Out Now

Unf*ck Your Anxiety

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New, expanded edition! Anxiety is a survival skill gone haywire. It happens when our brain is working so hard to protect us that it forgets to notice that the danger has passed. It feels like choking, stifling, smothering, tingling, panicking—our brains cut out and we start to make bad decisions—all normal anxiety reactions. Dr. Faith G. Harper, author of the bestselling Unfuck Your Brain and This is Your Brain on Depression packs a ton of knowledge and help into this practical manual. She helps us understand the history and science of anxiety, realize when it's become a serious problem, know the difference between anxiety and other conditions, and cope with it in the moment as well as addressing it long term.

Autism Relationships Handbook

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Love, sex, dating, friendship, coworkers, family—social and romantic relationships can be really challenging in a world full of neurotypical expectations. Joe Biel and Dr. Faith bring their personal and clinical experience, respectively, in this guide to navigating the relational world with a rational (and sometimes deeply overwhelmed) brain. Learn to be kind to yourself, ask people on dates, improve your existing relationships, protect yourself from abuse, have healthy conflicts, and more!

Bang!

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A truly inclusive solo sex ed book! Written and illustrated by and for folks with diverse genders and abilities, this fun, affirming, sharply designed guide to masturbation liberation is sure to bring a grin to your face.

How to Resist Amazon and Why

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Independent bookstore owner Danny Caine penned this love letter to buying local, which is also a scathing critique of big business, consolidation, and the havoc giant retailers are wreaking on the US (and world) economy, labor force, privacy, politics, and the business of writing, buying, and selling books.

How to Be Accountable

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Want to change your behavior, transform your relationships, and live your best life? Dr. Faith Harper and Joe Biel walk you through the benefits and difficulties of being accountable to the only person who can truly be responsible for how you live your life: yourself.

Practical Witch's Almanac 2021

Practical Witch's Almanac 2021 image

Magic is a universal force but how we access and use it is deeply personal. The 24th annual edition of Friday Gladheart's beloved almanac is focused on crafting your magic. Special planner pages, worksheets, and articles are included to help you achieve your goals, discover your hidden talents, and explore the awe-inspiring beauty of nature, no matter what kind of magic you practice. The projects, articles, and ideas will motivate you to hone your witchy skills no matter your current level of expertise, including divination (tarot, runes, pendulum), herbalism & wortcunning, and using nature's gifts of stones, crystals, and minerals. It can also be used as a companion study guide to the traditional "year and a day" of study prior to initiation or solitary dedication. And as always, it contains astrological and astronomical information, moon phases, trivia, recipes, Sabbats, historical tidbits, and everything you need to get you in touch with the Practical Witch within you. 

Quit Your Day Job Workbook

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A practical guide and comprehensive workbook for starting a creative business. As an artist, dreamer, or thinker, you may be looking for extra support with the practical aspects of entrepreneurship. This workbook helps you create structures to support your vision, clarify what success looks like for you, find the resources you need, and take your next steps. Includes chapters on topics like branding, publicity, fundraising, pricing your goods and services, forming a legal entity, taking on a partner, making the transition to working for yourself full-time, and knowing when to close or change your business. Use it on its own, or as a companion to Quit Your Day Job.

Deschinga Tu Cerebro

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A Spanish translation of Dr. Faith Harper's bestselling book Unfuck Your Brain. Nuestros cerebros están haciendo todo lo posible para ayudarnos, pero a veces pueden ser verdaderos imbéciles. A veces parece que tu propio cerebro está tratando de atraparte, alterándose en frente de todo el público, buscando pleito con tu pareja, volviéndote adicto a algo o congelándose por completo en los peores momentos posibles. Ya le dijiste a tu cerebro que en serio no es bueno hacer este tipo de cosas. Pero tu cerebro tiene una mente propia. Ahí es donde este libro llega a ser útil. Con humor, paciencia y muchas palabrotas, Dr. Faith te muestra la ciencia detrás de lo que está sucediendo en tu cráneo y te explica a través del proceso cómo reentrenar tu cerebro para responder adecuadamente a las cosas que no son de emergencia en la vida cotidiana. Si estás trabajando para lidiar con viejos traumas, depresión, ansiedad, enojo, dolor o adicción, o si solo quieres tener una respuesta más calmada y relajada a las situaciones que enfrentas todo el tiempo, este libro puede ayudarte a poner las piezas del rompecabezas juntas y recuperar tu vida y tu cerebro.

Boundaries Conversation Deck

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What are your values, needs, and desires? What are your deal breakers? What is your personal definition of consent? What would you do if someone stole your place in line? What if a friend says you've hurt them? These 52 cards prompt reflection and conversation about your and others’ boundaries, needs, consent, and relationships. Consider your past history, current strategies for recognizing and relating boundaries, and ideas to communicate more effectively in the future. There are no right or wrong answers, only your answers in Dr. Faith's first non-sweary deck!

Trans-Galactic Bike Ride

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Take a ride with us as we explore a future where trans and nonbinary people are the heroes! In worlds where bicycle rides bring luck, a minotaur needs a bicycle, and werewolves stalk the post-apocalyptic landscape, nobody has time to question gender. Whatever your identity you'll enjoy these stories that are both thought-provoking and fun adventures. Find out what the future could look like if we stopped putting people into boxes and instead empowered each other to reach for the stars.

Rock and Roll Terrorist

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Born Jesus Christ Allin and raised in rural isolation by a violently abusive religious fanatic, GG Allin grew up to be one of punk's most controversial figures. His music was overshadowed by his on-stage antics, including throwing blood and feces at the audience and hurting himself and audience members. In this first substantial biography of the man who wanted to make rock "dangerous" again, Hardcore Anxiety author and illustrator Reid Chancellor portrays Allin's life and early death with sensitivity, asking us to look beyond the shocking spectacle to understand the troubled human behind the scenes, and the societal forces that pushed him to the edge of creative expression.

GG Allin: Rock and Roll Terrorist Activity and Coloring Book

GG Allin: Rock and Roll Terrorist Activity and Coloring Book image

Shock rocker GG Allin lived life on his own terms, often to the detriment of everyone around him—and he always created a NSFW spectacle. This activity and coloring book delves into the gore and guts beneath the surface, telling his story like never before—interactively. Channel your rage to color these pages outside the lines, then use them as toilet paper.

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.

Books for the New Bicycle Revolution

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the streets are suddenly free of traffic, and a lot of folks are rediscovering bicycling—you can tell by looking out the window, or at our order queue.

Books and zines about bicycling (and stickers... oh, the bike stickers!) have long been Microcosm's bread and butter. The interest never goes away, but it's been way up lately. Here's a list of (almost) all of the bike books and zines we publish, and you can find everything bikey in our catalog here.

And here's short list of our recommendations for people who are just getting with riding or wondering how we can sustain relatively car-free streets post-pandemic.

The Chainbreaker Bike Book is our classic manual, now in its third edition. Learn to repair your bike (especially if it's an older bike), and get inspired by the rich history of DIY bicycle culture.
Adonia Lugo's instant classic, Bicycle/Race, is a must-read for any aspiring or experienced bicycle advocate who wonders how we can work towards safe, inclusive transportation in a deeply unequitable system?
Everyday Bicycling is your guide to getting started as a transportation cyclist, including tips on carrying everything from lumber to kids to cupcakes.
Bikenomics is the definitive economic argument for investing in bicycle transportation at a personal and civic level. This is the one to give to your city councillor or business district development group, or just hone your own arguments for why bike-friendly streets make sense for everyone.
The perspectives in True Trans Bike Rebel about bicycling and walking from transgender and nonbinary authors and artists range from delightful to thought-provoking; all worthwhile reading for anyone who's ever felt like an outsider in the cycling world.

In issue #4 of the Bicycle Culture Rising zine, read about how Kittie Knox, a teenage cyclist in the late 1800s, changed bike culture forever.

We are currently Kickstarting our newest volume of feminist bicycle science fiction: Trans-Galactic Bike Ride!

WorkingLit: Publishing Software from Microcosm

a logo with 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 2001, 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 early 2022, but we'll be releasing early iterations to friends of WorkingLit to try out in late 2021.

Unf*cking Our Pandemic, Apart but Together

An umbrella made out of a calendar page with emojis on it stops rain from falling on the words Unfuck Your Pandemic. The second u in unfuck is covered by the Microcosm logo. The graphic is flanked by two uncapped black markers.

We are shipping every day out of the Microcosm Publishing & Distribution HQ in Portland, Oregon!

All mail orders are going out within 24 hours. If you choose "pick up at store" as your shipping option, you can come ring our doorbell Mon-Sat 11am-3pm and we'll do a no-contact handoff.

We've always printed our books here in the United States, and so right now we're not seeing any significant delays in publication of our titles. Orders have slowed a bit, but we're using the time to get caught up on a serious backlog of work that's built up in our last year and a half of hectic growth. Far from reducing hours or laying anyone off, we're cautiously moving forward with the hiring process we began last month. In other news: we aren't going anywhere.

Ultimately, our strength has always resided in how we've built up communities around us, and so we've started to work on strengthening those where we can through a variety of ways:

  • Dr. Faith Harper is doing a live story time with her book Coping Skills on our Facebook page. She'll be doing it nightly at 5 p.m. central until she's done, and the videos will be archived on our page at least until this passes.
  • At the request of the author, we've made the ebook version of Teenage Rebels 99 cents. We hope we can inspire some of the millions of high school students currently sitting at home and help them continue learning. The author of Crate Digger has also requested we put both the ebook and audiobook versions of this Florida punk scene history on super sale!
  • If you're bored at home and starting to struggle, we've got a quarantine self-care pack for you - just $20 for the physical books, $15 for the ebooks.
  • We've curated a list of relevant titles on our Quarantine Survival Guide list of project-based books for people who are feeling anxious or just need something to do.
  • If you're stocked up on books and want to help others, you can do that here! We've set up a "give books to people in need" program where you can support sending care packages to spread the book love. As always, we are stepping up to offer ways to offer our books to people who are most vulnerable and in need. We are matching funds from donations at link.
  • We're going to net-90 terms for independent bookstores who place orders placed before April 30th.

We'd love to hear from you, our customers and peers, about how you're surviving these weird, weird times and what we can do to support you.

Call for Submissions: Queering Consent

To start Queering Consent off I’m looking for nonbinary pairings. Nonbinary folks with each other, nonbinary folks with men, nonbinary folks with women, nonbinary folks in polycules… So long as at least one of the characters is explicitly nonbinary, I’m not too fussed about who they’re with or what pronouns they use.

A really successful erotica anthology also needs a theme to go with the pairing. For that, I started asking what we needed more of, but in reality, I didn’t have to look any further than my own passion and knowledge of popular erotica and romance: historical romance, pre-1950s.

Why? My first two books were both anthologies, and I found myself enjoying working with multiple authors considerably. When my publisher (and now employer), Microcosm Publishing, announced they’d start doing queer erotica, I knew I had to start doing anthologies for that too. I pitched them three (!) and they eagerly accepted all of them, which I was not expecting.

To get a better feel for the market, we’re doing them as a zine series, entitled Queering Consent.

Submissions are due by August 1, 2020 DEADLINE EXTENDED now due August 28, 2020

The nitty gritty:

Word count: 1,000 to 3,000 words (longer stories are welcome, but may be published separately or considered for a later book version) or 2-6 pages of black and white comics

Format: Word, .ODT, PDF or Google document emailed to lydia(at)microcosmpublishing(dot)com

(If submitting comics, please ask for specs before submitting artwork.)

Works must be original fiction (no fanfic, sorry!) though reprints are allowed. 

More about the theme:  There simply aren’t enough nonbinary people represented in historical fiction, even though nonbinary folks have always been here. So… why not make it sexy?

Also, if it’s not consensual it’s not sex and not welcome in this series!

Payment: $25 flat fee; if we include your contribution in a book edition, there will be additional payment

I am encouraging marginalized authors who do not see themselves in most mainstream fiction to submit, including (but not limited to) BIPOC, disabled, neurodiverse, queer and trans folks. Write the stories you wish had been published and submit them to us. #OwnVoices work is encouraged, but not strictly required.

If this pairing or theme isn’t up your alley, the next two themes and pairings are:

  • woman/woman in science fiction or fantasy settings
  • man/man’s tender first times (with each other, or first time at all)

You can submit those whenever (or if you have an idea for future themes, let me know!) or you can sign up for my newsletter to find out when the submission period officially opens for future volumes. 

Reposted from LydiaRogue.com

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 #6 is July 1 and the theme is Gender. The deadline for issue #7 is January 1, 2022 and the theme is Burnout. 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 #5 is At the Doctor's Office, with a deadline of April 1. The theme for issue #6 is Interactions with Police and the deadline is October 1. The theme for issue #7 is Animal Companions and the deadline is April 1, 2022. 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 for us, 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

Calling for submissions for the Scene History series!

Are you stoked about the history of your town? handwritten "clean up your mess" sign at Speak in TonguesDo you find out interesting nuggets by talking to those who came before you or by scouting out details on Google and Wikipedia? Do you want a reason to hunt out some people you respect and fill in the gaps? Well, the Scene History series is an opportunity to do just that. Like our Simple History Series, we will publish a new volume each year of the Scene History series that tell the story of a particular city's scene. (the series does not profile individuals, albums, or bands, and must be framed around a real scene, no fiction!) Suggested length is 15,000-30,000 words. Get as creative as you find gratifying. Learn about your favorite places and how things developed. Check out the existing Scene Histories here! To pitch, just send a general summary of the scene that you are profiling, the years profiled, and your qualifications/interest to profile it! Will it be prose or comics? Do you have access to photos and images? Why are you excited to do this?
The most common trap that people run into writing for this series is that they want to write an encyclopedia—everything that happened in sequence, include all of their friends, and generally share every detail and almost immediately they spiral away from any kind of coherent narrative at all.
In any writing and especially for this series, it's important to maintain a narrative structure—the scene is the protagonist and your story needs to show the scene changing as a result of resolving the conflict.
Create an outline for us to review—Intro, Chapters, Conclusion—with one to three paragraphs describing each section. Each section's description should open by stating the main knowledge and skills the reader will take from that chapter, and giving us a little color about what sort of research, science, details, and/or examples it touches on. This isn't busywork and typically becomes the frame and the actual opening text to each chapter. Even after work has been accepted, this exercise is the first step towards the editorial process.
Submit or ask questions to joe at microcosmpublishing daht com

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 Publishers Find Their Niche?

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly answer a reader question from someone who wants to start a regional publishing company but isn’t sure how to figure out what format and market niche to pursue.