This blog was featured on 08/24/2017
The She Revolution
Contributor
Written by
Brooke Warner
August 2017
Outlining
Contributor
Written by
Brooke Warner
August 2017
Outlining

** NOTE: This article was originally published in August 2014. **

In 2009, when Kamy Wicoff founded SheWrites.com, it was clear that she’d hit a nerve. The response to the community was swift and even a little mind-blowing. Within days there were 1,000 members. Within months that number had increased tenfold. Five years later there are over 23,000 members. Recently, a secret Facebook group that must remain unnamed here because it’s secret witnessed a similar response from women writers. Within two weeks of that Facebook community launching there were over 20,000 members, and the founder had to cap the membership due to the overwhelming response.

We know that women writers thrive in community. Deborah Siegel, co-founder of SheWrites.com (along with Kamy), has said, “Writers don’t let writers write alone.” And nowhere is there more evidence that women writers don’t want to write alone than in these online forums that allow women to connect with one another, and, more important, to support one another.

Two years ago, in 2012, Kamy and I founded She Writes Press to support the women of SheWrites.com with an alternative publishing solution. The response to our press has been amazing and gratifying. We’ve had over 700 submissions, and we just signed our 85th project last week at BlogHer (an organization working to support and advance women bloggers). She Writes Press exists to give women writers an alternative to publishing on a traditional house—whether that’s because they’re being shut out of traditional publishing, or because they have a more entrepreneurial mindset when it comes to publishing.

Entering this She Revolution space as well is SheBooks, launched in December 2013 by Peggy Northrop, Laura Fraser, and Rachel Greenfield. She Writes Press and SheBooks are understandably often mistaken for one another. The difference lies in our models: She Writes Press is modeled off of a traditional press, but the author pays up front for services while retaining a higher percentage of their proceeds on the tail end (and all books are print and e-books, distributed through traditional channels); SheBooks is a digital-only platform where they’re paying an advance for approximately 10,000 words and splitting the proceeds with the authors. The SheBooks site says of their aha moment:

Innovative digital publishing companies led by men and publishing mostly male writers were getting lots of investment and attention. (Our “aha!” moment came at a journalism conference in 2012: all guys onstage announcing their new companies to an audience that was nearly all women.) But we knew that women are voracious readers in every format – buying the majority of books and magazines and reading (and writing) the majority of blogs. The problem was that female authors, journalists, editors – and ultimately female readers – were being shut out of the revolution.

And thus the idea for SheBooks was born. Fraser recently said of She Writes Press and SheBooks at a BlogHer panel, “We’re different, but we’re friends.” And this sentiment seems to prevail in the She Revolution space. We are all about one thing: supporting women. I, for one, am elated by this commonality. During my eight years as Executive Editor at Seal Press, another fabulous publisher whose mission is to give women a voice, I was astounded over and over again by the many ways in which women writers supported one another. By how often they were gracious and generous with one another, sharing contacts and leads and insights.

I see this in other communities I’m a part of: WAM! Women, Action, and the Media! is one such group. Though its primary work is “building a robust, effective, inclusive movement for gender justice in media,” its listserv is a veritable networking club made up of mostly women (and a few feminist men). Another is VIDA, who’s been working diligently since 2009 to showcase the disparity in major literary publications and book reviews through their annual “Count.”

Women are supporting women to thrive at retreat centers like Hedgebrook (application season for 2015 is now open!), A Room of Her Own Foundation (AROHO), and countless others. The Op-Ed Project exists to “increase the number of women thought leaders in key commentary forums to a tipping point.”

And these are just a handful of the organizations out there working every day to support and advance women writers.

It might be said that this revolution has been in full force for a while, but I would argue that it’s never been louder or more visible. Acknowledging the value of their communities, and seeing the ways in which they’ve been propelled ahead because of the generosity of other women, women writers everywhere are saying “me too.”

This post is a love letter to y’all. Thanks for what you do. I love being a part of this extended community of women supporting women. Please share what organizations you champion, support, love, or know about that are advancing this collective mission to get more women’s voices published across all publishing platforms.

Let's be friends

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  • Barbara Stark-Nemon

    Great post, Brooke. As always, your clarity, passionate advocacy, command of topic and outstanding writing are an inspiration to us all!

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    Good point, Shary. I think this looks like supporting other women to succeed. Being generous with information. Helping other writers get published. Sharing connections. Making introductions. Genuinely wanting others to succeed. What else?

  • Shary

    We love and honor you, too, Brooke!

    Keep being the brilliant beacon for bats like me flapping in the dark! 

    A challenge:

    I'd like to see us expand upon, perhaps redefine, what "women supporting women" really means and looks like in the coming months. My experience says there is room for deeper support, deeper connection. 

  • We are a balanced eco-system. We are easing around traditional male biased publishing and writing on themes relevant to our lives to be read by women with similar experiences. Our intelligence has always been there but we needed a forum. SheWrites.com is our Gutenberg Press. The possibilities of what we can achieve are endless. I am grateful to live and write at this moment in time.

  • Kate Farrell

    Thanks for a great post, Brooke! Women's National Book Association has the distinction of being the first advocacy organization for women in publishing, founded in 1917, before women had the right to vote. Its first chapter in New York City is still going strong, along with other chapters in major cities, as the organization approaches its 100th year. WNBA is also a charitable org and promotes literacy among at risk populations. Another group, based in Austin Texas, is Story Circle Network that encourages women to write their life stories and supports women's voice through online courses, contests, anthologies, book reviews, and mentorship. I love being part of these two non-profits, both creating communities of women writers who promote reading, books, storytelling, and the power of women's voice. And I'm excited to see the newly motivated engagement in this advocacy work: She Writes Press, She Books, VIDA, WOW! Women on Writing, BlogHer, and many more! Write on, Sistas.

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    Thanks, ladies. I appreciate your comments. Thanks for being such awesome members of this community.

  • Bella Mahaya Carter

    You are SO GOOD at what you do, Brooke!  Bravo. Great post! Thanks for being a wayshower! I love learning from you.