Christian publisher David C Cook is launching Esther Press, a new imprint focusing on women readers. Named after the Old Testament’s Queen Esther, the imprint will focus on Bible studies and trade books that share stories of women’s struggles and triumphs, as well as leadership books, devotionals, and hybrid interactive trade books and workbooks, along with video teachings. Susan McPherson, acquisitions editor at David C Cook who is heading up the new publishing program, says that Queen Esther’s “bravery, bold faith, and willingness to risk her life to answer God’s call embodies what we want this imprint to represent to women.”

McPherson notes that launching Esther Press is a response to modern women being “stretched thin across a variety of roles.” She cites research indicating rising numbers of women leaving the workforce as well as declining church attendance rates among women as a result of the demands associated with raising children, facilitating remote learning, and elder care.

“We want to create resources that these women reach for first during these challenging times to reinvigorate their faith and reengage in their church community,” she says. “We want to help them stand strong in the truth of God’s Word so they can serve and lead with confidence.”

Inaugural Esther Press titles include Stand in Confidence by Amanda Pittman (Sept.); Take Back Your Joy by Nicole Jacobsmeyer (Oct.); and Follow God’s Will by Brittany Ann (Oct.). The press expects to release 10 titles per year starting in 2023.

Among McPherson’s top priorities is to publish more books by authors with diverse backgrounds. Strategies for this include engaging literary agents who work with a wide variety of women, conference attendance and other networking events, and partnerships with organizations such as Proverbs 31’s Compel Training community, which mentors budding writers. David C Cook sponsored a book proposal challenge in 2021, and Esther Press will publish the winner, Erica Renaud, in 2023. Esther Press will hold another proposal challenge in the coming months.

“We are eager to expand our portfolio of voices so every woman has a seat at the table,” McPherson says. “We believe it is important to have a diverse roster of authors who represent women of all generations, races, ethnicities, and experiences.”

When asked about staffing plans for Esther Press, McPherson says: “Diversity is a foundational philosophy guiding this imprint and as we grow, we anticipate adding talent that helps us stay true to that value.”

Esther Press plans to donate a portion of its book sales to ministries that serve women. Those partnerships will be finalized in September.

In a statement, David C Cook’s publisher CEO John Aden said: “Esther Press will amplify women’s voices while offering a founding of faith deeply rooted in God’s Word.”