The economic theories behind our publishing

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly entertain a reader question about the economic theories behind how we run Microcosm. Neither one of us is an economist, though we do sometimes play one on the internet. So this question kind of caught us off guard. But we have fun dredging the depths of our brains for the very serious reading of our youths that made a lasting impression.

Do authors need a platform?

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly are joined by Ariel Gore, whose brand-new book The Wayward Writer is a stellar practical and personal guide for authors finding their own path to publication.

We talked about the question of platform—specifically the idea that authors need to bring a ready-made audience along with their manuscript. It’s not so straightforward, and have fun getting into the weeds about that.

Microcosm is Hiring a Book Editor! – closed

Microcosm Publishing is looking for an early- to mid-career book editor who is excited to work with Microcosm on all stages of editing. If you love the puzzle-solving of developmental editing, relish the challenge of turning a disorganized manuscript into a book that can make a splash and save lives, and want to learn and grow along with us, please consider applying.

Microcosm is a reader-oriented publisher, primarily working with non-literary, nonfiction manuscripts by first-time authors. Our goal is never to craft a beautiful turn of phrase or achieve grammatical perfection, but rather to offer readers valuable, practical tools to change their life and world, while preserving the author’s unique voice and always having the most fun. You can learn more about our editorial program and processes in our department documentation.

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: For this position, we are only considering candidates with experience editing books for publication. Other types of editing and coaching skills are valuable, but books require a specific skill set and that’s what we need this time around. The ideal candidate would come to us with one to four years of experience (or equivalent, time-wise—we know life isn’t always so straightforward).

Core job duties: 

  • 50% developmental/global edits
  • 30% line editing
  • 20% copy editing or management/scheduling, depending on the qualifications and interests of the person hired.


  • Experience editing nonfiction books for publication
  • Strong developmental and line editing skills
  • Adequate copy editing skills 
  • Comfortable editing directly in Google Docs
  • Flexibility to work with a variety of author writing and communication styles
  • Ability and willingness to edit books about topics that may be sensitive to some, including trauma, abuse, and recovery, non-christian religions, various marginalized identities, drugs, sexual instruction, and erotica
  • Expertise as a sensitivity reader in at least one domain
  • Ability to meet or exceed deadlines without operating in a state of last-minute urgency
  • Ability to prioritize between multiple projects and work independently
  • Strong work ethic and desire to continually learn and improve


  • Production editorial experience
  • Management and leadership skills and interest

Pay and benefits

Starting wage is $18-$22 per hour, and goes up $1/hour after 90 day trial period. Starting pay will depend on level of responsibility in previous editorial work, ability to work independently, and management/leadership capabilities. 

  • All company profits are distributed to staff in the form of raises and bonuses
  • Paid sick time
  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off (coming in early 2023!)
  • Fully 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:

  1. Fill out this application, and 
  2. Submit either a sample of 2-5 manuscript pages you have edited (with suggestions/track changes showing your work) or this editorial test

Application deadline: November 15, 2022

How We Became the Fastest Growing Publisher!

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly finally got together in the warehouse for the first time since Microcosm was named Publisher’s Weekly’s fastest growing publisher for 2022! It’s been a few months since the rankings came out, and we’re still pretty shocked. We talk about what all that growth means, what it’s been like, whether or not we have any plans to slow down, and how yeah, we’re a little tired!

Can you get sued for publishing misinformation?

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly answer a reader question: do book publishers need to be concerned about liability if they publish books containing scientifically inaccurate information? We’re not sure if the question-asker is considering publishing an anti-vaxx book, suing the publisher of one, or just noodling about fact checking in a more general way, but we do our best to give some practical perspectives.

Are profit & loss statements just a bunch of smoke and mirrors? More from the PRH/S&S merger trial

Back in August, the best show in publishing was the trial in which publishing behemoth Penguin Random House tried to make the case to the US Department of Justice that buying publishing mini-behemoth Simon & Schuster wouldn’t create an uncompetitive atmosphere for authors. We’ve covered it a bit in this podcast, and this week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, we offer one last episode unpacking a funny statement that came out of it: the behemoths’ assertion that their profit & loss statements are meaningless and they actually have no idea how to predict if a book will be profitable. Spoiler: We kinda think they’re stretching the truth. Watch or listen for insights into what (if anything) this means for your own publishing….

What’s a fair deal for anthology authors?

On this week’s People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly answer a reader question! The question-asker edited an anthology, with all the authors donating their work and all proceeds going to a nonprofit cause. One author decided that the way the contract handled rights wasn’t fair, and now the publisher isn’t sure they did the right thing. We get into contracts, rights, and how to handle authors who sound off about you on social media. Whew, that’s a lot of ground in under 12 minutes.

Do half of all new books sell less than 12 per year?

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly tackle a bit of viral misinformation that’s making the rounds: The myth that more than half of new books by major publishers sell less than a dozen copies a year. (The first comment on this newsletter, from someone at NPD Bookscan laying out actual stats, is our primary source.) Don’t get us wrong, the numbers for most books put out by the biggest publishers are astonishingly bleak. But not that astonishingly bleak.