Microcosm is Seeking a Web Developer to Help us Build Book Publishing Software

3/24/21 Update: We’ve made some edits to this RFP/job description since posting, based on advice from tech-ier heads than ours. If you are applying based on the parameters in our initial posting, your application won’t be penalized.

Work with us to change the world! We are seeking proposals from web developers (or small firms) who can help us create a software service that will help book publishers become more independent. This service will be modeled after the in-house software that has enabled Microcosm to self-distribute and to continue to grow year after year through economic ups and downs without working with Amazon. We just need the technical capacity to bring it to the world.

WorkingLit Developer

Accepting proposals/applications through May 30, 2021

About the product

Microcosm Publishing, an independent book publisher and distributor since 1996, is seeking to contract a developer to produce WorkingLit, a web-based SaaS platform for book publishers.

The goal of WorkingLit is to give small, independent publishers tools to thrive and grow at their own pace and have the most fun, with options for distributing their books as the industry continues to shift towards consolidation. Level one of the platform will help publishers organize their data about books, authors, and customers, manage their accounting and royalty reporting, and understand their sales and potential. Level two enables publishers to reach consumers and retailers directly and cooperate amongst each other. Levels three and four help midsize and larger publishers manage their growth. By giving publishers tools and options to succeed, WorkingLit lowers the bar to entry and makes the publishing industry more inclusive.

The point of WorkingLit is to disrupt industry conventions by giving publishers their own agency back so that they can make the choices that are right for them instead of having those dictated. There is a myth that people just starting out in the book industry “have to” publish on Amazon or work with a trade distributor before they understand the basic timelines, rules, and mechanics of the industry. WorkingLit will lower the barriers to entry into an industry that is 88% white and excludes people who haven’t accessed a college education by providing a platform where small or new publishers can reach retailers.

We are seeking proposals for developing the basic version (level one) by October, 2021. Ideally, we would continue to work with you to build further levels throughout 2022 and beyond.

Phase one:

User Functionality: Basic databasing for

• titles

• orders

• invoicing

• customers

• authors

• expenses

• royalties

• royalty payments.


• Shipping orders

• Accounting

• Royalty reporting.

• Blueprint for including front end e-commerce in next phase. 

Our ideal partner

An individual or small firm who can design and develop a SaaS. We are especially looking for:

  • A team player who loves to collaborate to creatively solve problems, while also able to work independently
  • Experience building complex SAAS applications, including implementation, front and back end, and creating APIs
  • Demonstrated ability to write clear, maintainable code, document as you go, and do test-driven development
  • Experience working closely with non-technical colleagues and management, and in a diverse (including neurodiverse) environment
  • Commitment to the goals of the project (aka, supporting creative business people and sticking it to the billionaires) 
  • Openness to a potential long term contract or employment to oversee continued development and support of this product 
  • People who find themselves underrepresented in tech and/or publishing are especially encouraged to apply

To apply, please provide

  • An email or cover letter about why you want to do this and are qualified
  • Descriptions of at least two projects you have worked on that are substantially similar to this one, including referrals for each
  • Description of how you organize projects and how you set and make milestones
  • Examples of work showing your proficiency in modern frameworks—please elaborate in your proposal
  • Examples of your experience developing secure, scalable applications and deploying applications to the cloud
  • An estimated number of hours and your hourly rate

Location – Remote (we are in Portland, Oregon, you can be anywhere)

Send your application/proposal to apply@microcosmpublishing.com by May 30, 2021