This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly talk about how to take your book publicity effort to the next level in order to get the word out and find the right readers!
Are you a small potato, pursuing your creative passions without expectations of fame or fortune? This playful workbook is designed to help adults with years of creative experience explore unconsidered art forms, amp up your creative approach, and wrangle your personal triumphs into a sustained and fulfilling practice. Interactive exercises and assignments will inspire you to write, draw, sing, rhyme, craft, improvise, observe, engage, document and express yourself in every medium imaginable. Get out of your rut, embrace your inner child, and see which seeds will bear the fruit of larger projects. Prepare to discover fun ways to increase your creative visibility, live by the Golden Rule, and expand your community.
How do you talk concisely and compellingly about this thing you’ve written that’s so complex and meaningful to you? We tackle the myths, the mayhem, and the meltdowns and hopefully leave you with some good perspectives and advice for going out there and telling people about the book you’ve written or published.
A coven races—literally—to fight off the magic smog that threatens their city. A janitor at the last rocket launch site on a dying planet sends the rocket up with a special spell of comfort. Instead of casting the resiliency spell she asked for, a girl’s grandmother teaches her to ride a bike. A midwife’s bicycle is stolen, resulting in a fitting comeuppance. An urban witch falls for a bicycle mechanic and learns to reconcile her double life. Smash the petropatriarchy and enjoy these and more science fiction and fantasy stories in the pages of the supernatural 9th volume of the popular Bikes in Space series.
This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, we answer a reader question about one of our favorite topics: selling books at events! Joe and Elly are joined partway through the episode by surprise special guest Jess Driscoll, who came into the stream early for our interview with her about her new book, The Magic of Pockets. She brought her many years of experience with selling at zine fests and farmers markets to the conversation and we all learned a lot and had fun remembering events of yore and making plans for an eventful post-pandemic future.
What’s it like to be autistic? As many as one in forty-five people live that reality every day, but our culture remains full of myths, stigma, and dangerous misunderstandings of this type of neurodiversity. This guide to life on the autism spectrum is a must-read for autistic adults, their friends, coworkers, partners, and parents—and for anyone who wants to understand the experiences of many people they meet every day. Joe Biel, who was diagnosed as an adult, writes about what it’s like to be autistic, joined by the bestselling Dr. Faith G. Harper who speaks from her experience as a parent, friend, and therapist to autistic people. Their real talk and accessible language discuss a wide range of topics, including the diagnostic criteria for autism and how they play out in practice, what it means for autism to be a disability, and co-occurring conditions like depression and anxiety. They answer many frequently asked questions from neurotypicals, and offer some basic life and social skills that the world doesn’t always think to explicitly teach autistic folks. Most of all, they affirm the many strengths of the autistic brain and point the way to a world where autism is just another way of being.
Conflict is everywhere: our living rooms, our streets, our community organizations, and every corner of the internet. But few of us have the training to successfully intervene or resolve these conflicts. In these pages, experienced peacemaker Gwendolyn Olton shows you how to use your existing skills and intuition to transform a wide variety of conflicts from insurmountable impasses to working relationships where everyone’s needs are met. The result is a practical, kind, realistic guidebook for anyone who’s found themselves in a conflict (their own or someone else’s) and wondered, “How did we get here and what can I do to make it better!?”
The theme of this year’s classic almanac by Friday Gladheart is Infinite Spells. In these pages, you’ll learn how to understand the spells you already use and develop your own based on the fundamental principles of magic. Learn how to prepare yourself and your space for magic, how to use your almanac to help you find the perfect time to cast your spells, and how to use the magical correspondences to give your spells a boost.
This year’s weekly planner pages give you more space than ever to record your important events, appointments, and meaningful days, with monthly planning pages so you can chart the course of your days with the phases of the moon and the rotation of the planets.
This is the year for you to embrace your power and use your magic to grow, heal, and be your authentic, Witchy self!
We had a fascinating conversation about our parallel paths—Friday put out the first almanac the same year Joe started Microcosm, and both were rooted in the early internet—and while the video didn’t record, the audio came through loud and clear. Enjoy!
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.
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!)
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!