As we continue to come out of a chaotic pandemic, local publisher Heather Felty wants to remind us all to look inward to find peace.
Felty, an Eau Claire native, owns Inner Peace Press, a publishing company producing books by independent authors about their journeys to overcome personal struggle.
Although Felty is based in Eau Claire, Inner Peace Press ranges widely – authors come from across the nation, and Felty has even published an author from England. While the rest of the world was adapting to working virtually during lockdown, Felty was already there: She’s been working virtually for years in the non-profit sector.
After 25 years in non-profits, Felty turned her own eyes forward. A trained yoga instructor, she taught yoga and yoga philosophy at a studio downtown. Unfortunately, the studio opened just before the pandemic, and Felty switched tracks to start publishing.
“It’s about creating positive ripples that let us connect better as a society,” Felty said. “That’s not the typical role of the publisher, but that’s what I’ve made mine. It’s not about lining my pockets, it’s about lifting us all up. About doing good in our world.”
In just under two years, Inner Peace Press has published five books. They mostly focus on memoir, from a journey of healing after car accidents to a parent processing their child coming out as transgender.
“It’s about creating positive ripples that let us connect better as a society,” says publisher Heather Felty. “That’s not the typical role of the publisher, but that’s what I’ve made mine. It’s not about lining my pockets, it’s about lifting us all up. About doing good in our world.”
Felty said she first saw two purposes to these stories. First, readers can empathize with the stories and not feel alone in their struggles. Second, someone who didn’t understand the situation in the book can get an insider’s view – becoming more open and accepting in the process. Over the past few months, Felty said, she’s been recognizing a third, most important purpose to her publishing her.
“Our books are also a healing modality for the author themselves,” she explained. “The author must process what they’ve gone through and write legible accounts of what happened. I love when an author can share their vulnerability and feel good about it. A lot of times we try to hide what’s beautiful about ourselves.”
When Felty takes on a new author, she handles all sides of the publishing process, from design to printing. In addition, she offers writing coaching to work with the author to get used to the process of book and memoir writing. In weekly sessions, she said, Felty offers advice and gives authors writing “homework” for the next week’s session.
Being personally invested in her author’s success is vital to Inner Peace Press, Felty said. One thing that has surprised her about publishing has been the costs it takes to publish and sell a book. Her goals for her are to keep the price of a book as low as possible, while still making enough to split 50/50 with the author.
Part of keeping costs down and increasing accessibility, Felty said, include printing herself and continuing to work closely with the author and distributors, as well as doing promotional events.
Looking forward to a bright future, Felty currently has 10 more books in production across diverse topics, even a children’s series. Her goal of her, though, remains the same: finding inner peace through sharing true, human stories.
“We get so inundated in our society by all the stuff that’s going on, the things we’re supposed to do, and all the people we’re supposed to be that we lose sight of what our true purpose is,” Felty said. “I like to encourage people that the answers are within you, you just have to slow down enough to think about it.”
Inner Peace Press can be found at innerpeacepress.com.