Written by Emily Harstone September 5th, 2019

Microcosm: Accepting Nonfiction Submissions

Microcosm is a Portland-based publisher that specializes in nonfiction DIY (Do-It-Yourself) goods that focus on the reader and teach self-empowerment. They are on Powell’s 24 of Our Favorite Small Presses list. .

The authors they publish have to have expertise and lived experience in the subject area they write about.

They are looking for work with strong visuals and leftist leanings, so if that is not for you, read no further (we review a wide variety of publishers, not every publisher is suited for every person).

They publish work in the following areas according to their website:

  • Magick How to (Witchcraft, Paganism, Herbalism, and the like)
  • The Good Life (DIY, how-to, self-care, hands-on skills—anything from how to make or do something to parenting)
  • 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)
  • Queer Erotica (“romance” with trans and/or queer representation)
  • 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)

They also publish zines and they say “If a 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 (and you would not be required to list comp titles).”

They accept pitches through their website’s “send a note” feature. The initial pitch should be very short. It should stress the benefit(s) of your books to readers and you would tell them why you want to write this book and how it is unique. Make sure to include a sentence about your expertise and lived experience that relate directly to the work. Focus on the practical and emotional payoff that would come from reading your work. Also compare it to three titles they have recently published.

They stress the importance of following submission guidelines to the letter, so please review all of them on their website before submitting.

This is particularly helpful because they give examples of successful pitch letters and really guide you through the stems of submitting to them.

To learn more and review their submission guidelines, go here.


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