In a world with an uncertain future, do you imagine for the best or for the worst case scenario? Twelve writers tackle extreme utopias and dystopias—and the grey areas in between—in Biketopia, the fourth volume of the Bikes in Space series of feminist science fiction stories about bicycling. Some find love and fierce resistance in the end times; others imagine an ecological future of saving technology, with solarpunk ecotopian visions, at times paired with crushing social control. Whatever your own future or present reality, these stories will motivate and inspire you to envision something different… and maybe even better.
A powerful tribute to feminist sci-fi about bicycles, this zine gravitates away from the unfortunately-traditional macho heroes, hurtling through space with giant guns, ready to protect and/or tame their scantily clad space babe. These authors’ visions of the future are populated by strong, intelligent, empowered women with complex personalities. And it was a vision apparently shared by many: It’s the largest issue of TTL yet! Help us fend off this space shark attack in style! Ieeeee!
Curated by Doris editor Cindy Crabb, Learning Good Consent looks at the culture of sexual consent from a standpoint which is both sexy and educational. During the course of 46 pages, Cindy and friends create a well-rounded consent workshop, with all sites set on healing and helping. In the midst of rape culture, “blurred lines,” and troubled relationships with power and boundaries, Consent has your back. As says Cindy in the zine’s intro, “Talking about our experiences with consent, our struggles, our mistakes and how we’ve learned, these are part of a much larger revolutionary struggle.”
Do you have a passion that you want to obsess about in a love letter to the world? In this new edition of Microcosm’s popular DIY guide to zine-making, Joe Biel updates the information provided in the first and second editions (edited by Biel and the late and great Bill Brent) to address zine making in today’s digital and social-media-obsessed world. Covering all the bases for beginners, Make a Zine! hits on more advanced topics like Creative Commons licenses, legality, and sustainability. Says Feminist Review, “Make a Zine! is an inspiring, easy, and digestible read for anyone, whether you’re already immersed in a cut-and-paste world, a graphic designer with a penchant for radical thought, or a newbie trying to find the best way to make yourself and your ideas known.” Illustrated by an army of notable and soon-to-be-notable artists and cartoonists, Make a Zine! also takes a look at the burgeoning indie comix scene, with a solid and comprehensive chapter by punk illustrator Fly (Slug and Lettuce, Peops). Part history lesson, part how-to guide, Make a Zine! is a call to arms, an ecstatic, positive rally cry in the face of TV show book clubs and bestsellers by celebrity chefs. As says Biel in the book’s intro, “Let’s go!”
Today on the podcast, we talk through Kate’s journey of sixteen years to become a children’s illustrator and author. We discuss about racism, her time working for Trump, her current resistance to Trump, what she went through to get published, and share many tips for combating depression, writer’s block, and hard days in general.
Ever had to say goodbye to a favorite item of clothing because of a busted zipper, fallen hem, or gaping hole? Want to save money and the world by not buying new clothes at the time? Concerned about the labor practices of fast fashion? Learn to repair your clothes from this cheerful illustrated guide. Raleigh Briggs, author and illustrator of the bestselling Make Your Place and Make It Last takes us on a mending journey through stocking your supplies, quick fixes, types of knots and stitches, buttons, mending seams, patching holes, darning holes, hemming, fixing zippers, waterproofing canvas, leather, and nylon, and so much more! Raleigh’s style is simple, playful, friendly, fun, and builds your confidence. You can do it!
In her Miami high school Cristy Road valiantly tried to figure out and defend her queer gender identity, Cuban cultural roots, punk rock nature, and mortality. In this graphic novel, Cristy reminds us of the strength and ability of punk youth—for addressing things like rape, homophobia, and misogyny. This is no exception; giving a voice to every frustrated fifteen year old girl under fire from her peers for being queer or butch or punk.
Happy new year, everyone!
It’s been 12 months since we reported that 2015 was Microcosm’s best year ever (and not just financially). Well, we are stoked (and relieved) to report that 2016 was even better than that.
Since last January 1, we’ve published 24 books, 6 zines, a box set, and an LP/book set. We are slowing down a bit for 2017 for the sake of our blood pressure and because we feel that less is more most of the time, especially when you want each title to have time to shine in the light for a bit longer. Nonetheless, our production schedule is filling up through 2022 and we are currently working on 2018 titles with the remainder of this year ready to go to print tomorrow if need be!
We had more big staff changes this year. Taylor moved to the East Coast to go back to school and Cyn was promoted to publicity director. Thea now celebrates her devout love of paperwork at the City of Portland overseeing pavement maintenance and after four years of back and forth, we finally got Jeri Cain Rossi to come on board as sales director. And we also convinced our former interns Sidnee and Tomy to work for us as a production assistant and marketing and editorial assistant, respectively!
We sold about 142,000 books last year; about 389 per day! So we each took a few days off.
Here’s a breakdown of some math about our year, as powered by charts:
Our total income for the year was $495,110.28 (a 5.6% increase from 2015). Here’s a pie chart that shows where that came from. “Other” is mostly the ever-popular Slingshot planners.
Next, let’s look at our Bestselling Titles of 2016:
You might notice that the Top 3 are from 2008, 2001, and 2013 respectively. One major change in 2016 is that sales are continuing to democratize quite a bit more. We used to have one stand-out bestseller every year that paid all of our bills. That hasn’t happened since 2013 and now every book reliably sells within a certain window. Join us next week for a deeper look into The Microcosm State of the Industry Report!
We are also working on a new chart about where our things are selling. Publishing has changed quite a bit in the past 21 years and book store sales have been flat for a long time so book sales are migrating to different and interesting places. Stay tuned for next year!
And here are our expenses.
- Wages: $-164,964.43 (7.76% increase and four people received raises on Jan 1, 2017 with a fifth receiving more hours)
- Publishing: $-117,935.75 (7.77% decrease)
- Distribution: $-77,085.51 (1.2% decrease)
- Shipping: $-59,685.49 (35.4% increase)
- Royalties: $-30,592.80 (3.2% decrease, with each book selling fewer copies it takes longer to recoup and more expenses are dispersed into printing and The Bottom Line)
- Supplies & Phone: $-14,743.27 (19.7% increase)
- Building: $-12,586.59 (27.55% increase)
- Advertising: $-9,556.99 (34.6% decrease)
- Events: $-5,601.09 (6% decrease)
- Website: $-4,791.05 (100% increase)
- Taxes: $-1,515.00 (11% increase)
- Insurance: $-1,217.00 (2.87% increase)
- Meetings: $-1,216.38 (25.2% decrease)
- Commission: $-168.17 (97.2% decrease)
We also donated $34,575.00 (17.1% increase) worth of books to awesome causes last year!
Total Expenses: $529,468.09 for a net loss of $-34,357.81. Fortunately, by utilizing the magic of the 75-day payment window that our credit cards offer free of charge, we can afford all that we are up to and more.
Among other revelations, we sent out way more packages this year than 2015 and were able to upgrade many outdated office computers and phones.
And while it was much more consistent than 2015, we are pretty happy with the 2016 rollercoaster:
And just a reminder: While we’re technically set up as a “for-profit” organization, we choose to operate on a break-even basis. This means that any time we manage to out-earn our expenses (which we try very hard to do), we put that money back into the company, usually in the form of staff wages and publishing more books—which is the only reason why our wages keep going up in an industry where they are declining overall. The publishing industry doesn’t have a lot of extra money floating around, but by taking data and math into consideration in every decision, we’ve carved out a little place in it where we can publish the books that matter most to us and keep them priced affordably.
Laura Stanfill has built a movement of authors and publishers in Portland into a coherent force. Whether that’s a product of her own publishing efforts with Forest Avenue Press or working to demystify the reality of publishing and setting proper expectations, she’s smiling, shaking hands, and introducing new allies!