His Eye Is On the Sparrow by Ann Pearlman
A dear friend, who is also a writer, heard about Shebooks and suggested that I send some of my writing. Their slogan is: every woman has a story. How could I not love them?
Shebooks is a new publisher focusing on short e-books to bridge the gap between magazines with carefully selected fiction and non-fiction tailored to women’s interests. I appreciated their approach as an outfit of women working together to promote women’s writing. As widely publicized by Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult, female writers often get short shrift. Although most readers and writers are women, we’re given less attention in terms of reviews and serious consideration. This is one reason why women often use names that are aliases or gender nonspecific. (Think E.L. James, J.T. Rowlings, M.L. Stedman). One of the founders, Laura Fraser, journalist, and best selling author of An Italian Affair, commented, “Women writers are looking for new outlets for their most personal work and women readers crave great reads that fit into their busy lives.”
I reviewed my unpublished stories, but they weren’t the right length. Too short. Shebooks wants works between 7,500-10,000 words. On the spur of the moment, I sent them part of a larger piece that had not yet been published. Like Infidelity which was nominated for a Pulitzer and the National Book Award and the basis for a Lifetime movie, His Eye is on the Sparrow is a memoir. It takes place in 1962 in the Midwest. The civil rights movement had just begun. And I was in love with a Black man. We were college students excited to meet each other’s families. Along the way we encountered potentially violent, racially charged situations and struggled with parents forced to deal on the forefront of changes yet to come. This look into the past gives us a window into exactly how far we’ve changed in the last half century in America.
In one of those writing miracles that almost never happen, within fifteen minutes of sending it as an attachment, I received an enthusiastic response from Laura Fraser who happened to be answering email. So far publishing with Shebooks has been a dream. My perceptive editor, Zoe Rosenfeld, helped plug holes in my story. The artist designed a gorgeous cover. Every step of the way I was consulted.
Then His Eye is on the Sparrow was selected to be part of an initial preview of eight titles including six memoirs and two works of fiction by well-established authors and essayists. The books are now available on Amazon and Nook. So far we’re capturing lots of 5 star reviews. I’ve read some of the books and they’re terrific. We’re working together to spread the word about our books as well as Shebooks’ plan for a subscription service of 15 new e-books a month beginning in March.
A long time ago, I was part of Psychotherapy Associates, a group of women sharing expenses and space in a clinical practice. That was one of the smartest and happiest working experiences in my life. Well, more than just my professional life because those women remain among my closest friends. In fact it was my partner, friend, co-author, Dr. Linda Sherby who suggested I contact Shebooks in the first place.
This has some of the same exhilaration: a group of women working together for the benefit of all and with pride in a terrific product. It’s been exciting to be part of a new publishing company and I’m happily anticipating nurturing its growth.
Writers: Think about submitting your short fiction and non-fiction to this new publisher.
Readers: Pick up a few of these ebooks; they are well written, quick reads, and priced less than a latte at $2.99.
And I get to enjoy being part ofgreat group of women writers.