About Us

Bywater Books represents the coming of age of lesbian fiction. We’re committed to bringing the best of contemporary lesbian writing to a discerning readership. Our editorial team is dedicated to finding and developing outstanding voices who deliver stories you won’t want to put down. That’s why we sponsor the annual Bywater Prize for Fiction. We love good books, just like you do.

Salem West

Salem West

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Salem West brings a strong background in strategic planning, business management, and editorial direction to Bywater Books. Previously, she was the voice of The Rainbow Reader, a highly successful review blog that combined original essays with insightful analysis of all genres of LGBT literature; and served on the Board of Trustees of Lambda Literary. She is active in the queer literary community, and is a sought-after facilitator for groups, panels, and events focusing on feminist and queer literature. West and her wife, Bywater author Ann McMan, collaborated on the novel Hoosier Daddy, which was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist in 2014.

Kelly Smith

Kelly Smith

Editor Emerita

Kelly Smith retired as editor-in-chief of Bywater Books in 2018. In 1992, she co-founded A Woman’s Prerogative, a lesbian bookstore in Detroit. Seven years later, she founded Bella Books and worked there for four years. In 2004, Kelly joined forces with Marianne K. Martin to found Bywater Books, which marks her lifelong commitment to excellence in every area of the publishing business. Kelly continues to provide consultation and typesetting services to Bywater Books.

Marianne K. Martin

Marianne K. Martin

Director of Operations

Marianne K. Martin is one of the best-selling lesbian romance authors in the history of the genre, and her books have gained a wide international readership. A four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, she has been honored with the Trailblazer Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society , and in 2013 she was inducted into the Saints + Sinners Literary Hall of Fame. Marianne is one of the founding partners of Bywater Books, and her responsibilities include managing general operations, oversight of the Bywater Prize for Fiction, and working with new Bywater Books authors.

Ann McMan

Ann McMan

Director of Creative Services

Ann McMan is the Director of Creative Services for Bywater Books. McMan is a Lambda Literary award-winning author with more than thirty-five years of professional experience in graphic design, marketing, and brand identity. Her design work has received national and international recognition. In recent years, she has become one of the most sought after brand developers and cover designers in LGBT publishing, and is a four-time winner of the Tee Corinne Award for Outstanding Cover Design.

Rachel Spangler

Rachel Spangler

Director of Social Media

Rachel Spangler is the Social Media Director for Bywater Books, and the award-winning author of sixteen lesbian romance novels. Both of Rachel’s jobs offer her a chance to explore the power of love and the intricacies of relationship building. She enjoys using the power of the social media to connect with fellow readers and writers across a wide array of distances and differences. Rachel believes fostering the relationships that bind our communities together is one of the most important things we can do to keep our communities strong. Rachel is also the author of the widely popular Wonder Boi Writes blog, where she is on a never-ending quest for new and better ways build a bigger table for the lesbian literary community. She lives with her wife and son in Western New York.

Fay Jacobs

Fay Jacobs

Managing Editor

Fay Jacobs is an award-winning journalist and author. She is best known for her award-winning humorous essays detailing life in the LGBT+ friendly resort of Rehoboth Beach. Since 2004, she has authored five non-fiction books and one essay collection predicated on the advice of her father who said: “Nothing is ever so bad if it’s worth the story you can tell.” In 2006, upon the deaths of the often lesbian publishing pioneers Anyda Marchant (a.k.a., author Sarah Aldridge) and her partner of 57 years Muriel Crawford, Fay took over as publisher of A&M Books—a successor of the legendary Naiad Press (in 1974, Ms. Marchant incorporated Naiad, and was joined by Donna McBride and Barbara Grier). In 2015, Fay merged A&M Books with Bywater Books, where she currently serves as a managing editor.

Nancy Squires

Nancy Squires

Editor and Proofreader

Nancy Squires is an experienced copy editor and proofreader who has been working with authors for years to bring their stories to life. She is also a creative writer, and knows firsthand the struggle of finding one’s voice and bringing it to the page. Nancy’s experience includes a decade of proofreading and copy editing for Bywater Books and other small presses; proofreading for corporate and marketing clients; self-publishing a collection of personal essays, The Cottage: Portrait of a Place; nearly a decade of blogging; and research and writing for legal and business clients. She lives with her partner and two cats in Michigan, loves music, hiking and kayaking, and above all, a good book.

Elizabeth Andersen

Elizabeth Andersen

Editor and Proofreader

Elizabeth Andersen is an experienced copy editor and proofreader who has been working with writers for more than 40 years to bring their words to the world. In a past life, she served as an editor for columnists such as William F. Buckley; James J. Kilpatrick; Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Prize winner; and A.M. Rosenthal, former executive editor of The New York Times. She also edited nationally syndicated comic strips, including Garfield and For Better or For Worse. Elizabeth hosts the Sandra Moran Radio Book Club on The Tenth Voice, Kansas City’s LGBT public affairs radio show on KKFI 90.1 FM. She holds an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Until she moves to the mountains, she is happy in the Kansas City area with her adult sons, three cats, and a rabbit.


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