• Annette Marquis

Five Valuable Resources for Women Writers

Updated: Jan 8, 2019

When I started this post, I had envisioned it as “Ten valuable resources for women writers” but as I got into it, I decided to focus on five websites developed by women writers for women writers. In a future post, I’ll share another five sites I depend on, ones developed by women writers for a more general audience.


In the blogging and journalism worlds, this type of post is called a listicle, which makes me smile because whenever I try to recall what they’re called, I think first of a “popsicle”—usually an orange one. Apparently, other people do too because popsicles are mentioned in a UChicago Magazine article on “The listicle as literary form.” This article describes both Popsicles and listicles as “vertically arranged, quickly consumed, not too nutritious, but fun.” What could be better?


Five, by the way, is a good number for a listicle. It turns out, according to Abreena W. Tompkins, in her dissertation, Brain-Based Learning Theory: An Online Course Design Model, we comprehend lists better if they have less than ten items, especially if the number of items is an odd, prime number, i.e., 3, 5, or 7.


So what follows is a listicle of four resources for women writers I read regularly and one that is new to me. The only difference between these sites and Popsicles is that, when consumed regularly, you'll find these sites to be quite nutritious.

1. The Literary Ladies Guide

https://www.literaryladiesguide.com/

The Literary Ladies Guide website was founded in 2012 by Nava Atlas after she published a book by the same name: The Literary Ladies' Guide to the Writing Life: Inspiration and Advice from Celebrated Women Authors Who Paved the Way. The goal of Literary Ladies Guide is “to be the web’s most comprehensive resource on classic women’s literature, focusing mainly on women who wrote in the English language (plus a few who were translated extensively)" and its mission is “to elevate the voices and stature of women writers, and to be inspired by those who came before us. The Literary Ladies’ Guide also honors the contributions of women to literature and literary history.”

On the site, you’ll find various categories including Literary Musings, Author Quotes, and even one especially for wandering wordswomen like us, Literary Travels. You can read posts in this category to plan your next literary excursion to places like Orchard House where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women.


Did you know, by the way, that Alcott published Little Women 150 years ago today (October 1, 1868)? If not, you can learn about this and more on The Literary Ladies Almanac.


The site’s founder, Nava Atlas, is a writer, visual artist, designer, and a self-described “major book nerd.” In addition to The Literary Ladies Guide, she has published books on vegan cooking, such as Vegan Express: 160 Fast, Easy, & Tasty Plant-Based Recipes and my personal favorite, Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons. As a visual artist, she has produced art exhibitions on everything from Hell’s Kitchen to The Sexual Politics of Meat.


The Literary Ladies Guide is a wealth of inspiration, stories, and historical information about our women writing foremothers. Whether you’re looking for historical background or encouragement for your own work, you’ll find something of interest here.


2. SheWrites

Shewrites.com

She Writes is an online community of over 31,000 women writers founded in 2009 by Kamy Wicoff. In 2012, Kamy joined forces with Brooke Warner to form She Writes Press, a hybrid press and platform for women writers to launch their writing careers and legitimately compete with their traditional counterparts. She Writes Press signed it’s 400th author this year.


In 2014, She Writes Press, became part of SparkPoint Studio, founded by Crystal Patriarche, which offers PR, marketing, branding social media, publicity expertise for authors, and an independent boutique book publisher.


Shewrites.com is a free online community for women writers. Once there, you can start a group and invite other women writers to connect with you on a topic of interest or join an existing group. In addition, you can post a blog to your followers or pitch to the community manager who, according to their Getting Started page, “loves to feature unique and intriguing member content on our homepage and in newsletters.” This might be a new opportunity to get your work seen by other writers.


Just recently, She Writes launched The Write-Minded podcast, hosted by Brooke Warner and Grant Faulkner of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Write-Minded: Weekly Inspiration for Writers “is for writers craving a unique blend of inspiration and real talk about the ups and downs of the writing life.”


So who are these three women who founded this incredible suite of resources for women writer?


Shewrites.com founder Kamy Wicoff is the author of the bestselling book, I Do But I Don’t: Why The Way We Marry Matters and the novel, Wishful Thinking, which Kirkus describes asA quirky time-traveling adventure mixed with a treatise on the plight of the working mother . . . Wicoff has a comic touch with this amiable fantasy.” For you time-travel lovers, it sounds like fun!


Brooke Warner serves as She Writes Press’s publisher, as well as publisher of SparkPress and president of Warner Coaching, Inc. Brooke is the author of Green-Light Your Book: How Writers Can Succeed in the New Era of Publishing and several books on memoir, including books I’ve found particularly useful, How to Sell Your Memoir: 12 Steps to a Perfect Book Proposal and Breaking Ground on Your Memoir: Craft, Inspiration, and Motivation for Memoir Writers.


Crystal Patriarche describes herself as a “CEO, SparkBoss, Publicist, Publisher, and Disruptor.” Crystal has built a simultaneous career in both public relations and publishing, which led to the creation of SparkPoint Studio. SparkPoint promotes and publishes mostly women authors, experts, and influencers.


If you’re a woman writer, the SheWrites/SparkPoint collaboration is one worth checking out. You can read their Submission Guidelines at https://shewritespress.com/submit. Although I haven’t worked with them directly, I hope to on a future project. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.


If you’ve have worked with She Writes Press or SparkPoint in the past or are currently working with them, please let me know what your experience has been like.

3. Women Writers, Women’s Books

http://booksbywomen.org/


Women Writers, Women’s Books is “an online literary magazine by and about contemporary women writers from around the world.” The owner and managing editor of Women Writers, Women’s Books, Barbara Boss, was born in Holland, then, after finishing University, moved to the UK. She currently lives in a small village in Galicia in North-West Spain, where she blogs about Village life at https://chicaderock.wordpress.com.


Barbara is committed to encouraging and promoting the visibility of women writers. She writes that she is “particularly interested in the edges, the intersections between genres, nationalities, languages, arts, cultures.”


Barbara is joined on Women Writers, Women’s Books by writer, essayist, and book reviewer, MM Finck, who you might know as Vice-President, Communications for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association.


The site is full of author interviews, writing resources, interviews with agents, and recommended reads. You can also query them if you have an article idea that fits their focus. You’ll find submission guidelines at http://booksbywomen.org/submission-guidelines/.


4. Word Mothers

https://wordmothers.com/

Word Mothers is a site I discovered recently and thought it was worth including. Founded by Nicole Melanson, Word Mothers describes itself as “resources for women writers, interviews with female authors & reviews of books by women.”


The most valuable part of the site is its extensive lists of:

Nicole Melanson is a former Bostonian, who now lives in Sydney with her husband and 5 sons. She writes poetry and fiction, and blogs at the intersection of feminism, disability, and parenting at https://nicolemelanson.com.


On her personal blog, you’ll find a plethora of disability lit resources, including:

Neither site has a highly sophisticated design, and I think that’s one of the reasons I like them. They have gems buried in their simplicity and demonstrate how one woman can offer a wealth of resources without a lot of glitz.

5. VIDA: Women in Literary Arts

http://www.vidaweb.org/

According to its website, “VIDA is a non-profit feminist organization committed to creating transparency around the lack of gender parity in the literary landscape and to amplifying historically-marginalized voices, including people of color; writers with disabilities; and queer, trans and gender non-conforming individuals.”


VIDA is best known for its annual VIDA Count, which “highlights gender imbalances in publishing by tallying genre, book reviewers, books reviewed, and journalistic bylines to offer an accurate assessment of the publishing world.” In addition to the VIDA count, VIDA offers the following:

  • VIDA Review features original interviews, articles, and essays from an intersectional feminist and womanist perspective on the literary world, publishing, education, and the arts.

  • VIDA Events are conducted at festivals and conferences nationwide, including readings, panels, and forums on all aspects of the literary community, from academia to activism, publishing to career development.

  • #saferLIT recognizes that abuse and sexual harassment consume community members’ time and energy, and silence marginalized voices. We ask you to join us in ensuring that all corners of the literary community are as safe as possible.

  • VIDA aims to provide a platform for the voices of marginalized communities within the literary community and beyond.

Although it’s hard to be inspired by the depressing results of the VIDA Count, I feel like VIDA has my back as a woman and as a writer. That’s why I feel strongly about supporting them. I hope you will too.


VIDA encourages writers to:

  • make sure that our stories pass the Bechdel-Wallace test ((1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man).

  • write seriously about the works of women (thank you, Literary Ladies Guide!)

  • solicit and commission writing by women

  • consider race, gender, sexuality, and other identity categories (in your writing)

I hope you will find inspiration, resources, support, and encouragement for your writing projects by exploring these five sites. Each of them has a newsletter so if any of the sites capture your attention, sign-up for their list. That’s an easy and painless way to support women writers.


If you know about other sites by women writers for women writers you rely on in your work, I’d love to hear from you about them.

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