Posts By: Elly Blue

Design, emotion, and publishing with the School of Life Design

On this week’s episode of the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, we welcome special guests Jessica Mullen and Kelly Cree of the School of Life Design and creators of the Monthly Manifestation Manual and Monthly Magickal Record workbooks as well as many more. We talk about a wide range of topics from their process, the difference between running a small press and working with Microcosm, the role of AI in publishing, and their favorite place in Cleveland. Lots of laughter in this one.

Do self-published authors need a contract with themselves?

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly tackle a topic that might sound like a parody at first, but we’re serious: authors who publish their own books, whether they’re going with a publishing service or starting their own publishing house, would do well to consider putting themself under a contract. Here’s why to consider creating a business deal with yourself.

P.S. Did you see that Microcosm is hiring? Come join our marketing team!

Microcosm is hiring a marketing specialist! – position closed

We are looking for someone who is excited about books to join our marketing team. If you are a detail-oriented, organized wordsmith who can write sparkling copy, wrangle a spreadsheet, and plan a crowdfunding campaign, please consider applying. The ideal candidate will be able to balance brief bursts of creative brilliance with long, focused bouts of massaging data and timelines. 

Microcosm publishes and distributes reader-oriented, brightly-colored empowering books and zines on a wide range of topics including mental health, punk music, bicycling, gardening, witchcraft, feminism, healthy relationships, travel, cookery, humor, and herbalism. In our marketing department, we combine highly non-traditional methods with publishing industry standards, with successful results—we have grown substantially every year for the past decade. Come grow with us! 

Hours: This is a full-time, 40 hour per week position.

Location: A desk is available in our Portland office if desired, but this position can be fully remote. 

Experience: None required, but some background (professional or otherwise) in writing marketing copy, selling, newsletters, crowdfunding, and/or data management is preferred.

Core job duties: 

  • Wrangling data—keeping it correct, up-to-date, and discoverable
  • Writing copy
  • Building and promoting crowdfunding campaigns
  • Creating and sending newsletter campaigns


  • Enthusiasm to speak and write compellingly about our books and mission
  • Ability to quickly produce good-quality copy about any book in our catalog
  • A nit-picky eye for details and data
  • Ability and willingness to work with topics that may be sensitive to some, including trauma, abuse, recovery, religion and spirituality, various marginalized identities, drugs, anatomy, sexual instruction, and erotica
  • Ability to meet or exceed deadlines without operating in a state of last-minute urgency
  • Ability to stay organized, prioritize between multiple projects, and work independently
  • Strong work ethic and desire to continually learn and improve


  • A history of running successful crowdfunding campaigns
  • Experience sending effective newsletter campaigns
  • Understanding of how to write for each of our primary market channels, including direct-to-consumer, gift, special sales, and trade sales (e.g., how you would handle a newsletter about the same book for readers vs. for hospital gift store buyers)
  • Ability to represent Microcosm at consumer sales events (involves heavy lifting and much extroverting)
  • Management and leadership skills and interest

Pay and benefits

Starting wage is $16.50-$20.50 per hour. Starting pay will depend on location, level of responsibility in previous marketing work, ability to work independently, and management/leadership capacity. 

  • All company profits are distributed to staff in the form of raises and bonuses
  • Paid sick time
  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Remote work option
  • Flexible work hours and time off
  • Employee ownership program after five years
  • Transparent compensation and clear metrics for advancement
  • Meaningful work at a fast-growing company 

To apply:

Application deadline: May 15, 2023

Year of the Witch

Magic is the ever-present energy around us—it’s in the sky, our companion animals, what we eat, where we live, and ourselves—and it can be used to create and manifest the things we want in our lives. By living with our intentions and the moon’s guiding energy, we can align ourselves with this energy and live our best lives, creating our narratives and movement along the way. And with each step we take, we are closer to our authentic selves. If you’re new to witchcraft, this guide will walk you through your first year.

The Queer Affirmations Coloring Book

Heteronormative platitudes got you down? Color these joyful queer affirmations instead! Next time someone pulls out an old walnut like, “It’s just a phase, they’ll grow out of it,” you can correct it to, “I love your strong sense of self!” Sick of hearing trite shit like, “It could be worse”? Cross it out with a Sharpie and replace it with, “I’m sorry you’re going through this.” Not everyone in your life may know how to talk about feelings and affirm your experience, but you can do it for yourself and the community you create. Joe Carlough’s thoughtful and humorous revisions of everyday platitudes pair perfectly with Ally Shwed’s colorable scenarios of all sorts of queer people bonding with each other, expressing their emotions, and learning to love themselves a little more every day.

How to think about platform (with Guy LeCharles Gonzalez)

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, we’re joined by publishing pundit Guy LeCharles Gonzalez to discuss that important question: does an author need to already be famous (or have x number of social media followers) to publish a book? Guy walks us through the reality of the situation and turns the tables in a refreshing take—should a publisher also have a platform? Lots of marketing chops and unconventional takes for our loyal readers to noodle on here.