speak in Tongues image

Speak In Tongues was a freewheeling, community-run underground music venue in Cleveland, Ohio that operated on a do-it-yourself basis throughout the late 1990s. The venue fostered a flourishing creative culture, where you could enjoy a puppet show from a spray-painted couch or meet other punks to start a band or a movement, but was also smoothly run with a great sound system and the best curation of music that you could hear in the city during its tenure. On any given night, you could go see hardcore punk, experimental jazz, or thrash shows where fireworks were set off inside the building. Traveling bands regularly booked shows there, including ones that went on to greater fame, like Modest Mouse, Avail, Lifter Puller, Jimmy Eat World, Alkaline Trio, Milemarker, and J Church.Venue operators, and later a management collective, contended with police surveillance, skinheads with knives, an exploding oil drum full of raw meat, a flaming car, and a different number of riots depending on who you ask. There may not have been a bar, but a healthy BYOB policy ensures that everyone’s memory is different, resulting in an entertaining story of a place that truly was what you made it, the source of lifelong friendships and endless lore. This comprehensive oral history tells a story that is greater than the sum of each person’s recollections, forming a picture of a unique, weird, special place that deeply informed the next twenty years of Cleveland’s underground culture.

Cards for Couples: 54 Prompts for Intimate Conversations

Cards for Couples: 54 Prompts for Intimate Conversations image

Deepen and improve your communication in your intimate relationships with these simple, accessible, inclusive cards designed to help couples learn about each other and spark conversations and closeness. Open-ended card prompts are divided into three categories: Hot & Juicy cards provide erotic prompts, like "What turns me on just thinking about is…". Sweet & Cozy cards invite you to voice your appreciation, with statements like, "Little things you do that make me smile are…" And Brave & Edgy cards invite vulnerability, as in "One of the hardest moments in our relationship was…". Inspired by the practices of Authentic Relating and vulnerability, these cards are an effective and playful way to support the healthy relationship maintenance for couples of all genders and sexual orientations. Perfect for bonding at home, on road trips, or for use in therapy sessions. Packaged in an attractive two-piece gift box.

Dead Theorists: A Card Game for Disillusioned Philosophers and Aspiring Academics

Dead Theorists: A Card Game for Disillusioned Philosophers and Aspiring Academics image

In this turn-based card game, the ghosts of Simone De Beauvoir, W.E.B. Du Bois, Michel Foucault, and Karl Marx have returned from beyond the grave to complete a bit of unfinished business. Become the specter of one of these four great (but deceased) thinkers as you seek to recruit your last great protégé from the ranks of students on one college campus. But you’ve encountered two challenges you didn’t expect: First, the forces of neoliberalism have been hard at work dismantling the education system. It will be tough to train your final pupil from within today’s profit-oriented university. Second, you’ve got competition! Other spirits have also awoken and they’re dead set on halting your progress and advancing their own ghostly agendas. Can you train your protégé in order to complete your unfinished business — and be the first one to do it? Satirical, educational, and a ton of fun for battle-hardened academics and philosophical novices alike.

Unf*ck Your Cunnilingus

Unf*ck Your Cunnilingus image

Vulvas rejoice! Here is the expert guide you need to the art and science of giving and getting oral pleasure. Learn techniques for causing great pleasure and for communicating desires, needs, and boundaries. Find out the science of why oral sex feels so damn good, work through societal and cultural messages that might get in the way of full enjoyment, and get a good grip on the health, safety, and hygiene stuff you need to know. Dr. Faith G. Harper, sexologist and bestselling author of Unfuck Your Brain and Unfuck Your Intimacy, brings her humor, knowledge, and compassion to help you gain a wonderfully fulfilling sex life.

In The News

Summoning All Witches

Since 1996, Microcosm has published and distributed books, zines, and other goods that put your power in your hands. Including, lately, an increasing number of pagan, mystical, and othersuch witchy books, zines, and decks.

We've recently updated our submission guidelines to make it extra clear: We're looking to publish and distribute more works of magic, witchcraft, and pagan spirituality. Send us your anarcha-feminist oracle deck, your spellbook for finding queer platonic relationships, your comics journalism about the history of witchcraft, a guide to the magic your grandparents taught you, agricultural tips for witches, adorable drawings of animals on broomsticks, or whatever creative way you've found to help people see beyond the pale of normalcy to change their lives and the world.

We are always, especially, looking for submissions from authors and artists who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, mixed race, disabled, neurodivergent, queer, transgender, nonbinary, or who don't see themselves well represented in mainstream publishing.

What we publish

Our first tarot deck, The Gold Lyre Tarot, was funded on Kickstarter in early 2021:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/microcosmpublishing/the-gold-lyre-tarot/

We're proud to publish Friday Gladheart's annual The Practical Witch's Almanac.

3 ornate books

And we have many more books, zines, and stickers in print and on the way, like these:

To submit your work to our publishing program, check out our submission guidelines to assess if we might be a good fit. We aim to work with authors and creators who can work within our processes, so following our guidelines exactly is an important first step when submitting a project.

What we distribute

Microcosm is also a specialty wholesaler, selling thousands of books, zines, and decks from other publishers, big and small primarily to non-book-focused gift stores. We work with Big 5 publishing houses, zinesters cutting and pasting in their closets, and everyone in between. And these folks are putting out more and more books celebrating paganism, crystals, astrology, tarot, the occult, the moon, and more.

a screenshot of a page from microcosm's catalog
A page from our online catalog, sorted by the "Witchy" subject tag

If you already have your own publishing program and want to see if our wholesale program is a good fit, check out our distribution info.

WorkingLit: Publishing Software from Microcosm

a logo showing an open book

WorkingLit is cloud-based software developed by Microcosm Publishing that gives independent publishers tools to thrive and grow at their own pace. Our industry is run by billionaires and conglomerates, and we want to give our fellow publishers the freedom to market and sell your books, understand your business, and painlessly pay royalties.

Microcosm built our own software from scratch starting in 2002, and we owe it our survival, success, and continued independence. Now we want to share it with you. 

Get involved and stay in touch!

We're planning to launch our first phase publicly in summer, 2022.

  • Take our survey for publishers
  • Join our email list
  • Are you a programmer? We're looking to grow our team. Email elly at microcosmpublishing dot com with your skillset and why you're interested in being part of WorkingLit
  • Take the tour:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/uRj8l2paG2Y

Call for Submissions for Neurodiversity zine series

Neurodiversity now occupies a similar place in the public consciousness at this moment as gay rights did in the 1970s: no one understands it and The Borg demand our assimilation! 
Proud to Be Retarded offers exposition on neurotypicals' neurophobia and the frequent claim that they are supportive of #ActuallyAutistic people...as long as we act like they do. One reviewer for my book Good Trouble mentioned that she couldn't believe that I wasn't part of a radical zine community on the forefront of Autistic theory...so I decided to start one! The inspiration for the title lies in the homocore roots of punk and Don't Be Gay in the 1980s. Queer punks were told that they would be accepted as soon as they acted like straight people. The deadline for issue #7 is September 1, 2022 and the theme is Burnout. The deadline for issue #8 is March 25, 2023 and the theme is Mutual Aid. The theme for issue #9 is Emotions and the deadline is November 25, 2023. Submissions should be 500-2,000 words as a rough guideline! 
Your Neurodiverse Friend features advice and explanatory narrative about the neurodiverse experience for the less divergent so we can be seen as real, whole people. If you are neurodiverse, you should contribute to the next issues!The theme for issue #6 is Animal Companions and the deadline is December 31, 2022. The theme for issue #7 is Creativity and the deadline is July 25, 2023. We want your personal narrative, origin story, misconceptions you've faced, how people could better interact/collaborate/interface with you, and aspirations of how you would like the movement to grow that can serve as a narrative for NTs understanding our people's experiences. 500-2,000 words is a good guideline.
email submissions/questions to joe at microcosmpublishing daht com

A People's Guide to Publishing Podcast

In 2012, Microcosm founder and CEO Joe Biel started writing blog posts. Biel wanted to share 25 years of experience and how Microcosm sold millions of books to leave a trail of bread crumbs for others to have similar success. Biel has also written a book about the topic, A People's Guide to Publishing.

Joe and Microcosm's marketing director Elly now make the weekly People's Guide to Publishing People's Guide to Publishing podcast. You can listen to it on your preferred app, or watch the video version as a vlogcast.

Got questions about the publishing industry or need help troubleshooting your own process? Submit your question to podcast at microcosmpublishing dot com, and we'll try to address it on an upcoming episode.

Find the series of blog posts that started it all here:

An overview

What a Publisher Does

Paralleling the Dinosaurs

Title Development

For authors: How to Pitch Your Book to a Publisher

Data About Your Book's Details (MetaData)

Profit & Loss Statement

Am I Stealing Your Art?

The Economic Case for Traditional Format Offset Printing

Distribution Question (with infographic)

The Print Run

Working with The Printer

Formatting for Print

How to Pack Books for Shipping

Social Media for Authors

Self-Promotion for Authors

Organizing a book tour

Microcosm In Your Town!

Want to meet us in person, check out our books, or see an author speak? We've got author events and convention events coming up! There's a full calendar at the bottom of the page.

Upcoming Author Events

Dr Faith Harper poses over a shelf of her books at Powell's City of Books

Interested in having an author at your store or event? Reach out!!


Upcoming Tabling Events

Where we'll be selling books and zines!

Upcoming Trade Shows and Industry Events

Usually not open to the public, these industry events are a chance for store buyers to peruse our books, write orders, and chat about terms. We plan to either attend or exhibit at the following events. If you'll be there too, drop us a line—we'd love to meet you.

  • September 18-19, 2022: PNBA, Portland, Oregon
  • September 21-23, 2022: NEIBA, Providence (in the Como zone)
  • September 28-October 1, 2022: MPIBA FallCon, Denver
  • October 12-14, 2022: Heartland Fall Forum, St. Louis (in the Fujii area)
  • January 29-February 2, 2023: Las Vegas Market (In the Wild Rumpus Room, C-1064)
  • February 20-23, 2023: Winter Institute, Seattle

a customer browsing a table full of books

Planning an event and want us to be part of it (speaking, author readings, movie screenings, setting up a book and zine pop-up shop, etc.)? Let us know!!

In the Portland area? We can set up a book fair at your workplace like the ones your school used to have.


BFF Book Subscription

BFF Book Subscription imageBe our Book Friend Forever (BFF)! For 6 months you'll receive every new title we publish. The subscription is sliding scale price $15-30/month—check it out here!  Thanks for your support!

Blogifesto!

How do you protect your book title and pen name?

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly tackle a question we get asked a lot—do you need to trademark your book’s contents or title, or your pen name? Joe lays down some intellectual property and copyright lore, and the answers might surprise you.