A collection of true essays, stories, and poems, written by women, for women. The book will include perspectives from all walks of life and celebrate intersectional feminism. Two-thirds of all proceeds from sales of the book will go to charitable organizations that support girls and women: No Means No Worldwide, whose goal is to create a rape-free world, and Girls Inc., which inspires all girls to be smart, strong, and bold. The final third will go to the publisher, the small press I started, Blind Faith Books, to ensure we are capable of completing projects like this in the future.
From summoning the emotional strength to love your body and yourself exactly the way you are, to the physical strength of fighting off an attacker twice your size, to the mental strength in overcoming everyday adversity, I AM STRENGTH is a collection of true stories written by bold, fierce, strong women who are proud feminists and have wisdom to teach young girls who haven’t fully found their own strength yet. Through writing, these superwomen will attempt to save young readers from the stress and self-loathing it takes some of us decades to overcome. This book aims to cut out some of that struggle and suffering for others by showing how we came to find comfortable self-acceptance and self-confidence.
This idea formed a long time ago, but it always gets triggered again when I see a post on Facebook saying something like “Is there a badder bitch than Taylor Swift?” She’ll be posing with killer lipstick and shades--and nothing against Taylor Swift, but in the comments, women will write all these incredible stories about their grandmothers who survived the Holocaust, their mothers who battled breast cancer like champions, their sisters who overcame anorexia and depression--these are the stories I want to showcase. Regular, everyday women, kicking ass in a million different ways every single day. Women who you can’t just google their names and learn all about how inspiring they’ve been like you can with women who are in the public eye, like Hillary Clinton or Ruth Bader Ginsburg. These women aren’t going to have best-selling biographies or movies made about them, but their stories are just as important. It’s important women and girls out there understand you don’t have to be the first woman ever to be nominated for president of the United States--though, that is badass--but you can be strong and make a difference and be a role model for young girls just by sharing your own story of strength. You’ve learned hard lessons. You’ve gained a lot of wisdom. Someone else can learn from your experience. So these will be stories about different kinds of strength that women possess in a variety of situations, all day every day whether it be physical, emotional, intellectual, mental, spiritual, whatever.
Women are strong by nature. We are born ready to endure pain. We fight harder than men for everything we have, we need to be twice as smart, and we need to deal with it all while our looks are constantly being scrutinized. Strength is built into every aspect of our lives. Women hold their families together during times of grief and tragedy. Women have endured abuse, rape, unwanted pregnancies, vitriol just walking into a Planned Parenthood, even if it’s just to get tested for STDs after being raped, getting even worse hate if they decide to have an abortion, getting called slut and whore, having to raise a child alone, battling breast cancer, dealing with street harassment and revenge porn, the list of abuses goes on and on. And let me be clear, women don’t need abuse to forge us into strong superheroes. Women are already strong. But women who survive this stuff really are just warriors. And the fact that so many women have had to endure abuse means we need to be talking about it, and people need to hear that they’re not alone in what they’re going through.
This will be diverse. This will be intersectional. That’s part of why I’m using Kickstarter. I don’t want to have to turn away someone’s profound story because I don’t have enough of a budget and I can only pay a small pool of writers for their stories. I want stories from all around the world. I want stories from all different walks of life. I hope to raise $1000 which will go toward paying a really talented female graphic designer to do the book cover and then to pay writers for their stories. We can always over-fund. Here’s hoping. But I didn’t want to risk setting it too high and not getting funded at all, because I certainly can’t afford to pay it all out of my own pocket. (I’m a teacher.) When it’s done, two-thirds of proceeds from all book sales will go to charities that help girls find their own strength: No Means No Worldwide, and Girls Inc. The remaining third will go to my small press that this book is being published under. That money will be used to produce future projects like this one. I want to make sure this isn’t the last charity anthology I get to do. I want to do projects in the future without having to crowdfund again. I want to raise money for Planned Parenthood, The Malala Fund, and more. I want this to become a self-sustaining system of people buying books, people reading, money coming in, more books going out, more money going to charity, more people getting to tell their stories and more people getting to hear those stories. Hopefully we raise the thousand dollars, because it’s so important to me that we reach a diverse group of women and get them contributing and be able to make it worth their while.
Like I said, I’m a teacher, and I get these personal narratives sometimes about someone escaping from an abusive marriage, or a girl having to tell her parents she’s pregnant at 16. And I’m just always thinking, how many great stories of strength are there out there that need to be told --that deserve to be told-- and that someone needs to hear. There’s someone on the other side of the world who needs to hear your story to understand they’re not alone. That’s the magic of writing. You can read something from 100 years ago and relate to it. You can write something today that someone will read in 100 years and relate to it. And I always discuss with my college students, one of the most significant problems we have trying to identify with other people’s plight, whether it’s refugees, immigrants, girls being prevented from getting an education, a woman dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, whatever--there’s no teacher like experience. And if we haven’t experienced these things ourselves, it can be difficult for us to understand. And if we don’t understand, we can’t help--we may not want to help or think it’s even necessary. Here’s the thing though: we can’t all magically wake up in Malala Yousafzai’s body and realize what it’s like to be a target of the Taliban. So what can we do? Read. Read her book, understand what she went through--that’s how we learn to empathize with our fellow humans. That’s how we live lives and experience things we otherwise would never be able to. Tell stories and read stories. It’s that simple. You don’t need any money or fame to write. You just need something to write with and something to write on. You don’t need to be a powerful person to write, but writing can give you power. That’s all I’m trying to do. Give women a platform who might otherwise not have one, and make sure their stories reach a wide audience. Please peruse the rest of this page for more on what we're all about. I hope you consider contributing to this worthy project.
- To champion and empower the strength of relateable women in a judgement-free way
- To be inclusive, intersectional, and diverse.
- To show the raw, unsugarcoated reality of what it is to be a strong woman in these situations all over the world
Women not only need a book like I AM STRENGTH, they want it. While reading in general may be a dying hobby, research shows that what intelligent, educated women of all ages actually are interested in reading is non-fiction they can relate to. Of women surveyed, most said they would like to read more true stories of strong women, and when non-fiction feminist books were suggested to them, many either said they were unaware of the books’ existence (indicating we need more similar books in circulation) or that they’d already read them and were looking for more like them (indicating we need more of these books in circulation).
- 70% of women surveyed said they would read a book with a feminist angle
- 60% think publishers place too much emphasis on celebrities, famous athletes, and women in the public eye, and not enough on average, everyday women
- 55% find most books for women to be generally uninspiring
- 80% said they would buy a book if some of the proceeds were donated to charity.
We need to change how we talk about women
The overwhelming feedback from my research showed women want to hear less from celebrities and feel less body-insecurity. They want to hear from women who look like they do, think like they do, struggle like they do, and succeed like they do. They want content they can relate to. When asked what women would like to see more of in women’s literature, some recurring comments were:
- Real, everyday women
- Relatable stories
- People who are willing to talk about the reality of our bodies rather than “how to” “fix” various imperfections.
- More stories from women of color.
- More stories from LGBT women.
- Strong women sharing inspiring stories.
I AM STRENGTH will deliver inspiring stories from a diverse range of real, relatable women.
WHAT WILL YOU BE FUNDING?
- The cost of paying a talented woman graphic designer to ensure we have an attention-grabbing cover. Research shows that people are more likely to buy a book with an interesting cover and we will ensure this one encapsulates the essence of the book.
- Money to pay the writers contributing their stories
- Overfunding or even completion of funding on this project will ensure future success so that we can become self-sustaining as a book publisher.
- Shipping of the physical copies of books to donors
April 25 - Kickstarter campaign is completed
April 26 - Call for Submissions
June 25 - Deadline for submissions
July 25 - Go to print
By funding I AM STRENGTH, you’re providing us with the means we need to self-fund our next project so we can continue supporting causes we believe in, donating a portion of each to charities.
It’s the perfect time for a book like I AM STRENGTH. We are currently experiencing a significant global shift concerning feminist issues, with movements like #MeToo increasingly propelling women’s rights to the forefront of mainstream discourse. Every woman has a song of strength to sing, and I AM STRENGTH will help amplify it. Please consider joining us in becoming an integral part of the new conversation on women.
Risks and challenges
I may get flooded with responses from writers who want to be featured in the book. But I’m a copy editor, manuscript reader, and writer with an M.A. and M.F.A. in Creative Writing and real-world experience. I’ve also always done these jobs while balancing teaching, grading, and my personal life. I’m going to call for submissions, read, select, and edit this book, and not only am I confident I can handle it, I’m really looking forward to it. I do have a small team of trusted copy editors on standby should we get an overwhelming response so I can delegate some work to them. If we get enough high quality material I’d love for this to be a series of books. I AM STRENGTH, I AM POWER, I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR, etc.
That being said, any publishing project poses a risk. Reading is a dying hobby and some people don't seem to have the attention spans for long books anymore. However, I've seen projects like this one succeed in the past and I’m inspired by other anthologies like Nasty! by Tiffany Scandal and My Body My Words by Amye Archer. I’m currently in touch with editors of these projects and learning what helped them succeed as well as how to schedule book tours to reach a wider audience. What sets these projects apart is their desire to help people. It's not a selfish project for myself that I need to check off my bucket list, although if I’m being honest I am quite passionate about it. It's important and I believe in it. And that’s because of the good it will do for others, not only in raising money for worthy charities, but in giving someone the inspirational story they need to hear. People I've talked to--students in my classes, faculty I work with, friends and acquaintances--all agree the world could use a book like this and admit they would purchase it themselves.
Finally, I'm not completely green in the publishing world. I’ve completed creative and analytical graduate work, started my own business--the small, independent press this book will be published under--and, as a writer, I've submitted my work, won writing contests, and have had my stories published. I know how the system works, I'm aware of the challenges involved, and I believe this book can be a success. My research shows that people who would normally be on the fence, or completely opposed to purchasing a book like this, might be swayed by the fact that the majority of the proceeds will benefit worthy charities. More purchases will help the book reach a wider audience as word of mouth spreads. I'm currently in the process of learning how to set up a book tour which will allow some of the contributors to read their work to audiences, helping them gain exposure, and helping the book reach more buyers. Most of all, I think people will respond to the fact that two thirds of the proceeds go directly to charities that support girls and women.
I’m confident in this project and I’m excited to get to work. However, nothing can happen without your help. You are such an important part of this collaborative process. With your contributions, this can become a reality and a success. Without your help, it will remain nothing but an idea. Please check out the rest of this page, and be sure to see our rewards for donors. Thank you for your consideration.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)