People’s Guide to Publishing


Building a Successful, Sustainable, Meaningful Book Business From the Ground Up

by Joe Biel

Learn what it takes to publish books successfully

So, you want to publish books.

Drawing on 24 years of experience operating an independent publishing company, Joe Biel has written the most accessible and comprehensive guide to running a successful publishing business. You’ll learn all the skills of the trade, including how to:

  • Develop your individual books to connect with readers on a practical and emotional level
  • Choose between offset printed, digitally printed, and eBook formats and work effectively with printers
  • Build an authentic niche so you can reach your audience and sell books directly
  • Understand if and when you’re ready to work with a distributor or large online retailer
  • Create a budget and predict the cost and income of each book so your company stays in the black
  • Decide what work you need to do yourself and what can be done by others
  • Plan for sustainable growth

Featuring interviews with other upstart independent publishers and funny anecdotes from publishing’s long history as well as detailed charts and visuals, this book is intended both beginners looking for a realistic overview of the publishing or self-publishing process and for experienced publishers seeking a deeper understanding of accounting principles, ways to bring their books to new audiences, and how to advance their mission in a changing industry. All readers will come away with the confidence to move forward wisely and a strong sense of why publishing matters today more than ever.

Paperback | 416 pages | Microcosm Publishing | 2018

Joe Biel is a self-made autistic publisher and filmmaker who draws origins, inspiration, and methods from punk rock. Biel is the founder and CEO of Microcosm Publishing, Publishers Weekly‘s #1 fastest growing publisher of 2022. Biel has been featured in Time Magazine, NPR, Publishers Weekly, Art of Autism, Reading Glasses, PBS, Bulletproof Radio, Spectator (Japan), G33K (Korea), and Maximum Rocknroll.

A small, innovative publishing house, Microcosm Publishing specializes in work designed to make the reader feel good about being alive, take an active role in bettering their life, and impact the world around them. Microcosm has developed a reputation for teaching self-empowerment, showing hidden histories, and fostering creativity through challenging conventional publishing wisdom with books and zines about DIY skills, food, politics, and art. Printed in the USA.

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