This spring, Microcosm is publishing six books that span the range of our interests. Each one fulfills our mission of putting your power in your hands.
From fermentation to empowering queer youth, sewing to reporting on racial justice, bicycling to punk rock mysteries—these six colorful little books pack a serious punch. Back this project and help us bring these—and many future books—to life!
(Pro tip: Check out the six-book reward deal!)
About the books
We're really excited about all of these books. Here's a little bit about each one.
Basic Fermentation: A DIY Guide to Cultural Manipulation by Sandor Ellix Katz.
Many years ago, Sandor Katz asked Joe to re-publish his 2001 zine, a neat little fermentation manifesto and cookbook called Wild Fermentation. A bunch of years later it started to get REALLY popular. It turned out that Sandor had put out more books (including another one by the same name) and Michael Pollan had discovered his work and now he is a famous fermentation expert who travels the world giving workshops and talks about the healthy, simple wonders of fermenting food.
That little zine is now becoming an adorable hardcover book with full-color, step-by-step photography, a less confusing name, and the same key information and inspiration.
Damn, this history is timely. The author was a teenage activist in Cincinnati in 2001 when widespread protests broke out in Cincinnati after police shot an unarmed Black teenager named Timothy Thomas. Sound familiar?
Dan was a teenager himself at the time, and what he witnessed spurred him to a life of organizing and activism. He created this comic before the public outcry about racial tension and injustice in the U.S. culminated in Ferguson and beyond. This is the first non-academic book about the Cincinnati riots. The story is told in comics format, voicing the points of view of participants and community leaders and making an under-reported chapter in US history super accessible.
In 1983, Circle Jerks bassist and songwriter Roger Rogerson stole the band’s van and dropped off the face of the earth. Thirteen years later, he came back, demanded that his bandmates reunite so they could become “bigger than the Beatles,” and promptly dropped dead. Where had he been? What happened?
Hunter wanted to find out, so he went and talked to everyone who was involved, and he ended up with a fascinating, colorful, tragic story of an era. He also hit up a bunch of photographers who had been around in the 80s and as a result the book contains a bunch of photos of Rogerson and the band that haven't been published before. (And they really haven't—this is the first edition of this book.)
Indestructible: Growing Up Queer, Cuban, and Punk in Miami by Cristy C. Road
Cristy was a teenager in Florida in the 90s and this is her story of navigating the pressures of her family's conservative culture, her emerging sexuality, the injustices around her, and the sometimes uplifting and other times shitty punk subculture. This is her first book—she's written several others since, and become widely known for her art, particularly her illustrations, some of which are in this book.
Raleigh's clothing repair instructions are simple and friendly. Need to finally learn some basics like sewing on a button or patch, or mending a torn seam? She's got your back. Or if you want to do something a bit more complicated, like finally hemming those pants, or darning your socks, no problem. This used to be a zine and now it's becoming a book! Oh yeah, and it's small, charming, and hand-written with a ton of illustrations.
Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling by Kelli Refer
Kelli's a long time bicycle commuter and advocate in Seattle. When she became a yoga teacher, she started using her new knowledge—both about anatomy and philosophy—to help her body and mind feel better on her bike. Her book has a ton of helpful information, including how to make a quick, less than two-minute pre-bike stretching routine, strategies for avoiding road rage and other common cycling mishaps, and a guide to taking care of yourself and your bicycle.
This book was out independently for a while and gained a strong following...now we're finally making it widely available to the world!
Microcosm is an independent publisher. We're based in Portland. We put out books that are priced affordably and empower you to make your life and the world a better place. And next spring, along with publishing these six books, we're turning 21!
Joe Biel founded Microcosm when he was a teenager in Cleveland with big dreams and a night job delivering pizzas. He needed something to do all day while his housemates were at work, so he decided to launch a publishing and distribution company. His idea was to use words to do what punk rock does with music: build community in hard places, empower the underdogs, and create systems and resources that provide a real alternative to the mainstream.
Nowadays, Microcosm is now based in Portland, Oregon in a bright green house wrested from the hands of condo developers. We get to work with dozens of amazing authors at a time to give voice to their visions. We have published over 400 books and distribute thousands more, employ 11 people to fulfill our mission and put our books into the hands of people who need them, and try very hard to have the most fun every single day.
Why this project?
In the past, we've run Kickstarter projects for individual books successfully (and in one case spectacularly unsuccessfully!). Kickstarter provides an amazing medium to tell a story—and our story is much bigger than just one book.
This spring, our list has new editions from most of our publishing history and also really shows our range of interests. Sometimes people see our books—something about punk music next to a bicycling guide—and are like, huh? We hope this project helps make it all make sense. It's all about finding your power and voice and community.
If you've read this far, you probably are into a mix of all this stuff, too. And maybe you share some of our vision for how the world could be. Join us!
Risks and challenges
Publishing is a challenging business--that's what makes it fun. We've gotten good at it over the years. Part of our success is that we are always trying new and different ideas; of course, our experimentation also always has the possibility to trip us up. Sometimes books are back late from the printer, or get damaged along the way and end up getting to customers late. Sometimes (ok always) there are typos, and sometimes they're embarrassing. Sometimes an idea we thought was brilliant is kind of a flop. Other times the funny book we didn't expect to do well becomes a huge hit and that's it's own scramble. But most of the time, it all works out even better than expected -- and that's what carries us through.
Thank you for trusting us, reading our books, and being part of our story. We'll always do our level best for you and communicate with you about it the whole way through.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)