We had the good fortune of connecting with Leah Hernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leah, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think my entire business has been one great risk. Starting the first cohort of Young Authors as a sophomore in college was something I never expected to do. However, I saw a need in my community that I knew I could fill. Taking the risk was merely me saying “Yes” to something I felt I was called to do. Not only that, but we continue taking risks each and every day. I have really ambitious goals for Young Authors Publishing, but that’s never stopped me before, and I don’t plan on it stopping me any time soon.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I came up with the idea for Young Authors Publishing (at the time, the Young Authors Program) as a sophomore in college. In the beginning, I crafted it as a responsibility initiative for my for-profit book publishing company, Purposeful Millenials Publishing, which I started in 2017. Through the Young Authors Program, I was able to help four young ladies from Vine City publish their debut children’s book, Roxie’s Day in Vine City, which gave their perspective on the neighborhood they lived in. The goal of the Young Authors Program was to help children write and publishing their own books, and deposit the royalties into a savings account. That’s exactly what I did. After my experience with the Young Authors Program, I was honored to be a part of something that changed the lives of the youth around me, but it also made me aware of the limits kids from low socio-economic communities faced. That’s when I knew that book publishing would be a great vehicle for self-sufficiency. During the summer of 2018, the company pivoted from a for-profit book publisher which published books written by adult authors, to a not-for-profit 501c3 exempt children’s book publisher who devoted their resources and publishing expertise to children in low-income communities. From there we were officially known as Young Authors Publishing. Every day, I’m learning new ways to improve our program. It hasn’t always been easy, but the work has always been worth it. More importantly, we show kids every single day that they are story worthy, no matter where they come from. I want people to know that our team may be small in size, but we’re mighty in our impact, and we have big plan for Young Authors Publishing.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First things first, we must grab tea! One of my favorite spots is a local tea shop in East Atlanta, Jayida Che Herbal Tea Shop, which serves some of the best tea (and cupcakes!) in the city! I find myself at home quite a but, but some of our infamous spots like Ponce City Market or Atlantic Station always provide me with a nice change of scenery. The Starlight Drive-In movie theater is also really fun, and a much different experience than most people are use to.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Pub West! I received a scholarship to attend their event, and I met so many people there who have been so supportive of YAP and our mission. I can attribute a large part of our growth to those connections, and I’m forever grateful.
Instagram: @_leahdannielle, @youngauthorspublishing