A hybrid-press founder advocates for women who want to publish their writing.
In this follow-up to 2016’s Green-Light Your Book (2016), Warner (The Magic of Memoir, 2016, etc.), president of She Writes Press and SparkPress, focuses not on the mechanics of writing, but on the personal and cultural influences that drive some female writers to devalue their work, as well as the structural impediments to the creation and promotion of books by women. The first section details the many ways that women’s writing was dismissed by “Gatekeepers of the Status Quo”—generally white men—and the second section turns to solutions, both individual (such as overcoming one’s inner critic and making writing a priority) and systemic (such as choosing nontraditional publishing). This useful motivational book has an encouraging tone, asserting that any woman who wants to write and publish should be able to do so. The book is strongest when it addresses the structural barriers to female writers in traditional publishing (“my lived experience as a publisher of books by women is that a lot of women deal with false categorization and get accused by the industry of having executed imperfect stories”) and when it provides strategies for developing confidence in the value of one’s work. The book is very timely, with references to Christine Blasey Ford, #MeToo, and the annual VIDA Count. Warner, co-founder of an author-subsidized publishing house, is a fervent advocate for the hybrid model and offers valid criticisms of traditional publishing. However, an implication that agents rarely work with small publishers seems inaccurate, and a description of the royalty process is unclear. Warner does address the experiences of nonwhite authors, particularly in a section called “The Whiteness of the Publishing Industry.” However, the treatment feels superficial, as when the author asserts that, after a 2016 survey by Lee & Low Books, “diversity has become a publishing buzzword.” Despite these limitations, its advice to authors is generally sound.
A book of useful strategies for developing female writers’ voices and platforms.