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Meet Leah Hernandez founder of Young Authors Publishing & impacting the Westside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leah Hernandez.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Leah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am originally from Pomona California and moved to Atlanta to a attend Clark Atlanta University. My sophomore year I wrote and published my debut book Try God, How To Have An Authentic Relationship With God. After the release of my book, I started a book publishing company to help others do the same thing. A year later we had the opportunity to work on a community-driven project. We thought we’d help kids write books, start a savings account and have the royalties go there. Simple. After that pilot cohort, I seen the need for something like this in the community and that’s where Young Authors Publishing was birthed.

Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not! I am a full-time college student who is building a publishing company from the ground up. Aside from juggling being a student and running a startup I struggled with clarity. I often did too much at once which would cloud my vision for the business. I learned that’s it’s vital to pick one thing to put all your energy and time to build.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Young Authors Publishing story. Tell us more about the business.
Young Authors Publishing is a book publishing company that helps children in low-income communities write and publish their own children’s books. Our model is simple: Experience Program, publish and earn. The eight-week experience program teaches our young authors how to write their children’s books and the fundamentals of financial literacy. After the program, their children’s books are published with distribution across Barnes & Noble Amazon and various bookstores and libraries throughout the city. Lastly, and my favorite is that 80% of the book royalties are directed to a savings account our young authors can access at 18. We simply create a self-sufficient pathway for our young authors through book publishing.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I believe that the book publishing industry is going to be forced to respond to the demands of their readers. There is a huge deficit in diversity in children’s books specifically, It is important that our children see themselves reflected in the books they read. I believe that this is the opportunity gap for Young Authors Publishing to fulfill.


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