Thursday, July 31, 2008

is pink the enemy?

Over at th Guardian this week, there's a little commentary about books aimed at women are becoming increasingly homogenised, girly and bland-looking.

As a press that publishes books by women for women, Seal struggles with the pink thing, too. I've described us as the antithesis of chick lit. We're a content-driven press that doesn't do much fluff. That said, we've published pink covers, bOObs and Rock Your Stars being two stellar examples of pink (still anti-chick lit) covers we've done recently.

So why do we do it? Finding the perfect cover is a tricky business. Marketing is an imprecise science, no doubt. We put our trust in our designers, and at the point of designing a book cover, oftentimes the designer is working from a cover memo and a summary of the book and just their own design sense to go on. I'm not a fan of the chick lit genre, but I also don't think books aimed at women are increasingly homogenized, girly, and bland-looking. I spend time looking at covers because I work in publishing, and if anything I think books aimed at women (chick lit and romance aside) are getting increasingly smarter and edgier.

Seen any good covers lately that fit this bill that you'd like to share?

(via Salon.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

women who eat meat

Back in January I posted about craving hamburgers, a post inspired by Sex and Bacon, which was just written up on AlterNet yesterday.

Jen Rios (right), our Online Marketing Manager, and I (yep, left) were having this very conversation on the Friday of BlogHer, an occasion for treating ourselves to burgers and wine, along with Krista and Seal author Jennette Fulda. A civilized Friday lunch if I may say so myself.

Cheers. Just wanted to share that the burger-lovin' lives on. And thanks to Jennette for the photo. She and Krista ate cobb salad.


Monday, July 28, 2008

entrepreneurialism and cupcake love

For those of you who aren't familiar with Rachel Kramer Bussel's cupcake blog, Cupcakes Take the Cake, now's the time to check it out.

Her interview of Seal authors Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears, coauthors of Boss of You has great insight into the business of running your own business, plus Emira and Lauren's cupcake preferences. That's right, it's practical and fun!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

"The Business of Being Born"

Hi! This is Andie East, publicist at Seal Press and this is a guest post.

Last night I watched this truly amazing film, "The Business of Being Born". I'm sure most of you have just had the words "Ricki Lake" pop into your head and for good reason. She was the executive producer of the film and the film does feature her, and director Abby Epstein, in their quest to learn more about the capitalistic culture behind childbirth.

I learned that many women don't know their options when it comes to childbirth and that hospitals and doctors have things on a tight schedule that encourages interventions to speed up the process of labor. I also learned that laying flat on your back to give birth is the absolute worst option and, surprise surprise, rather than midwives being a more expensive and unsafe way to give birth, are actually more safe and less expensive. A midwife costs around $4,000 start to finish for a birth whereas a hospital birth that is completely normal will cost $13,000. In fact most doctors have never even seen a natural childbirth that does not involve drugs.

The most amazing part of the film were the numerous women who were documented having at home births. I can't tell you how beautiful it was to see a baby drop down from between a woman's legs, and have it held to her chest and then see the look of wonder and joy on each woman's face. Women in their own homes being held by their partners, their other children nearby patting the newborns head. It was amazing.

The saddest thing to me was that so many people didn't know the facts and figures and options when it comes to childbirth. It made me think of a book we published a few years ago called "Deliver This!" by Marisa Cohen. It's a comprehensive book about the choices out there and how to make them regardless of what you hear from doctors, friends or society.

Though what I'd really like to hear is your own labor stories. The choices you made when it comes to childbirth. I myself have never had a child and had never thought of having a child at home. But after watching "The Business of Being Born" I don't think I could do it any other way.

Let me know! What did you do? What did you experience? When are you going to see the film!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

open marriage, celebrity style

In what one blogger called the "worst-kept secret in Hollywood," Will Smith has confirmed his open marriage with Jada Pinkett Smith.

This is a timely subject---one our staff has been thinking about a lot since the publication of Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage, by Jenny Block. There's no way this option works for all couples, and Jenny doesn't even begin to suggest that. But she makes a compelling case for open marriage and why it should be more widely accepted, at least. Open marriage is all about honesty, after all, and who can claim they've never known anyone who's cheated. Yeah... The argument being, if you're gonna cheat, why not be open about it. Jenny asserts that it saved her marriage.

One of Jenny's aims has been to open the bedroom door on open marriage, as it were, and say to the world that it's way more common than you think, and that being involved in an open marriage is not sexually deviant. And so it seems that with people like Will and Jada, and other celebs like Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton (among others) that goal is getting closer and closer to being realized.

For more, check out Jenny's website and blog.


Monday, July 14, 2008

BlogHer 2008

This year I'm pleased to announce that four Seal authors are speaking at BlogHer.

If you're going, check these amazing ladies out!

Jennette Fulda, author of Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

What We Do: Blog to Book Redux

"On the "Blog to Book" panel, I'll be happy to talk about how my blog led to a book deal, the ways I used my blog to promote my book, and incentives I used to motivate my readers to get the word out. I can also answer questions about how to set up a book web site, how to plan your own book release party, and how to sell autographed books from a corner of your apartment with PayPal and a big box of bubble mailers."

Jennifer L. Pozner, founder and executive director of Women In Media & News (WIMN) and author of a forthcoming book about the how reality television is harmful to women (Seal Press, fall 2009)

What We Believe: Top-notch Political Opinion Commentary

"Pozner’s journalism and media criticism has been widely published in corporate news outlets (eg., Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Boston Phoenix) independent media (eg., Ms., The American Prospect, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture), new media (eg., AlterNet, Salon, HuffingtonPost), and anthologies (eg., BitchFest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages Of Bitch Magazine, Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century, The W Effect: Bush’s War on Women), among others."

Laura S. Scott, author of Childless by Choice (Seal Press, fall 2009)

Who We Are: Women Without Children and the Blogosphere

"Lately, I’ve been spending all of my time on the 'Childless by Choice Project,' a research, book, and documentary project on the childless by choice in North America. In the sixteenth year of my childfree marriage, I asked 'How and why do people, like us, "opt out" of parenthood? Is it a choice? Or, is it a process?'"

Fueled by curiosity and introspection, I traveled to ten American states and two Canadian provinces to survey the childless by choice and to determine why, for millions of North American couples, the question 'When should we have kids?' had morphed into 'Should we have kids?'"

Melissa Ford, author of The Land of If: Understanding Fertility and Exploring Your Options (Seal Press, spring 2009)

MommyBlogging: When the Road To Motherhood Is Anything But Smooth: Infertility, Adoption and Miscarriage Bloggers

Melissa is the author of the infertility and pregnancy loss blog, Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters. It started as the space she wished she had found when she was going through treatments for the first time and has evolved into hub of activity and information--from the newly-diagnosed to those parenting after infertility or adoption or living childfree after infertility. She is the keeper of a categorized blogroll of over 1300 infertility blogs and writes the daily Lost and Found and Connections Abound, a news source for the infertility blogosphere.

Good luck to all of you, and for any readers who don't know about BlogHer, check it out. And if you're a blogger, you need to be going to this conference.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

is buying your own home on the horizon?

Last night I went and saw the Sex and the City movie. I loved it. I was a fan of the show, and despite the fact that I'd heard peeps here and there about the movie not being "very feminist," I was totally swept up by it.

One of Carrie's dilemmas at the beginning of the film is about the fact that she won't have any rights to the home she and Big are moving into together if she doesn't pony up with some money for part of the down payment. It's all glitz and glamor and pretty ridiculous to think about the many millions of dollars the penthouse suite they're considering purchasing in downtown NYC would actually cost, but I thought the very fact that Carrie's friends (mostly Miranda) are on her to make smart choices about home ownership were very progressive and smart.

This spring we published OWN IT! The Ups and Downs of Homebuying for Women Who Go It Alone, by Jennifer Musselman. I thought about this book while I was watching the movie last night, and then I got into the office this morning to find this awesome interview from the lovely women at WOW! Women on Writing.

I have a handful of single friends who own their own homes. Though it's true that the dream of owning a home is often wrapped up in fantasies of falling in love and having a family, deciding to put off the decision because you don't have those things is something that I think too many women can relate to. I love this book because, like the women from Sex and the City, Jennifer is hardly giving up on the dream of love. But in the meantime, until that happens for her, she's got security and a home she can call her own. And the coolest thing, it's not even as unobtainable a dream as it seems.


Monday, July 7, 2008

two must-reads

It's not too often that we get side-by-side hits in a major magazine. But this month's Shape features two of our spring titles:

Half-Assed, by Jennette Fulda, and About Face, edited by Anne Burt and Christina Baker Kline.

This is very awesome, and congrats to our authors!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

the pregnant man memoir

Today's Salon article, "What the Pregnant Man Didn't Deliver," sort of tries to give a balanced approach to Thomas Beatie's story, though of course the title itself speaks to the goal of the piece: to pinpoint what Thomas didn't deliver.

I'm proud to announce that Seal has picked up this title. Today's Salon piece and a June 22 New York Times piece, both mentioned that the memoir has been shelved, but not that it's on track for fall publication here at Seal.

The Times presented what I thought was a thoughtful perspective, essentially concluding that gender is complicated, and that the Beaties' story is one that shows there’s plenty of room for the reshaping of traditional ideas about husband and wife, mom and dad, and what constitutes family. The Salon piece, on the other hand, seemed intent on finding trans activists who wanted to condemn Thomas and point out places where he's failed the trans community. For what, I wonder?

Thomas's whole story will be told in his memoir, and it's a fascinating and moving story about family and identity and love, and ultimately about wanting to have a baby with his wife. I think it's true that the notion of family is ever-changing, and that having loving parents, no matter what those parents look like, or how they express their gender, is what matters. Thomas is a trailblazer because he's willing to share his story and he's not shying away from his truth. Why should he have to? He could have done this all in silence, like some trans men before him, but it seems to me that his willingness to be public with his choices can't do anything but help the trans community. Thomas also defines as a man, and he's legally a male, and a husband. If the trans community does in fact want visibility and equal rights then Thomas is doing his part. He's comfortable in his skin, as a man, and proud of his wife and family. He's an honest guy who wanted to have a family and who's opting to tell his story publicly. And who has brought a wanted and loved child into this world. Congratulations Thomas and Nancy!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

more on Maternal

Susie Bright has an awesome post about our new anthology, Maternal Is Political, which she contributed to.

I purposely refrained from writing about the whole Rebecca Walker fracas (above all because it was just too upsetting and frustrating to make sense of), but Rebecca also has a piece in the anthology, and part of Susie's post mirrors my own wonderment over the whole thing:

I can't feature why Rebecca would wash her dirty laundry in public... unless she were desperate for money. Or losing her mind. Or both. And even then— how are you suppose to reconcile with your family after this? I guess you pretend they're dead. But they're... not. R. says A. has cut her out of the will, which is presumably worth millions. For having a baby? Does money really drive people this batshit? You feel like calling each member of the Walker family into the room, and interviewing them separately. What a tragedy.

Anyways, I've recommended this book before, and I'm doing it again. I think it's one of the more insightful, educational, and needed books on our spring list.