Please read our submissions guidelines below before submitting. We are only accepting book submissions (do not send individual stories or poems).
We are a small press run mainly by Nina Alvarez with the help of some other team members from time to time. We have published 10 books and will have published 16 by the end of 2019. Our books have been nominated for and won awards, received many 5-star reviews on amazon, and we routinely receive praise on the look of our book covers and the quality of our books.
We publish "soulful books" which is admittedly a very subjective term. And you will see, if you read all our books, that soulful can mean anything from the spiritual pilgrimage of a young postulant in the 1960s (Saving Faith) to the heady depths of the Gothic literary tradition (Letters to My Lover From Behind Asylum Walls, Early American Gothic Stories & Poems), to the disenfranchised souls of broken-down Western New York towns (Blissful and Other Stories), to the existential dilemnas and traumas of motherhood and childhood (There Is Only Lampyridae, The Umbilical Universe) to the documented past-life regressions of a cultural anthropolist (Journeys with Fortune, coming 2019), and even to the sultry, surprising, and sort of slimy underworld of the Florida Keys, in which characters aren't so much soulful as soul-diseased (Island Chains). Cosmographia is interested in work that is overtly spiritual, yes, but also in work that is artfully exploring the way we search, search, search for something deeper, wider, truer.
What is a Cosmographia?
A Cosmographia is a map. A very special kind of map. Many philosophers, including Ptolemy, Münster, and Silvestris, produced works titled "Cosmographia." Basically a Cosmographia is a Latin philosophical allegory, dealing with the creation of the universe. But when deciding on a name for my press, I was especially compelled by the Cosmographia of the fifteenth-century German cartographer Sebastian Münster. His Cosmographia of 1544 was the earliest German-language description of the world.
"Münster's Cosmographia was an immensely influential book that attempted to describe the entire world across all of human history and analyze its constituent elements of geography, history, ethnography, zoology, and botany." (From the summary of The Cosmographia of Sebastian Münster: Describing the World in the Reformation.)
To attempt to describe the world on multiple simultaneous planes. To attempt to map not just a flat geography, but a living geography, a vertical geography. That is what Cosmographia means to me.
As was written in 585 Magazine about our little press, "Today’s scholars may not be producing cumbersome tomes describing the whole of the universe, but many, like Rochester’s Nina Alvarez, bring this same global and multidisciplinary sensibility to publishing."
About Hybrid Publishing
The most important thing to know about us, if you are considering submitting, is that we are now a fully hybrid publisher. That means if we accept a manuscript for publication, we ask the author for financial support in the production of the book. This costs $3,000 - $5,000 depending on the length of the book and amount of preparation needed.
We know this is prohibitive for some authors, and we wish there was another way around. But unless an author can guarantee 1,000+ book sales, we just can no longer justify the many months of intensive work it takes to produce a quality book for public consumption.
If you have an author platform in the tens of thousands of faithful followers and can guarantee over 1,000 sales, we may be willing to waive the author fees. Just note that in your submission.
Please note that we have published many books without financial assistance from the author, but it is just not a model we can sustain. If we continue to do so, we will not be able to stay open. It's just that simple.
Hybrid publishing isn't for everyone, but it's good to know what it is:
- We never publish a book unless it is resonant with our aesthetic and writing standards.
- We are very selective about what we publish. Hybrid doe not mean "vanity" and it does not mean "pay to play."
- We publish about 6 books a year, and we currently have 6 more titles set to publish through the end of 2019.
- Our authors receive a lot of individual attention and have a lot of say in the design elements of their books.
- Our authors receive 50% of net sales.
- If you are part of a writer/illustrator team, you will both receive a contract and split your royalties 50/50 unless you two have worked out a separate agreement.
- Authors can pay their publishing fees in monthly installments that work for their budgets.
- Our author's books are available for sale through Amazon and Ingram Spark.
- We do create some basic marketing materials for authors, and we give guidance and support when needed, but we encourage our authors to be their own best form of promotion. This includes setting up readings, soliciting book reviews, and submitting to book prizes. For those who need extra help and can afford it, we do offer professional marketing services at reduced rates for our authors.
Okay, if you are still interested in submitting, here are the submission guidelines:
- We accept really any and all formats (long fiction, short fiction collections, poetry collections, chapbooks, hybrid collections in which the author is also artist, hybrid collections in which the author is using multiple genres, childrens books in which the illustrations are already completed, memoir, and nonfiction.)
- Please include a cover letter (brief introduction of the piece with an author bio).
- Please include a short (no longer than 500 words) synopsis of your book. I know writing a synopsis can be hard (I've taught it and done it for clients a hundred times and it's a challenge every time). But from my end, as a potential publisher, it's absolutely integral that I get the overview of your book before I begin to read. Basically think of it like this: I want to know as quickly as possible if this is a book I want to read, so it's your job to accurate explain what's in store for me, while making it compelling. Also it's a good exercise for authors. If you can write a good synopsis, that means that you understand your book. That also means you can talk about your book succinctly and elegantly—that's key for effective marketing down the road.
- Manuscripts should be in standard format for submission to editors. If you aren't familiar, follow these guidelines: Format Your Novel For Submission
- Submit work in Word or PDF formats only
- Poetry should of course be formatted as you intend it in terms of body text. But still please follow font, margin, page numbering guidelines as appropriate.
- If you have art to submit with your work, please insert the art in the manuscript where you want it to be placed (if it goes with your poem on page 36, place it on page 35 or 37 of your Word doc).
- If you are submitting a childrens book, all art should be completed and laid out with the text.
- Please give me a couple weeks to respond. Many publishers take months, but I will try to get back to you about your manuscript within a month.
- If I accept your manuscript, I will email you back, discuss some potential publishing dates and get to know more details about you and the scope of the project ahead. Then I will create an estimate for cost. If you agree to the estimate, I will send a contract for you to review.
About Publisher Nina Alvarez
I am a writer first and foremost. I understand writers, their needs, insecurities, hopes, and hearts. I have had plays, short stories, poems, hybrid, and nonfiction work published and performed. I have a master's degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and Literary Theory. My teaching background began in 2003 with college-level Composition and Literature, and then later moved on to adult-level business of writing classes (writing book proposals, submitting to agents, etc.) and creative writing for teens. I have won awards and fellowships for my teaching and writing.
In March 2009 I was asked to professionally revise a romance suspense novel by a woman looking for editorial help. I took it on and found I had a talent for decisively revising writing while gently explaining to writers what I am doing and why. So I created Dream Your Book, an author services company, and began my career as an entrepreneur in the field I love. For the past (nearly) 10 years I have edited dozens and dozens of manuscripts on the developmental, line, and copyediting levels, preparing them for submission to agents, editors, or for self-publishing. This naturally grew to include further services such as query letter writing, agent and publisher submissions, author platform development, and finally actual self-publishing services such as book layout, cover design, book marketing, and maybe most important, knowledgably and patiently guiding writers through the doorway into authorship.
My spiritual side, which comes across in Cosmographia's mission, came to the fore when I started offering author coaching that included spiritual self-assessment techniques, as well as energy healing and intuitive guidance. I even opened a little center, Aurora, a place to combine writing coaching and mind-body-spirit wellness. However, I found that blocked writers have a longer and more complex road to travel than I could fix in classes and sessions, so I re-focused on the tangible and grounded work of just editing and making books.
While all this was going on, in 2013, I decided I also wanted to have a little publishing company on the side. I would use many of the same skills I learned growing Dream Your Book, but partner with my authors, sharing in the book sales, and it would be an extension of my own voice; the way a gallery director might feel an exhibit they curated is an extension of their own sensibilities.
I work closely with each author, answering questions about the process, the big picture, nitty-gritty, and always helping to orient them to the new and changing landscape. I like the idea that we all inhabit archetypes from time to time, and for me the archetype of the "guide" feels right to me. So do "artist" and "mystic."
My INFP side is the side that is first and foremost a writer, an emath, an highly sensitive person, and an intuitive. I meld an intuitive INFP cognitive function with a Quick Start "modifier" conative work style (with a strong Fact Finder and Implementer followup).
Quick Start/Fact Finder
This means my best way of sharing information is to explain, work within priorities, clarify specifics, and focus on getting and giving the essential facts. My strong Quick Start conation means I like to innovate and modify systems in a trial-and-error manner. I'm an idea person. But because I have a strong Fact Finder and Implementer, I am also reliable and industrious. I like to dream, and I also like results. The implementer conation is the engineer's daughter in me. It comes out when I'm building a book, a website, or thinking through the logistics of, say, a book launch. Functionality, knowing my tools, thinking through the manipulation of objects in space . . . these are all parts that come together to make me good at this particular job of making books in the contemporary publishing landscape.
The Element of Trust
I'm going in-depth explaining my work style so those who are considering submitting can understand how I work. I am kind and considerate. But I am alert and flexible and merciless too, and I have to be, in order to steer with changing winds. There is a certain element of flow to what I do, and if I allow it to guide my author and myself, we see much better results than we would otherwise. But it requires faith. The author must trust me, and to a degree I have to trust the universe, even when I don't want to.
So I create timelines and action steps, and keep everyone on task and then adjust course as necessary. Suddenly an early reviewer doesn't get their back cover blurb to us until the week before publication, or the author realizes three weeks before publishing that they need to have an expert fact-check the police work in their book, or the printer decides to send galleys five days later than they were supposed to (all of these things have happened).
And good things can cause a little chaos too. Suddenly a radio station wants to interview you and we have to get talking points and promotional materials together in a week, or we come across the perfect book cover art and have to track down the artist and that puts cover design behind schedule, or on your third round of galley reviews you realize that there is someone you meant to thank in your acknowledgments but forgot, or on the 13th round of revising your book description we realize that there is perfect way of putting just exactly WHAT your book is about that totally changes the way we market your book. There is, you see, a whole journey ahead, and so much we will learn as we go. And so we both have to be both alert and flexible, while being diligent and reliable. And this goes on for a whole season, sometimes half a year. It's no joke.
Publishing is Problem Solving
Really undertaking any big project can be seen as solving a series of problems. To this end, I am always looking at the big picture and the flow of a system. So leading the publishing process allows me to be a great project manager for myself, my author, and my team. This ability to plan—and then modify plans as necessary—combined with intuitive abilities (a sixth sense about timing, work flow, design and wording choices, and being tuned in to the author's emotional nuance) along with a naturally flexible nature, has turned out to be a very good way to deal with the complexities, strains, stressors, and incumbent overwhelm many authors feel when bringing a book to the market, to the world, to history. But it requires significant vigilance, exhaustive work, emotional labor, and mental real estate. And that, in part, is why I need to honor my work and my effort and my time and compensate myself and my team adequately.
You will probably know by now if my press and my approach are resonant with you. If so, please go ahead and submit your manuscript. I look forward to reading it, and I appreciate your interest. And if Cosmographia is not for you, I wish you luck and joy on your publishing quest.
Local writer Meagan Downing is collecting stories for a book on supernatural experiences, stories, legends, and folklore of the Rochester area. This book will be published by Rochester publisher Cosmographia Books and edited by Nina Alvarez.
The purpose of this book is to take a deeper, more locally sourced approach to the haunted history of our area. We are interested in YOUR stories.
If you have something that happened to you, please use this form to send us a brief description of the event. You can submit your story by Word doc, or you can record and submit a sound file (if you're more of a talker than a writer)
If interested, Meagan will follow up for more information and a possible interview. You are welcome to remain anonymous if you choose.
Follow the progress of the book - and get in touch on twitter at @SuperNaturalWNY
ABOUT MEAGS DOWNING
Meags Downing is a local writer who is collecting local stories of the supernatural from the Rochester, NY and beyond for an upcoming book. Meagan moved from the Catskills to Rochester, the land of her forefathers, for an undergraduate degree in Literature then to work towards a Masters in writing at Brockport. She plans on using her degrees to tell all the stories you’ve been warned about.