She Writes Press: A New Publishing Opportunity (Interview with Brooke Warner)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The new publishing opportunities available to writers in today's market are phenomenal. The gatekeepers, aka agents and editors, no longer have the final say on whether or not a project will find readers. Writers are being published traditionally, and this is great. But they are also finding ways to publish their books with subsidy companies and by self-publishing!

We are excited to welcome Brooke Warner with She Writes Press. Some of you may recognize her name if you have been a member of the She Writes community or taken advantage of her coaching services. Brooke also worked as executive editor at Seal Press for seven-and-a-half years where she shepherded over five hundred books through the publication process.

She Writes Press is a new company she has started with Kamy Wicoff, the founder of Brooke took some time to answer questions about the services and opportunities She Writes Press, a hybrid press, will give to authors. So, take it away, Brooke! 

WOW: Welcome, Brooke! There's a lot of buzz going on about your new independent publishing company, She Writes Press. All the interviews and comments I've read about it have writers excited and enthusiastic about the opportunities you are going to provide women writers! So, tell me, how is She Writes Press different than some of the other subsidy publishing companies like Outskirts Press, Inc?

Brooke: There are many self-publishing options in the world today, and they vary quite a bit. We consider ourselves to be a hybrid press. MJ Rose of Author Buzz recently told me she considers presses like ours to be co-op publishers. We are offering something unique in the marketplace because we are vetting our books. In order to publish on She Writes Press, your manuscript has to be up to industry standard, and we have editors and agents vetting our projects. Some writers will qualify to publish with SWP right out of the gate. For those authors who need either developmental editing or copyediting, we present a way to move forward with us for the end goal of publishing with SWP. The other primary thing that sets us apart from other self-publishing companies is our community of writers at She Writes Press serves the She Writes community, though you don't have to be a She Writer to publish with us. She Writes Press is mirroring a traditional publishing model. We are offering custom covers and interior design, not templates. We're also giving our authors a team, support, and an opportunity to be part of something bigger. Self-publishing can be a lonely endeavor, and we believe authors will be more successful as a result of having community, resources, and support.

WOW: That is DEFINITELY true--authors need community, resources, and support! It's great to hear that She Writes Press is thinking outside the box and offering writers new opportunities. What type of projects are you looking for to be some of your first books?

Brooke We are accepting submissions across all genres, and we're not trying to specify what can and can't be considered. Our only stipulation is that the authors be female. Other than that, we are doing almost any genre. The only thing we're not doing at the moment are children's books and other high-production art books. Our sweet spot is going to be commercial fiction and memoir just because this is what we see most in our community; but I think we'll also do a lot of literary fiction and prescriptive books as well.

WOW: Sounds like we (WOW! and SWP) have a lot in common--supporting women writers! (smiles) So just to clarify, what type of manuscripts are you accepting? Fiction and nonfiction?

Brooke Yes, fiction and nonfiction. We've received nineteen submissions since our launch one month ago. This has included mostly fiction, four memoirs, two anthologies, and two prescriptive books. We haven't seen any genre fiction at this point, but we're open to it.

WOW: Nineteen submissions in your first month! That just goes to show you how there's a need out there for what you are offering. How does an author submit a manuscript to She Writes Press, and what's the submission process like once you receive it?

Brooke Authors submit on our site at It costs $25, and authors receive an assessment for that price. Our readers read the submission materials and give the manuscript a recommendation for either Track 1 (ready to be published); Track 2 (needs copyediting); or Track 3 (needs developmental work). When authors get their assessments back from us, they can decide to move forward regardless of what track they're on. We have developmental editors and copyeditors ready to take the manuscript to the next level and prepare the authors for publication. Only Track 1 authors, however, qualify to go straight to publication without any outside editorial support. Once a Track 2 or 3 author has been edited, however, our editors will give us the approval that they're ready to be published. So in fact, all submissions are on track to be published if that's what the author ultimately decides and works toward.

WOW: What type of services are you offering to authors once they get a manuscript selected? Are there certain services they must purchase?

Brooke It's just one single package, the She Publishes package, that's priced at $3900. The list of services is quite comprehensive. It includes custom interior design for up to 120,000 words; custom cover design; print-on-demand setup with Lightning Source (LSI); e-book file preparation and upload to Amazon, B & N, and iBookstore; a marketing plan that's detailed on our site; distribution to the trade; proofreading of the final laid-out manuscript; copyright filing and obtaining your Library of Congress control number; warehousing of short-run printed books; fulfillment of all orders on short-run printed books; telephone and e-mail support from a She Writes Press project manager. What's not included is the cost of the print run should an author opt for that service. POD and e-books do not cost anything beyond the cost of the package.

WOW: Thanks, Brooke, for telling us all about the She Publishes package. Once a book is published, where will readers be able to buy it? Will there be hard copies and e-copies? How will you help with marketing?

Brooke Readers will be able to buy anywhere—at Amazon, B& N, and other online retailers as a print book or e-book. If a reader walks into a bookstore, it's more than likely that the bookstore will not be carrying the book, but they can order it. We have a distributor, and books will be easy to get. That doesn't mean we can ensure a buy-in from Barnes & Noble, however. Authors who host events or do speaking engagements can have local bookstores order their books just like they would for a traditional publisher. We will encourage authors who have a following to do a print run because the money they earn back on those books eclipses what they can make on POD and e-books. We offer fulfillment services for any customer who orders directly from an author's website at no extra cost to the author.

We will help with marketing to the extent that we will be marketing our whole list. We are currently in the process of expanding our DIY options for authors. We will be providing a lot of education. When I say that we will promote our list, by that I mean we will promote multiple books through a variety of online marketing and advertising opportunities, but we will not be focusing those campaigns and strategies on any single author. However, all authors will benefit as a result of our general drive to get visibility for She Writes Press and our books. We'll be interviewing authors on She Writes, a community of women twenty thousand strong. We will also sell books on a She Writes Press bookstore on our site, and we will be sending out a bi-annual catalog to retailers, book buyers, reviewers, and other industry people.

WOW: All of those ideas sound wonderful, and She Writes Press authors can probably help each other with marketing ideas, too, since it sounds like you will be a close-knit community. Please explain to us a bit about the She Writes Passion Project.

Brooke The She Writes Passion Project is a carry-over from something that Kamy did every year on She Writes, which is to select an author every year whose book really needed to be published. This is Kamy's baby; and while we'll gather collectively as a staff to choose a book each year, Kamy is reviewing all the submissions, looking for that book that touches her heart and carries with it a certain spirit. The whole concept of a passion project comes from an in-house term that editors use for books they absolutely can't NOT take on. And we imagine that these kinds of books will come our way, but the criteria is a "we'll know it when we see it" type of thing. The primary motivation here is to continue to give back to the She Writes community, which has always been a core value of Kamy's. She's all about community and supporting writers, so it's been incredibly inspiring to work with her and to get to see her in action.

WOW: What an absolutely wonderful idea! Kamy sounds like a great person to work with. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our writers today?

Brooke I just want to thank you for the opportunity. I feel that there's real synergy between your readers and She Writes (and by extension She Writes Press). We are currently in a pilot program, in a soft launch space with the press, because we are interested in gauging people's response, ideas, and experiences. As the months go on, we're anticipating adding more offerings and more creative marketing solutions. We're excited to be offering a new publishing solution to women writers out there who want to publish, but who don't want to publish in a bubble.

WOW: Thank you, Brooke, for your time and for sharing with us all about She Writes Press. For anyone interested in checking out more about She Writes Press, please go to
Muffin readers, do you have any questions for Brooke? Now is your chance to pick the brain of a seasoned professional about publishing, submitting your manuscript, marketing, the new She Writes Press, and more. Did she say something in this interview you didn't understand? Did she give an answer that you'd like to ask more about? Please ask away in the comments! Brooke will check back a couple times today for questions.

interview by Margo L. Dill 


Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Brooke, for a great interview! Anyone have any questions?

April said...

Great interview! Can't wait to see what She Writes Press has to offer.

Any chance that SWP is hiring editors or proofreaders?

Anonymous said...

This is exciting news! I have a question for Brooke... what are some causes for rejection?

I want to make sure I submit the right project.
Thanks, Liz

Brooke Warner said...

Hi Liz, thanks for the question about rejections. I want to make clear that they're not rejections, but rather assigning authors to different tracks. If your book is a Track 2, you just need a copyedit. The things we're seeing among Track 3 authors are problems of flat writing, lack of character development, structuring problems, sequencing problems, and general plot confusion. We believe, with the help of our editors, that all authors will be able to get their work up to the next level. Our desire is to eventually publish those Track 3 authors too.

Brooke Warner said...

SWP is hiring copyeditors and proofreaders. Please submit your cover letter and resume to We are a bit inundated at the moment, so you'll have to give me some time to get back to you, but I will.

Kelli Williams Wommack said...

Do you take proposals or full manuscripts?

Krystyna said...

Thank you for the great interview. I am looking forward working with you on my book.

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