Women writers are not getting published—or paid—at nearly the same rate as men. We’re going to change that this year. Read more
This project was successfully funded on June 27, 2014.
About this project
To everyone who supported our campaign, THANK YOU!
Please keep in touch and visit us at Shebooks.net to explore our growing library of short e-books, see what we are doing with your generous contributions, and learn more about the future of the Equal Writes Campaign.
Not enough women are able to get their work published today—even the best women writers. Almost three-quarters of the bylines in leading print and digital publications belong to men. What’s up with that? Amazingly, that gender disparity is nearly the same as it was 100 years ago. What’s up with that?
In traditional book publishing, the women who do get their work published are not getting paid fairly. A recent study found that women write 60 percent of the bestsellers and earn only 27 percent of the advances and royalties. Does this seem wrong to you? It sure does to us.
We don’t have anything against male writers. But if women don’t have the same opportunities to tell their stories, get them published, get paid fairly, and share them with readers, then…Wow. (Fill in your own depressing conclusion here.)
The problem doesn’t just affect writers—it affects readers. Why? When so many great women writers (established and new) cannot get their work published or cannot afford to devote themselves to their craft, we don’t even know what great stories we’re missing. But we do know that we’re missing countless opportunities to be inspired, amused, entertained, and informed by other women.
Publish more stories by women. That’s why we started Shebooks, a digital publishing company for short e-books by women, for women—and launched the Equal Writes Campaign. We want to publish great reads by as many women writers as possible in 2014. It’s that simple.
We believe in women writers—and that their work deserves to be taken seriously, published, paid for, read, talked about, and shared just as much as what men write. Do you? We hope so. And we hope you’ll share this with your friends and everyone you know who values women’s voices.
We’re thrilled with the quality of the books that we’ve published to date and are excited to discover new voices and publish many more.
The Project: The 2014 Equal Writes Campaign
We will publish at least 100 e-books written by women this year and raise awareness of this absurd gender bias in publishing. And we need your help.
Every dollar we raise will go to pay women writers—journalists, memoirists, and fiction and nonfiction writers. Our goal is to raise $50K—but we'd love to raise much more. The more our Equal Writes Campaign budget grows, the more writers we can publish this year.
If you love reading and care about women's voices and stories—stories that make you laugh, think, question, get up and do something!—please join our campaign and help us support women writers.
VIDA, a women's literary organization, has done a great job tracking statistics on the bias in favor of male writers. We were already shocked and concerned by the small percentage of women’s bylines in certain publications, the leading magazines and literary journals. Want to be shocked too? Check this out.
Then we heard about the Year of Reading Women started by Joanna Walsh, a writer and illustrator. She created the Twitter hashtag #readwomen2014 to inspire both men and women to read more women writers. (Google it to see who else is inspired.) That’s when we got the idea to launch The 2014 Equal Writes Campaign. What better way to support more people reading women writers than to publish more women writers?
Publishing e-books is faster and less expensive than publishing print books. But doing it well still requires a significant budget. Journalism pieces are especially costly to produce because we often have to cover travel expenses as well as the time required to investigate a topic thoroughly and report accurately.
Every dollar you give will go to pay women writers—journalists, memoirists, fiction and nonfiction writers. If we reach our goal, we will publish at least two new titles per week. Here’s an example of what we can fund:
10 long-form journalism pieces
5 e-books by new fiction writers
10 short memoirs
If we exceed our goal, we’ll publish more women writers. A lot more. And we’ll work late and on weekends to get it done.
We’re a new digital publishing company dreamed up by a journalist and a magazine editor who got tired of watching the space for quality women’s writing in publications shrink and shrink and shrink. We decided to do something about it. We’ve pulled together an amazing team of experienced talent and started publishing great short e-books by women, for women. You can buy any book individually or get a Shebooks subscription to our growing library of titles.
Shebooks publishes smart, quality books on topics that women care about—and can’t read anywhere else. Stories about war reporting by an award-winning journalist. Stories about misadventures in sex and travel and money and business. Stories about new engineering toys for girls. Stories by Latina writers connecting with their roots. Stories about death and love and birth and transgendered teens. Brave memoirs on topics many top publications won’t touch.
We want to publish so much more. An essay by a mom who took her daughter to the base camp of Mt. Everest. An intimate look at the factory girls making our computers in China. A tell-all about not paying your mortgage and then somehow walking away with $250K. Personal confessions of coping with eldercare, childcare, and in-law care. If you have or know of stories that should be told, please let us know.
The Core Team
The Shebooks team has been in this game for a long time. We love books, we love reading, we love quality. We have the experience and know-how to assign, edit, publish, and market great books.
Peggy Northrop, co-founder and president, has been editor-in-chief of More, Reader’s Digest, Organic Style, and Sunset; both Reader's Digest and Sunset won National Magazine Awards for General Excellence under her leadership; and she has more than 25 years of experience in magazine and digital publishing.
Laura Fraser, co-founder and editorial director, is an award-winning journalist and author of the New York Times–best-selling memoirs An Italian Affair and All Over the Map, as well as Losing It, an exposé of the diet industry.
Rachel Greenfield, co-founder and chief operating officer, has had a 30-year career in the top management of several leading publishing companies, including as executive VP in charge of the publishing division of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
Still need a little incentive to make a pledge? No problem. We’ve got great rewards at every level. Any amount you can give will help us reach our goal. Just $10 will get you a big thanks on our website, a one-month Shebooks subscription, and lots of positive girl-power karma. The higher your pledge, the more fun your reward. Here are a few of our favorites:
Shebooks Subscription –Pledge $10 or up and get access for one month (or more depending on your pledge) to all the great e-books in our library. We’ll be releasing two new titles every week—and adding special features like author Q&As and videos. You’re joining much more than a book club, you’re joining a growing community of readers and writers who love books.
Show Us What You've Got– For $35, our editors will review a piece of your writing up to 3000 words on the theme of Girl Power. If we like yours, we may include it in the anthology—and everyone who gives at this level gets a copy of the e-book. Plus, you get a one-month subscription to Shebooks!
The Equal Writes T-shirt –Starting at $50, you’ll get our conversation-starting EQUAL WRITES T-shirt, illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton. It's scoop-neck, long-sleeved, and comes in black or pink—and in every size, XS-XXL and plus sizes.
The Dorothy Parker - For $150, you and a friend get to go out for an evening of refreshing beverages and witty banter with two or three local authors. Will insider secrets be exchanged? Yep. Writing and publishing tips revealed? Oh, yeah. Gossip? Check. Agent and editor contacts shared? That all depends on how much fun you are.
Thank You! THANK YOU!
Thanks for reading this—you do like to read!—and for caring about women writers.
Please support our Equal Writes Campaign and help Shebooks support as many women writers in 2014 as we can. And spread the word! There are so many more stories to be told—we can’t do it without you.
The Shebooks Team
Risks and challenges
This project is very ambitious. But we know we have the team and the infrastructure in place to publish many more women’s stories this year. And nothing would make us happier than being completely overwhelmed by your support and freaked out by our sudden workload and the need to expand our team to get this done.
Here’s what we’ve accomplished already:
• Built a team of talented editors, copy editors, and graphic designers.
• Launched the Shebooks website.
• Published 40 original e-books by women.
• Developed relationships with hundreds of great writers—and we’re
eager to discover and publish many more.
We face challenges every step of the way. There are enough great women writers out there that we are sure of finding compelling content. But every publication has its own roadblocks—finding the right cover art, working through technical issues on our new website, coordinating our website with our new app, getting writers to meet deadlines, legal issues that arise when publishing memoirs, negotiating contracts with writers that everyone's happy with, and getting enough sleep. Our best freelance editors might land full-time jobs, our best writers might spill wine on their laptops. We also face challenges getting the word out about our project and getting enough readers to find us and enjoy our books.
This is where you come in! Thanks again for your support.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Story Eyed Media not only created our video they also generously donated a portion of their production time and costs. Thanks Caroline and Cedric! www.storyeyed.com
What's the study you mention that shows that women write 60% of bestsellers and make 27% of the money?
We are always looking for high-quality narrative pieces of fiction, journalism, and memoir that run about 10,000 words. We don't publish letters, poetry, how-to advice, cookbooks, business books, or anything else that doesn't come under the umbrella of "narrative," meaning a really compelling story. If you think you have something that would work for us, please send it to email@example.com. And be patient: We have a lot to read! Thanks so much for your interest. Without writers, we are nothing.
No! Our fabulous T-shirt, designed by Wendy MacNaughton, will also come in black. They are scoop-necked, long-sleeved, and flattering: We get it, we're women! And they come in any size. We want you to look great in it!
We will send out surveys when the project is funded to ask you all the details we need to know to fulfill your pledge reward. So, don't worry. That awesome t-shirt is coming!
Pledge $10 or more
GIRL POWER - Help fund women writers! Get a one-month subscription to Shebooks, access to all of our short journalism, memoir, and fiction—and a BIG THANKS shout-out on our website.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or more
AVID READER - A one-month subscription for you—and two of your BBFs (Best Book Friends), plus a BIG THANKS on our site. Share the literary love! PS: You'll want someone to talk to about all our great stories.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $35 or more
AUTHOR, AUTHOR! - One of our editors will review YOUR original manuscript, up to 3000 words. We're going to publish a Shebooks anthology on Girl Power—and if we like your piece, we'll include it. Everyone who pledges at this level gets a one-month subscription, a BIG THANKS on our site, and a copy of our e-book anthology when published. This is not a contest, and no one will be compensated. It's all for the glory, baby.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or more
EQUAL WRITES ACTIVIST - Get a one-month subscription to Shebooks for you and two friends, plus an "EQUAL WRITES" T-shirt designed by illustrator Wendy MacNaughton, in black or Shebooks pink. It's a soft, high-quality, scoop-neck, long-sleeve T in any size. (XS-XXL-Plus) And, of course, a BIG THANKS on our site.Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $75 or more
MEMOIRIST - A one-month subscription to Shebooks, an "EQUAL WRITES" T-shirt, and a limited-edition print copy of our best-selling memoirs—with a special thanks to you in the forward of the book and a BIG THANKS on our site.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or more
LITERATURE JUNKIE - Never worry about not having a great read anywhere, anytime for an entire year! Get a 12-month subscription to Shebooks, plus our "EQUAL WRITES" T-shirt and BIG THANKS on our site.Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $150 or more
14 backers Limited (1 left of 15)
THE DOROTHY PARKER - You and a friend get to hang out and drink sparkling water (or whatever), and share witty banter with two or three local authors—in Seattle, Bay Area, Portland, Baltimore, or NYC only. Plus a BIG THANKS on our site.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $200 or more
15 backers All gone!
ASPIRING WRITER - Writing your own manuscript? We'll help you make it shine! One of our brilliant Shebooks editors will read your manuscript (up to 25 pgs.), give you notes and a half-hour telephone critique. Also, get a BIG THANKS on our site.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $300 or more
3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)
BOOK GROUP GROUPIE - Have questions you'd like to ask an author? Choose a Shebooks author to Skype with your book group—and get 6 one-month subscriptions to Shebooks for you and 5 others, plus a BIG THANKS on our site.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or more
MUCKRAKER - Be a patron of a memoir or journalism piece. Review the story pitches and choose your favorite to fund and publish. We'll print a special thanks to you in the book. Plus, a one-month subscription, our "EQUAL WRITES" T-shirt, and a VIP THANKS shout-out on our site.Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $750 or more
1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)
GUEST STAR - One of our Shebooks authors will visit your book group (NY, Portland, or Bay Area only), answer questions, and make you feel like a book-group star. Each member (up to six) gets a one-year subscription to Shebooks. You get a VIP THANKS on our site.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,000 or more
2 backers Limited (2 left of 4)
PROTAGONIST - See your name in lights—or at least on a backlit screen! One of our Shebooks authors will name a leading character after you or someone you love in a piece of fiction to be published by Shebooks. (We’d do memoir, but we’d have to get to know you a lot better). Plus a one-month subscription, a T-shirt, and VIP THANKS on our site.Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $3,000 or more
3 backers All gone!
WRITING FIESTA - Come to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for Editorial Director Laura Fraser’s Mexican Writing Fiesta. You will stay in an over-the-top luxurious Mexican villa, with a daily morning writing workshop, three-course Mexican lunches, and afternoons off for shopping, hot springs, dreaming—or writing. Lodging and workshop; airfare not included. Plus our T-shirt to wear around Mexico and VIP THANKS on our site.Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
- (30 days)