- How do I contact Microcosm?
- How do I order something?
- Where's my order?
- How do your t-shirts fit? Where do they come from?
- How do I return/exchange something?
- I bought an eBook. How do I receive it?
I want to be involved!
- How do I submit manuscripts for publication by Microcosm?
- How can I help?
- How do I volunteer or intern with Microcosm?
I want to know about Microcosm
- How do I obtain licensing or translation rights to one of your titles?
- How do I stock your titles in my store?
- Why the focus on zines?
- I am from the press or want to help promote Microcosm. Where can I find press about Microcosm, press releases, photos, or hi-res book covers?
- What happens to my money at Microcosm?
- Will you distribute my book. sideline, or zine?
- Why do you offer sliding scale pricing?
- Your website isn't working. I think there are bugs!
- Do you work with libraries or educators? What about corporate or government sales?
Don’t see your question above? Send us a note
How do I contact Microcosm?
Want to get in touch with us?
First, please read the rest of this FAQ, as it answers most questions already!
The best way to reach us is via contact form at the top of this page.
Need help placing or managing an order or paying an invoice?
You can reach our customer support team at support at microcosmpublishing dot com or 503-799-2698
(Note that any publishing submissions sent to this support email will be discarded—all submissions must come through our contact form and follow the guidelines in our FAQ)
Are you a retailer or librarian and need to talk to a sales rep?
Reach our stellar sales team at sales at microcosmpublishing dot com or call 503-333-4722 or 971-277-9435
Need something else?
All other inquiries, including deliveries for our Cleveland warehouse, please call (360) 291-7226
Need to send us a fax?
We thought you'd never ask. Fax us any time, day or night, at (888) 503-0599↑
How do I order something?
Click on the "Add to cart" button next to the items you want to order. You may need to choose an option from a drop-down menu first. The online ordering system calculates your total (and calculates actual shipping costs) for the order. We ship anywhere in the world. We accept credit card, PayPal, mailed-in check, money order, or well-concealed cash.
Consider signing up for a My Microcosm account as it will organize all of your information in one place! Save your login info so that you can order with it in the future. If you order something that we're out of, we will credit your account—and when you order again, the credit will be automatically applied!
Thank you for ordering!↑
Where's my order?
When contacting us about an order, please wait at least two weeks after your order has been shipped to give it time to arrive. If it hasn't arrived, please contact us with your name and reference code (a combination of numbers and letters, like 926db). For international orders, please wait one month after your order is sent—generally all we can tell you is when it was shipped and when it left the U.S.!
Also, please provide an accurate email address in check-out. We email you shipping emails and tracking numbers for tracking your package through the Postal Service.
Most orders are mailed out the day after they are received. However, we may hold an order when we know that new copies of an out-of-stock item will arrive within one week. While we do our best to keep the site updated, items are occassionally simultaneously sold in our store or at an event, so please list alternates! If you order something that we're out of, we will credit your account—and when you order again, the credit will be automatically applied.
Orders sometimes get lost in the mail. If your domestic order is lost by the delivery carrier, we will immediately re-ship a new one. If the carrier is showing that your order was delivered but the package was stolen or has mysteriously not arrived, we will make our best efforts to file a claim but cannot be responsible.↑
How do your t-shirts fit? Where do they come from?
All our shirts are "fitted", so they fit around the contours of your body and not like a "box" shirt. If you don't want your shirt to be tight, you should buy it a size larger than normal.↑
How do I return/exchange something?
Retail orders: We only accept exchanges if we send the wrong item or if a T-shirt does not fit properly. If we send you the wrong item or an item is missing from your package, get in touch and we'll fix our mistake. If you are exchanging an item you accidentally ordered, or a t-shirt because you ordered the wrong size, ship it back to us and include a $2 handling fee plus the cost of shipping you a new one. Due to piracy concerns, we cannot accept returns on eBooks or digital products.
Bookstore orders: We accept returns of only books that we publish, as long as the book is in good/resalable condition and still in print. After a book is listed as out of print through conventional channels, returns will only be accepted for six months. If an order arrives with items missing or damaged, notices for replacement or credit must be made within 30 days.
Gift or specialty store orders: Items are not returnable for credit unless the books are damaged or the wrong title was shipped.
You can contact us about returns via the "Send us a note" link at the top of this page.↑
I bought an eBook. How do I receive it?
We are working on automating our system. In the meantime, one of us will email you your eBook within 24 hours of purchase.↑
I want to be involved!
How do I submit manuscripts for publication by Microcosm?
Microcosm specializes in nonfiction DIY (Do-It-Yourself) books, zines, and decks that focus on the reader and teach self-empowerment.
We are interested in creators with both expertise and lived experience that fit in the following subject areas:
- Magick How To (Witchcraft, Paganism, Herbalism, and the like—also tarot and oracle decks).
- The Good Life (DIY, how-to, self-care, hands-on skills—anything from how to make or do something to parenting, mental health, and healthy relationships).
- Scene History (what made a time and place into a unique climate for creativity, social justice, gender, sexuality, struggle, or a different way of thinking?).
- Building the Bicycle Revolution (nonfiction about the promise of the bicycle to change society with a clear, new perspective on a familiar topic).
- Queering Consent (#ownvoices erotica short stories)
- Travel guides (what makes a place truly special without costing a lot of money?).
- Punx (the hidden stories of the musical style that became a social movement to fix shit up).
- Comics Journalism (book-length nonfiction graphic novels that tell powerful stories. We do not pair writers with illustrators but we do perform full developmental edits for books that we publish. We'll sign a book based on your idea and portfolio alone and can help you workshop it together).
- Gift (humor, animals, fun but educational).
We look for strong visuals and a leftist orientation—further left than the Democratic party. One reviewer said that we make "Castro look right wing." In many ways, he was.
We are especially seeking submissions right now about magickal how to/witchcraft, tarot or oracle decks, dogs, bicycling, genderqueer romance, witchcraft, comics journalism, sustainable DIY projects, parenting (especially for Black, POC, and queer people), reproductive rights, mental health, sexual health, guidebooks, nature, survival, and contributions to the Self Care Healthcare, Prison to Pamphlet, Queering Consent, and Scene History series. Our readers respond especially strongly to small, heartfelt books about a narrow interest of a self-empowering nature. We love books that help us discover interest in a new topic. Books with illustrations, photographs, or other strong graphic elements are strongly encouraged.
We do not publish work that would primarily be described as cookbooks, travel writing, or memoirs unless the work is more substantially about a nonfiction topic than the author's life and experiences. If your book contains more than 20% personal stories, we are not the right publisher for you. We do not publish poetry or fiction except as part of our established Queering Consent or Bikes in Space series.
If your book does not have a reachable audience of at least 5,000 people or if the subject matter does not require 100 pages, we'd suggest submitting your proposal for a zine (in which case you can skip step two, you not need to list comp titles).
To pitch a book (or other publication) to Microcosm, fill out our submissions form. Think about why people would buy a book like yours and what your book would do particularly well for the kind of readers who need it. Knowing why you want to write it and your honest goals will help you make decisions and us to know if we can help you get there.
In order to submit, please send us these five things:
• Tell us, in five seconds, the practical and emotional payoff for someone reading your book that makes it distinct from others on the shelf. Don't tell us a summary of your narrative (that comes later), why your book is important to you, or what you or your friends like about your book.
• In order to see if we are a good publisher for you, peruse our catalog and identify three similar titles we've recently published that would be on the same shelf as your book in a bookstore. If you can do that, it's probably a good fit. If you can't do that or you have to force it, we probably aren't the best place for you, but we wish you the best of luck and might be able to refer you elsewhere!
• State your expertise AND lived experience that make you qualified to write this book.
• Tell us why you want to publish this book
• Send the outline for the structure of the entire book. For each section—Intro, Chapters, Conclusion—write the introductory paragraph for that section. Each section should open by telling the reader the main knowledge and skills that they will take from that chapter, and giving us a little color about what sort of research, science, details, and/or examples that part touches on. This exercise becomes the best frame and the opening text to each chapter. After work has been accepted, this exercise is the first step towards the editorial process. Even if we aren't right for your work, this is a good step to get your head around your book.
Specify if you would like pitch feedback.
Do not send your manuscript or any other information. The biggest problem with wading through pitches is that they are always too long. You are a writer. Demonstrate that to us with your gift for summary and brevity in your pitch.
Be honest and substantial! We have heard every hollow and meaningless line in a book pitch. We want you to think about your proposal and deliver something that is uniquely your own after looking at everything that is out there. (Spoiler alert: There are over twenty million books out there.)
It is important to follow our submission guidelines to the letter and to do a comprehensive title analysis before submitting. Following our guidelines tells us that you can work with a team and that you've investigated and developed your book properly, just like we have to when pitching it to our distributors and reviewers. If you don't believe there are other books on the shelf similar to yours, look harder. If there truly are not, then we cannot sell your book.
If you are Black, Indigenous, a person of color, transgender, neurodiverse, or disabled, you are particularly encouraged to submit, as is anyone whose experiences are not well represented in the publishing world. We can't sell your book based on your identity, but we want to create equity in the publishing sphere and prioritizing marginalized voices is a way to do exactly that.
Here are two sample (successful) pitches:
Yo, Miss is a graphic novel about a year at a second chance high school in New York City. It is similar to On The Books, Mark Twain Was Right, and Invincible Summer and is about Ms. Wilde's classroom at John V. Lindsay Wildcat Academy. Check out yomiss.com.
Street Journalist can be read in an hour and equips you to go out and cover breaking news or a feature on multiple platforms. I have worked in community reporting for over 30 years everywhere from community radio to a stringer for theNew York Times. Similar titles include Action!, Make Your Place and DIY Screenprinting.
More advice for developing your book idea:
There are over 12,000 new books published every day, so it's vital to know what's out there and be clear about what the heart of your book is. This is called title development. Good title development questions to ask yourself include:
- What is the thesis of your book that no other books are discussing and no one is thinking about in the same way?
- How do readers benefit by reading this book?
- Why would someone buy this book?
- How many books have you purchased in the past year that are similar to the way that you have envisioned this one?
- How is your book distinct from similar books that are in print?
- Have you visited your local bookstores and surveyed their selection?
- Have you researched similar books on Amazon?
If we are not able to publish your work, it's not a rejection of you or the quality of the work. It is likely that it just falls outside of our editorial guidelines and we know from experience that we are not the right place to be able to get your work to an audience. Best of luck to you and keep on doing what matters to you!
Thanks for wanting to work with us!↑
How can I help?
BFF Program: Like a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) share that gives farmers a guarantee before their crops are harvested, our BFF's help us by paying upfront for their zines and books! Publishing our titles means we pay the printing costs before any books are sold, so every BFF gives us peace of mind. Plus, it's awesome for people to get mailed something new every month of the subscription! Check out the BFF program here.
Sliding Scale Pricing: The standby of DIY venues, museums, and house shows—pay-what-you-can prices allow people to give within their means. We don't know of any other publisher that does this, but Microcosm offers sliding scale prices for titles we produce! We try to put stuff out for cheap, so extra dollars go a long way to keep our pricing sustainable.
Back Our Projects: We run frequent Kickstarter projects to help fund and get the word out about our books. Backing and sharing these helps us a lot. Or you can always pre-order the same books directly from us on our website, which is great, too.
Getting the Word Out: Unlike major book publishers, we don't have a large budget for promotions and we rarely pay for ads. In keeping our books cheap, we almost forgo the luxury of having a promotions department entirely! The cheapest way to help us out is telling folks about Microcosm and distributing catalogs (just drop us a line letting us know you want to).
You can also stay up to date on what we're doing by subscribing to our weekly email newsletter.
We don't write grants or push tax-free contributions, so we instead keep things at the grassroots level. We sincerely appreciate any help you all can throw down in any way! To find out more about how our money is spent, check out our yearly financial reports.↑
How do I volunteer or intern with Microcosm?
We are excited that you want to get involved! There's plenty of work to do!
However, at this time, we have currently suspended our internship program. We felt that we could not adequately provide our high standard of publishing education simultaneously during our ascending growth. If you are interested in volunteering, drop us a line through our contact form and let us know what you have in mind.
If you are interested in employment, we post jobs as they become available on our blog and social media listings.↑
I want to know about Microcosm
How do I obtain licensing or translation rights to one of your titles?
We have rights available in most countries and languages for most of our titles. We employ rights and subrights agents and can share PDF or paper book samples to interested publishers or agents. If you are interested in licensing rights for some of our title(s), please get in touch via our contact form.↑
How do I stock your titles in my store?
Microcosm is a distributor as well as a publisher, and we offer a broad catalog of books and zines from other publishers. Everything in our catalog is available at wholesale pricing. As of January 1, 2019 we proudly self-distribute our books!
Our minimum wholesale order is $100. To find wholesale prices for items, go to any product page and click on the "wholesale" button on the right, underneath "Add to Cart" and "Add to Wishlist". If you sign up for a My Microcosm account, it will keep track of your purchase history and invoices.
If you order something that we're out of, we will credit your account—and when you order again, the credit will be automatically applied.
After two pre-paid orders, we can offer Net 30 terms (in which you pay 30 days after placing the order). Please specify "Net 30, 3rd order" in your order notes.
Items are generally sold as non-returnable unless they are damaged or arrangements have been made ahead of time. Returns are made for Microcosm credit only.
If you're in Europe, we are distributed by Turnaround. In Canada, we are distributed by UTP and sold by Manda Group. We are sold by New South in Australia and New Zealand, and Global Publisher Services in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South America.
If you are a bookstore in the U.S., this is the discount schedule for our published titles:
1 - 9 units (mixed), 40% discount, customer pays shipping
10+ units (mixed), 45% discount, free media mail shipping
15+ units (mixed), 46% discount, free media mail shipping
50+ units (mixed), 50% discount, free media mail shipping
100+ units (mixed), 52% discount, free media mail shipping
Distributed titles are sold at 40% and customers pay shipping.
If you are a gift shop in the U.S. or a specialty business such as a grocery store, day spa/salon, record store, nursery, dispensary, etc., the discount for our published titles is:
1 - 29 units (mixed), 40%, customer pays shipping
30+ units (mixed), 50%, free media mail shipping
Most of our distributed catalog is available at 40% discount (and we cannot ship those free). All gift sales are non-returnable.
If you order 24 or more of our titles, you can request one of our free display racks (pictured to the right) to put on your counter. Just include it in your order notes. You can also purchase a pre-pack selection of a certain kind of titles, like the Urban Homesteader display pack, Henry & Glenn's Endless Love pack, Bike Shop pack, Record Store pack, or the Cookbook pack. If you're touring with a band and want to add books and zines to your merch table, we also have a pack for you.
Why the focus on zines?
To borrow the words of Chris Landry, "Zines are the best expression of the d.i.y. ethics of the punk rock subculture. While bands can be co-opted into the mainstream and the music scene continues to be male-dominated and increasingly a-political, zines have been keeping it true. Zines take the profit and fame motive out of artistic expression and focus on communication, expression and community for their own sake. Zines are the one truly democratic art form. Zine writers are the most important writers in the world."
To borrow the words of Aaron Cometbus, "You can put out a fanzine and you can reach all kinds of fuckin' people for really cheap and you can do a novel and there's no way that you can get to as many people in the same way. Fanzines are, in a way, the perfect form. You can get your fanzine, if you hustle, to bookstores, record stores, maybe even magazine stands. I've had it on sale at toy stores. You can sell it at shows. It's not at all limited to shows and to punk culture. You can sell a book to a record store but it doesn't cross formats in the same way. So in many ways I think that the fanzine is the ultimate and better than a regular magazine too. It really can appeal to all kinds of people."
I am from the press or want to help promote Microcosm. Where can I find press about Microcosm, press releases, photos, or hi-res book covers?
What happens to my money at Microcosm?
As an independent company, Microcosm doesn't have to please owners or shareholders. Our owners don't keep any profits besides wages. We have no financial backers, parent company, investors, or shadow partners. All of our money is raised the old fashioned way—by people who support our books!
Every dollar goes back into the organization and new publishing projects. We choose not to be a 501(c)3 because such an organization requires outside management. Publishing is not a profitable industry so we've needed to be clever to support our staff and operate sustainably. Our staff start at a higher pay rate than the average starting wage in New York City publishing and all financial surplus is distributed into staff wages based on cost of living and merit.
This project was built on the hard work of everyone who orders from us, volunteered here, or stuck around for gainful employment. We wouldn't be where we are today without you.↑
Will you distribute my book. sideline, or zine?
We enjoy hand-done and unique historical, educational, instructive, food-related, and bicycling-related zines. We like zines with information that you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere and to learn about things we didn't know we were interested in. Very few of our zines could be considered traditional "magazines." If you are unsure, take a look around our catalog and see if your work would fit in! We sell items through retail orders, at conferences, on tour, and wholesale to stores and distributors.
We do not always respond to submissions that fall outside of our guidelines. Sorry about that! There's no lack of love, just lack of time. Sample zines sent to us for distro that don't fit our focus will be forwarded to be reviewed in Xerography Debt. If you want to submit your zine for review in Xerography Debt, send to: Davida Gypsy Breier / PO Box 347 / Glen Arm, MD 21057
If we are unable to pick up your book, sideline, or zine, it's not a rejection of you the author or even the quality of the work. We are simply not always the best way to reach the right audience for your work. Fortunately, there are more options out there all the time.
If you are interested in Microcosm editing, designing, printing, and distributing your zine, you want to submit to us for publication. All of the above list of topics still apply and if a subject does not have a reachable audience of at least 5,000 people or if the subject matter does not require 100 pages, it almost always works better as a zine. Then we can use that feedback to develop the content with you into a book over a few years.
To pitch a zine to Microcosm, use the "Don't see your question above? Send us a note" at the top of this page, choose "I'd like to submit a manuscript" and tell us, in five seconds, what the zine is about and what benefit(s) it offers a reader.
Why do you offer sliding scale pricing?
Part of Microcosm's mission statement is to empower people through the information and resources we provide. One obvious way that people are disenfranchised is by a lack of money. Some people exist on a small budget to focus on activities that they deem vital—like radical activism. Others are caught up in institutional poverty and have no choice in the matter. As a way of catering to these circumstances, we've always offered our titles at the lowest prices possible. And over the last fifteen years we've had many of our own financial hardships. Many people have suggested that since our prices are so low, raising our prices would be an obvious way to solve our problem. So we've come to a compromise—the sliding scale pricing structure. You determine what you can afford to pay for the items that we publish. As a result, we are able to pay royalties to our authors, offer lower prices to those who cannot afford as much as they'd like, and continue to serve our mission statement of making new materials available at the lowest prices possible.↑
Your website isn't working. I think there are bugs!
Our website is tested and coded for Mozilla Firefox, which we recommend for web browsing. It's faster, less buggy, safer, and more frequently updated than Internet Explorer. Our site should also work well on Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Opera.
If you find a bug or data problem on our website, please report it (you can just send us a note) so we can figure out what's going on and fix it.
If you haven't received an email from us that you expect, such as an account activation, ebook download links, or shipping confirmation, please check your spam folder before reaching out to us!↑
Do you work with libraries or educators? What about corporate or government sales?
We do! Many libraries and educators order from us already.
Librarians, you can order our published titles via your usual channels. You can also get our published and distributed titles directly from us—contact us about setting up net-30 terms or a standing order. We offer a 40% discount to library customers with a $100 minimum order.
We're happy to sell bulk copies of our books to your company or agency (for instance, bicycle books for a wellness program, or a local or topical interest book an as employee gift or incentive). We can also do custom editions of some of our books. Contact our sales department to learn more.↑