Project: Woman.

First, the history:

Since early on in my publishing career, I’ve wanted to address what I saw as a gap in the publishing sphere: professional, smart, scrappy women. I subscribed to Pink Magazine, thinking I might have found what I was looking for. “PINK represents more than a color. It´s a badge of honor celebrating a global mission of equity and opportunity - a movement acknowledging all that women are today and will be tomorrow,” claims it’s website. But as I read issue after issue, I was disappointed to find that it’s demographic was women who are already breasting the top of their fields. It wasn’t targeted at me. I’ve gone searching for something to quench that thirst, looking for a magazine or blog or website that made me go “ahhh!”

The closest I’ve found? Esquire Magazine. Smart, funny, irreverent and intelligent, it’s tone assumes it’s reader is sauve and has it all together – perhaps they just need one last tip. It’s targeted at a wide ranging age group, and each issue features something for everyone. The only problem? It’s for men.

And so, an idea was born.

I think women would enjoy a similar product geared specifically toward them. Smart political ideas like those at Double X and, but less “typical women’s mag.” In other words, probably not articles on celebrities or make up (unless there is a bigger issue being discussed – like is make up a given in the professional world? How does it affect your image, how others see you?) And, like Esquire, it should assume it’s reader is smart, sassy and sophisticated. It shouldn’t be worried about offending them, shouldn’t take itself too seriously – but it should be intelligent too. A perfect example of the type of story I’d love the site to cover would be Michelle Tripp’s recent post about TEDWomen – if you haven’t seen it, definitely check it out.

I also think there is a audience career-specific items (profiles/professional advice or Q&As with leading women in their fields). One idea was a Q&A “What xyz person in reads in their field to stay on the cutting edge.” The question is, would that be engaging enough? Would it have a wide enough appeal?

I’ve also chatted with a number of women about women-to-women mentoring, and I think some of that would be (IMHO) great to incorporate. Other ideas include financial info like at The Simple Dollar or Daily Worth.

I think the key is amazing content & a great voice.

These are just a few ideas, not things that necessarily need to be included. Ideally, it would start as a number of writers who each write a post once a month – if I have four writers, a post would go up once a week, if I have 12 a post would go up 3x a week. Once a month makes it less time consuming for each of the contributors, since it wouldn’t (at least at first) be a money-making endeavor. Although I’d love it to grow, adding more writers, so that we could get post several times a week and maybe turn it into a for-profit site.

Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, ideas … if I can get some people seriously interested I’d love to start this thing. Also, I’d totally appreciate it if you’d pass this info along to any other women you feel fit the bill. I’ve posted on Brazen & Twitter about this project and had a number of people say they are interested in getting involved. It looks like we can do this.

So, the first thing is finding a name.

This idea has been with me for a few years now – I even did a design mock-up in a magazine design class while working on my Master’s degree. I called that pub Neon: Helping professional women stand out. Unfortunately, there is already a Neon magazine (a literary mag in the UK). So I’ve been brainstorming. And running ideas through to see if the domain name is available as a .com. One suggestion (from someone interested) was Athena Writes, however that’s taken.

The ideas I’ve come up with that aren’t taken include “No Jane Doe” and “Daughter of the Dame.” If you have any better suggestions or even just a suggestion (I’m still completely open at this point) post it below. If you want to get involved or help out on ANY level (designing the site, hosting, writing, editing, being a test user/reader  or even just brainstorming) let me know. You can comment here or email me – mbreau (at) jargonwriter (dot) com.

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