This blog was featured on 08/30/2016
Why She Writes Press, and Why Now

When She Writes first emerged in 2009, I knew it was something special. I’d already been acquiring books at Seal Press for five years at that point, and I’d witnessed firsthand how women writers (both in print and online) thrive in communities and environments that support and honor women’s unique perspectives, stories, and truths, so I was thrilled by the spirit and energy propelling

Having worked in traditional publishing for thirteen years, I’ve been up close and personal with the many changes happening in the industry on an almost daily basis. The explosion of self-publishing and e-publishing in recent years has been a game-changer. It’s provided authors with unprecedented opportunities to grow their platforms, to make good money selling their books, and to claim the title of published author.

I’ve had the privilege of working with traditional and self-published authors alike because of my coaching practice, Warner Coaching Inc., and recently I’ve noticed a pronounced uptick in the number of writers who are interested in bypassing traditional publishing altogether. Many of these authors have been hugely successful, largely because they have approached self-publishing as an entrepreneurial endeavor. They have hired consultants, editors, book designers, and in some cases marketing consultants or publicists. They have kept an eye on their top-notch team, and they have done very well for themselves as a result.

The key to self-publishing is publishing well. Generally speaking, traditionally-published authors have a team behind them to make sure that they don’t make any mistakes along the way, to give guidance, and to ultimately to bring their book into the marketplace. Increasingly, however, traditionally-published authors are getting less and less support. There is less hands-on editorial work happening at traditional presses, and marketing and publicity expectations are falling on authors’ shoulders. As a self-published author, as long as you have the right team in place, you may end up with a very similar kind of publishing experience, except you get to keep 70% of the profits on your net sales rather than the 7.5% that traditional houses pay out in standard royalties (which they only do after your book sales recoup your advance monies).

Kamy and I have come together on She Writes Press to create a unique offering in the rapidly changing marketplace. There are many self-publishing options now, but too many of them leave you out on your own, scrambling to figure out what to do. Too many self-published authors make easily avoidable mistakes. There are other hybrid models out there, too, but none of them offer the same kind of submissions process we’ve conceptualized, or the built-in community and sisterhood that She Writes Press gets from the She Writes community.  

We know that She Writes Press will not appeal to all of our members. Replacing all other publishing channels is not our purpose here. We will continue to support traditionally-published authors, as we always have, and champion all authors in our community, whether they publish with us or elsewhere. But we also know that the barriers to traditional publishing are getting higher every day. Today, an author’s platform is valued more than the quality of her work. As true book lovers, we want She Writes Press to be the kind of press where authors feel that their style, sensibility, and voice is paramount. We want to help authors grow their platforms and increase their visibility on their own terms. And we hope that some traditionally-published authors will want to see what it looks like on the other side, too, following the lead of many other veteran authors who are opting to self-publish for reasons ranging from frustration with the publishing industry to the desire to have more control over their work to wanting to keep more of their profits.

Along with Kamy, I, too, will be publishing my own book on She Writes Press. I’m pleased to announce that I finished What’s Your Book? A Step-by-Step Guide to Get You from Inspiration to Published Author just this week, and I’m so happy that my timing happened to coincide almost precisely with the launching of She Writes Press!

Because I knew and believed that She Writes was the future when I first discovered it, it gives me great pleasure to be involved in the game-changing venture I know She Writes Press will become. I’m grateful to Kamy and Deborah Siegel for having brought She Writes into the world—and I invite all of you to visit the She Writes Press site to explore. Please send any questions to our team at [email protected].


Thank you, and I look forward to getting to know many of you better!

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  • @Christina, you're right. I just meant picture books. We are considering and publishing middle grade and YA. Thanks for asking!

  • Christina Mercer

    I read the blog post on Wow! Women on Writing, and am in the process of researching self-pub options. You mention no children's books, but I am assuming you mean picture books and not Middle Grade or Young Adult...? I have a Young Adult Fantasy (60,000 words) that I'd like to submit for your review. One of my crit buddies is also researching for her Historical Middle Grade, which was agented but her agent didn't have any luck with the big houses.

  • Hi Kathy. Thanks for the question. We are using what I would call "industry" criteria to assess our manuscripts. All of our readers are working editors and agents. We vet based on a project's quality and potential--something we will do with the utmost care as our reputation, and our value to our authors--will rely on our only publishing work we can stand behind. In my opinion the advantage to publishing with SWP over iUniverse is knowing that you are publishing with a team that believes in your project. You know who our staff is. You have us in your corner. iUniverse and the Author Solutions imprints really are mills. They have a great system worked out, but there's not a whole lot of individuated attention. And yes, it's true that they publish anything. The general feedback I've gotten from authors who've published on these imprints has been that they felt very alone in the process, and part of what we offer is community, both as a publisher and in the She Writes community at large. We will feature our author's books on the SWP store, and we will look for opportunities to talk about our authors and promote them at every turn. We are striving to do something unique in the marketplace, and I think it will pay off handsomely for our authors. Thanks again, Kathy.

  • Congratulations.  It seems to me you've hit on a solution to the self-publishing problem.  I like the idea of a vetted self-pub press, and conceived a projectcalled Chicago Public Publishing to do something similar to what you're doing, but we had trouble funding the vetting process.  I hope your solution works, and I support it whole heartedly.  Self-publishing is a great alternative to traditional publishing, especially if you can raise the perception of the literary level.  I published well my first novel, Courting Kathleeen Hannigan, with a private press, and as you know the marketing is always the key.  I love the idea of a press that will support the marketing, but believes that the writing, the voice and the sensibility and style are paramount.  I look forward to publishing with She Writes.

  • Suzanne Williams

    This is a timely innovation for me because I am actively investigating a way to self-publish my novel. However, so far I have ruled out any US publishers because, being in the UK, if a UK customer orders a POD book the cost of shipping that copy to them makes it prohibitively expensive. Any thoughts on costs for UK customers? I can't seem to find this on the website.

    Thanks and Good Luck with the venture.   

  • @Joanne, thanks for this. I truly appreciate it and look forward to seeing your submission!

  • Joanne R. Alloway

    As I wrote to Kathy earlier, this is fabulous! Best of luck in this endeavour. I hope to be submitting soon myself! @joannealloway

  •  @Ren. Thank you! Yes, so important to have writing spaces dedicated to women!

  • @Karma. Thanks for that tremendous compliment! I left Seal already. My last day was April 30. But I continue to be one of their biggest supporters! I'm doing Warner Coaching and She Writes Press full-time! :)

  • Karma

    Seal Press is one of my favorite Bay Area publishers! @Brooke, are you going to stay on there as well, or will you be working at She Writes Press full time?

  • @Lorna. Good to see you here, and thanks so much!

  • Lorna Collins

    Brooke, all the best on your new endeavor. Your mother mentioned something about your new venture the last time i saw her.

  • Thanks again to all of you, and thanks @Claire, for these kind words. We're so honored to be making it happen! We love this community of women writers!

  • Claire McAlpine

    Its so true as you say that women thrive in communities that nurture, support and encourage them, it makes such sense to do this, and wonderful that those with the right skills are able to join together to make it happen, I am sure it will be a success for all involved.  And your book sounds perfect to lead the way. Congratulations both of you for getting it all together.

  • Karoline Barrett

    Great! Can't wait to submit!

  • Sharon D. Dillon

    Keep up the good work.

  • @Michele. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your presence on FB too! I'm excited about this opportunity to continue to offer a platform, albeit in a different format, to women writers---whom I love so dearly! @Judith, thanks for the words of support. Can't wait to get my book out into the world!

  • Christina Miller


  • Judith Newton

    This is inspired!  It offers the judgment and support that seem missing in other self-publishing venues, and its goals are admirable.  What's not to love?  Congrats on finishing your book as well!

  • Cheryl Wright

    Holy Crapolie! Caught me with my pants down. Well, more precisely, with my pen down. Better get cracking/writing.

    Great news though. Congratulation to you and Kamy and the She Writes community.

  • Hey Brooke,

    As a women's studies professor, I have always been a huge fan of Seal Press and am so I'm excited about the skills and expertise that you are bringing to this endeavor (and I am really enjoying your FB posts, BTW), as well as Kamy's vision and leadership. She Writes continues to lead the way in transforming the experience of what it means to be a female writer in the 21st century. Excited to learn more!

  • Carol Clouse

    AWESOME!  So glad to be a part of the SW's comminity and all the limitless ventures! ...Dream big girls!

  • Deborah Batterman

    I have a lot of regard for Seal Press and little doubt of what this new venture promises. 

  • RYCJ Revising


    I truly wish She Writes Press much success, although there was a little scare there for a sec (before reading to the bottom). Wow.,what great news. Congratulations.