Women have long been the backbone of the publishing industry. They’re the editors, publicists, production managers, agents, accountants, and marketing specialists who bring great books into the world. They’re the librarians and booksellers who get dazzling novels and gripping nonfiction works into readers’ hands.

However, women are still underrepresented in the industry’s top leadership positions. PW’s 2023 Industry Salary Survey finds that women make up 77% of people working in the industry but only 56% percent of managers.

The good news: women are steadily moving into executive and management positions, with exciting results. In addition to running esteemed imprints and independent publishers, an increasing number of women across the industry are forging their own paths by launching presses. Whether they’re taking the helm of established publishers or creating entirely new enterprises, these visionaries are bringing fresh voices and innovative formats to everything from literary fiction and journalistic nonfiction to comics, manga, and picture books.

Genre presses like Severn House and Entangled Publishing are delivering bold mash-ups where mystery meets fantasy and romance meets horror. Imprints like Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Graphic Mundi—a graphic novel offshoot of Penn State University Press—are driving positive change by offering diverse perspectives and empathy-inspiring works on critical topics such as health, human rights, technology, and the environment.

Hybrid publishers like Greenleaf Book Group and SparkPress are pioneering innovative distribution strategies, amplifying previously overlooked voices, and empowering authors with customized support. Independent publishers like Rowman & Littlefield are offering deeply researched nonfiction titles that shed light on critical issues like the Flint water crisis and challenges to U.S. democracy. Children’s publishers like Phoenix International are integrating story, art, and sound with licensed characters that children love.

These dynamic publishers are also working to ensure that the industry is more hospitable not only to women but to all traditionally underrepresented people. They’re bringing variety and balance to the marketplace by championing emerging and underrepresented authors—people of color, members of the LBGTQ+ community, neurodivergent individuals, and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.

The women running their own houses and imprints are also bringing their lived experiences to the office, creating more flexible structures that enable their teams to thrive both personally and professionally. Some publishers, like Girl Friday Productions and the Do Book Co., began, in part, as a way for the founders to continue their professional lives while raising families.

“Being an entrepreneur, especially one without outside investment, is tough,” says Girl Friday Productions cofounder Leslie “LAM” Miller. “But it also allows you to move past the this-is-how-its-done strictures that prevent change. I would love to see more independent approaches to book publishing spearheaded by women. Women are well-suited to entrepreneurship because we are used to finding ways to get it done. That’s what we do.”

Kirsty Melville, President and CEO, Andrews McMeel

In 2005, Andrews McMeel recruited Kirsty Melville to become publisher and executive vice president of its publishing company in Kansas City, Missouri. An Australian native, Melville was the founding publisher of Simon & Schuster Australia. She moved to San Francisco in 1994 to assume the role of vice president and publisher for Ten Speed Press before becoming publisher at University Games.

Andrews McMeel is known for its groundbreaking talent and ability to tap into the zeitgeist, with game-changing comics like Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury, Gary Larson’s The Far Side®, and Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. Melville got on the plane to Kansas City.

“Andrews McMeel’s long-standing commitment to its authors and creators and its distinction as a successful global, independent, family-owned publisher was immediately appealing,” says Melville, who was named CEO of Andrews McMeel Universal, the parent company of Andrews McMeel Publishing, in February 2024. New titles reflect the company’s ability to anticipate trends and publish work that is embraced by legions of people.

The worldwide bestseller milk and honey by Rupi Kaur has sold more than six million copies, which is previously unheard of for a poetry book. milk and honey 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (October) is, Melville says, “a celebration of the journey of the book that transformed the poetry category.” The special edition includes a new chapter of more than 20 original poems and new artwork, annotations by Rupi and other notable figures, and never-before-seen photos.

With Ornithography: An Illustrated Guide to Bird Lore & Symbolism (September) by Jessica Roux, the New York Times bestselling artist offers “another example of our ability to identify exceptional creators whose work resonates with readers,” Melville says. “Her beautiful artwork, featuring a subject that has exploded in popularity, is eagerly anticipated by her passionate fan base and will be a welcome addition to the libraries of bird watchers and nature lovers.” Matt Sprouts and the Curse of the Ten Broken Toes (March) by writer and illustrator Matthew Eicheldinger, a sixth grade teacher, is the first in a series for middle grade readers. “He knows the stories and subjects that will engage his young readers and delivers in the Matt Sprouts series,” Melville says.

“It was an immediate New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA Today bestseller, and we expect great sales to continue.” Unicorn Crush: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure (May) by Dana Simpson is the latest installment in the New York Times bestselling middle grade graphic novel series. “The charming relationship and magical adventures of a young girl, Phoebe, and her best friend, Marigold the unicorn, have captivated readers in the series that celebrates 10 years in publication this year,” Melville says. “Each of these titles reflect our mission of publishing creative, diverse voices to engage and delight readers of all ages and backgrounds,” she says. “As an agile, nimble publisher, we are able to tune into the current culture and respond with work that connects with readers.”

Julia Abramoff, Cofounder, Publisher, and Director of Editorial Apollo Publishers

Many decades ago, Julia Abramoff’s grandmother was one of many young women tasked with assisting Mr. Simon and Mr. Schuster. “The men were calling the shots at nearly every level,” Abramoff says.

Abramoff is the cofounder, publisher, and director of editorial of Apollo Publishers, an independent press dedicated to thoughtful and timely adult nonfiction. She started Apollo with Alex Merrill after many years in the business, editing and acquiring books for HarperCollins and then Skyhorse Publishing. Her motivation went beyond vindicating her grandmother’s generation.

“I wanted to publish a carefully curated list of books, where each book was thoughtfully executed with attention to every detail and then properly supported to reach readers,” Abramoff says. “I had been to enough book fairs to feel there was no need to put out additional content just for the sake of doing so.”

Apollo seeks out books, both narrative and illustrated, that fill a demand in the market and will become conversation starters. Upcoming titles clearly will. Mapping the Holy Land: An Illustrated Atlas (September) by Neal Asbury and Jean-Pierre Isbouts is a journey through the Holy Land as revealed by rare maps and prints from across the centuries.

“The book takes readers from the earliest days of the Roman Empire to the current war between Israel and Hamas and shows how the faithful have long fought impossible odds to reach the body of land considered holy,” Abramoff says.

In The World Beneath: The Life and Times of Unknown Sea Creatures and Coral Reefs, second edition (November), author Richard Smith, a world-renowned marine biologist and conservationist and an award-winning underwater photographer and videographer, takes readers on a dazzling undersea tour.

“The book has more than three hundred color photos of incredible sea creatures in amazing hues and prints— fluorescents! polka dots!—and coral reefs,” says Abramoff, who adds that in the new edition Smith discusses his passion for fighting to preserve the reefs.

The Alterations Lady: An Afghan Refugee, an American, and the Stories That Define Us (October) by Cindy Miller with Lailoma Shahwali tells the true story of identity, friendship, and perseverance from a survivor of the war in Afghanistan and an American forever changed by what she hears.

“Our book shows how the Taliban brutally murdered Lailoma Shahwali’s husband in front of her and her young son, and the epic journey she undertook as she was forced to give up her dreams and leave the only home she’d ever known to protect her child,” Abramoff says. The book considers the plight of immigrants and ultimately is a lesson about kindness and what we can learn from others if we take a moment to listen to their stories.

Words to Win By: The Slogans, Logos, and Designs of America’s Presidential Elections, (January 2025) is a passion project created in-house at Apollo that serves as a visual guide to the slogans, logos, and designs of America’s presidential races from 1900 through today’s upcoming election.

“To make it, we had the best time immersing ourselves in political messaging from both official presidential campaigns and also from supporters, studying and compiling together quippy one-liners emblazoned on pins, ubiquitous bumper stickers and lawn signs, and modern, clever graphics,” Abramoff says. Let the conversations begin.

Nancy Traversy, CEO & Co-Founder, Barefoot Books

When Barefoot Books CEO and Co-Founder Nancy Traversy and Tessa Strickland met in London in 1992, they both had very small children and wanted to teach them about different ways of life, traditions, and cultures. They also had complementary skills. Traversy’s background was in finance, small business, and design; Strickland had worked in adult publishing at large houses such as Random House and Penguin. “We wanted to raise our children to be curious, open-minded, and open-hearted global citizens,” Traversy says. “So, we started our fledgling children’s publishing company from our homes in England when my eldest daughter was just three weeks old.”

More than 30 years later, Barefoot Books is a leading global publisher of diverse and inclusive books for children, shipping more than 35 million copies since its founding. While the principles of diversity and authentic representation are now embraced throughout the publishing industry, in 1992 they were not mainstream. “It was often very hard,” Traversy says. “But we always remained committed to our vision, and now at last it really feels like the world is ready for Barefoot and our books.”

Titles on deck for Fall 2024 include Ayo’s Adventure: Across the African Diaspora from Afro to Zulu (September) written by Ain Heath Drew and illustrated by Erin Robinson. The picture book provides a deeper understanding of the African diaspora by exploring connections between the nations, cultures, and traditions represented on both sides of the Atlantic. “This is the story of a little boy who is struggling to fall asleep, but when he does, he tumbles into an extraordinary journey across the African diaspora, where he experiences creative and resilient cultures that share his heritage,” Traversy says.

Earth Song (September), the newest addition to Barefoot’s bestselling singalong collection, has an original song by Susan Reed and vibrant illustrations from Mariona Cabassa. Says Traversy, “This is an uplifting, STEAM-focused celebration of how the sun and moon create the Earth’s seasonal and daily cycles.”

In Barefoot’s recently launched Our World series of board books, authors and illustrators from countries around the globe draw on their authentic, lived experiences to create stories that provide a glimpse into a day in the life of toddlers and their families. Countries coming in Autumn 2024: Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

A new series, Barefoot Baby-Proof, will debut in August with eight of Barefoot’s bestselling baby and toddler books in a durable “chomp-proof” format. “Twice the length of similar formats on the market, and with our hallmark gorgeous colorful designs, they’re perfect for newborns and teethers who use all their senses to explore,” Traversy says.

Barefoot’s innovative spirit also applies to market channels. In the digital space, their bestselling Barefoot World Atlas app has over 4 million downloads and their YouTube channel has half a billion views and 600k subscribers. They have had their own branded studios featuring art exhibitions, arts and crafts, storytelling and more, including a 1100 sq. foot store in FAO Schwarz’s NYC flagship store from 2008 to 2013. Today, Barefoot’s vibrant Concord, MA offices are open to the public for shopping, events, and fundraisers.

On a more global scale, Barefoot has forged partnerships with major literacy organizations around the world. Out of over 40 publishers, they were selected as the lead supplier of 100k books for the newly established Diverse Books For All Coalition. Last year, they shipped over 500k books to Reach Out and Read Greater NY and National sites. They have partnered with Books for Africa to ship 300k books in Mozambican Portuguese to HIV/Aids orphans and nearly 80k books in Malagasy to Madagascar. Most recently, they worked with an educational distributor to create 20 titles in 20 languages and delivered more than 1.2 million books.

“It is validating to be a pioneer in a world that is increasingly eager for children’s books with authentic representation and themes that encourage an openness and appreciation for our wonderfully diverse world,” Traversy says. “We look forward to continuing our mission and making an impact for the next 30 years.

Monique Patterson, Vice President and Editorial Director, Bramble at the Tor Publishing Group

Monique Patterson began her publishing career a week after graduating from college, and over the 25-plus years since then she has never looked back. “I started at Avon Books, and as a lifelong romance lover that was a dream for me,” she says.

By 2023, Patterson had risen through the ranks to become vice president and editorial director for St. Martin’s Press acquisitions outreach when she heard from Tor Publishing Group president and publisher Devi Pillai, who offered her the chance to launch the romantic imprint Bramble. “I leaped at the chance, and it has been an incredible journey,” says Patterson, vice president and editorial director of Bramble.

“We believe that there is a love story for everyone, and Bramble is here to fulfill that need,” she says. “We are publishing amazing love stories from all walks of life for the modern reader.” Patterson is particularly excited about several upcoming titles.

In The Stars Are Dying (October) by Chloe C. Peñaranda, The Serpent & the Wings of Night meets Shadow and Bone in a seductive, star-crossed, dark romantic fantasy loosely inspired by the Greek myths of Astraea.

From indie darling Harper L. Woods comes The Coven (August), a sexy, deliciously imaginative fantasy romance where The Magicians meets Ninth House with vampires. Not only will this please fans of vampires and witches, but fans of dark academia as well.

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Survival of the Thickest in Curvy Girl Summer (June) by Danielle Allen, a smoking-hot, emotional, hilarious novel about the perils of online dating. It’s the perfect summer read. Pen Pal (July) by indie superstar J. T. Geissinger offers the high-octane sexiness of Katee Robert and the addicting thrills of Rachel Hawkins with a delicious twist. This dark romance also features a new bonus chapter.

Patterson says each of these books speaks to a different segment of the market that readers are clamoring for—dark academia, romantasy, cozy fantasy, dark romance, romantic dramas—and they are all prime examples of what Bramble’s team loves in each of those categories: outstanding voice and terrific commercial sensibility.

“The stories and characters in all of these books are absolutely captivating,” Patterson says. “The first time I read each one, I wasn’t able to put the book down.” The biggest misunderstanding about romance, Patterson says, is that love stories are not as serious as other kinds of stories.

“I think, even to this day, people can be dismissive of love stories, even though they have been and continue to be the most popular kind of story,” she says. “This applies to books, movies, TV shows, plays, documentaries, songs—basically every medium used to tell a story. Being in love and loving someone is one of our core desires and core experiences. We are hearts in search of connection with each other, and that is incredibly powerful.”

Patterson knows her love of romance—and publishing—will continue for the rest of her life. “I’m proud of the authors we are publishing, the careers we are building and the care, intelligence, determination, and focus we put into that,” she says. “We love what we do and it shows.”

Milli Brown, CEO, Brown Books Publishing Group

After author and artist Violet Lemay created a children’s book about the school shooting in Uvalde, her agent was unable to sell her manuscript in New York and advised LeMay to find a publisher who could see her vision for honoring a child killed as a result of gun violence. “Everyone was afraid to touch this title,” says Milli Brown, CEO of the Dallas-based Brown Books Publishing Group.

Everyone, that is, but Brown. The hybrid publisher released Alithia Ramirez Was an Artist in October 2023, and in the spring of 2024 she received word that the book had won three Children’s Book Council awards.

Brown started Brown Books Publishing Group in 1994 with the intent to create better options for authors like Lemay. “I created the model that I would have wanted if I had written a book,” Brown says. That is, a hybrid model that enables entrepreneurial authors willing to invest in their books to retain the rights to their intellectual property, making their work potentially more lucrative.

“In the beginning, my model was contrary to how publishing functioned,” she says. “I chose to flip the script and make the author the VIP in the publishing process.”

Brown seeks to publish all genres, with a general-interest publishing program that is unusually broad for an indie of Brown Books’ size. New titles are a testament to that breadth.

Children’s author Laura Numeroff, creator of the bestselling If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, signed with Brown for a Mother’s Day title, Max and Mama, coming in the spring of 2025. The Taste of Ambience: Luxury Wine Cellar Designs (May) by Al Fuentes is another of Brown’s extremely popular coffee table books, which have a record of coming up No. 1 in most online searches.

“It will be a must-have for every oenophile,” Brown says. Why You Should Give a Damn About Economics: The U.S. Debt Crisis and Your Future (April) by Leslie A. Rubin has an important message for this election year. “Our PR & Marketing campaign is ratcheting into high gear for this title,” she says.

Your 7 Words to a Happier You: Unlock the Story Sabotaging Your Relationships (September) by Jerry Giordano is for those looking to understand how their unconscious perceptions of themselves impact their personal relationships.

At Brown Books Publishing Group’s 20th anniversary party in 2014, PW publisher Cevin Bryerman was the keynote speaker. “He remarked to the audience how rare it was for an indie publisher to have lasted for two decades in this industry,” Brown says. “Now, as we celebrate our 30th anniversary, I am honored to be featured, once again, in his magazine. Save the date for our 40th anniversary. It’ll be a big one!”

Brown is also gratified that the industry has caught up with her, noting the deep skepticism she faced from numerous publishing professionals who said her business model couldn’t work. “Today I compete head-to-head with all the people who assured me I couldn’t be a publisher,” she says.

Shannon Gilligan, CEO and Publisher, Chooseco

Shortly after Shannon Gilligan left college in 1982, she got a job as a project manager to turn two Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) books into games for the Atari console. CYOA founder R.A. “Ray” Montgomery, who created the principles of immersive gamebooks, hired Gilligan. Gilligan went on to write several bestselling CYOA titles. Later, she and Montgomery became business partners and spouses.

When the rights to CYOA reverted to Montgomery in the early 2000s, the couple formed Chooseco. “He entertained a number of offers to license the series, but they were somewhat feeble,” Gilligan says. “Offers came in for six books published over two years—that kind of thing. No publisher would give Ray creative control over the covers, and that sealed the deal for him. We looked at each other circa 2005 and knew we were going to have to do this ourselves. It wasn’t as crazy as it sounds. But I will admit it was somewhat crazy.”

Their goal: relaunch the CYOA series in a robust way that speaks to a new generation of readers and keeps interactive fiction alive and thriving. “Ray used to refer to Choose Your Own Adventure as a ‘stealth reading program,’ and I agree,” Gilligan says. Forthcoming titles underscore Chooseco’s commitment to publishing compelling interactive experiences that get young readers involved.

For The Choose Your Own Adventure Tarot Deck (July), Gilligan was thrilled to secure artist Brian Anderson to illustrate the cards and Rana Tahir to write the guide. “So many completely random and unconnected store owners kept telling us we needed to do a tarot deck,” Gilligan says, who realized the interactive nature of tarot fit perfectly with Chooseco’s mission. “At first, I politely chuckled, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to make sense. The deck was an insane amount of fun to work on. Dot Greene, our creative director, and I kept pinching ourselves and saying, ‘Can it be legal for work to be this much fun?’”

Fairy House Disaster by Tina Connolly (October) is a follow-on title to Fairy House, part of the publisher’s Dragonlark imprint for readers 5–8. In the book, the “you” of the story has entered a gingerbread house contest, which goes fine until Daisy the Disaster Fairy arrives. “Connolly did a great job of moving the concept from the first Fairy House, creating a magical little house where fairies could live, to a story where the fairy house has a purpose: winning a gingerbread contest, which in the very best ending results in a prize that changes a family’s fortunes,” Gilligan says.

Ensuring Chooseco’s success has been deeply fulfilling for Gilligan, as she believes interactive reading is an extremely important genre that can help bridge learning gaps. “CYOA gets so many kids over the hump to secure reading fluency instead of mere literacy,” Gilligan says. “I cannot tell you how many super accomplished people, including a few household names, have told me they would never have gotten where they are without CYOA.

Angela Engel, Publisher and Founder, Collective Book Studio

Angela Engel had always loved working on the business development and sales side of book publishing, but after her third daughter was born, she decided to make a change. “I had a great job and fantastic coworkers, but I didn’t want an office job that required extensive travel and only allowed me to see my daughters at bedtime,” Engel says.

Her vision was to create an author friendly publishing company with a focus on diverse voices—ranging from female identifying authors and queer authors to BIPOC and Jewish authors, among many others. And she had the chops: over 20 years of experience in business development, marketing, and sales at publishers including Chronicle Books, Ten Speed Press, and Cameron + Company.

So at the age of 41, she started the Collective Book Studio. Five years later, it has become an award-winning publisher that has released more than 100 books, received 34 awards, and, most recently, started a distribution partnership with Simon & Schuster.

Woman-owned and women-led, the company is built on “supporting authors too often shut out of the industry,” Engel says. With a focus on nonfiction and a reputation for beautifully designed and packaged titles, the Collective Book Studio supports authors by letting them control and keep their IP. “Why would you come to me?” Engel asks. “Because we help people who are developing brands to take their concept and grow it.” And grow her authors have.

Fran Hauser’s 2022 book Embrace the Work, Love Your Career: A Guided Workbook for Realizing Your Career Goals with Clarity, Intention, and Confidence, has helped the author further establish her LinkedIn Learning courses on professional growth. The book is also retailing especially far and wide, with it on sale in FedEx Kinkos stores for more than a year.

Big titles are also coming down the pipeline. The Fly Who Flew to Space is a highly anticipated debut picture book from Emmy Award–winning journalist, pilot, and philanthropist Lauren Sánchez and illustrator Raleigh Stewart that publishes in September. The title, which features glow-in-the-dark elements and a poster, will be released simultaneously in English and Spanish.

Other anticipated titles include Tali and the Toucan (Aug.) by Mira Z. Amiras and illustrated by Chantelle Thorne and Burgen Thorne, which is a heartening tale that encourages children to face their fears and embrace bravery with widespread wings. Be BOLD Today (Nov.) is the book version of entrepreneur Leigh Burgess’s popular business strategy model, the BOLD Framework. With its foundational steps of believe, own, learn, and design, the book is a guide to actualizing change. And Entertaining by Design (Sept.) is a seasonal collection of 17 simple and stylish gatherings by award-winning interior designer Lorna Gross.

“Every title we decide to publish has to pass the ‘we love it and believe it will sell’ test,” Engel says. “Our brand, our reputation, and yes, our bottom line depend on being selective and betting on books we genuinely believe in.”

Engel loves seeing women drive the industry forward, but she has no illusions about how hard a path it is to navigate. “It isn’t a level playing field,” she says. “It’s not level for women or small businesses. We have to play differently.” But where there are obstacles, there is also opportunity. “Women have long navigated various barriers,” Engel says. “We’re great at adapting and pivoting, skills that are gold in the fast-evolving world of publishing.

Miranda West, Founder and Publisher, The Do Book Co.

In 2010, Miranda West and her husband had two young children and full-time jobs with crazy commutes across London. So when her husband’s company requested that the family relocate to Switzerland, West surprised her colleagues by resigning from her position as senior commissioning editor at Penguin Random House UK’s Vermilion imprint to make the move.

Soon after, she discovered a series of free educational and inspirational talks called the DO Lectures. “It was love at first sight and my commissioning instinct kicked in,” West says. “I emailed the founders that day asking if they had ever considered publishing books by their speakers.” A week later, she had her first online meeting with DO Lectures’ founders Clare Hieatt and David Hieatt, and the Do Book Co. launched in 2013 with West as publisher.

“Do Books are designed to help creative entrepreneurs, makers, and doers work smarter and create positive change,” West says. Experts in fields such as business, design, well-being, and sustainable living provide stories and advice focused on execution—the “doing”— rather than theory, as is seen in the 2024 list.

In Do Conversation: There’s no such thing as small talk (May), Robert Poynton offers simple ways to improve our natural ability so that we overcome any anxiety, converse more skillfully, and have more meaningful interactions.

In Do Recruit: How to find and keep great people (June), Khalilah Olokunola, formerly chief people officer at a progressive brewery in North Carolina, describes the unconventional approach to hiring and retention that Olokunola created during her time employing active gang members, offering strategies for looking beyond the CV and focusing on traits such as loyalty, creative problem-solving, and life experience.

In Do You: A user manual to knowing, liking and being yourself (September), bestselling author Sam Conniff and neuroscientist Katherine Templar Lewis combine insightful storytelling and cutting-edge science to help readers discover themselves and fulfill their potential.

In Do Smoked: A modern guide to smoking food (October), Jen Goss and Scott Davis show everyday cooks how they can smoke their own food. As a young chef, Scott Davis first “smoked” under the arches at London’s Mirabelle restaurant, and now he partners with caterer Jen Goss.

West sees the uptick in women-run publishing companies and literary agencies in part as a response to the need for more workplace flexibility. But she sees the tide turning, noting that when she was at PRH, a colleague requested that no meetings requiring her input be scheduled late in the day, so she didn’t miss her child’s nursery pickup time. West and other parents with that issue backed her up; soon after, no cross-departmental meetings started after 4 p.m. “It was a small change, easily implemented, but made such a big difference to our stress levels,” she says. “I’m so pleased there’s more flexibility now.”

For her part, West is happy running her own press, and she’s proud to have maintained a great working relationship with the DO Lectures while remaining true to her vision. “I’ve never compromised or published books that I wasn’t excited about,” she says. Her ultimate gauge of success: reader reviews saying a Do Book has genuinely helped them. “It means we’ve delivered on our mission: to inspire action and positive change,” she says.

Franziska Emons-Hausen, Publisher, Emons Verlag

Franziska Emons-Hausen became the publisher of Emons Verlag much sooner than she ever would have wished. Fourteen years ago, Emons-Hausen joined the house that her father, Hejo Emons, established in Germany in 1984. “It was an opportunity to join the family business and work closely with my father, my most important mentor,” says Emons-Hausen, who brought to the publisher the design experience she cultivated in the fashion industry.

Emons Verlag first gained prominence as a publisher of crime novels with a local angle; the books are set in nearly every city and town in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Then, in 2008, Emons launched 111 Places, a series of guidebooks designed for locals and visitors alike to explore cities and regions around the world.

Over the years, Emons-Hausen gradually took on more of a business role, and it became clear that it would make sense for her to take over leadership of the house. Then, in 2023, Hejo Emons passed away while Emons-Hausen was on maternity leave with her second son. “That was an extremely difficult time,” she says. “But with the support of my family and my wonderful colleagues, we were all able to celebrate Hejo Emons’ life and start thinking about moving forward while preserving his legacy.”

Today, Emons Verlag is one of the 100 largest publishing houses in Germany. The 111 Places series has sold more than 4 million titles, with 800 titles in multiple languages published in over 10 countries.

With eye-catching designs, the 111 Places books are written and photographed by locals and offer off-the-beaten-path recommendations and surprising facts and stories that appeal to longtime residents as well as visitors.

New titles include: 111 Places in Black History in Washington, DC That You Must Not Miss (June). “I am very excited about this book because it’s the first guide to focus on the amazing stories and contributions of Black Americans in the U.S. capital city throughout history until today,” Emons-Hausen says.

111 Places in Napa & Sonoma That You Must Not Miss (April). “We took a risk here and created a guide to wine country that’s not about the wine!” she says. “We are sure that people will be excited to have so many different kinds of places to visit across this famous region.”

111 Places in the Scottish Highlands That You Shouldn’t Miss (Oct.). “This region is so full of beauty and magic, combined with a history of war and bloodshed,” EmonsHausen says. “The photos in this book are spectacular.”

111 Places for Kids London That You Shouldn’t Miss (Nov.). “As the mother of two small children, I’m in love with our 111 Places for Kids guides,” Emons-Hausen says. “They’re essential for family fun at home and abroad!” Taking the helm of Emons Verlag while grieving her father and raising two young children wasn’t easy, but Emons-Hausen is thrilled by what the publisher has accomplished, particularly its growing presence in the United States and Canada.

“It makes me very proud as a publisher to walk through New York City and see our titles in the big bookstores,” she says. “And also in beautiful gift shops and specialty stores across the US and Canada.

Victoria Duerstock, Founder, End Game Press

After several years as an author and writing coach, Victoria Duerstock wanted to get a publisher’s view of the business. “I wanted to learn about the other side of the table,” Duerstock says. “I wanted to learn the things you don’t know as an author. I knew if I partnered with other author friends, we could build something special and have fun doing it.”

So in 2021, she founded End Game Press, a traditional publishing house that serves the general and Christian markets with a variety of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s titles. To date, End Game has published more than 65 titles. The publisher is also translating to other languages, doing audio titles, and working to find new ways and means of selling books.

“We’ve done some really great work,” Duerstock says. “I’m proud of our team of women who are all working writers as well. We have a really special publishing house unlike any other.”

Duerstock says that, as working writers, the team holds the books they publish to a high standard, from both a writing and a design perspective. At the same time, they work to ensure that End Game Press authors have a positive experience, providing author education on platform-building and best marketing practices. “End Game Press leverages all of its resources to make the greatest positive impact possible,” Duerstock says.

Duerstock is particularly excited about several new titles. She plans to rerelease her Heart & Home series this year, alongside The Dachshund Dash (Aug.), the follow-up sequel to writer Michelle Medlock Adams and illustrator Ana Sebastian’s Dachshund Through the Snow. “Crosby the dachshund is a fan favorite already,” Duerstock says, “and having an ongoing series from bestselling author Michelle Medlock Adams is an easy winner.”

Michelle “MACE” Curran introduced readers to Lilly Padilly in Upside Down Dreams last summer. Now Lilly returns in book two, What’s Your Callsign? (June), with pictures by Skylar White. “Readers fell in love with Lilly, and they are going to take a new journey with her, learning in this new title that failure isn’t all bad,” Duerstock says. “We often learn our greatest lessons when we fail.”

Eat Like a Heroine by Lorilee Craker with pictures by Jenny Williams is a nod to favorite fictional heroines. “Eat Like a Heroine is a couple years in the making,” Duerstock says. “Pulling favorite fictional characters together with recipes and storytelling from Anne of Green Gables to Zora Heale Hurson will make our bookish readers positively swoon with delight!”

Looking ahead, Duerstock continues to seek opportunities to expand the brand, with an eye on music, media, and partnerships with nonprofits and ministries. To this end, she believes working with a team of women is an advantage, noting that women are particularly good at balancing the business and creative sides of the work. “Women tend to juggle well—many of us are moms, so we have to be organized, creative, flexible, and proactive,” she says. “These are all skills that are incredibly necessary in today’s publishing industry.”

Liz Pelletier, CEO and publisher, Entangled Publishing

Before she cofounded Entangled Publishing in 2011, Liz Pelletier kept meeting talented authors who were looking for a home for their books. In their stories, she saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between indie and traditional publishing.

An engineer by training, Pelletier put her problem-solving skills to work with authors of innovative genre-bending romantic fiction, leading to major hits like Rebecca Yarros’s Fourth Wing and Hannah Nicole Maehrer’s Assistant to the Villain. “I like to say we deliver joy,” says Pelletier, Entangled’s CEO and publisher.

“As we’ve expanded and started breaking the rules of genre and romance, in particular, that joy comes in many forms—from the happily-ever-after of a rom-com to the pure escapism of a romantasy.”

When asked which 2024 titles she’s most excited about, Pelletier protests. “This is like asking me to choose a favorite child!” she says, before narrowing it down to a few titles readers might be less familiar with, including Mai Corland’s Five Broken Blades. “It was an absolute privilege to work on this title. Focusing on five liars and their cutthroat quest for vengeance, you get incredible characters and a total page-turner that keeps you guessing,” she says.

From Entangled’s Red Tower line comes thriller-writer Rachel Howzell Hall’s first foray into new adult romantasy, The Last One. “She knocked it out of the park,” Pelletier says. “And you can still see her crime-writing chops shine through with great pacing, engaging characters, and thoughtful, real-world themes.”

Entangled Teen has the latest Tracy Wolff novel, Sweet Nightmare, a new companion to her bestselling Crave series. “You won’t want to sleep (or fall asleep!) on this little corner of light horror,” Pelletier says. “It’s got scares and laughs and pop culture catnip galore.”

From the Amara imprint, Because Fat Girl by Lauren Marie Fleming has received great early feedback. “She’s written a poignant, unapologetic, and often laugh-out-loud story that doesn’t fit any neat, traditional boundaries,” she says.

All of these titles reflect Entangled’s commitment to telling great stories, independent of the traditional limitations of genre. “We are always doing things a little differently,” Pelletier says. “We see where the market is now and then we ask ourselves where it’s going to be next; that’s what these books represent—what is going to be on bookshelves tomorrow, or next year.”

Entangled’s editors are also dedicated to raising the voices of emerging and underrepresented authors and artists. “It is something we are actively working to improve within our own company,” Pelletier says, “and we are striving to contribute to a positive creative ecosystem at every opportunity.”

She is encouraged by the positive shifts she has seen for both women and historically underrepresented communities and identities. “We still have a lot of work to do,” she says. “Yet as all industries increasingly recognize the importance and value of diverse perspectives, publishing is no exception. I’d like to do my part to create more seats at the table and ensure these trends continue. In fact, I’m very proud that Entangled Publishing is entirely woman-owned—hopefully, that’s just the beginning of what we can accomplish.

Leslie ''LAM'' Miller, CEO and Cofounder, Girl Friday Productions, LLC

Leslie “LAM” Miller started Girl Friday Productions with cofounder Ingrid Emerick because they wanted to work at a company that supported both its authors and its employees. It was 2004 but still, “like so many women, in our executive positions at a traditional publisher, we were forced to choose between family and career,” says Miller, CEO at Girl Friday Productions, LLC.

The cofounders wanted both—for themselves and their team members. They also wanted to provide authors with better opportunities to bring their books into the world. So they created a submission-based, Ingram-distributed hybrid publishing program plus a rich custom program that together enable them to publish great books that are wellpositioned for success. “Every author receives the same care, consulting, and production team as the next—the best we have to offer and the best in the business,” Miller says.

That dedication to editorial quality is evident in GFP’s 2024 list. Alexandra Chan’s memoir, In the Garden Behind the Moon, is “a masterclass on memoir writing,” Miller says. Chan weaves together her background as an archaeologist and an artist with Chinese astrology, examining the loss of her father while speaking to a universal truth.

A workbook companion to nutrition coach Megan Hansen’s bestselling Metabolism Makeover is a response to popular demand. “Hansen brings her characteristic friendly and approachable tone to quizzes, prompts, and exercises that help readers dive deep into their own personal history and create a unique, targeted plan to move forward with confidence,” Miller says.

Hawaiian chef Jason Raffin’s Keto Like a Chef is a high-end, unexpected take on eating keto. “Just as fun to look at as it is to cook from, it includes stunning and original recipes for home cooks who want to create restaurant-quality food for their keto journey,” Miller says.

And in Sharon Virts’s haunting The Grays of Truth, true crime meets historical fiction in a twisting mystery that explores the real story of a series of murders among Baltimore’s elite families in the years following the Civil War. “Once again,” Miller says, “Sharon Virts infuses the story with deeply researched historical detail and brilliant, flawed characters.”

Each of these authors came to GFP with different goals and backgrounds, and they worked with their marketing strategist to identify their target audience and determine how their ideal reader is likely to discover and purchase their book.

This nuanced approach is essential, Miller says, because today there are many pathways to success and multiple variables at play, such as the book’s genre, the author’s platform and goals, and the target audience’s buying habits.

Providing authors with this personalized approach is what inspired Miller to start GFP, and it’s why she is encouraged to see more women leaders in the publishing industry. “Women leaders tend to prize and privilege collaboration and empathy,” she says, “yet those two traits are still maligned as weaknesses.”

This is a mistake, Miller says. Collaboration makes organizations stronger, and empathy is fundamental to connecting with customers and employees alike. “The value and regard we hold for one another at GFP directly translates into how the team treats our clients,” she says. “The result is a process that is compassionate, joyful, and full of both dignity and excellence. I don’t know what’s better than that.

Judith Schnell, Publisher, Globe Pequot

During her more than 40 years in publishing, Globe Pequot publisher Judith Schnell has seen women’s presence grow in all areas of the industry and at the top levels of leadership. “There are many opportunities for advancement,” she says.

She should know. Schnell began her career as an editorial assistant at Stackpole Books in 1980, rising through the editorial ranks from assistant to acquiring editor to editorial director and publisher. After Jed Lyons acquired Stackpole in late 2015 and moved the imprint to the Globe Pequot Trade Division, he hired Schnell to stay on as editorial director of the Stackpole imprint, and she subsequently became publisher of Globe Pequot, the trade division of Rowman & Littlefield, overseeing 20 imprints that include Lyons Press, Falcon, Stackpole, Globe Pequot, Prometheus, Applause/Backbeat, Down East, and Pineapple.

“Our mission is to publish quality books with expertise and authority in our subject areas, which include outdoor sports, hiking, and fly fishing; Civil War, World War II, and American history; crafts, music, and theater; critical thinking and current events; regional guides; and all things Maine and Florida,” she says.

There are several titles on the 2024 list that she’s particularly excited about. Megan Lapp’s Crochet Monsters (Stackpole) follows the author’s wildly popular Crochet Creatures of Myth and Legend and Crochet Impkins. With more than 35 body patterns and options for horns, limbs, and antennae, the book offers crafters countless mix-and-match options. Dion DiMucci rose to rock and roll fame in the late 1950s with three top-40 hits as the lead singer of Dion and the Belmonts: “Runaround Sue,” “The Wanderer,” and “A Teenager in Love.”

In Dion: The Rock and Roll Philosopher (Lyons Press), DiMucci and Adam Jablin detail a career of chart-topping hits, Grammy nominations, an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and collaborations with luminaries like Paul Simon, Lou Reed, k.d. lang, and Eric Clapton. The book weaves DiMucci’s story with a look back over 60 years of rock and roll history.

BACKPACKER magazine’s Northwest editor Ted Alvarez offers an exhilarating tour of nature’s masterpieces in Hiking Hidden Gems in America’s National Parks (FalconGuides). Alvarez reveals the secrets, stories, and stunning landscapes tucked away in the folds of our nation’s beloved parks with personal tales, historical insights, and essential advice.

Jason Colavito’s Jimmy: The Secret Life of James Dean (Applause) draws on more than 400 previously secret pages of Dean’s personal and business records and is an essential corrective to the biographical-historical record of the icon who revolutionized American manhood. With a 21st-century approach, the book is informed by contemporary ideas about sexual diversity and transforms our understanding of James Dean’s story and the stories of boys and men like him.

In Building a God (Prometheus), Christopher DiCarlo, a global leader in the ethics of artificial intelligence, argues for the ethical governance of AI by identifying the key components, obstacles, and points of progress gained so far by the global community, and by putting forth thoughtful and measured policies to regulate this dangerous technology.

Schnell is confident that these books will be standouts, as they deliver the content, production values, and expertise that are Globe Pequot’s hallmarks. “They represent their imprints’ focus and strength and are solid examples of the kinds of books the imprints are known for,” she says.

Her advice to women hoping to rise up in the industry: “Learn as much as you can about all aspects of publishing.”

Kendra Boileau, Assistant Director and Publisher, Graphic Mundi at PSU Press

After Kendra Boileau joined Penn State University Press as its editor-in-chief, she met some Penn State faculty members who were working in graphic medicine, a genre that leverages the power of comics to communicate about the human experience. Up to that point, Boileau had been acquiring mostly scholarly titles and had not worked with graphic novels. But she was impressed with her Penn State colleagues’ work and vision, and she launched the Graphic Medicine book series at PSU Press.

“The primary mission of the series was to publish scholarship about graphic medicine narratives,” says Boileau, now the assistant director and publisher of Graphic Mundi at PSU Press. “But I ended up seeing more pitches for graphic novels than scholarship about them, and these were the kinds of books that had the potential to reach an expanded market.”

Initially, Boileau’s pitch to start acquiring graphic novels for the university press yielded some uncomfortable conversations with the publisher’s faculty board, but that is the challenge of being ahead of the curve. Boileau looked at PSU Press’s stellar record of producing award-winning academic and general-interest books with high-quality editorial, design, and production values, and she saw the qualities that would set the project up for success.

PSU Press published its first graphic novel in 2015 and ultimately scaled the line up to become a trade graphic novel imprint called Graphic Mundi, which launched in 2021. It includes nonfiction and reality-based fiction graphic novels for general readers on a range of important topics that reflect both diverse perspectives and shared experiences. “By approaching divisive topics via the empathy-inspiring medium of graphic novels, we hope that Graphic Mundi titles will help to draw our worlds together, in spite of our differences,” Boileau says.

The 2024 list exemplifies Graphic Mundi’s commitment to representing previously marginalized voices. In The Flavors of Iraq: Impressions of My Vanished Homeland (May), French-Iraqi journalist Feurat Alani describes the immense human suffering that occurred in Iraq during the embargo of the 1990s and the Iraq War—suffering the Western media largely glossed over. Illustrated by the striking art of Léonard Cohen, the book tells a powerful and poetic story of an oppressed population, an illegal war, and a country that no longer exists.

In Eventually Everything Connects: Eight Essays on Uncertainty (June), Sarah Firth explores the joys and pains of living in a hypercomplex and uncertain world through eight autobiographical visual essays. Firth, a neurodivergent feminist, draws from her lived experience, pop culture memes, and teachings from science, philosophy, and history. The result is a work with unique energy, boundless curiosity and humor, and colorful, detailed, kinetic drawings.

Lebanon Is Burning and Other Dispatches by Yazan Al-Saadi (November) offers an on-the-ground view of popular uprisings in the Middle East from 2000 onward, featuring collaborative short comics by journalist Yazan Al-Saadi and a talented group of artists from that region. Boileau says the book will lead the fall season. “It exemplifies Graphic Mundi’s mission to publish graphic novels on existential questions that engage, challenge, and enlighten,” she says.

Tanya Hall, CEO, Greenleaf Book Group

Before joining Greenleaf Book Group 20 years ago, Tanya Hall worked in television and digital media production for Extra! and E! cable television networks. So what brought her to the hybrid publisher?

“The two main draws were the company’s innovative spirit and the opportunity to collaborate with authors by being a champion of their work,” says Hall, Greenleaf’s chief executive officer. “It was also very much a startup when I joined, so there was lots of room to do what I love doing most: build!”

And build she did. Greenleaf works with authors and thought leaders on every aspect of developing and promoting their work—from expert branding to book creation, promotion, and retail distribution. During her tenure, Hall has spearheaded growth strategies such as Greenleaf’s e-book program and the River Grove digital-first imprint. She has worked directly with authors of New York Times bestsellers. She also partnered with retailers and wholesalers to develop one of the fastest-growing distribution businesses in the industry.

The result is an innovative and supportive publishing environment that empowers authors to bring their ideas into the world with a powerful distribution model and a publisher with a reputation for excellence in the industry. This success is evident in Greenleaf’s 2024 list. Hall is particularly excited about New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert’s Forget Me Never. “Susan has dozens of titles under her belt, all of which sell very well. She has a huge, dedicated base of readers,” Hall says.

Hall also expects big things from Samantha Harte’s Breaking the Circuit: How to Rewire Your Mind for Hope, Resilience, and Joy in the Face of Trauma. “The book takes the wisdom of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and applies it as a tool for overcoming the ‘soul sickness’ afflicting so many of us,” she says.

Greenleaf author John DiJulius is a well-known thought leader in the customer service space with a solid sales history. Hall expects his success to continue with his latest book, The Employee Experience Revolution: Increase Morale, Retain Your Workforce, and Drive Business Growth. And after winning Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Yvie Oddly is releasing an in-depth exploration into their journey as an artist with All About Yvie: Into the Oddity.

“All of these titles have authors with solid platforms, which of course is critical for gaining traction in a crowded marketplace,” Hall says. They also showcase Greenleaf’s diversity. “This mix of titles,” she says, “demonstrates our ability to handle a wide range of genres, all written by authors who are committed to making an impact in the lives of their readers.”

Hall is encouraged by the publishing industry’s increased understanding of the need for diverse representation and the current demand for books by traditionally marginalized voices. Women, she says, have been integral to this trend. “I think women in publishing have been a driving force for more diversity in literature and leadership across the board,” she says. “That serves the industry through a broader mix of stories being told, and in turn, wider audiences being reached.

Sanphy Thomas, Managing Director, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

When Sanphy Thomas began her publishing career, she entered a very new world. A neurodivergent woman of South Asian heritage from northwest England, she was suddenly surrounded by white graduates of Oxford and Cambridge with posh accents.

Now, as managing director of Jessica Kingsley Publishers, an imprint of John Murray Press, Thomas is gratified to learn that many young women see her as a role model. “I am humbled whenever I’m told that young women, particularly those of color, see me in my role and feel encouraged to pursue their own ambitions within the industry,” Thomas says.

At the 2022 British Book Awards, Jessica Kingsley Publishers won the Academic, Professional and Educational Publisher of the Year award. The award recognizes JKP’s dedication to publishing high-quality books with a mission to empower individuals to change society through information and knowledge. This commitment to social justice is what drew Thomas to JKP. “In its focus on communities who are underrepresented and on giving a voice to individuals who don’t feel heard, JKP’s publishing was something I wanted to be involved in,” Thomas says.

That vision continues under Thomas, as upcoming titles make clear. The Every Body Book of Consent by Rachel Simon (August) teaches the concept of consent to preadolescents and people who are not sexually mature. “The inclusive, kind, and informative approach the book takes as it guides eight- to 12-year-olds on the issue of body autonomy makes it unique,” Thomas says.

Raising Capable Kids by Deborah Winking (June) takes a transdiagnostic approach that makes it useful to parents of autistic children or those with ADHD or physical and cognitive disabilities. “It’s empowering and encourages parents to reframe expectations of children labeled ‘different’ so that misconceptions about a child’s ability level don’t inhibit their future success,” Thomas says.

Navigating PDA in America by Ruth Fidler and Diane Gould (June) introduces U.S. readers to PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance), which primarily has been a diagnosis in the U.K. “This is super timely for U.S.-based parents and teachers of children with a PDA profile, as they currently do not have sound resources to turn to for their children when general advice is not quite right,” Thomas says.

Monogamy? In This Economy? by Laura Boyle (August) examines the rising trend of nonmonogamy in relationships through personal and collective struggles around inflation, the housing shortage, employment, and making ends meet. “Laura Boyle goes beyond a 101-guide approach to nonmonogamy to discuss the practical, granular detail of polyamorous cohabitation,” Thomas says.

Looking at the publishing industry as a whole, Thomas applauds the policies and programs that are aimed at creating a more inclusive environment. That said, she thinks cultural attitudes are changing more slowly, particularly for women who intersect with other aspects of identity, such as neurodivergence, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background. “These can be so intertwined with one’s identity as a woman that it can be very difficult to categorize unfair workplace practices based purely on gender,” Thomas says. Raising awareness of those complex identities is a key part of JKP’s mission, and Thomas and her team are glad for the chance to help foster this understanding.

Linda Leith, Publisher, Linda Leith Publishing

Before founding her own publishing company in 2011, Linda Leith enjoyed a long and varied career in the industry. She has written eight works of fiction and nonfiction, translated a book from French into English, edited a book series, worked in magazine publishing, and ounded the multilingual Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival.

After Leith stepped down from her post as president and artistic director of Blue Met, she was ready for a new adventure, and creating a publishing house seemed like the right outlet for her passions and talents. “I looked at it as a challenge. I was especially interested in great new talent,” says Leith, who has earned the honor Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the country.

Based in Montreal, Linda Leith Publishing specializes in literary fiction and nonfiction written in English or translated into English. Leith is particularly interested in publishing great books that might not otherwise find a home: short books, edgy subjects, and original voices.

“The mission of the press is to publish and promote the work of writers from a multitude of different backgrounds—Black and white, Jewish and Arab, European and Asian—working in languages from English and French to Mandarin and Portuguese,” she says. “Our writers hail from a multitude of different backgrounds.”

The editorial team is particularly proud to publish a wide range of points of view on the Middle East. This year Leith is excited to publish Sivan Slapak’s first book, Here Is Still Here, a story collection set in Israel and Montreal that goes beyond the polarizing headlines.

The 2024 list also reflects Linda Leith’s dedication to publishing short “Singles” essays. In The Storm of Progress: Climate Change, AI, and the Roots of Our Dangerous Ethical Myopia English-Canadian intellectual Wade Rowland makes a compelling case against the “progress” that threatens the future of humanity. And in Seeking Asylum: Building a Shareable World, bestselling Greek-Canadian journalist Toula Drimonis writes boldly about some of the most pressing issues of our time.

Leith is particularly passionate about publishing books by women and people of color. “It’s no coincidence that the majority of LLP authors are women,” she says. “And it’s no coincidence that we have created and are developing a diverse community of writers, literary translators, and illustrators.”

The house’s diversity of viewpoints also extends to age. The 2024 roster includes teenage YA science writer Nathan Hellner-Mestelman’s Cosmic Wonder: Our Place in the Epic Story of the Universe, which explores the universe with humor, modesty, and awe. As the first review puts it, “this is one up-and-coming writer to watch.”

“We believe in the future of good books,” Leith says. “These are all, without exception, intelligent books written for thoughtful readers by terrific writers.” As far as the representation of women in the overall publishing landscape is concerned, Leith is cautiously optimistic. “There are now a substantial number of women in leadership positions in publishing, and a still unrepresentative but growing number of women from diverse backgrounds.” Her words of wisdom: “Read widely. Be opinionated. Persist.”

Brenda Knight, Publisher, Mango Publishing

When Brenda Knight was the publisher of Cleis Press and Viva Editions, the company’s office was across the hall from Ingram Publishing Services (IPS). One day, then IPS vice president Mark Ouimet stopped by Knight’s office to discuss their publishing colleague Chris McKenney’s latest venture, Mango Publishing. “We both had known Chris for years and admired his entrepreneurial spirit,” Knight says. “Mark showed me the very first Mango catalog, and I could see that it was the start of something exciting and new.”

So when McKenney asked Knight to be publisher in 2016, she was in. “I welcomed the opportunity to help create a publishing program from scratch,” she says.

Knight started in sales and marketing at HarperCollins’ San Francisco group before becoming the associate publisher at Conari Press, staying on after Red Wheel/Weiser acquired it. In 2015, she won the ALA IndyFab Publisher of the Year award for Cleis.

Ready for a new challenge, Knight was excited by Mango’s mission to publish books that make a positive difference in people’s lives. New titles are cases in point: Queer Cheer: Activities, Advice, and Affirmations for LGBTQ+ Teens (June) comes out for Pride Month. Knight approached coauthor Eric Rosswood when the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation was first proposed, saying she was concerned for young queer people. Rosswood teamed up with Jodie Anders to write a book of positive and affirming messages for LGBTQ+ youth. “The finished book exceeds all expectations and is going to help so many teens and tweens,” she says.

Kim Colgrove became a trauma recovery trainer after her police-sergeant husband ended his life due to his extreme post-traumatic stress disorder. In Wellness Warrior Style: A Simple, Peer-Supported Guide to Help First Responders and Veterans Heal (May), Colgrove offers help to the people who help us in emergencies, as their mental health often suffers.

In The Boy from Mexico Becomes a Farmworker: Grown Up Luz and His Friends Feed America (Sept.), Edward Dennis, whose father walked from Mexico to the United States and became a migrant farmworker, spotlights the valuable contributions of immigrants in America in this sequel to his children’s book, The Boy from Mexico. “The border and immigration are the hot-button issues in this election year,” Knight says. “Edward’s book will open many minds.”

In September, which is Suicide Prevention Month, Knight is publishing the first in Mango’s new Books That Save Lives imprint: Reasons to Live: A Guide to Practices that Support Healing Beyond Suicidal Thoughts and Emotional Overwhelm. Author Juliana Jane Bruno, a surfer and counselor who runs a mental health crisis center, literally offers reasons to live, providing expert tips, strategies, and resources on where to find help.

The series exemplifies Mango’s commitment to making a difference—several Mango authors have already heard from readers that their books helped them hang on. “By working with these authors and publishing their books, I feel like I am offering something to the world,” Knight says. “When I’m an old lady sitting on my porch drinking coffee, I can know in my heart that I made a difference.

Amy Brand, Director and Publisher, MIT Press

Words and language have always played a significant role in Amy Brand’s life. Growing up in Manhattan, she explored the city’s independent bookstores. Later, she majored in linguistics at Barnard and got her PhD in the cognitive science of language at MIT. When she decided to bring her credentials to academic publishing, she knew she wanted to return to MIT, and she was delighted to start as an acquistions editor at the MIT Press in 1993. “My ‘MIT Press or bust’ stance comes from wanting to work on knowledge that matters and from knowing— both back then and now— that the MIT Press is a fabulous publisher in fields that matter most to making the world better,” Brand says.

Now the MIT Press director and publisher, Brand says that university presses are critical in the infrastructure of social change. “Issues of science denialism, book banning, and weaponized disinformation are a huge focus for us,” she says. “As a nonprofit publisher, we are not constrained by market forces in the way that commercial publishers and news media are—we can center truth and integrity over shareholder demands. Everything we publish at the MIT Press is peer-reviewed, and our acquisitions team works hard to ensure we are acquiring work from a rich range of scholars and thinkers. This commitment means we publish more interdisciplinary, leading-edge scholarship and platform authors who present fresh perspectives in their fields and come from marginalized communities.” The MIT Press’s fall list exemplifies the Press’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of scholarly publishing to advance knowledge that serves humanity.

Greg Epstein’s Tech Agnostic (October) follows up his New York Times–bestselling Good without God to explore how technology has overtaken religion as the chief influence on 21st-century life and community. “MIT and Harvard’s humanist chaplain is uniquely positioned to write a guide on how to reassert our common humanity beyond the seductive sheen of ‘tech,’” Brand says. “Tech Agnostic will be a critical work for informing and empowering individual choices and collective action toward reformation.”

Gary Marcus’s Taming Silicon Valley (September) is a short but powerful manifesto from one of the most prominent voices in the debates currently raging around generative AI. “This is required reading that explains what we can do to safeguard our democracy, our society, and our future,” Brand says. For readers of political science, law, and policy, Brand is excited about Todd Stern’s Landing the Paris Climate Agreement (September), a high-stakes, seven-year narrative that illuminates the strategy, policy, politics, and diplomacy that made the Paris Agreement possible. She also notes Marianna Chilton’s The Painful Truth about Hunger in America (October), which draws on 25 years of research, programming, and advocacy efforts to demonstrate how food insecurity is created and maintained by people in power.

Brand feels fortunate to publish such essential works. “Being a leader in publishing is a privilege for the intellectually curious,” Brand says. “Every day at work, I get to contribute to the creation of beautiful, tangible objects while championing free expression at a crucial time. It’s incredibly fulfilling.”

Juliet Mabey, Publisher Oneworld, Publications

In 1986, Juliet Mabey had two young children, a degree in social anthropology, and experience working on a farm and caring for horses in a circus. She did not have publishing experience, and neither did her husband, Novin Doostdar.

But they did share a love of books and an appreciation for their contribution to shaping individuals and societies. So that year, the couple created Oneworld, an independent press that has grown into a small powerhouse that publishes more than 100 titles a year, books that include winners of the Booker Prize, the National Book Awards, and the Women’s Prize.

“We set out to make a difference, for our books to have an impact,” Mabey says. “Our ambition was to make information accessible to a broad readership and to publish authors from around the world, for readers all over the world, hence the name.”

Oneworld has signed authors from more than 50 countries writing in more than 25 languages. These include Booker Prize winners A Brief History of Seven Killings by Jamaica author Marlon James, The Sellout by Paul Beatty and Prophet Song by Irish author Paul Lynch, as well as Women’s Prize winner Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage and Argentinian author Samanta Schweblin’s latest story collection, Seven Empty Houses, which won the National Book Award for Translated Literature.

Mabey currently focuses on Oneworld’s fiction and children’s lists, and she is particularly excited about several upcoming novels. Irish poet and novelist Caoilinn Hughes’s The Alternatives (May) is a funny and big-hearted novel about four sisters coming together to confront their past. “Caoilinn Hughes is one of the stars of the new generation of writers making a name for themselves in Ireland and further afield,” Mabey says. “Both her previous novels won prestigious awards, but The Alternatives is tipped as her breakout.”

Following Nigerian British author Onyi Nwabineli’s debut, Someday, Maybe, a Good Morning America Book Club pick, comes Allow Me to Introduce Myself (May), selected as NetGalley UK’s Book of the Month. “It’s a page-turning novel about the dark side of social media for fans of The List and How to Kill Your Family,” Mabey says.

Vengeance (June) is the much anticipated sequel to Saima Mir’s debut The Khan, a former Waterstones Crime Thriller of the Month. The feminist crime series focuses on a Muslim Pakistani heroine running an organized crime syndicate in the north of England. “Saima Mir is a minority in the crime field, a Pakistani woman setting her novels within her own, albeit fictionalized, Asian community,” Mabey says.

Chelsea Bieker’s novel Madwoman (September) draws on her family’s experience of domestic abuse. “She handles the subject with such a light touch, and it is so inventive and funny and psychologically astute, that I think it’s going to really speak to people,” Mabey says.

“In their different ways, all four novels open up a world that is unfamiliar and make it familiar,” she says. “They expand our knowledge of the world and human nature in all its rich diversity.” In other words, they maintain the tradition Mabey and Doostdar started in 1986.

Karen Sullivan, Founder and Publisher, Orenda Books

Karen Sullivan was working for an independent publisher in London, writing press releases and jacket copy, when new shareholders expressed a lack of faith in the list and suggested cutting authors. “I resigned and 24 hours later decided to start Orenda Books,” she says.

It was a big leap for the Canadian native, who had been a commissioning editor at a London independent press and, after becoming a mother, a writer and editor of books on raising children. But she had a vision to create a publisher with a curated list of international authors and a strong emphasis on crime, thrillers, and mysteries.

The bet paid off. Since Orenda’s 2014 founding, the house’s authors have raked in awards, and their books are frequently translated to the screen. In 2020, Orenda won the CWA Crime & Mystery Publisher of the Year. This year, the press acquired its first imprint, Christopher MacLehose’s Open Borders Press. Orenda was the first English publisher for mega-bestselling Icelandic author Ragnar Jónasson and has refreshed the career of Finland’s Antti Tuomainen, who has since picked up multiple awards and film and television deals.

Half of Orenda’s books are translations, which Sullivan is passionate about demystifying. “We have the unique opportunity to cherry-pick the best authors from around the world, and they bring insights into their cultures and their countries,” she says. “It’s the literary equivalent of walking in someone else’s shoes, and honestly, I think that has never been more important.”

Among the titles coming soon to the U.S./Canadian market is Scottish author Doug Johnstone’s The Opposite of Lonely (April), book five in the bestselling The Skelfs series about three generations of women in the Skelfs family, Edinburgh funeral directors and part-time PIs. “The series has been shortlisted for two of our biggest crime fiction awards, and apart from warm humor and genuinely nail-biting tension, these books are brimming with compassion and kindness,” Sullivan says.

Johana Gustawsson’s Yule Island (May) has won multiple awards in France, including Book of the Year (Ligue de l’Imaginaire Award) by Cultura, the country’s biggest retailer. “It’s a captivating, bewitching gothic thriller set on a Swedish island and based on a true story, with Viking rites, tainted love, and historical crimes blending together in a truly chilling piece of crime fiction,” Sullivan says. The book is translated by David Warriner.

Halfway House (May) comes from Australian-transplanted-to-Scotland author Helen FitzGerald, whose novel The Cry is currently streaming on Netflix. “Halfway House is a darkly and unapologetically funny, nerve-shatteringly tense thriller set in a halfway house for violent offenders in Edinburgh,” Sullivan says. “Helen is another multiaward-winning, immensely clever author.”

The Guests (August) by Agnes Ravatn is translated from New Norwegian by Rosie Hedger, winner of an English PEN Translation Award. “It’s a gripping psychological drama about envy and aspiration, with cutting insights, unexpected humor, and a simmering suspense that is incredibly unsettling,” Sullivan says.

Sullivan is glad she trusted her vision, and she urges other women to do the same. “What women have to say matters,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to voice a difference of opinion, to challenge predominant thinking, to do something different. There’s plenty of room at the top for talent, and we need you more than ever.”

Susan Rich Brooke, Chief Publishing Officer, Phoenix International Publications

After Susan Rich Brooke left her magazine job in New York to start a family in her hometown of Chicago, she was unsure of how she’d continue her career. Then she saw that an established children’s book publisher was just minutes away from her home. “The job ad said, ‘Expect to work hard and have fun.’ I’ve been doing that ever since!” Brooke says.

Today Brooke is the chief publishing officer of the press, which was purchased by Phoenix International Publications in 2014. “Since then, new imprints, new licensing partnerships, new book formats, and new stories continue to make my job challenging and rewarding every day,” she says.

The mission has remained the same: build a lifelong love of storytime in young readers by creating engaging, educational, and entertaining books, which is reflected in several upcoming titles.

Under the PI Kids imprint, Disney Baby: Silly Songs Sound Book is the first title in its new mirror songbook series. Children aged two to five can sing and mirror play with their favorite Disney characters at the touch of a button. “The book offers multisensory access points to young readers and promotes language development through singing,” Brooke says. “And it has a ‘stop’ button that will appeal to parents!”

The Sunbird imprint, a home for original content from up-and-coming writers and illustrators, offers its fourth title from author-illustrator Sally Anne Garland. The Moon Seed, for children aged four to eight, reimagines the real events of the Apollo 14 mission that launched seeds into space—from the perspective of a seed. “When the seed is planted back on Earth, it grows like a normal seed—except for one thing. It longs to be near the moon again!” Brooke says.

Debut author Nessa Bellido Schwarz’s GEORGE the Flybot and the Lost Camera on Mount Everest is book one in the publisher’s first-ever chapter book series for 6- to 9-year-olds. GEORGE is a tiny, fly-shaped robot designed and programmed for special missions, such as searching for a missing camera from an ill-fated 1924 Mount Everest summit attempt. “From the first moment we read Schwarz’s story pitch, we were completely captivated by the characters she’d created,” says Brooke. “Jason Fruchter’s charming illustrations bring GEORGE to life and provide a bridge for young readers from picture books to chapter books.”

In a graphic novel for ages seven to 10, author Lesley Williams and illustrator Brooke O’Neill tell the story of Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to go to space. It’s Her Story: Mae Jemison is the twelfth title in the publisher’s graphic novel series featuring graphic biographies of extraordinary women. “Williams drew on her background as a librarian, combining her research and storytelling skills to write this captivating account of Jemison’s life,” Brooke says. “O’Neill’s appealing illustrations make the story even more accessible and aid with reading comprehension.”

While Brooke sees room for improvement in the publishing industry (increase diversity; close the gender pay gap), she also credits her female colleagues with improving the work culture for women, particularly mothers. “I owe my own career trajectory in part to women supervisors who supported my needs for flexible work at different times in my life,” she says.

Julie Kirsch Senior Vice President and Publisher Rowman & Littlefield

In early 2020, just as Covid-19 turned the world upside down, Julie Kirsch assumed leadership of Rowman & Littlefield’s flagship imprint, becoming its first woman publisher. It was a challenging time, but Kirsch credits R&L with enabling her to develop the skills and experience she needed to take the helm amid the chaos.

Kirsch joined the publisher in 1992. “I hoped the owner’s entrepreneurial spirit would create opportunities to learn and advance quickly with the company, and that’s exactly what happened,” she says. As R&L expanded through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions, Kirsch tried new roles and experimented with strategies for increasing productivity, controlling costs, and driving stronger sales. She ran the production department, and she acquired titles for and managed the Lexington Books imprint. Her efforts have yielded strong growth in sales and profitability for each of the imprints she has led.

This year R&L celebrates its 75th anniversary. “Our longevity as a leading independent publisher is built on academic rigor, publishing authoritative and entertaining books for a variety of audiences,” she says. She looks forward to sharing the results of these commitments with several upcoming titles. At the London Book Fair 2024, the team saw great excitement around The Revised Standard Edition of The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Copublished with the British Psychoanalytical Society, the 24-volume set represents a monumental undertaking by psychoanalyst and neuroscientist Mark Solms. “This work reflects Rowman & Littlefield’s commitment to serious scholarship and our decades-long tradition of partnering with significant organizations and think tanks to bring important works to the global marketplace,” she says.

R&L publishes books that expose the political and social problems of our day and provide a blueprint for positive change. Two upcoming examples: We the Poisoned: Exposing the Flint Water Crisis Cover Up and the Poisoning of 100,000 Americans by Jordan Chariton, and Interrupting Violence: One Man’s Journey to Heal the Streets and Redeem Himself by Cobe Williams and Josh Gryniewicz. “These titles are both deeply important to the public dialogue on the health and well-being of Americans today,” Kirsch says.

We the Poisoned is an unflinching look at the Flint water crisis and a major government cover-up that continues a decade later. Interrupting Violence goes beyond academic and policy perspectives on violence to show Cobe Williams’s transformation from gang member to leader in the community violence intervention movement.”

Kirsch also expects big things from Bob Bauer’s The Unraveling: Reflections on Politics without Ethics and Democracy in Crisis. “It will stand out among election year books as a seasoned veteran of U.S. politics makes a timely call to restore political ethics and reestablish public faith in government to save our democracy,” she says.

While Kirsch is pleased to see more women in leadership roles throughout the industry, she says there’s more work to be done in terms of pay equity and diversity. For her part, she is committed to identifying and developing high performers early in their publishing careers and providing R&L staff with opportunities for advancement, including to leadership roles. In other words, she works to provide others with the opportunities to grow that R&L gave her.

Kristin Kiser, Publisher, Running Press Group

On any given day, Running Press Group publisher Kristin Kiser could be working with her team to design a fun desktop collectible, create a travel guide for a new destination, or brainstorm a marketing and publicity plan for an upcoming book. “Creativity is in the air at Running Press, and the team is pushing the boundaries every day on what is possible,” she says.

Running Press Group’s format-forward legacy is what brought her to the publisher in 2015, Kiser says, after her tenures as editorial director at Crown, associate publisher at Hyperion, and deputy publisher at Rodale. “I wanted to work at a publisher who had a history of looking at all the creative possibilities for any property,” Kiser says. “Sometimes a maker’s vision is best realized in a book, but other times we need to think beyond the traditional book to find the best creative expression.”

One example: RP Minis, a line of products that include a collectible, a game, a replica, a craft, card decks, and other enticing things in a small box, usually accompanied by a mini book. “These little boxes of joy have been a key part of Running Press for more than 30 years, and last year we saw the largest year ever in sales,” Kiser says.

Since 2018, the Minis business has more than doubled in sales, with 50-plus new titles released each year. Half are licensed from more than 100 brand partners that include Harry Potter, Friends, and Dungeons & Dragons. The other half is brainstormed by the Running Press team and their Hachette colleagues, with homegrown ideas that include blockbusters like The Screaming Goat and Tiny Violin and a line of desktop sports such as Desktop Pickleball (May).

Kiser is also excited about many upcoming titles from the imprints she oversees: Running Press, Black Dog & Leventhal, and Avalon Travel. Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley (September, Running Press) “is a hilarious essay collection from the host of the wildly popular, award-winning Scam Goddess podcast,” Kiser says.

In BLK MKT Vintage: Reclaiming Objects and Curiosities That Tell Black Stories, Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart (October, Black Dog & Leventhal), co-owners of a Brooklyn-based vintage/ antique concept shop, tell the story of the Black American experience through the vintage objects they’ve collected and curated. “BLK MKT Vintage is gorgeous,” Kiser says.

You Are a Badass Deck: 60 Cards to Inspire, Empower, and Lovingly Kick You in the Rear by Jen Sincero (May, RP Studio) is adapted from the selfhelp sensation and #1 New York Times bestseller of the same name. “This delightful deck is begging shoppers to pick it up—it’s bright, cheerful, and packed with inspiring affirmations and challenges,” Kiser says.

Kiser credits her team with fostering the stimulating environment that creates such gems. “I hope that I can continue to support the team as they find new and exciting ways to publish books and create products that amaze and delight consumers,” she says.

Joanne Grant, Publisher, Severn House

Severn House publisher Joanne Grant began her publishing career at Harlequin, where she worked her way up to editorial director of their iconic series romance list. But her personal taste has always extended beyond that genre. “Like many romance readers, I am a keen reader, period! I love crime fiction, thriller, horror—Stephen King is hands down my favorite author of all time,” Grant says.

When the opportunity to lead the genre-fiction publisher arose in 2021, Grant was excited to work with its varied list of crime fiction, thriller, and horror. She was also intrigued by Severn House’s unique publishing model as a hardback publisher that has libraries as its primary market. “I could see that it was a model that had so much potential to evolve,” she says.

Severn House turns 50 this year, and its 2024 list is a reflection of the editorial team’s dedication to staying true to the publishers’ roots as a hardback library publisher while diversifying its list and providing authors room for risk-taking and innovation. “We’re seeing a lot of hunger for genre mash-ups lately, and we’re excited by the possibilities that offers,” Grant says.

Esme Addison’s An Intrigue of Witches is one example. “With a kick-ass young Black female historian at its center, the book is a genre-blending mix of mystery, fantasy, and adventure with a splash of sci-fi,” Grant says.

Molten Death, the first in a culinary mystery series by Leslie Karst, centers around an older lesbian couple—it’s set in Hilo in Hawaii, where the author lives with her wife for part of the year. “It’s not necessarily a book ‘about’ queerness, but it features a queer couple centrally and we’re excited to be championing LGBTQ+ representation in the cozy mystery genre,” Grant says.

On the sci-fi/fantasy side, Severn House is releasing Davis Bunn’s latest title, The Seventh Spell. “This is just a great fun read,” she says. “Wizards on Mars, what’s not to love!”

Grant is also excited about the latest offering from long-standing Severn House author and CWA Diamond Dagger lifetime achievement award winner Simon Brett. A Messy Murder, the fourth book in Brett’s charming Decluttering mystery series, features a professional declutterer. “Think a sleuthing Marie Kondo,” Grant says.

The 2024 roster is a testament to the breadth and diversity of Severn House’s list. “All the above come from very different writers with very different voices, but all of them produce riveting genre fiction,” she says.

Grant believes that having more women at the leadership level in publishing helps bring variety and balance to the books that are published. “This is especially important on a business level, too—because who are the biggest readers? Women! So tapping into what women want to read and commissioning those books is not just about equality and representation. It also serves the business and the bottom line,” Grant says.

Grant’s advice to women in publishing: “Do not hide away your ideas. Let your passion for books shine through! Every industry needs fresh eyes and ideas irrespective of rank. Read widely, without prejudice, and with joy.

Vicki DeArmon, Publisher, Sibylline Press

After Vicki DeArmon saw that her friend Julia Park Tracey was unable to publish her book The Bereaved, she realized that publishing had an older-woman problem. With 40 years of experience as both a publisher and a bookseller, DeArmon knew that women over 50, like DeArmon and Tracey, were often overlooked. “I’d been in the book industry long enough to know that younger writers were the preferred focus of publishers,” she says. “More books on the horizon, right?”

Seeing a glaring hole in the market, DeArmon and Tracey started Sibylline Press, which is dedicated to publishing women authors 50 and over. “We knew that women of a certain age are brilliant and bring a lifetime of wisdom to the table,” DeArmon says. “And the caliber of fiction and memoir they were writing made us excited.”

The Sibylline team brings a wealth of experience themselves. DeArmon started her first press, Foghorn Press, at 25 and sold it 13 years later—the titles now live with Hachette. She went on to develop Copperfield’s Books’ nationally recognized events program before serving as a consultant to the California Independent Booksellers Alliance. “My three partners all have long storied backgrounds in publishing as well,” DeArmon says. “Between Julia Park Tracey (editorial), Alicia Feltman (design), and Anna Termine (rights and licensing), we figured we cumulatively have more than a hundred years in this business.”

That experience has paid off. After Sibylline’s first Fall 2023 season launched, The Bereaved was named to the top 100 indie books by Kirkus Reviews. “So there was some vindication,” DeArmon says.

Tracey’s next historical novel, Silence, comes out in Fall 2024. “Julia again creates fiction from the lives of her ‘an-sisters’ in this Puritan-era telling of a woman named Silence who is silenced by her church for a year as punishment for emoting her grief over the loss of her family,” DeArmon says.

Other titles the team is excited about include 1666: A Novel by Lora Chilton, which tells the survival story of the Patawomeck Tribe after the massacre of their men by land-hungry colonists from two native women’s perspective. Simi Monheit’s The Goldie Standard: A Novel humorously reinvents the trope of a Jewish grandmother trying to find a husband for her PhD granddaughter. Bitterroot: A Novel by Suzy Vitello captures the angst of our times from the perspective of a woman in a small town set in the Bitterroot mountains of Idaho as she becomes a target for MAGA assaults. All these titles received very enthusiastic responses at the last Winter Institute, where advance reader copies quickly vanished.

“These are all stories that are beautifully told,” DeArmon says. “But even before people have read them, they are reaching for them. We think this is due to our amazing covers designed by our business partner and design director Alicia Feltman. Also, it seems that women readers and booksellers are very taken with our mission. They too are often ‘women of a certain age,’ and though our books are written for all readers, they are especially appealing to this demographic. As older women, we have a natural affinity for other older women, their brilliance, and their stories.

Crystal Patriarche, CEO, and Brooke Warner, Publisher, She Writes Press and SparkPress

While running her publicity agency, BookSparks, Crystal Patriarche found that many authors wanted more than publicity advice; they were asking for help with new publishing paths. So she created the hybrid publisher SparkPress. “I launched SparkPress to help those authors,” says Patriarche, the CEO of SparkPress who continues to run BookSparks.

In 2014, Patriarche acquired She Writes Press, teaming up with Brooke Warner, who founded the publisher in 2012 after working in traditional publishing for 13 years at North Atlantic Books and Seal Press. “We both wanted to help authors, mostly women, find their path to publishing their stories where it wasn’t about the size of their platform,” says Warner, the publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress.

“Our primary goal is to level the playing field for authors and to publish books that rival our traditional counterparts.” She Writes Press publishes only women-identified authors and has a slightly more literary bent. SparkPress, which publishes male authors as well, is a commercial trade publisher that does a lot of YA and genre fiction. Both imprints have spring titles that the publishers are excited about.

In Five Days in Bogota: A Novel by Linda Moore (She Writes Press), the return author brings readers fastpaced stories of fierce women heroines managing sticky situations in male-dominated spaces. “Her protagonists are women we want to root for,” Warner says.

The “three birthdays” of Patti Eddington’s The Girl with Three Birthdays: An Adopted Daughter’s Memoir of Tiaras, Tough Truths, and Tall Tales by (She Writes Press) refer to the misinformation Eddington received growing up from her adoptive parents. “This is an unusual memoir about adoption because it goes beyond the usual identity and belonging issues to grapple with what happens when you get mixed messages about your origins,” Warner says.

Hiding for My Life: Being Gay in the Navy by Karen Solt (She Writes Press) explores how the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, in place from 1994 to 2011, effectively forced gays in the military to closet themselves. Anna Bright Is Hiding Something by Susie Orman Schnall (SparkPress) is a fastpaced novel about the tech world modeled on the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos scandal. “We love how it grapples with ethics, capitalism, and competition—with the two primary rivals being a young and ambitious female journalist and an also-young start-up genius with questionable ethics,” Warner says.

In addition to publishing page-turners, Patriarche and Warner are proud to be knocking down barriers for women authors and are gratified to see hybrid publishing getting the respect it deserves. “We’ve been champions of this business model for such a long time,” Warner says, “and we feel that its mainstream acceptance is in part attributable to the hard work we’ve been putting in year over year, and our unwavering knowledge that our books are just as good or better than those of traditional press competitors.”

They’re also excited to see more women starting their own publishing companies, even if men still outnumber women in top executive roles. “The fact that we need to have an issue that calls out women leaders perhaps shows us just how far away we are from parity in this industry,” Warner says.

Corinne Burton, President, Teacher Created Materials

Women-run presses are nothing new to Teacher Created Materials (TCM) president Corinne Burton. Her mother, Rachelle Cracchiolo, is the founder and CEO of TCM. “I grew up in the educational publishing business and have seen unbelievably impressive women leaders in our industry and throughout my career,” Burton says.

Cracchiolo created TCM 47 years ago, inspired by her own teaching experience and her passion for children’s learning. At the global education publishing company, resources are created by educators for educators and designed to support PreK–12 learners.

A former elementary school teacher, Burton started with TCM as an author and presenter, training teachers to incorporate literature into the classroom and utilize technology effectively in the curriculum. She joined TCM full-time to launch the publisher’s social studies division and worked in editorial and marketing before becoming TCM’s president in 2009.

This year, Burton is excited about a host of offerings that embody TCM’s mission to create engaging books and products for children wherever they are learning. The Adventures of Cam E. Chameleon (August) written by Dona Herweck Rice and illustrated by Brian Martin is part of TCM’s Exploration Storytime, a new 49-book series supporting early learning and literacy.

“The series consists of favorite nursery rhymes told in a new way, visual and text-layered fiction, and picture book nonfiction wordless books,” Burton says. In The Adventures of Cam E. Chameleon, one of Burton’s favorites, children travel with Cam on her classroom adventures and world travels.

TCM is also releasing several titles from Free Spirit, a woman-owned publishing company TCM acquired in December 2021. “It was quite remarkable that two companies both founded and led by women had so many values in common,” Burton says, “particularly never compromising on what’s best for students and kids.” Hello, Beech Tree! (June) written by Rasha Hamid and illustrated by Sofia Moore is based on the true story of how a kindergarten class in Brooklyn honors a beloved beech tree that has been cut down.

Free Spirit’s beautifully illustrated Thank You, World series, written by Dan McCauley and illustrated by Jo LoringFisher, inspires children to practice appreciation for the natural world, the people around them, and their daily lives. Thank You, Night (October) features a child and his father as they take a walk with wonder through nature and let go of stress at the end of the day. Thank You, Rain (October) features a young girl, her brother, and their father as they turn a walk in the rain into a fun experience. “These titles fit into the TCM mission to make learning more fun—whether that learning is about reading and early literacy, about the world in which we live and making a difference, or about ourselves and expressing gratitude,” Burton says.

Burton has been encouraged to see more women leaders in publishing, but she also sees a lot of untapped potential. She encourages decision-makers to provide more pathways for women to lead, noting that at TCM, people are encouraged to change departments and work in new roles. “This allows more opportunities for growth within the company,” she says.

Kirsten Johanna Allen, Co-Executive Director and Publisher, Torrey House Press

Kirsten Johanna Allen and her spouse, Mark Bailey, started Torrey House Press (THP) in 2010 because they saw a gap in the literary world. “We had long loved the landscapes and literature of the American West, and we felt there were issues, cultures, scenes, and stories of the West and the larger natural world that were going undiscussed and unheard,” says Allen, THP’s co-executive director and publisher.

They created THP to advance this much-needed conversation, giving it further steam in 2015 by converting the press to a nonprofit. Allen says “The nonprofit model allows and compels us to publish books directly related to mission and to give each title and author individual support to ensure that each book can maximize its readership, reach, and impact in the world.” Not only has the press already earned some impressive accolades—its 2023 release The Missing Morningstar: And Other Stories by Stacie Shannon Denetsosie was named a finalist for PEN American’s 2024 Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection in April—but Allen is eagerly anticipating several upcoming titles.

In Without Exception: Reclaiming Abortion, Personhood, and Freedom (September), Pam Houston shares her own abortion story and how her personal and professional life was powered by access to abortion care. She also examines the legal history of abortion and Roe v. Wade’s impact on American women. Publishing shortly before the November election, the book tackles an issue that will be much discussed. “In what I think is her most creative nonfiction to date, Houston tells her own abortion story as a love letter to freedom with her characteristic empathy, heart, and fire,” Allen says.

Investigative journalist Zak Podmore reckons with the politics, culture, science, and history of water in the West in Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell’s Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River (August). Clear-eyed and hopeful, the book debunks the notion that the West’s water challenges are unsolvable. “Dead Pool holds the power to redefine how we think about the Colorado River and managing western rivers in the face of climate crisis,” Allen says.

Death Valley Duel (June) is Scott Graham’s latest in the National Park Mystery Series. In the book, archaeologist Chuck Bender discovers a century-old crime and finds connections to deadly accidents plaguing the world’s toughest ultra-trail-running race, which his teenage stepdaughter is running in. “I have worked with Scott for over a decade, but this is the first time he has worked with an editor other than me,” Allen says. “So it was fun, if a little surreal, to experience one of his books as a reader. I found it impossible to put down.”

Pam Houston recently articulated THP’s impact when she shared her book cover on social media. “I want to say in this public space what a joy it is to work with a whole bunch of humans who say yes, who believe entirely in the higher purpose of their work, who believe in all of their writers completely, for whom money is a thing you have to pull together to reach the end goal rather than the end goal itself,” Houston wrote. “Torrey House is a living miracle in these times.” For Allen, reading this endorsement was not only a peak experience but encapsulates why she and Bailey started THP fourteen years ago.

Jessica Mosher, President, Publisher, and CEO, University of Toronto Press

When the University of Toronto Press was established in 1901, its purpose was to contribute to the intellectual life not only of the University of Toronto but also of the broader academic community by publishing exceptional scholarship and innovative thinking. “More than 120 years later, that commitment is just as strong,” says University of Toronto Press president, publisher, and CEO Jessica Mosher.

Mosher, the first female director in UTP’s history, is proud to carry forward the publisher’s mission to connect ideas for a better world. She is equally excited to see how the industry, and academic publishing in particular, has evolved during her 25 years in publishing. “From how ideas are researched, developed, and ultimately transformed into credible, peer-reviewed scholarship to how they are distributed and consumed, everything is in a state of transformation,” she says, “and the industry is incredibly resourceful and innovative in responding to these shifts.”

As the head of UTP, Mosher oversees Canada’s largest scholarly publisher, which produces hundreds of books and journals for academic, trade, and higher education annually. UTP is also a major partner to the broader North American publishing and retail ecosystem through UTP Distribution. In addition, UTP operates the University of Toronto bookstores across the three main campuses, serving more than 95,000 students and 15,000 faculty. “It is an amazing opportunity to be part of such a multifaceted organization with so much relevance in the face of some of the major issues of the day,” Mosher says.

She is particularly excited about several recent titles, including anthropologist Treena Orchard’s Sticky, Sexy, Sad: Swipe Culture and the Darker Side of Dating Apps (April), which asks important questions for those searching for love in the modern era. “Told with humor and vulnerability, Sticky, Sexy, Sad is a riveting and inspiring guide to staying true to ourselves amid the digitization of love in the 21st century,” Mosher says.

As wildfires were raging through North America in 2023, former Toronto mayor David Miller updated Solved: How the World’s Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis with new research (March). “It is an inspiring title that describes how many of the world’s largest cities are driving positive change at a critical moment in time,” Mosher says.

Benjamin Perrin, a criminal and international law professor and former top criminal justice advisor to the prime minister of Canada, takes readers behind the scenes of Canada’s justice system in Indictment: The Criminal Justice System on Trial (Oct., 2023). “Indictment demonstrates how and why the current system is broken and presents a better way forward,” Mosher says.

According to Mosher, academic publishing is particularly relevant today. “Society feels fractured, as misinformation and disinformation are contributing to growing polarization. UTP, and all other university presses, can be part of the solution by broadening access to credible, vetted, peer-reviewed content. We are also uniquely placed in representing diverse voices through the research we bring to bear in our scholarly publishing program and through the publishers and booksellers we represent in our distribution services.”

JuYoun Lee, Deputy Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Yen Press, LLC

According to JuYoun Lee, deputy publisher and editor-in-chief at Yen Press LLC, the biggest misconception about the manga/graphic novel category is that it’s just for kids or nerds. “There really is a story for everyone, and Yen wants to make sure those books reach the right audiences,” she says.

A native of Seoul, Korea, Lee entered the world of comics publishing as an editor of Japanese manga, Korean manhwa, and a few American comic series. She went on to head up a consortium of several of the largest comics publishers in Korea to publish comics directly to the English-language market.

In 2007, she came to Yen Press. “The Korean print comics market was going down at the time, and it was an exciting opportunity to start a new business in an emerging market,” Lee says. “The possibilities were endless, and we wanted to make a house where everyone could find something they like.”

Yen Press quickly rose to become one of the largest and most prolific publishers of manga and original graphic novels in the North American marketplace. As the press grew, Lee stayed attuned to emerging markets and trends, paying particular attention to the rising popularity of webcomics and Korean pop culture in the English-speaking market. In recent years, she licensed the hit fantasy series Solo Leveling, a Korean property considered iconic in the form of both the original webnovel as well as its webcomic adaptation. Solo Leveling became an instant hit and continues to be a bestseller to this day.

In 2022, Lee thought the timing was right to start a dedicated line of Korean webcomics in print, and Ize Press was born. “The current mission of Ize Press is to transform (‘materialize’) the best Korean webcomics as high-quality print editions that readers can be proud to put on their shelves,” Lee says.

As for upcoming titles, Lee is very excited about the release of the final volume in Yen Press’s bestselling Delicious in Dungeon series. “The series gives a twist to the adventurers-in-dungeon trope,” she says. “It’s about eating the monsters in the dungeon! It highlights Yen’s strength of publishing something unique in a beautiful, oversized edition.”

From Ize Press, Lee looks forward to the release of Your Letter, the story of a girl who transfers to a new school and finds a mysterious letter taped to the bottom of her desk inviting her on a scavenger hunt that offers her intrigue and companionship in a lonely situation. “Your Letter is a one-volume Korean comic that has very distinct and beautiful art with a mysterious yet relatable story,” Lee says. “The gorgeous artwork will shine in the printed version in full color, and we are trying to add a few unique features to make the print book even more special.”

As she looks back on the past 17 years, Lee says she’s proud to have worked with incredibly talented writers and artists and powerhouse titles. “Most of all, I’m proud of the team we have managed to build— the passionate members who deeply care about the titles we put out,” she says.