Need to find more time and energy to work on your creative projects? Jessie Kwak helps you develop a creativity system so you can complete the work that matters to you.
Alexander Herbert’s oral history tells the stories of punk rock in western Russia, from the Soviet era to today.
Punk rock and mental health have been intertwined since the very beginning. Nervous breakdowns, anxiety, seeking acceptance, attempting to overcome internalized demons, and reacting to harmful and oppressive systems—punk rock embodies and emboldens all 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. Told from the point of view of a young man discovering punk and working through mental illness in Evansville, Indiana, this stunning nonfiction graphic novel gives punks the most important advice of all: “You aren’t alone. You’re going to make it through alive.”
A little back-story: We asked, and were invited, to comment to Kickstarter’s executive team about this week’s news that they will not voluntarily recognize employees’ efforts to unionize. Here is the letter we sent to them; we decided to make it public in the hopes that fellow users of the platform, both creators and backers, will be inspired to also make their voices heard on this matter. This decision affects not just the workers at Kickstarter, but will set a precedent for other tech companies, many of whom employ large teams of lower-paid manufacturing workers.
Dear executive team,
For the last decade, I’ve been a heavy user of Kickstarter as a creator (I have something like 40 projects under my belt) and a backer, and I have advocated strongly for your platform to any of our publishing colleagues who will listen. Without Kickstarter, it’s unlikely I would have a career creating books and connecting with readers. Being able to use it now substantially helps us to create an equitable workplace and pay a living wage to a growing staff—and in publishing, that’s no mean feat.
Just this past Saturday, my partner and I traveled to New York so he could participate as a panelist in the Next Page conference organized by your publishing lead. I nearly cried during the conference because it is the first publishing event I’ve ever attended where the majority of participants and the assumed audience were not white, wealthy, able-bodied cis people; and not coincidentally, the only such event I’ve attended where every session furthered an idealistic and practical conversation about how to make our industry more inclusive. It cemented to me something I’ve always implicitly believed about Kickstarter—that at its very bones, the company is committed to leveling the playing field and has goals beyond profit.
That’s why it was so painful to return home and read in yesterday’s Verge article that you have chosen not to voluntarily recognize workers’ efforts to unionize. Worse, the CEO’s comments seemed to place blame on the workers for cultural issues like trust. I don’t know the situation at Kickstarter, but in my experience as a manager, that culture comes from the top, and labor complaints don’t happen without cause.
We are currently running a Kickstarter project for a book we care deeply about. But this week, we find we can’t promote this project in good conscience. I would describe the reactions in our office as ranging from bummed to pissed. Your decision is bafflingly, profoundly at odds with the ethic Kickstarter projects in every piece of its branding and behavior—and which has been upheld by every single worker I’ve encountered over the years. Kickstarter and its people are part of our community, and this feels personal. It’s also at odds with our own company’s ethics and history—our founder and publisher is the grandchild of immigrants who were brought out of poverty by labor unions. Our owners and managers make a comparable wage to the rank and file and we are in the process of becoming worker-owned.
We’ve put our efforts on our current project on hold and are discussing canceling it altogether; we’ll decide next week. Our decision will likely be swayed by communication we received from one of the Kickstarter union organizers thanking us for the solidarity and urging us to continue with our project, as everyone’s shared goal here is to fund and promote creative work. We truly look forward to getting back to focusing on this! But in the meantime, if it comes down to it, we will not cross a digital picket line and we’ll urge our community to do the same.
I’m writing to urge you to reconsider accepting the union of your own accord. Your workers deserve it, the rest of the tech industry needs you to set a strong example, and you’ll re-earn the lifelong loyalty of backers and creators—well, ourselves, certainly. It’s difficult to see what you can’t win.
Thanks for the opportunity to write to you about this.
The publishing industry was shook last week with the news that Baker + Taylor would no longer wholesale to bookstores and will be closing two warehouses in July. This leaves only one major player for stores to purchase books from—essentially a monopoly. Which, let’s face it, historically tends to be less than great for everyone else.
For those of you watching from the stands, what this all means is there is now only one (well, kind of two, but really just one) big business left to supply books to bookstores. Stores can order directly from publishers, but it usually makes more sense for them to order all those publishers’ books at once from the same wholesaler, rather than trying to track down and manage dozens or hundreds of different accounts.
What you may not know is that, along with publishing and distributing our own books, Microcosm is also a specialty wholesaler, offering a curated selection of titles from major houses, large indies, small presses, self-publishers, and DIY zine-makers! Alongside our 500 or so published titles, we carry thousands of others, selected for their interest and alignment with our mission and values. An overwhelming 8,000 new books are published every day, and we’ve already sorted through them to find the best ones.
Anyone who sells books can order stock directly from us at wholesale rates. Set up a MyCosm account on our website and select “wholesale” at checkout. You can also drop us a line or an email. We have no paperwork, no credit approval process, fast turnaround times, and extremely kind customer service.
If you’re buying for a bookstore, you can access our whole catalog through your sales reps for Book Travelers West on the west coast, Fujii in the midwest, and Como out east. Your sales rep can brief you on terms. Please get in touch with them (or with us to connect you) to find out more.
We have calls for submissions open for two books right now!
For Bikesexuality, we’re looking for nonfiction essays / reporting / personal stories about … bicycling and sex. That can mean anything from contemplating your sexual orientation by bike to tales of pedal-powered sexytimes.
For the next volume of Bikes in Space, we’re seeking fiction. More specifically, feminist bicycle science fiction (and fantasy, and similarly speculative/fantastical genres). About cats.
The respective deadlines are in June and August. You can read the full guidelines over at Taking the Lane. And then get writing!
Developed as a companion to Dr. Faith Harper’s Unfuck Your Intimacy book, this workbook can be used on its own or alongside the book as you read, by yourself or with a partner. It’s an extremely useful aid for understanding your history, behavior, boundaries, needs, and wants, when it comes to sexual intimacy and relationships.
Explore your relationships and sexuality, with yourself and with others, with this new book by Dr. Faith, author of bestselling Unfuck Your Brain. Written particularly for people who are in intimate relationships, but also incredibly useful if you’re single or dating and trying to unpack your past or plan for your future. With science and humor, Dr. Faith demystifies topics such as kink, consent, shame, and trauma recovery. Contains many exercises and questions to think, talk, or write about, on your own or with a partner. Read this book to learn vital life skills like listening to your body and your gut, setting boundaries, and communicating your needs. If you’re looking to heal from past wounds, make better choices, or improve an existing relationship, this book is for you. Better sex and relationships are totally possible! You’ve got this.
You know those days when you just can’t even? When everything is haywire and everyone, including yourself, seems to be against you, not to mention against reason? Your to-do list is a mile long, your kid is sick, traffic sucks, and you just spilled coffee all over yourself as you were about to walk out the door? How do you cope? Most of us don’t have great coping skills, and turn instead to addictions, zoning out, or freaking out. Dr. Faith, author of the bestselling Unfuck Your Brain, offers a range of healthier strategies for getting through tough moments, gaining perspective, and shifting your attitude.