Monthly Archives: January 2019

Say Hello to Microcosm’s Fall 2019 Titles

Oh, 2019, how happy we have been for you to arrive. For one thing, now we get to tell you all about this Fall’s new books.

In a recent post we announced 2019 as “The Year of Adventure,” and this season exemplifies that theme. From exploring new cities to making new friends (or treating the ones you have right); standing up for your self to building underground music scenes; finishing projects to handling freak-outs; these incredible titles take on adventures big and small, all set for release between September 2019 and February 2020.

We are proud and excited to share these amazing books (and some pretty fantastic covers!) with the world this year.


SEPTEMBER

This is San Francisco:The Ups, Downs, Ins, and Outs of the City by the Bay
by Alexander Barrett

Through thoughtful and funny anecdotes, essays, and illustrations, Barrett takes you on a journey through one of America’s most famous cities and makes you wish you were right there with him.

Colorful depiction of a white bird, hills, and a bridge over water.

What About Tomorrow?: An Oral History of Russian Punk from the Soviet Era to Pussy Riot
by Alexander Herbert

This oral history takes you through four decades of Punk evolution in Russia, from its origins in St Petersburg and Moscow to uniquely thriving punk scenes in the provincial capitals.

A trio of punks look to the future on a red book cover with flags (soviet and Russian) and a radio tower in the background.
Cover art (freshly painted!) by Matt Gauck

OCTOBER

Unfuck Your Intimacy Workbook: Using Science for Better Relationships, & Dating
by Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN

Made to be a companion for her book, Unfuck Your Intimacy, let this handy workbook guide you on your quest for healthier relationships and more excellent sex with the incredible Dr. Faith.

Colorful workbook cover featuring heart shaped puzzle pieces.

From Chaos to Creativity: Building a Productivity System for Artists and Writers
by Jessie L. Kwak

From Chaos to Creativity will help guide you through the clutter and teach you how to focus on the good ideas, manage your project, make time in your life, and execute your passions to completion. Make great art by changing your chaotic creative force into productive power!

NOVEMBER

Friending: Creating Meaningful, Lasting Adult Friendships
by Gina Handley Schmitt, MA LMHC

We’re pretty sure no other book like this exists. Here you will learn the art of choosing and making friends, supporting them and letting them support you, maintaining friendships even when your life paths diverge, repairing friendships after a conflict, the difficult decision to break up a friendship, and much more.
Life is so much sweeter with good friends by your side.

Colorful young friends ride a tandem bike on a path through heart-shaped flowers.
Cover by the incredible Cecilia Granata

The Life & Times of Butch Dykes: Portraits of Artists, Leaders, and Dreamers Who Changed The World
by Eloisa Aquino

Throughout history, many women and nonbinary people have defied society’s expectations of feminine behavior and appearance in order to live a more authentic life. These short vignettes combine biographical sketches with evocative illustrations for an impact that is as bold, powerful, and inspirational as the brilliant artists, writers, and musicians they represent.

A purple, pink, and teal book cover featuring historical icons.

This Is Your Brain on Anger: Manage Your Irritability, Channel Your Frustrations, and Develop a Healthy Relationship with Your Rage
by Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN

Your brain actually knows what it’s doing, and anger can be a good thing sometimes—just not if it’s ruining your life. Expanded from the zine of the same name, this is a brief, heady dose of neuroscience and cultural explanation of what anger is and what it does to you. There’s even a handy four-step checklist to help you deal with maddening situations after (or before) the fact, guidance on getting over things, and a chapter on forgiveness.

Red book cover with line-art of a person whose head is a lit bomb

Can’t wait for the book? Grab the quick & dirty zine version.

DECEMBER

Dragon Bike: Fantastical Stories of Bicycles, Feminism, & Dragons
Edited by Elly Blue

From the great, winged, fire-breathing lizards of the west to the wise, flying serpents of the east, dragons play a powerful role in our myths and imaginations. In these fourteen stories and one comic, bicyclists encounter a diversity of dragons, whether foes or friends, hoarders or helpers, powerful symbols or terrifying and very real beasts.

A fierce bicyclist battles a dragon with a lance
Another fantabulous cover from Cecilia Granata

JANUARY, 2020

Boundaries: Say “No” and Take Control of Your Life (Even if You’re Conflict Avoidant)
by Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN

Expanded from the zine of the same name, Dr. Faith presents common problems people run into when it comes to personal boundaries, and offers advice on defining, understanding, implementing, and respecting the boundaries that are important to you and your loved ones.

COVER TBA

Can’t wait for the book? Grab the zine version until the book’s release.

If You’re Freaking Out, Read This: A Coping Workbook for Building Good Habits, Behaviors, and Hope for the Future  
by Simone DeAngelis, Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN

Simone shares the vital skills that she’s learned over years of therapy, managing her mental health and remembering her reasons to live. Even if you can’t afford a therapist or hospital stay and the people around you are anything but helpful, you can still use those same tools to get better. With a foreword by the one-and-only Dr. Faith Harper.

Simple green background with the pink and white words "If You're Freaking Out Read This!"

FEBRUARY, 2020

Hardcore Anxiety: A Graphic Guide to Punk Rock and Mental Health
by Reid Chancellor

Nervous breakdowns, anxiety, seeking acceptance, attempting to overcome internalized demons, and reacting to harmful and oppressive symptoms—punk rock has always embodied and emboldened our feelings and experiences, positive and negative. Hardcore Anxiety charts and tracks punk movements from the 70s till today, from small towns to stadiums, from the struggles in our heads to the people actively harming us in our communities.

Comic illustration of a punk wearing a flower teeshirt plays giant medication bottles like drums with sketches of people in the background.

For questions related to sales or customer service, email Sidnee@MicrocosmPublishing.com
For media inquiries email Cyn@MicrocosmPublishing.com

The Microcosm Publishing 2018 Money Report (with pictures!)

Happy new year!

This is the week! After eight years with a trade distributor we have returned to distributing our books independently in the U.S. We hear from people almost every week that our books are saving their lives, and we feel that we have an obligation to extend that as far and wide as possible. Few events in the history of Microcosm have improved our morale and brought our staff together like this has. 

The stress relief as we counted down the days until we were free was worth it alone! And the proof is in the pudding—we’ve had to lay the groundwork for this for the past 18 months. Sales were up 24% in 2018 over 2017, making this, once again, Microcosm’s best year ever. Advance shipments for 2019 are already up 600% by doing it ourselves. It’s been a wild ride.

We constantly get really wonderful feedback on Microcosm’s reborn independence and it seems to be really inspiring to other independent publishers and bookstores. Speaking of, there are 38% more indie bookstores than there were ten years ago! They are also each selling an average of 34% more books!

We took our staff from 12 to 14 in 2018 and experienced many growing pains. We expanded both our warehouse and our offices so everyone has a bit more space and we added several additional storage buildings. Nate Beaty (who will have been with Microcosm for 18 years this July) finished our new software so that we can use our existing database to send our book data to everyone who wants it. This has been a ton of fun and a ton of work to do. Our big surprise for next year is that we hope to be ready to package the software that we have made and hopefully revolutionize our fellow publishers and help give other independents a fighting chance in our industry.

In the past year, we’ve published 29 new books and 52 new zines as well as adding over 1,000 titles to our distribution catalog (which we were intending to completely dismantle in 2016 in favor of publishing). The sharp increase in witchcraft books continues and we are continuing to focus primarily on gift and specialty accounts.

Instead of our previous Dinner & Bikes tours, we now focus on attending conferences and events in other cities and having more time at home. Which is a good thing, because our publishing schedule is filling up through 2025 and we finalize Fall 2019 covers this week. 

We sold about 218,500 books last year; that’s about 600 per day!

Here’s a breakdown of some math about our year, with handy charts created by our WorkingLit software: 

Our total income for the year was $947,142.77 Here’s what we’re selling:

Here are our bestsellers, by profitability: 

As you can see, the shift continued this year towards new releases of lifetime evergreens. The older books are still there but they are no longer holding the key positions. We’re succeeding because we’re publishing new books.

And here’s our distributed bestsellers, by net income:

And here are our expenses, totaling $946.292.41. We are again able to afford to finance our own growth and have increased employee wages, with four more people receiving raises this month. 

Here’s each month in 2018 compared to 2017:

And a friendly reminder: While we’re legally a “for-profit” organization, we choose to operate on a break-even basis. This means that when we have profits (which isn’t all the time, but we try), they don’t go into our owners’ yacht fund; they go into staff wages and taking a chance on publishing new books we believe in. Getting to do work we care about every day and put books out there that help people change their lives is way better than a yacht. Which is an important attitude to have in the publishing industry!

The Year of Adventures

Instead of New Year’s resolutions (ugh), at Microcosm we like to have loose themes to organize our year’s goals and activities around. And we’ve decided that 2019 is our year of adventure!

For us, it’s our first year of being independently distributed. This has already proven to be a serious adventure — not so much a leap into the unknown as a voyage back to our homeland, which has changed considerably since we last visited.
There’s a lot to remember and a lot of new skills to learn. And like on any good adventure, the way we can navigate it safely and have fun is to work together, believe in ourselves, and stay flexible.

But What Is Adventure

Here’s a little from some of our staff about what adventure means to us (in general and in terms of this transition)…

Elly: When Joe and I met 10 years ago, he asked me what my needs in a relationship are, and top of my list was “adventure.” 

Elly rides a bike through Portland with a trailer full of book boxes and event stuff.

He reminds me of this every time I’m pedaling a cargo bike overloaded with books in the rain, or setting off in a cab to pick up event supplies that didn’t make it to our destination, or pulling late nights to make sure our database transition goes smoothly.

And while I don’t require the constant adrenaline to get through my day that I did at 30, I do love that this work is full of unexpected revelations, surprising new areas of growth, and always a problem to solve and a challenge to learn from.


Sidnee: “Adventure” is the word I use when I’m afraid of what’s gonna happen next; but being afraid isn’t going to help me. To me it’s a prettier word for “holy fuck, here we go!” But I’m starting to believe that adventure is in our DNA. Like growing teeth or developing chronic aches. A will for the pursuit of adventure will appear in each of us at some point, programmed to persist and emerge.

cartoon character jumps over an explosion and a vampire dragon
visual representation of Sid’s feels about 2019

The thing about adventure is that uncertainty is a necessary ingredient. I’m ripe with uncertainty. The other thing about adventure is that it forces you to grow. After ten short months, I’m bursting at the seams with growth too.

Joining the Microcosm team is my first post-school adventure. It’s like going from Chutes and Ladders to cross country parkour some days. Other days it’s like going from only ever wading in a swampy pond to sailing on a calm ocean during a brilliant sunset.

What adventures do you look forward to in 2019?

Continuing to survive adult life.


Trista: For me “adventure” means to seek change either from one state of being to another, or in the pursuit of something more meaningful like a change to one’s character. Often this will take the form of a journey, literally or metaphorically, where in the end a person will have experienced something new or experienced something old in a new way.
In my own life the adventures I’ve enjoyed the most are the ones that have altered the way I view the world, the people in it, or the way I view myself.

What adventures do you look forward to in 2019?
Something more gentle, like camping. Or getting to see more of my favorite bands. I got to do a little bit of both earlier in 2018 and I think I should do it more often.


Cyn: Adventure can feel like a loaded word. A big red X on a theoretical treasure map we never get to see. Some expensive, aspirational vision quest into new territory. Ugh. In my reality, my social anxiety makes it so my partner has to push me out of the door to get me to go to any social event, even when I know the people attending or it’s with a close friend. Why isn’t that ordeal considered adventure?

I guess I’d say that adventure is anything that pushes you outside of your boundaries in a way that is unexpected, daring, and propels you forward in some way. For me it has meant everything from the most daring trips to the simplest new get-togethers, to anxiety-ridden standard experiences or exciting, bizarre new friends. The experiences that push at our boundaries and fears and expectations are the ones that give us the space to grow, but those don’t have to be big, giant experiences of exploration, success, or conquest.

I don’t know about you, but just getting outside and meeting someone new is just as much of an adventure as traveling to a new place — and really, aren’t you doing that anyway, emotionally, by putting yourself out there, both literally and psychologically?
With that in mind, I’d like to think that “adventure” for our (and the future) generation will be less about conquest, personal excitement and glory, and more about exciting changes, growth, and building new experiences and communities for each other.

What adventures do you look forward to in 2019?
I’ve started “bullet journaling” and am working on making both productivity and self care balanced priorities in my life. I suppose I look forward to figuring that shit out and clearing out the mess that is my life right now for my future.
Am I adult now?


Joe: Ten years ago, Elly told me she wanted adventure. I don’t think she realized what I was capable of providing in this department. Cars caught on fire unintentionally and it feels like we spent many years fixing the Millennium Falcon during combat.

What adventures do you look forward to in 2019?
Getting WorkingLit [our secret work project] into a form that other publishers can use it, trips to new regional book trade shows, and continuing to grow as an independent publisher. It seems like we ship more boxes every single day around here.



The Practical Witch’s Almanac: 2019

This almanac has everything you need to reconnect with nature and tune into your witchy energy.

This almanac allows you to harmonize with the flow of natures energies. You will find easy notations of events, magical days and seasonal occurrences as well as calendars, trivia, incense recipes and more!