Deborah Siegel and I flipped the "on" switch for She Writes on June 29th, 2009, and waited with bated breath, wondering what would happen. We didn't have to wait long. Within a week we had 1000 members. Now, two years later, we are well on our way to 16,000, and our steady growth continues. Some of you have been here since the beginning (and may not have been back for awhile); some of you just joined yesterday. Either way, I think you will be glad to know that while it is imperfect (Ning, the platform She Writes is on, doesn't have a content management system, so it's a challenge to organize what's here), we have finally created ways for you to browse the rich, deep and frankly unparalleled archive of content, tools and services She Writes has built up over the last two years.
For the first time, you will be able to browse content by categories, finding featured posts under big huge headings like "The Craft" and "The Biz", and then differentiated further into more focused subheadings like Marketing and Promotion, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Social Media. You will also be able to easily access the archives for features still running ("Countdown to Publication", "Five Questions", and more) and for features now defunct but still relevant (Lea Beresford's very fine "Ask an Editor" column, and tech-whiz Mia Eaton's "The Techie," to name a few). It is more browsing than laser-focused "searching", but either way we think you will be glad to have a quicker, easier way of finding things here that you remembered and liked, as well as a new way to discover things you never knew about before.
In the next day or so, you will find it easy-peasy to browse the webinars we have commissioned from the best in the business, as well as the stellar team of editors, agents, social media experts, and other consultants, all vetted by me personally, in most cases, or by someone I know, and all people you can completely and utterly trust.
So what does it all mean? For me, finally being able to browse the content we've amassed here, so carefully and lovingly curated and so professionally and beautifully done by every single woman (and man) who has contributed her words to this community, fills me with awe. True, the dream always was to create a place where writers could both share and discover the critical information they needed in this rapidly changing publishing landscape, and forge relationships that would help them creatively and emotionally with the lonely work that is writing. But dreams are one thing, and reality is something else. Sitting back and looking at She Writes 2.0 laid out on my computer screen is like holding a book in your hand when it was once only an idea in your head. But in this case the authors were in the hundreds, and the book is a living thing, still being added to and enriched as I write.
There are loads of kinks to be worked out (Julia Barry, our downright heroic Social Community Manger and redesign pioneer, has related the specifics in her post for today), some of them pretty big ones (hello, group functions! where did you go?!), but they will be sorted, and we will emerge from this a more useful and powerful tool for all of you than we were before. I hope you will make some time for yourself to explore, and tell us, and everyone you know, what goodies you find. And please, don't forget that She Writes is as much yours as it is mine, Debbie's, or any of the other contributors who have made it great. You should all sit back and look at it with great pride, and I hope you do.