Saying Hello to the New Year With New Friends

This season, we’ve had the pleasure of working with some new Microcosmonauts: interns Kayla, Troy, and Ahimsa, as well as our newest staff member, Trista. They’ve been a huge help moving into the new year, and we’re so thankful for their time and work.
Always curious about the people we work with, I asked everyone about themselves and their lives. Below are their answers. . . Say hello to the newbies!

 

Kayla

How would you describe yourself?

A paradoxical blend of easygoing and anxious, introverted and people-loving, and thinking both the book and the movie were good.

How do you think others would describe you?

I relatively recently learned I was known as “crazy clarinet girl” to most of my high school classmates. I don’t play clarinet anymore, but people probably think similar things.

What brings you to Microcosm?

A love of books and determination to get into publishing, especially on the editing front.

Where are you from?

I’m originally from the Seattle area and more recently from Boston.

What do you miss/not miss most?

I miss Pike Place, super snowy winters, and joking about how it’s just a little drive down I-90 between my two cities. I do not miss terrible public transportation or Masshole drivers.

What’s your favorite or least favorite thing about Microcosm so far?

My favorite thing is the instant hot water tap—kidding, it’s actually getting the chance to work on a little bit of everything and feel far more supported than pressured. My least favorite thing so far was when the umbrella on the deck blew over and made the scariest thud ever.

What do you want to get out of your time here, now that you’ve seen the basics of what we do?

Strengthen my editorial skills, build new skills in departments I haven’t worked in yet, and deal with genres I’m not super familiar with yet (I’ve dealt with a lot more fiction in the past).

What creative or empowering thing do you like to spend your time doing?

I used to write a lot, so I’ve been trying to ease myself back into that since I moved to Portland. Other than that, singing and cooking at the same time is a great power rush.

Favorite snacks and/or drinks?

London fogs, cheese puffs, scotch

Troy

How would you describe yourself?

A kid, coping with adulthood, anxiously creating whatever comes to mind.

How do you think others would describe you?

I’ve been described by my girlfriend as brooding, but I prefer introverted.

What brings you to Microcosm?

A desire to work near other people with a passion for literature

Where are you from? What do you miss/not miss most?

Missouri. I miss my parents and niece, but not the humid summer/frigid winter.

What do you want to get out of your time here, now that you’ve seen the basics of what we do?

I want to learn from the materials with which I’m working, as well as make strong connections with, learn from, and be inspired by fellow Microcosmonauts.

What creative or empowering thing do you like to spend your time doing?

Hiking and writing

What’s your favorite or least favorite thing about Microcosm so far?

I love how collaborative the process is and how willing people are to show the ropes.

List three of your favorite snacks and/or drinks.

Coffee, pita and hummus, and Montucky

Ahimsa

How would you describe yourself?

Hopefully in a very clever way. Maybe something like introspective, irreverent, intrepid, and fond of alliteration.

How do you think others would describe you?

I don’t think I’m insightful enough to know that!

What brings you to Microcosm?

Most days, the number 4 bus! But really, I’m here to get a little bit of knowledge about how to be a publisher.

Where are you from? What do you miss/not miss most?

I’m from Oregon. But until recently I’d been away for some time, and I missed the following things: 1. rain, 2. Powell’s, 3. Mexican food, 4. Fred Meyer, and 5. walking through cool neighborhoods and seeing the city breathe.

What do you want to get out of your time here, now that you’ve seen the basics of what we do?

Know-how, the knack of taking a book from idea to a physical object. What the heck is a trim size matrix anyway?

What’s your favorite thing about where you live now?

I’m staying with some friends in SE Portland, which is rad, but even better they just got a kitten named Beezus. She’s quite cute.

What creative or empowering thing do you like to spend your time doing?

I write a lot, always have, but recently am trying to become less “design-blind.” For empowering things I try to be open to helping people when they ask for help, and volunteer for many activities throughout the city.

What’s your favorite or least favorite thing about Microcosm so far?

The people here are super kind and great to talk to. There’s an anti status-quo vibe that I haven’t encountered in many work environments before.

List three of your favorite snacks and/or drinks.

Buja mix, dried fruit, and bananas.

 

Trista

How would you describe yourself?

Motivated, curious, enthusiastic. INFJ (if you’re interested in personality types).

How do you think others would describe you?

Reliable, flexible, thoughtful. A co-worker once described me as a cinnamon roll . . . I’m still not quite sure what that means?

What brings you to Microcosm?

I feel like stories are one of the most powerful ways for people to connect with each other and themselves, and I want to be able to help people find those stories and encourage them to create their own. I think Microcosm does that, plus the collaborative atmosphere is a big draw.

Where are you from? What do you miss/not miss most?

Thibodaux, Louisiana. I miss the food and atmosphere, the swamp witchery that is unique to the south. I do not miss the conservative traditions.

What do you want to get out of your time here, now that you’ve seen the basics of what we do?

I never thought about how much goes into getting a book out to its audience, and I’m fascinated by the process and eager to discover different ways to think about books.

What’s your favorite thing about where you live now?

I could live in Powell’s. Also Oasis Cafe on Hawthorne, I could eat the Veggie everyday. Also all the parks/forestry areas.

What creative or empowering thing do you like to spend your time doing?

I love to make comics and writing. I play guitar and write songs, which is just something for myself.

What’s your favorite or least favorite thing about Microcosm so far?

I like that Microcosm has coloring books about vaginas and things to remind us that while politics/activism/diversity/learning to empower yourself is important, it’s equally important to have fun and relax every now and then.

Do you have any pets (or particularly interesting kids)? Tell us about them.

I have two cats and two god-children. The cats are Goofy (moody introvert) and Percy (playful and ditzy), both are very clumsy. The kids are Bella/Bells (4yo, princess that loves wrestling and Totoro) and Josiah/Jojo, who is still a baby and I haven’t met in person yet.

Favorite snacks and/or drinks?

Sweet tea, pickles, red grapes (fruit is always nice).

 

Call for Submissions: Bikes in Space #6

You’re invited! Our Elly Blue Publishing imprint has announced a call for submissions for its sixth anthology of feminist bicycle science fiction, with the theme of Dragons. The deadline is April 1st, 2018 (but it isn’t an April Fool’s joke, despite being a lot of good silly fun). Read the entire call for submissions and start dreaming up your story.

Take our Survey!

We’re not really big on “market research” here at Microcosm. In fact, as the “marketing director,” I can say with authority that most of our “marketing” work involves either submitting unspeakably mind-numbing spreadsheets to various distributor databases or giggling til our stomachs hurt over weird ideas and crass titles that tend to turn into stuff like our most popular books, our poster catalogs, and the most fun new events we get to attend.

But we’ve grown and changed a lot in the last few years (and definitely in the 12 years since our last reader survey in 2006), and we thought we’d check in with you all about what your needs are, how we’re doing, and if you have any wild ideas or pressing concerns that we can address.

So here it is. Please tell us whatever you like. If you decide to include your contact info we’ll add you to our monthly newsletter email list, but we won’t share it with anyone else. If you want to talk with us directly and get an answer to your specific question, feel free to email us.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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! (Live now!)

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!

Update: This AMA is live at this link!

It’s been a while, RMC edition.

Hello again from the most radical little green house of books you’ll ever find.

It’s been a while but after a crazy year we’re working on getting back in the swing of things. How are you, though??

 

Microcosm’s staff is an incredible little world of its own, with wildly different personalities, opinions, and preferences. Every now and then we like to check in with everyone and see what we’re all into these days….

 

Kristine (Accounts Manager)
My favorite thing on tv right now is Stranger Things 2, because I like Dungeons and Dragons-themed tv (OK, I have a 13-year-old who loves horror).
I read stuff simultaneously: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Unfuck Your BrainAkata Witch, and the new issue of Harper’s.

pussyriot in their glass cell Fun Fact: the women of Pussy Riot were kept in a plexi-glass cage during their trial. They were THAT dangerous. (From Harper’s)


Cyn (Publicity Director)
the good place holy mother forking shirt balls gif
My favorite thing on tv right now is The Good Place. I started it on a whim because I liked the cast, and how funny and surprising it was blew me away. Eleanor (including her faults, unfortunately) is definitely my spirit animal.
mazzy dancing mural
I’m also obsessed with the Cooking With Mazzy youtube channel, and flipped out when this Mazzy mural went up near the off
ice.
In the book department, lately I’m only reading stuff that haven’t come out yet for work…. the only other thing book-wise is… well, does listening to the High Rise audiobook for the 3rd time count as finishing a book…? It’s just so soothing…

Jeri Cain (Sales Director)
My favorite thing on tv right now is the show Fortitude. It’s quirky.
The last book I read was How to Read Nature. My favorite part was learning that pigeons follow roads.

Kayla (Intern)
Your favorite thing on tv/entertainment right now is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, because it’s funny feminist fun, with fantastic characters & songs—what more do you need? But I haven’t gotten to watch any of Season 3 yet, so don’t spoil it for me!
Last book I finished was Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. My favorite part was [SPOILER!] when Vianne (one of the two sisters the book revolves around) kills the Nazi she’s very conflictedly in love with. Though my critique would be this book teeters on the edge/possibly crosses into too-melodramatic territory pretty often, which is often difficult with WWII fiction.

Elly (Marketing Director)
I am seriously enjoying this band and their one lonely album…

On the Podcast: Unfuck Your Brain with Dr. Faith Harper

Our brains are doing our best to help us out, but they can be real assholes sometimes. Dr. Faith is here to help! Sometimes it seems like your own brain is messing with you—melting down in the middle of the grocery store, picking fights with your date, getting you addicted to something, or shutting down completely at the worst possible moments. That’s where Dr. Faith’s practice comes in. With humor, patience, and lots of swearing, Unfuck Your Brain shows you the science behind what’s going on in your skull and talks you through the process of retraining your brain to respond appropriately to the non-emergencies of everyday life. If you’re working to deal with old traumas, or if you just want to have a more measured and chill response to situations you face all the time, this book can help you put the pieces of the puzzle together and get your life and brain back.

August’s Bike Books for Uncertain Futures

Happy Wednesday!

It’s officially August, and this month we’re thinking a lot about the possibilities of the future. We’re thinking about independence and freedom, oppression and diversity, healing our selves and our pasts, and all the little things we need to work on to change the world.

The books we have pubbing this month reflect these thoughts, with dystopic bike stories and self-care through bikes and yoga.

First up is the new Bikes in Space collection, Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction in Extreme Futures. Edited by Elly Blue and featuring writing by herself, Jessie Kwak, Sarena Ulibarri, Leigh Ward-Smith, and more, this collection takes on the possibilities of extreme futures with 10 bike-centric stories (and 1 mini-comic) of freedom, rebellion, and survival, by bike.

Get the book today.

Also officially out this month is Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling by Kelli Refer. This charming, very useful little purple book is your one-stop guide to yoga perfect for bicyclers.

Sections include:

How to breathe your way up the steepest hills (and the science behind bike paths and air quality);

a flow chart of stretches to ease your achy knees and sore back;

a guide to your and your bicycle’s chakras that will charm any skeptic’s heart; and more.

This has been available on our site and in our shop for quite a while, but August 8th is its official new release, with a fresh ISBN and all the same informative charm.

Get the book now.

 

Finally, to celebrate this month’s rad, bike-centric releases, we’re giving away…

10 copies of Biketopia over on Goodreads, August 4-11th, and

50! copies of Bikes in Space Volume 2 — one of the zines that began it all — August 14th- 28th

So keep an eye out for those and get lucky!

 

Also this month, we’ve launched the Kickstarter project for Dr. Faith’s radical, swear-filled new book on taking back your brain from anxiety, depression, anger, trauma, and more: Unfuck Your Brain

Check out the video below and the kickstarter here, and help us make this Do-It-Your-Fucking-Self metal health book a reality!

 

Stay strong out there,

Cyn & the Microcosm team

On the Podcast: Corbett Redford, director of Turn it Around: The Story of East Bay Punk

TURN IT AROUND excavates 30 years of the California Bay Area’s prolific punk past, highlighting Berkeley’s landmark 924 Gilman Street music collective and its community of bands, many of which also appeared on the roster of Lookout Records. It features original research and cool tellings of the history of bands like Jawbreaker, Operation Ivy, Green Day, and Rancid with lots of never-before-seen footage as well. Corbett (Bobby Joe Ebola Songbook, Meal Deal with the Devil) has been an entrenched part of this scene for decades and was chosen by Green Day (the executive producers) as the unique individual who could make all of the participants, scene, and fans happy—even though this is his first feature documentary! Aaron Cometbus did the lettering. Iggy Pop did the narrating. Jesse Michaels did the illustration. The film will be playing in Portland on August 3-4 at Cinema 21 and the national theatrical release is happening now! Corbett, Elly, and Joe sat down to talk about trauma, healing, and the importance of having a community to make you greater than yourself.

Bringing Basic Back

Fermented foods are great for your health, and this book is a great resource for learning to use the microbes around you. Wanna learn how to make your own?

Previously available as the zine “Wild Fermentation,” this classic fermentation book needed an upgrade — and now with step-by-step photos and a lovely paper-over-board cover, it’s ready for new life! And, seriously, it’s beautiful.

Officially out today and available at your favorite bookstore, Basic Fermentation explores the simplest ways to ferment at home, with delicious recipes for kefir, injera, honey wine, vinegar, and way more.

And it’s officially out TODAY!!

 

Praise for Basic Fermentation, 3rd Edition:

a “must-have little book”Foodista

“invites readers into Katz’s kitchen to try some extra-funky homemade yogurt and fresh-baked sourdough—and to learn the theory, practice, art, and magic of fermentation. Don’t be surprised if you get hooked.”Spoonful Magazine

best-selling author and fermentation evangelist Sandor Katz is the consummate guide. Follow his lead, and get your funk on.” PureWow

Enter to win a copy over on Goodreads, or buy one today from us and get it next week!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

Basic Fermentation

by Sandor Ellix Katz

Giveaway ends July 15, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway