Community College Publishing Press Supports North Carolina Artists
Hidden in the halls of Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in Hickory is a pioneering initiative called Redhawk Publications, a small press program that helps local, state, and national creators bring their art to the world.
Redhawk Publications began when CVCC instructors Richard Eller and Robert Canipe wrote and published “Polio, Pitchforks, and Perseverance: How a NC County Named Catawba Battled Polio and Won,” about the 1944 polio epidemic in Catawba County. They then produced a documentary titled “Miracle”, and soon after were enlisted to publish an academic workbook for a fellow instructor. CVCC President Garrett Hinshaw asked the two men to establish an entrepreneurial small press program to “tackle North Carolina’s $7 billion creative economy.”
Canipe and Eller began the difficult task of creating a program that no community college, to their knowledge, had created before. According to editor Canipe, “Redhawk Publications is less a publisher and more a program that helps creators create, publish and distribute their products, create prototypes, find manufacturing and distribution partners and educate customers. how to promote and sell their art. ”
Since 2017, Redhawk Publications has had the pleasure of publishing over 80 books, including scaffolding texts for CVCC teachers and instructors, collections of poetry, children’s books, memoirs, fiction and d other engaging publications from local and national customers.
While Redhawk Publications is extremely proud of all the publications it has been involved in, the small team of five full-time and part-time employees particularly enjoy collecting ideas from authors and turning them into finished publications.
What makes Redhawk Publications so special?
Redhawk Publications often works with artists and writers who are based in North Carolina or who have previously lived in the state. “We are very proud to showcase our local talent and look forward to showcasing even more,” said Eller, Executive Director of Redhawk. “Redhawk Publications enables CVCC to help the community preserve the stories and history of the area.”
Project coordinator Patty Thompson said, “Before I started working for Redhawk Publications, I did my research. I wanted to know what other community college publishing presses were doing in the state. I couldn’t find another community college in North Carolina with a small press. I then researched community colleges across the country, and again couldn’t find another community college with a publishing press. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It shows you how unique we are.
Canipe added, “At Patty’s point, at one time there were community colleges in the state that had small publishing presses, but the model at the time required keeping an inventory of books, which which is neither practical nor financially feasible. Community colleges that have become stuck in storing boxes of books have pulled out of the publishing business. We launched Redhawk Publications with a newer and more efficient model using the print on demand (POD), which means that we have no minimum order of books requiring storage. We can literally print as many copies as the author wants, reducing costs.
Their books are beginning to gain national recognition. One release from this summer, “Prosperity Gospel,” was nominated for a Harriet Beecher Stowe Award. Two collections of poetry have been nominated for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award. Eller has authored several history books with Redhawk Publications and recently won the 2021 North Carolina Society of Historians.
“What this team has done with our small, innovative operation in such a short time is extraordinary,” Hinshaw said. “I consistently receive praise from community members about our publishing division and creative solutions, not just from our local community, but from people across the state. We are earning a distinguished reputation that we should all be very proud of in the Red Hawk Nation and within our community.
What type of manuscripts does Redhawk Publications seek?
Redhawk Publications is open to publishing titles dealing with art, education and teaching. Their number one priority is course materials such as scripts, workbooks, and study guides. But clearly, they publish poetry collections, community history projects, photography, fiction, memoirs.
In fact, as a public nonprofit entity, Redhawk Publications has been eligible for grants to help market books. “We’ve created game prototypes, student anthologies, maps, club brochures, special photography processes, etc., and seek to dive into new things daily,” Canipe said. “We can also help clients spend their own grant responsibly and get the most for their money.”
See our submission guidelines on our website for how to submit a manuscript. You can email Thompson at [email protected] for details.