WBiz. Your bio is really impressive, could you please share with WomenandBiz.com readers, your background and education experience?
KG. I have a PhD in English from Claremont Graduate University, and I’m a writer who loves literature. I’ve been working in publishing for seventeen years.
WBiz. How do you manage your time in order to wear the multiple hats as an arts manager and to run Red Hen Press?
KG. When I write, I focus, I waste no time. When I work in publishing, that is what I do. It is a matter of opening a room and then staying focused. White hot focus. Being fully present.
WBiz. What motivated you to start Red Hen Press?
KG. I knew so many fantastic writers who I felt should be published and I wanted to make Los Angeles a literary city.
WBiz. Tell us about Red Hen Press and the services it provides
KG. We publish twenty titles a year, about half poetry and half prose.
We have three major annual awards that we give to writers, with $5,000 in prize money, one of which is for the publication of an original poetry collection.
We have a literary magazine, The Los Angeles Review, that we publish twice a year.
Red Hen Press also has an outreach program, Writing in the Schools, which has served Los Angeles public school children for many years, bringing published writers into the schools to teach poetry and creative writing.
In New York and Los Angeles, we have a total of twenty-eight readings a year at ten different venues.
WBiz. How can a writer know if he/she would be a good candidate to publish his/her poetry with Red Hen Press?
KG. We publish work by poets working at the top of their form, writers who are writing at a high level of mastery. We are not concerned with certain schools of poetry but with poetry that is written with excellence, wherever it falls on the aesthetic spectrum.
WBiz. What are the most difficult challenges you face running this non-profit organization?
KG. The most difficult part is fundraising, followed by finding a permanent physical place for the press.
This issue of WomenandBiz.com is about investments, investing in oneself, investing in one’s business, investing in new projects. Could you share any investments you made in yourself or your business that were successful?
1. Getting a PhD at my own expense.
2. Meeting with my mentors on a regular basis
3. I’ve invested my time and money for the last seventeen years in literary publishing.
The results have been a successful independent press, flourishing even, over 250 books published, many awards given and many students with the experience of poetry who otherwise might not have had it.
WBiz. What advice would you give someone who is thinking of starting a non-profit organization?
KG. Find good mentors and then listen to them.
Have a group of people who you listen to, call them a board, a council, a family, but do not try to make it by yourself. You need collective intelligence.
Don’t forget your mission. Don’t get lost in the machinations of the day to day. Remember the dream that got you started.
WBiz. What are your plans for the future?
KG. I plan to keep writing and to find a publisher for my new book. I will work on my writing and will take flight. And I plan to find a permanent home for the press in Pasadena and to see Red Hen thrive to become one of the nation’s most important independent presses.
WBiz. Are there any other questions you wished I had asked, from which you feel WomenandBiz.com’s readers could learn valuable lessons?
KG. The most important thing we can do as women who are making things happen is to know what we want and ask for it. Women don’t get what they want because they don’t go after it. People talk about women’s power and how it shouldn’t be in acting like men. But being passive doesn’t work. Waiting in the palace for the prince to arrive isn’t the answer. We must ride the horse; we must know how to make friends with the dragon, we must not wait. We must act on the universe if we wish to change our life and open doors for others.
For more information about Kate Gale and Red Hen Press, please visit http://redhen.org/dev/.