Catching Up: 5 Questions with Folkways Press Publisher Hannah Fields
Back in August, I had the joy of interviewing Hannah Fields, founder and publisher of Folkways Press publishing company, about her business and debut publication, the amazing anthology We Are Not Shadows. Now, she's back with an update! Read on to find out more about Hannah, Folkways, and plans for the future.
1. It's been a few months since we talked! Tell me how Folkways Press is doing. What's new?
Folkways is coming along. Working a full-time job while running a publishing company on the side has been a challenge, especially with
the pandemic being an issue, but it has been so worthwhile. I'm still in the process of getting more coverage of We Are Not Shadows out there. Thinking ahead, I've got some great ideas for more anthologies coming up and chapbooks. I'm still in the process of forming a firm foundation for those but hope to have news and a new call for submissions to announce this year.
2. What was the Kickstarter process like to get We Are Not Shadows up and running? The initial setup wasn't very complicated, but don't let that fool you. Everything that comes after that can be stressful and take a lot of time and effort. Initially, I was worried the Kickstarter wouldn't meet the $8,000 goal. I think the global pandemic had a lot to do with that. It just wasn't a great year, but I'm so thankful for everyone who donated, even if it was just $1. That makes a huge difference! Another issue I encountered was in the fulfillment of rewards. The books were printed and delivered on time, but the process of getting the rewards hit one issue after another. The company that was meant to print all of the rewards was initially helpful then abandoned the project after I sent in my order form. Once that happened I scrambled to find a new company for fulfillment. I think that was the most stressful part, that and packing and mailing everything on my own. It was still worth it at the end of the day! 3. How has We Are Not Shadows been received by the reading community? Is there a place readers can go to buy a copy? I've spoken with several readers who've greatly enjoyed the book and I'm hoping it will get more reviews soon. Readers can buy a copy here: https://folkwayspress.com/product/we-are-not-shadows/ 4. What's it like leading your own publishing company? And what's next on your publishing horizon? Leading my own publishing company has been my dream for quite some time, and I put my entire heart into it. It can be tough, as I put in most of my hours into the company after I'm off the clock of my full-time job or on weekends. I dream of the day Folkways is my full-time focus, but I'm making it work. Having the ability to give writers a platform to share their voices makes every minute worth it. As I mentioned above, I have plans to publish several anthologies and chapbooks. I'd also love to consider collections of microfiction, essays, and short stories. I'm just taking it one step at a time since I'm doing most of my work solo. I'm hoping to have the ability to offer paid internships in the future as well, but that's far down the road.
5. What advice would you offer people wanting to start their own business today?
It's okay if you feel like you don't know what you're doing sometimes. I think starting and leading your own business is a huge learning process, even if you are extremely familiar with the field in which you are working. You will make mistakes, you will feel overwhelmed, you will have moments where you question your abilities, but that's part of the process. Keep believing in yourself and reach out to mentors if you get stuck. It's okay to ask for help! That doesn't mean you're unqualified, it just means you're willing to learn. Learning and openness to advice are essential.
I'd also suggest you have a solid plan about what your business might look like before you start. Reach out to the small business administration in your area or see if a college near you hosts free classes that teach the key essentials of starting a business. The Texas Tech University Innovation Hub was a great help to me. It was where I was introduced to two extremely helpful mentors, Priya Gill and Stephen High. They helped me with the steps I needed to put Folkways together and launch as a business. I'd also be lost without Christian McKinney. Not only does he keep my website looking great, he always has ideas and advice that are extremely helpful. Surrounding yourself with helpful people is so very important!
Thank you, Hannah, for your wonderful responses. What an exciting time for you and your company! I wish you all the best. Readers, check out Hannah's publishing company here, and follow Hannah/Folkways Press on Twitter, Facebook, and more.