Who are the Tall Poppy Writers?
The short story is:
The Tall Poppies are the only cross-genre, author-driven marketing cooperative in the U.S. that is exclusive to female authors who publish in a variety of genres. The TPW is dedicated to supporting the work of our members, connecting directly with readers, and giving back to our communities—particularly in efforts that promote literacy in North America and abroad.
The TPW have been voted one of the Top Websites for Writers in Writer’s Digest 2020 and winner of the Wisconsin Innovation Awards in Collaboration and People Choice.
The long story is:
I spent three years writing a novel in my “spare time”, between being a mom of two young girls and a full-time professor and my mother had Alzheimer’s so she and my dad needed my help and meanwhile I was car-pooling the kids and taking care of the house and meals and…well, you get the idea.
And then, miracle of miracles, my dream publisher, Penguin Random House decided to publish my book! It came out in December 2010, which was an earth-shaking event for me. Unfortunately, not so much for anyone else. It barely registered on the publishing radar screen.
That’s where The Tall Poppy Writers come in (you knew I’d get there eventually, right?), because I understood that, even though I had a big publisher behind me, I was going to have to market my own book if I wanted anyone to find it.
So I added find more readers to my already over-stuffed to-do list. Whew! How the heck would I do that?
The book business is often about hierarchy and competition, and even though no one wants to admit it, it’s a male-dominated industry. Many of my better-compensated, often more-heralded male counterparts were writing their next books in a quiet room, undisturbed, while my women friends and I were writing on the fly, often jotting down notes in our cars on the way to our kids’ soccer practice. But we were talking to each other, and it dawned on me that we could use our strength in building community. It made sense to reach out to other driven women authors and see if we could help each other.
Bands have opening bands to help each other, right? Why not authors? So I started the Tall Poppy writers with two pregnant women, a lawyer who was good at everything, and a handful of generous, hard-working women. That was in 2013. Since then we’ve worked together to find readers, to share them, to figure out ways to get to know them, and become friends with them.
Our mission? To be a force for good, to support women in publishing. We want good books by women to find readers. We believe we have changed the culture from competition to collaboration, and we want to keep it up.
What’s the name about?
The Tall Poppy Syndrome is a term commonly used in Australia, referring to the expectation that poppies (hard workers) should grow together, and if one grows too tall, it is cut down to size. In the workplace, a study explored whether women were, like poppies, cut down to minimize their success.
We flipped the term on its head: The Tall Poppy Writers are committed to helping everyone succeed, to celebrating and encouraging accomplishment and achievement. TPW is a place where everyone gets to grow as tall as they are able.