Posts By: Elly Blue

Support Microcosm and Learn our Craft on Drip

a screencap of the microcosm drip pageRecently we were approached about starting a new thing on a new platform that was all very top-secret, and we jumped at the chance (we like shiny things). That platform is Drip, Kickstarter’s new subscriptions program, and our project launched today in its inaugural class of creators.

We’ll still be using Kickstarter to fund the production of some of our individual books. Meanwhile, Drip is a little different: it’s about monthly support—it’s similar to Patreon, which we also use. It offers various levels of support; you can get ebooks or credit for our online store. By backing at our core level, you can have access to regular posts with advice about all aspects of our publishing work. You can ask us anything and we’ll do our best to talk you through it. And we’ll share regular windows into the life of our office.

Some posts we have planned for the near future include:

  • How to judge a book by its cover (and make sure yours has a good one)
  • How to run an effective publicity campaign in an era when traditional review outlets are dwindling and reviews don’t work as well as they used to anyway
  • When you SHOULD self-publish and why (spoiler, we don’t think it’s very often, but it’s definitely not never)
  • How our marketing department informs our editorial decisions (controversy alert!)
  • Regular “from the desk of” diaries
  • Whatever YOU want to know!

We’ve been doing this a long time, and we love sharing our books with you. Now, let us share our knowledge and lore, too.

Thank you for your support!

Ask Joe anything!

It’s been more than three years since Joe went on Reddit to do an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A session, aka an AMA. The results were surprising… to us, at least. The above image is pretty representative of the kind of “question” he got the first time around.

Never one to be deterred, he’s coming back for another #ActuallyAutistic AMA on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at noon PST / 3pm EST. You’re invited to ask him anything you’d like about publishing, documentary filmmakingliving with autism, dealing with bullying, having a service dog, or how he gets his hair to do that.

Please join us!

New Kickstarter: A zine about bikes, class, and social justice

The new (14th!) issue of Elly’s feminist bike zine, Taking the Lane, is called Bikequity and it’s live on Kickstarter right now.

Inside you’ll find a mix of new and familiar voices, from Bicycle / Race (forthcoming from Microcosm 2018) author Adonia Lugo’s motivational tale of cofounding an iconic cycling event to a stunning personal essay by many-times Bikes in Space contributor Gretchin Lair. Writers tackle issues of how bicycling interacts with their identity and socioeconomic status in diverse and compelling ways.

Oh, and the project was selected to participate in Kickstarter Gold, a month-long initiative to bring back the creators of iconic past projects. We’re honored to get to be part of it.

We think you’ll like this zine-book. Please consider backing it!

the book cover

The cover of Bikequity

The Prodigal Rogerson

This is the first biography of Roger Rogerson, the original bassist and songwriter for the Circle Jerks. He disappeared under mysterious circumstances and then reappeared a decade later, instigating the band to get back together—and dropped dead two days later. J. Hunter Bennett’s oral history includes Rogerson’s bandmates and family and contains never-before-published history and photos.

Things That Help

Living in the margins of a culture she never felt comfortable in, Cindy Crabb touches on her experiences with feminism, girl-gangs, abuse, and gender identity. With stories, essays, interviews, and more, Cindy writes with fierce honesty and compassion, exploring subjects like consent, abortion, death, self-image, shyness, identity, and anarchism—embracing the complexities of each, finding her anger, her voice, and the things that help in her struggles with addiction, mental health, and intense loss. Along the way she travels the world, helps start a women and transgender health center, and fights against the social norms that made her feel so trapped.

Call for Submissions: True Trans Bike Rebel (Taking the Lane #15)

button with a cat riding a bike in a hoodie
Deadline extension: The deadline has been extended to August 1st, so that folks who find out about this call for submissions via our Kickstarter project will have time to write something.

Taking the Lane #15 is called True Trans Bike Rebel, and we are looking for nonfiction writing about the experience of bicycling while being transgender or gender nonconforming. Submissions can be essays or reporting about bicycling, or other topics or stories in which bicycles play a part (or other human-powered transportation—skateboards, rollerskates, walking, you name it).

Submissions can be any length; word count between 500 and 2500 words is ideal for this format. Single-color illustrations and photos are also sought. Please submit your work as an attachment or link in an email to elly at taking the lane dot com. Feel free to send any questions or ideas to me at that address as well. The deadline is July 1, 2017 August 1, 2017.

All contributors will be paid a share of the net profits from the Kickstarter project used to fund the zine.

Taking the Lane is a feminist bicycle zine published since 2010.

Call for Submissions: Bikes in Space 5 (Theme: Intersections)

Submissions are open for Bikes in Space Volume 5, published by Microcosm’s Elly Blue Publishing imprint. The theme is Intersections. Stories that are accepted will all have a feminist perspective and incorporate bicycling in some way, whether or not they are actually about feminism or about bicycles. We especially welcome submissions from writers of color and transgender and nonbinary writers, and seek stories that portray more diverse perspectives than are classically found in sci fi.

Your story should be in the neighborhood of 2,000 to 6,000 words. If your story needs to be longer or shorter, then by all means write it to be the length it needs to be and we’ll work with you on edits as needed. There are no formatting, document type, or style requirements, and no strict definition of what exactly counts as science fiction. You may want to familiarize yourself with previous volumes in the series before submitting.

Black and white art is also sought. Payment for art and writing is a share of net profit from the Kickstarter project that funds the book.

The deadline for this volume is March 1, 2017.

Send submissions and questions to elly at takingthelane dot com

P.S. Volume 4, Biketopia, is funding on Kickstarter through March 2, 2017.

What’s a Book Good For Anyway? Our Spring Season on Kickstarter

It’s been a while (okay, over a week now) since our last Kickstarter project ended… and we’ve just launched another this morning, for Microcosm’s Spring season.

This project is a little different. Instead of promoting just one book, we’ve decided to give you six at once—six very different books that span our interests and eras.

The norm in publishing is to put out multiple books each season (of which, in this industry, there are three–Spring and Fall are the main ones, and then there’s a small Winter season right after the xmas holidaze). Usually the publisher picks one book from each season and puts all their resources behind it, gambling on making it a blockbuster. We’ve never done this, mostly because we haven’t had the money to gamble on promoting books in the traditional ways. Instead, we spread our best efforts equally around all the books and hope they all win.

So this project represents our (cough) brand, our business model, and a strong sampling of the topics, styles, interests, authors, and books that we care about deeply.

Sandor Ellix Katz’z Basic Fermentation is the blockbuster here… it’s a substantial new edition of the cute little zine-turned-book, Wild Fermentation, that has been winning hearts for years. We also have new editions of Cristy C. Road’s underground classic Indestructible and Dan Méndez Moore’s gripping comics journalism account of Six Days in Cincinnati. we’re putting a spine on Raleigh Briggs’s friendly, hand-written Fix Your Clothes, and we finally gave Kelli Refer’s Pedal, Stretch, Breathe an ISBN. And we have a brand-new book in the mix, too: The Prodigal Rogerson represents J. Hunter Bennett’s meticulous and spirited research into the mysterious disappearance (and reappearance) of the Circle Jerk’s original bassist and songwriter.

Like any good books, these ones are good for entertainment… and so much more. Fixing your clothes, your gut health with fermented food, your wounded sense of community and political rightness… books can provide all that and more, and that’s what gets us up in the morning and keeps us going day after day.

Read more about them over at Kickstarter, where you’ll also have a chance to get to live chat with some of the authors and the people who make Microcosm go!

Check it out, and consider backing it to get some good books to last you through winter.
microcosm publishing storefront with bookstory sign

Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution

Julia Alekseyeva’s debut full-length graphic novel, Soviet Daughter, tells the story of her great-grandmother Lola, a free spirit who lived in the Soviet Ukraine. She survived the Russian Revolution, raised children, took care of her large family, worked hard (including a stint as a secretary for the secret police), fled the war as a refugee, was persecuted for being Jewish, and throughout it all fell in love with a number of men and took on everything she did with passion and kindness.