She Needs, thus SheWrites
But more than community, SheWrites may well be the best one stop shop for women writers (and men, too) no matter what their level of accomplishment to this point. Beginners? Welcome. Seasoned pros? Welcome. Everyone in between? Come on into this big tent.
According to co-founders Kamy Wicoff and Deborah Siegel, writers, especially female writers, need an ongoing way to stay in touch – and their membership evidently agrees. SheWrites.com debuted in June 2009 and in its first nine months of operation, the network grew to a whopping 7,000 registered members with 1,000 women joining in just the first week.
“At one time we might have been a literary salon,” says Kamy Wicoff. “A literal space where women could not only find companionship and stimulating conversation, but also share information about writing and publishing. SheWrites is the modern solution, a virtual salon where women can talk across generations, across distances, and across genres.” SheWrites engages writers of all experience levels. A thread concerned with finding more time to write might find a mommy blogger dialoging with a seasoned novelist. “This is a grassroots way to connect women to women,” says Kamy. “And our members were obviously hungry for it. We’ve been amazed at the number and variety of writers who have responded.”
One of the more popular features of SheWrites is their more than one hundred sixty focused groups which any member can start, join, or participate in with a quick online registration. Groups range from such specialized topics as humor writers, inspirational writers, or even Aussie writers, up to large and thriving communities that address the interests of aspiring novelists, writers seeking agents, authors looking for tips on publicity and promotion, and many, many more.
SheWrites is also a clearing house for the types of services writers require – whether they know it or not. The site offers webinars and can lead you to a book doctor, web page designer, independent publicist, or even the right photographer for your jacket flap. If you don’t know what these terms mean or why you might need these people, a quick search of www.shewrites.com will jump start your education. “Writers have to do so much,” says Deborah Siegel, “that it’s unrealistic to expect any one person to automatically have all the skills it takes to research, write, publish, and publicize their work. That’s where we can help.”
When Kamy Wicoff first began exploring the idea of a network for women writers, she says everyone she bounced ideas with said the same thing. “You need to meet Deborah Siegel.” Both women are feminists who are deeply committed to helping women, and when the self-described salonniere linked up with the academic, it was a match made in web heaven. The pair is already contemplating such adjunct sites as SheReads to direct their membership to the best in contemporary fiction. And if SheWrites and SheReads… can ShePublishes be far behind?