Societal change often feels like it arrives less in waves and more like the drip from a leaky old tap.
Day to day not much feels different and it is only when you zoom out that the progress becomes apparent. There’s no doubt that in all walks of life over the past century or so great strides have been taken to rectify the mistakes of the past and the language of this progress is now thankfully making its way into everyday parlance.
It is therefore likely that you have seen the importance of ‘representation’ in recent times with all industries striving to give those who are underrepresented or who have been sidelined in the past a more prominent platform to speak their truth and be heard.
A company looking to give such a platform in the literary world, is She Writes Press. The clue is in the name and they are an independent publisher run by women, for women authors. In this review, we’ll take a closer look at their backstory, what they offer writers and whether or not they are worth considering for any female authors considering utilising their services.
Who is She Writes Press and What do They Do?
She Writes Press claims to be unique in the world of publishing because they are neither traditional publishing, nor are they self-publishing. As an independent publisher, they bill themselves as a “third way” for authors, and they proudly occupy a much-needed alternative in a rapidly changing publishing landscape. This model is often referred to as hybrid publishing and is not unique to them although they may well be the only female only publisher on market.
They go on to claim that, unlike self-publishing platforms that publish whatever comes through regardless of quality, She Writes Press only publishes manuscripts that they deem to be publish-ready, based purely on the merit of the writing and not on author platform or other subjective measures.
She Writes Press was the first hybrid imprint to win 2019 Independent Publisher of the Year by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group. They are a mission-driven, female-run company with a strong vision, passion, and work ethic.
The upsides to using such a hybrid model are numerous. From keeping creative control and getting full distribution to opening up review channels and earning a higher percentage of royalties, this middle ground is becoming an increasingly popular option for many writers.
What Types of Books do they Publish?
Their focus lies in the fact their works are all written by women as opposed to being focused on a specific genre. A selection of their titles can be seen below to provide more insight into the types of work published.
A Fierce Belief in Miracles – Anne Reeder Heck
A Ritchie Boy – Linda Kass
Chasing North Star – Heidi McCrary
Estelle – Linda Stewart Henley
Have you seen these Children? – Veronica Slaughter
How to Make a Life – Florence Reiss Kraut
Jenna Takes The Fall – A R Taylor
Life’s Hourglass – Janice Mock
Prospects of a Woman – Wendy Voorsanger
Purple Lotus – Veena Rao
As you can see there’s everything from memoir to romance so provided the author is female there’s likely to be a home for the book at She Writes Press.
Can Authors Submit to She Writes Press?
Yes, in fact, the business model of hybrid publishing relies on it. They only have one package available for writers which is the She Writes Press Publishing Package which costs $9500 and includes the following:
• High-end custom cover design
• Custom interior design for up to 100,000 words
• E-book file conversion and upload to 127 e-retailers, including Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and Kobo
• Traditional distribution to the trade through their distribution partner, Publishers Group West
• Proofreading of the final manuscript
• Copyright filing and obtaining of the Library of Congress control number
• Warehousing of short-run printed books (included for free through the first year)
• Fulfillment of all orders on short-run printed books (author or customer pays shipping)
• Support and management of title metadata
• Ongoing project management for the lifespan of your book
• High-level support for getting the book into bookstores, libraries, and other trade outlets
Their rosters are full however through spring 2024 and they are currently only accepting submissions for fall 2024 in the following genres:
• Chick Lit
• Contemporary Fiction
• Literary Fiction
• Women’s Fiction
They do also charge a $35 submission fee in order to assess whether or not the work is ready for publication. Once a submission has been made they ask to allow six to eight weeks for a response as to whether or not they would like to proceed with the process and enter into a full discussion with the author.
What are some alternatives to She Writes Press?
Generally, an author would have a few alternatives to working with She Writes Press. The first of these would be to consider using a different hybrid publishing service. This may be due to the fact the wait time until 2024 is too long, if they are not female or if the fees involved are too large.
Next, a writer could consider a submission to a conventional publisher. The rewards that come with having such a submission accepted are well established, but there are likely to be similar time constraints and fewer benefits to self publishing, which would be the final option.
To self publish would maintain all of the positives of the hybrid publishing model outlined above, but there is no fee involved to work with anyone. Of course, there is then more pressure on the writer to handle all aspects of the publishing process but given the plethora of resources available more and more writers are choosing this pathway as the best way forward for them and their books.
She Writes Press Review – Final Thoughts
In conclusion, it’s admirable that She Writes Press has set up a hybrid publishing operation specifically to rectify the gender imbalance that exists within the literary world. The quality of the cover art and the professionalism of their website with full in depth explainers speaks to the professionalism and expertise that a writer would encounter if working with them.
However, there are a few things that don’t land so well. Firstly, the price of over 9000 dollars is high and only authors with large amounts of disposable income will likely be able to afford this. Plus the charging fee just to make a submission feels extortionate.
The wait time to have a book potentially published is very long as well and any writer who has put their time and effort into finishing a book is likely not going to be content to sit around and wait indefinitely for the next steps to be taken.
Both of these issues can be rectified with self publishing which may prove to be the best path forward for someone considering their options. Ultimately if a female writer of financial means with time on their hands is considering the next steps, She Writes Press would be a great option. Otherwise, there are likely to be more beneficial pathways forwards.