“The mission statement we haveâ€”to publish books by women for women and which inform women’s lives-can be interpreted broadly, of course; but we are a feminist press and will always publish books that speak to women, and ideally that help women,” Ms. Warner tells Rachel Kramer Bussel:
What makes a given book stand out for you, and, conversely, what makes you immediately reject a manuscript?
We acquire books by committee, so a proposal kind of goes through the ringer here before we’ll bring it on. Sometimes a proposal stands out because of the writing, other times the platform. I acquired Max Wolf Valerio’s The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male because of the writing, but it was a serious conversation here because he is technically the first male writer Seal has ever published (in a single-author book). Yet we’re publishing trans issues, and we realized that we needed to embrace writers and issues all along the gender spectrum, so that was a direction that we decided to go as a press.
Things I reject outright include books that would probably have commercial appeal elsewhere. We don’t publish guides on how to catch the perfect man of your dreams because we don’t believe that those types of books are empowering to women. Conversely, we will publish dating books that have a feminist sensibility to them, in which the writer addresses the range of emotions that are involved around being single. We tend to err toward more complex issues that lots of women grapple with.