Girls Write Now is proud to partner with She Writes for She Writes University, an eight week series of writing classes for writers, by writers! She Writes University kicked off on April 5 with a class on finding your literary voice from National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, and each class will feature other sensational instructors including Lisa Ko, Christina Baker Kline, Caroline Leavitt, Carly Watters and more.
She Writes University is the only online, live webinar-based writing program, backed by a community of nearly 30,000 fellow writers and led by an elite faculty of bestselling and award-winning authors, publishing professionals, and subject-matter experts. Unlike other webinar-based programs that are pre-recorded, She Writes teachers teach live. You’ll have the opportunity to engage with them during a live Q&A after each class, as well as at a follow-up one-hour office hour session online — all included with the cost of enrollment.
You can buy all eight She Writes University classes for $500, or purchase the classes individually for $99 each. Be sure to use our promo code SWUPARTNER, which drops the price of each class to $69! You can enroll in She Writes University now.
Noting that the publishing industry has been widely criticized for its lack of diversity, She Writes Press has committed to increasing broader representation of writers of color on their list. This year, She Writes is also launching the She Writes Press Toward Equality in Publishing (STEP) program, a scholarship program committed to providing a full publishing package plus a 500-book print run for one woman of color writer per season, starting to be published in 2019. She Writes will be matching donations from their authors, and any funds they raise exceeding the cost of publishing and printing will roll over to the next season’s scholarship fund, which they hope to keep going indefinitely.
See below for our interview with Brooke Warner, the publisher of Spark Press, She Writes Press, and SheBooks, about her role at She Writes, what she’s looking forward to most about this year’s She Writes University, and how you can apply for the STEP program.
1. How did you get involved with She Writes and why do you think it’s important to increase the number of women in publishing?
I have always been a champion of women, no matter what their passion or pursuit may be. For eight and a half years I was Executive Editor at Seal Press, a women’s press, and that experience opened my eyes to some of the barriers women face. There are more women in publishing than men, but they hold lower positions and they’re not paid as well as their male counterparts. As many women as men are getting published, but their work is not taken as seriously. Men outnumber women for awards, for instance, and where published bylines are concerned — in reviews, op-eds, etc. — men far out-publish women. I’d known Kamy Wicoff, the founder of SheWrites.com for years because we’d run in the same circle of writers, and so a few years into her founding SheWrites.com, I approached her with the idea to build a press on her platform, and she was game. So in 2012 I left Seal Press to launch She Writes Press with the goal of giving women authors the opportunity to tell their stories based on the merit of their writing, not their author platform.
2. Last year was the launch of She Writes University. How did the idea to create a webinar series for female writers come about? Has anything changed from last year to this year?
She Writes University was designed as a natural extension of our community and content site, SheWrites.com. Women writers from all around the world already come to SheWrites.com daily for writing tips, advice, and inspiration. For women who want to take this further and take an actual class but may not have access or the ability to attend a more traditional writing class, She Writes University is a way to give these women writers, no matter where they live, writing classes from bestselling and award-winning authors and industry insiders. The online, webinar-based format makes it easy for women, many of whom are juggling many different demands on their time, to give their writing the attention it deserves when it’s convenient for them. Students can attend live, or view the recordings of any of their classes at any time. In addition to this live hour with each instructor, SWU offers an additional hour of access to these highly sought-after instructors through our live office hours with each instructor.
3. What are you most looking forward to with this year’s She Writes University?
Our roster this semester is packed with incredible authors whom we’ve admired both personally and professionally for years. We’ve added a class, giving students eight different topics to choose from led by inspiring and diverse women like Jesmyn Ward, Caroline Leavitt, Christina Baker Kline, Lisa Ko, Kirstin Chen, and Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. The part of SWU that I enjoy most is the live office hours we hold on Facebook with each instructor after their class. This is an unprecedented level of access to these really phenomenal authors and students have the opportunity to interact directly with bestsellers and award-winners.
4. Can you tell us more about the STEP program? What does the scholarship entail and how can people apply?
In the same way that we champion women in publishing, we’re also focused on breaking down other barriers to publishing. One of these barriers is race. The STEP scholarship program is designed to award a She Writes Press publishing package to one woman writer of color beginning in 2019. Writers can apply by submitting a query letter and at least two full chapters of their work. A panel of judges will review each applicant, the top five applicants will receive a written assessment of their work, and the winner will receive a SWP publishing package plus 500-book print run. The publishing package includes all the standard offerings our other authors get, like proofreading, cover design, and interior layout, and is currently valued at $5,900.
She Writes & Girls Write Now
She Writes Press was the publisher for the 2016 Girls Write Now Anthology (R)evolution which features poetry, essays, and fiction from Girls Write Now mentors and mentees,with a foreword by Francine Prose and introduction by Quiara Alegría Hudes. (R)evolution showcases the activism and power of today’s emerging writers, who are evolving the narrative and changing literature, one girl at a time.
She Writes Press was founded by Kamy Wicoff and Brooke Warner in 2012 as a response to the barriers to traditional publishing getting higher and higher for authors. Kamy and Brooke envisioned a company where authors would be invited to publish based on the merit of their writing alone. They wanted to found a press for women writers that would be a platform to launch their writing careers, a place where they could legitimately compete with their traditional counterparts. In 2014, She Writes Press became a part of the SparkPoint Studio family with a new CEO, Crystal Patriarche, at the helm. She Writes Press authors have been featured in O! Magazine, People, and USA Today, and have been reviewed in magazines including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal.