Advocating for Women —She Writes Press, Third-Way Publishing Model

Brooke Warner

Brooke Warner

There is no question that women thrive in community, which is part of what drew me to She Writes in 2009, the year Kamy Wicoff founded this social networking site for women writers. How refreshing—a site where women writers were gathering, sharing, and engaging with one another about writing, publishing, and promotion.

Three years later, in 2012, Kamy and I founded She Writes Press to serve this very community of women, to advocate for women writers by giving them a platform and a voice. Initially we referred to the press as a hybrid. Our process mirrors traditional publishing in many ways—in process, in the fact that we have traditional distribution—and yet because it’s an author-subsidized model, we are decidedly not a traditional press.

It was our authors who came up with the term “partnership publishing” as most reflective of their experience, and later Kamy who described what we’re doing as a “third way”—neither traditional nor self-publishing, and also quite different from a lot of the existing hybrid models in that we are not a vanity or a subsidy publisher because of our rigorous vetting and editorial process.

It’s been exciting and challenging to have a model that doesn’t fit into a mold, exciting because we get opportunities to dialogue about the ways in which publishing is changing, and challenging because so many people want to put a label on what we’re doing, to put us in one box or another. Many have argued that if it’s not traditional publishing, it’s self-publishing, or that any model that’s author-subsidized is “vanity,” but I beg to differ. People love to categorize and limit, but She Writes Press is drawing open-minded authors who are trailblazers and who defy limitations.

Our distribution partnership with Ingram (Ingram Publisher Services as opposed to Ingram wholesale) means that we are officially playing in a bigger league—alongside traditional publishers. This partnership and the attention we’ve gotten from it signifies that publishing at large is starting to accept that there is not an either/or dichotomy in publishing. It’s not traditional publishing or self-publishing. There are many in-between models, and we’re happy to be one that’s fairly unique, and driven by our commitment to women writers.

Being part of a paradigm shift offers opportunities to change the conversation and established ways of thinking about how things are done in this industry. The authors who are drawn to She Writes Press tend to be gutsy, risk-tolerant, and business savvy—enthusiastic to be at the forefront of this shift. Since we launched the press a year and a half ago, I’ve been showered with support and collaboration from our authors. They are stake-holders who have played a large role in shaping the ideas, processes, and even policies of the press. And this is ongoing.

There is a shortage of opportunities for women writers, so we are pleased to be creating a corner of the publishing industry where women opt in. We work with women writers to get their books publish-ready, and we value transparency, quality, and collaboration. I know that She Writes Press will continue to draw to it women who are serious about their work, who are looking for community and collaboration, and who want some hand-holding and support from a team of people committed to making their work the best it can be. I’m pleased to count members of WNBA among our published authors, and proud to be a member of an organization that advocates for women and whose vision and mission so closely aligns with She Writes and She Writes Press.

About the Author: In June 2012, Brooke Warner cofounded She Writes Press, a curated self-publishing company, with Kamy Wicoff, founder of SheWrites.com.

Comments

  1. I am one of the authors, technically an editor, of an anthology published this year by She Writes Press: Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the ’60 & ’70s.

    Brooke Warner is not only articulate and reflective about her emerging “third way” publishing company, but she walks her talk! When our anthology was released in the very midst of SWP’s distribution transition to Ingram, Brooke and her team were in constant touch. I appreciated that level of communication that signifies a true partnership. Of course, we love the book, the cover, and its professional quality.

    See for yourself: http://www.timestheywereachanging.com/

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