She Writes Press is "a third way to publish your book, a middle ground between self-publishing platforms and traditional publishing," said Brooke Warner, publisher of the company that emerged from the social media network She Writes in 2011.
Founded in 2009 by Kamy Wicoff, an author, journalist and gender research advocate, the She Writes site welcomes all individuals who identify as writers, and features blog posts and articles about navigating social media, what to do with a finished manuscript, ways to improve one's writing and many other topics. It also serves as a hub for writers to connect, communicate and collaborate with one another. Although the focus is of course on women writers, men would not be turned away from the community.
Warner spent eight years as an executive editor at Seal Press, and met Wicoff during her time there. After teaching a class for She Writes, Warner approached about Wicoff starting a press. She Writes Press was launched on the third anniversary of She Writes.
"The main genesis to She Writes Press is that barriers to traditional publishing are so high," Warner explained. "So many people are rejected because they don't have a platform. Our stance is, if it's good writing, it should be published."
She Writes Press is set apart by its track system and vetting process: after a writer submits her manuscript, it is reviewed by agents and editors, and then the author is assigned to one of three publishing tracks. Track one is for authors who are deemed ready to publish--this experience closely resembles a traditional publishing experience--while tracks two and three are for those who need more time and work. Available to authors on tracks two and three are developmental editors, who work with the authors in a coaching and consulting capacity. Hypothetically, Warner said, a writer can submit her manuscript, be placed on track three, and, if she so desires, work with She Writes Press all the way to track one, and see her book published.
"It serves the She Writes community, but you don't have to be a She Writes member to publish with us," Warner said. "And it's all vetted. We have agents and editors who read our submissions. It helps add credibility for our authors and ourselves."
She Writes Press has signed more than 40 books, the majority of them memoir and fiction. Two upcoming novels that She Writes Press is particularly excited about are Wishful Thinking by press co-founder Kamy Wicoff and Geometry of Love by Jessica Levine. No category is ruled out, except for children's books: She Writes Press has published cookbooks, academic texts and poetry.
Beginning in September, Ingram Publisher Services will handle sales and distribution for She Writes Press in the U.S. and Canada. The deal will alter the press's flexibility in terms of its publishing schedule (new titles will now be published either in the spring or fall), but it will benefit from Ingram's extensive infrastructure and distribution network.
She Writes Press is now also encouraging its authors to partake in long-lead campaigns prior to the release of their books. Author events, generally, are spearheaded by the authors themselves; some She Writes Press authors have organized group readings and partnerships to maximize their efforts to get each other into bookstores.
"They've been really supportive and excited," said Warner of the She Writes community's response to She Writes Press. "A lot of people were wondering why we didn't come up with this sooner. You get some legitimacy and credibility from having your work vetted, and you get a team working with you to create a beautiful book. As long as you have a good manuscript, you can publish." --Alex Mutter