Monthly Archives: August 2022

When publishers disagree…

For this week’s edition of the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Elly and Joe decided to pick a (friendly) fight . . . with each other. Watch or listen on as we try with only middling success to find publishing issues we disagree about and hash them out. In the first half we discuss our acquisitions process, an area where we often disagree about the merits of book proposals (and Joe elucidates how we ultimately make those calls), and in the second half of the episode we talk about the line between fiction and nonfiction.

Call for submissions: Bikes in Space, gardens and plants edition

We’re seeking your feminist science fiction and fantasy stories for the 12th anthology in the Bikes in Space series of books!

Please submit your original short fiction (in written or comics form) about bicycling from a feminist perspective. Stories should feature gardens, plants, or other products of photosynthesis. All three of these elements (bicycles, feminism, greenery) should be intrinsic to the narrative. Send your most creative imaginings of organic bicycle design materials, green witches delivering remedies by bike, time traveling wheels embedded in trees, hydroponics experiences in a carbon-neutral future, horticulturists going for a new pedal-powered land speed record, or whatever green and growing scenarios your brain can produce.

The genre can be anything fantastical—from hard sci fi to comedic fantasy to horror to slipstream or anything in that constellation—despite the series title, stories need not be be set in space. No fanfic, poetry, or erotica for this series, please.

I welcome submissions from marginalized authors and first-time authors.

Word count: 500 – 6,000 words

Format: Google doc, MS word, Pages, text document, or PDF. Comics submissions of up to 6 pages can be submitted in thumbnails.

Payment: A portion of profits after expenses from the Kickstarter project used to fund this book is split between contributors, with a guaranteed minimum of $50 each, plus copies of the book.

Deadline: January 15, 2023

Submit via email to

How do you sell books without selling out your values?

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly tackle the seemingly thorny question of how publishers can stay true to our decidedly un-capitalistic values while attempting to, you know, successfully participate in capitalism. Come for the ethical considerations, stay for the practical advice and decided lack of hand-wringing. Yes you can create the world you want to see and sustain your operations financially.

Check out our two new books about Cleveland!

Back in 1996, Microcosm was born in Cleveland, and the ’20s so far have been all about getting back to our roots. First with opening a new warehouse back in Cleveland, managed and partially staffed by people who helped out back when we were brand new. And now we’re thrilled to announce the publication of a pair of new books that honor our roots.

Cleveland’s local NPR affiliate did a really nice in-depth article and video about Microcosm’s return to the city and the two new books:

And the books really shine for themselves (there’ve been more reviews of each than I’m linking to here, but this one in the Akron Beacon Journal is pretty representative):

Hello Cleveland: Things You Should Know About the Most Unique City in the World is an idiosyncratic love letter to the city, buoyantly written by Nick Perry and illustrated by Jason Look. Nick and Joe were recently on the radio talking about the book, the city, and Microcosm.

Speak In Tongues: An Oral History of Cleveland’s Infamous DIY Punk Venue nods to another piece of Microcosm lore—Joe started out selling zines at the bar at this anarchic all-ages club. This book’s been getting some really nice feedback (check out this public media review and Sean Carnage’s interview with Eric), and we had the pleasure of talking with the author, local reporter Eric Sandy, for our podcast:

Thank you, Cleveland, for all you’ve given to us—we hope we can do you justice and keep giving back for years to come.

P.S. Want more Cleveland music history? Last year we published A. Iwasa’s zine Clevo Style about the history of the local hardcore scene.

How do publishers make decisions?

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly talk about decision-making. When should you follow conventional wisdom or do what you see your fellow publishers doing? How do you determine what works for you? When you’re torn between two seemingly equivalent paths, how do you figure out which one to take? We give you some metrics and a flow chart here, because one practical step forward is better than a hundred think pieces about how not to do it.