Out Now

The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World

The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World image

Born in 1878, bicycle racer Marshall "Major" Taylor became the first Black sports star to become a global celebrity when he won the world cycling championship in 1899. Throughout his bike-racing career, he won awards and set records on and off the track. But in his native United States, he faced racist discrimination and violence at every turn, causing him to spend most of his time in Europe where fans saw his value. After he retired from racing, Taylor wrote and published his autobiography and traveled the world promoting it. Written in the 1920s, his story feels fresh, contemporary, and readable. His life was too short, but his legacy lives on in the many organizations and clubs that bear his name, and the generations of new cyclists who look up to him. His intelligence, good humor, and global perspective shine through on every page in this candid account of a remarkable life. 

This new edition features a foreword by bicycle advocate Adonia Lugo, author of Bicycle / Race, as well as a preface by Ayesha McGowan, the first Black American to be a member of a professional road cycling team. 

The Enduring Legacy of Portland's Black Panther Party

The Enduring Legacy of Portland's Black Panther Party image

In the 1960s through 1980s, the Black Panther Party rose up throughout the United States, envisioning a world without systemic racism and police violence. This is the story of Portland, Oregon's chapter of the Party, told from original interviews, first-hand accounts, and extensive research, including police surveillance documents. This account shows a vivid picture of neighborhood activists determined to improve their community by creating their own social services, and wildly succeeding—despite the best attempts of police, city officials, and media to paint them as violent extremists, and to spy on, infiltrate, and violently suppress their activities. Portland's Black Panther chapter innovated healthy free breakfasts for children in poverty, the longest-running Panther free health clinic, the Panthers' first dental clinic, and a powerful system of self-directing neighborhood associations.

Culpeper's Complete Herbal

Culpeper's Complete Herbal image

A new edition of the 17th Century classic, with a new introduction and annotations by herbalist JJ Pursell, with your choice of a white or black cover.

For the last 350 years, since the reign of Elizabeth I, Nicholas Culpeper's encyclopedic compendium of the uses and properties of medicinal herbs has been unrivaled in completeness or charm. From Adder's Tongue to Yellow Loosestrife, each of the 316 herbs is described in detail, along with its "government and virtues," remedies and cautions—much of which has held up remarkably well through many advancements in scientific understanding. This new edition has been updated and annotated by Dr. J.J. Pursell, author of The Herbal Apothecary. Dr. Pursell has added modern scientific names, usage notes and contraindications, and a fascinating new introduction that frames Culpeper's remarkable life and work through a modern lens. This timely upgrade to a classic work retains the brilliance of the original while making its valuable information available to new generations of herbalists, house witches, students, and anyone who wants to know more about the plants growing in their backyard. 

Unfuck the Holidays, a giant ebook bundle

We're excited to announce that we've partnered up with Humble Bundle again to offer a rare, massive discounted bundle of our most popular ebooks of the last two years. It's called Unf*ck the Holidays, and true to its name it's packed with books to help you get through this season with aplomb. Mental health? Got a lot of that. Sex and relationships? Hmmm, apparently that's been on our minds, too. Pagan spirituality? No problem. Want to learn to sew or forage for mushrooms? Help is on the way.

We're pretty sure we've got something for everyone here. If we don't have anything for you, maybe it's time to consider pitching a book to us!

The Mycocultural Revolution

The Mycocultural Revolution image

Discover the glorious world of mushrooms, lichens, and micro fungi, as described by Peter McCoy, one of today’s foremost experts in the field. Covering the essential information and skills for identifying, cultivating, and celebrating the uniqueness of fungi, this book enables anyone to quickly and easily engage in the art and science of mycology—the study of fungi. Mycology offers vast opportunities to enhance our lives, support our communities, and heal the environment. This first-of-its-kind introductory text is accessible for anyone just getting started in mycology, as well as for those seeking a fresh perspective on this important science.

The Wayward Writer

The Wayward Writer image

When your dream and creative passion is to write, how do you succeed without selling out or selling yourself short? Ariel Gore has spent her life solving this puzzle, writing and organizing her way towards a creative utopian vision, where storytelling is a form of resistance and writing is an outsider art. In this follow-up to her national bestseller How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead, Gore offers a lyrical call to literary revolution paired with practical exercises. Through her own experiences and interviews with other authors, publishers, and agents, she shows you how to chart your own creative education, vanquish shame and imposter syndrome, cast off oppression, cast a spell on your readers, step into your unique powers, and build your own literary community where respect and honesty reign—and where you can be a writer and survive.

The Magic of Pockets

The Magic of Pockets image

Transform your wardrobe with Jess Driscoll's step-by-step guide to sewing pockets into your favorite clothes. With simple instructions and line drawings, this book teaches six basic pockets, with suggested alterations to customize each pocket to your wardrobe needs, while learning the history of what pockets looked like and why they remain a political tool today. All the projects are designed for beginner sewists, and most can be made by hand, with no specialty tools or machine required.

Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever: Ridiculously Complete Edition

Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever: Ridiculously Complete Edition image

This new edition of the classic comics love story compiles all previously published Henry & Glenn Forever comics. You're invited behind the scenes into an epic romance between two musical heroes who are so much more than performance and public image. A multitude of talented comics and graphic novel artists have come together to bring us a multi-faceted relationship to inspire for the ages.

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!

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! 
Neurodivergent Pride: What Autistic Minds Can Teach Each Other and the World 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 emerged from 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. Featuring 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 #13 is Animal Companions and the deadline is March 1, 2023. The deadline for issue #14 is July 1, 2023 and the theme is Mutual Aid. The theme for issue #14 is Creativity and the deadline is November 1, 2023. The theme for issue #16 is Emotions and the deadline is March 1, 2024. The theme for issue #17 is Controversies and the deadline is July 1, 2024. Submissions should be 500-2,000 words as a rough guideline! 
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!

  • December 9-11, 2022: Crafty Wonderland, Portland, OR
  • December 10, 2022: December Bookfair, 1033 SE Main St, Portland, OR (in the Honey Latte building)
  • March 8-11, 2023: AWP, Seattle, WA
  • May 8-11, 2023: Peerpocalypse, Seaside, OR

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.

  • 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!

Thanks, It Has Pockets! An Interview with Jess Driscoll

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, we talked with Jess Driscoll about her sweet new book, The Magic of Pockets: Why Your Clothes Don’t Have Good Pockets and How to Fix That. We had a great conversation about traditional and underground publishing (Jess is a longtime zinester, blogger, and multi-media creator), what it was like working together (including some solid advice for coming up with and pitching a book idea), and of course our many and big feelings about pockets in clothes! Below the video, you can read the answers to some more questions Jess kindly answered for us, plus her original pitch that sold us on the book.

What inspired you to write your book?

In August 2018, I made a zine every day, and one of them was called, Thanks, it has pockets!, titled after a viral tweet about how femmes compliment each other’s clothes. It was a tiny, messy guide to how to sew pockets into your clothes, and I always thought I might go back and make it a longer zine. Then in September 2018, I visited Portland and the Microcosm store, and I immediately recognised that the zine could be a book, and it might belong on those shelves.

Jess and one of her many zines

What was it like to publish with Microcosm?

It felt like working on a project with friends. I met Elly and Joe in 2019, and it just confirmed to me that I wanted to publish a book with Microcosm. I’m a teacher in my daily life and a DIY kinda person at heart; I was already writing instructional zines. Elly was a great editor, always there with gentle nudging reminders and helpful suggestions for this first time author.

What was the submission/query process like for you?

I have been thinking about publishing since I was a teenager, so I’ve read every book and website about the querying process. But the submission guidelines on Microcosm’s website were so comprehensive and clear that I just followed them exactly. I workshopped the pitch with my two closest friends, then sent it in. I woke up the next morning to an enthusiastic acceptance!

Do you still have your original query to us? Are you willing to share it?

Yep! Here it is: 

Thanks, It Has Pockets! How to Alter Your Clothes and Cut Down Capitalism is do-it-yourself guide for sewing pockets into store-bought, pre-made clothing, the kind that never seems to come with pockets built-in. While many sewing books teach by guiding students through the construction of an entire garment, this book has a tight focus for those who don’t want to sew their whole wardrobe, who simply want to learn a skill to make life a little better. This book is a practical guide to a single alteration that makes a big difference. 

Thanks, It Has Pockets! fits among Microcosom’s DIY titles, like Fix Your Clothes, Bread of the Resistance, and Honing Your Craft.

Thanks, It Has Pockets! How to Alter Your Clothes and Cut Down Capitalism contains step-by-step instructions and line drawings to sew six simple pockets, along with suggested alterations to give the reader freedom to create exactly the pockets their wardrobe needs, while sidebar essays and lists teach a short history of pockets. All of these projects can be sewn by beginners, and most can be made by hand, no machine required.

[note: Jess’s original pitch included an annotated table of contents which was excellent but we’re not sharing it here because it’s also very long!)
A full view of the amazing, handmade Strawberry Shortcake dress Jess is wearing in the podcast video

What else have you written?

In another lifetime, I thought I might fiction, but for the last five years, my focus has been nonfiction and zines. Most of them are free to download on itch.io. This year, I started making zines on a livestream so the audience can watch me write and do layout and follow the whole process. As someone who has been blogging since 2001, I enjoy seeing works in progress as much as the finished product.

What are you currently reading? 

After a long few years of not having the attention span for books, I’ve been trying to read again. Currently, I’m in the middle of Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman and Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones, and I’m rereading Animal Farm by George Orwell because I’m teaching it.

What’s the best book you read in the last year?

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May. I started a year ago after reading a Charlie Warzel article which referenced it. Even though Wintering was written before the pandemic, it’s the perfect pandemic book, about seasons and cycles and quiet living. I picked it back up again in the spring of 2022 and finished it, like the universe knew exactly what I needed at that moment.

What’s next for you? 

I haven’t pitched my next book yet, but I’m thinking a lot about living alone, how life changes with the seasons, and boredom. 

Where can people find you online?

Jessdriscoll.com is my website, and I write a regular newsletter, which will be the best place to connect with me going forward. I’m feeling burned out on social media (again), and I’d love nothing more than to spend the next year reading and writing and hiking rather than spending time on someone else’s platform. 

Any in-person events coming up soon?

I would love to do some events! But it just isn’t safe yet. The pandemic isn’t over. I was sick in February 2020, and this year, I’ve been dealing with a chronic fatigue like I’ve never felt before. And then I got Covid in September. But I’ve been planning some videos for my YouTube channel, and I’m available for your podcast!