Q&A with founder Trace HentzTell us about Blue Hand Books:
I started Blue Hand Books as a collective of Native American authors in 2011 to help my Narragansett friend John Christian Hopkins. He and I worked together at the Pequot Times in the early 2000s. John had tried publishing himself, and it worked fine but he needed more readers (and book sales). My husband and I were having brunch with John and his wife Sararesa in Connecticut that summer and out of nowhere—BOOM—I offered to help him publish his book Twilight of the Gods. He electronically sent me his files and somehow I formatted it and we published it! So the collective as a company officially kicked off on 11-11-11 when his book was published. It was more work than I imagined to layout a book but I've improved because of Pressbooks formatting software. As time went on, I needed to learn how to create e-books and tons of other stuff.
How did you come up with that name:
Blue Hand Books was a vision. I'd looked at Mayan prophecy since it was 2011—the end of their calendar was December 21 and found out that the Blue Hand is a Mayan symbol for the time we are now in.
In 2019, I knew it was time for Blue Hand Books, aka Blue Indians Collective.
What is the mission:
Our motto "Where Native Authors Find New Readers" is our mission. "Decolonizing publishing" is our goal.
How many books have you published as a collective:
Back in 2009, self-publishing was not looked upon as "professional" so I knew John and I needed to have a publishing house and BE the publisher. We're both journalists and former editors. I decided to use Create Space/Amazon after I did some research. Right after that I worked with a new writer Jim Chavers, who is Bois Forte Ojibwe, and at that time he was in prison in Minnesota. We worked over the phone for months. I did his book Ojibwe Hunter (his true hunting stories) and published it on Create Space in 2012.
OH! I want to add that our mutual friend Barb Burke was our go-to-gal for graphic design. She designed the book covers and bookmarks. We could not have done it without her help and generosity. (She is a very talented writer herself! And now a busy new mom to Super-Sam.)
Since then, WE (the collective Blue Hand Books) have published my first poetry chapbook SLEEPS WITH KNIVES, an anthology TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects (Patricia Busbee and I are co-editors and adoptees), John's first poetry book RHYME OR REASON, Patricia Busbee's hybrid fiction REMEDIES, and John's 2nd edition of CARLOMAGNO: Adventures of the Pirate Prince of the Wampanoags. That's not the exact order of books but close.
John's also remastered Twilight of the Gods as the new book LOKI: God of Mischief, with a brand new book cover so that is done and published. In early 2014, I finally finished the interior of Dana Lone Hill's POINTING WITH LIPS. It's a fantastic debut fiction—her first book but definitely not her last. This Lakota writer has a huge gift and a huge following already! We asked graphic designer Kim Pittman to do the cover and it's wonderful. (I realized my WORD program sucked at book interiors, especially doing Dana's book, so I now use Pressbooks in Montreal. It costs money but it's worth it.)
In June 2014, Patricia Busbee and I finished and published CALLED HOME (Vol 2) Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, a brand new Native adoptee narrative anthology. It took forever since we had 50 writers, which includes me and Patricia, but it's a masterpiece and an important chapter of American Indian history.
Now I am working with a Wampanoag writer Deborah Spears-Moorehead on her own story and tribal history. Finding Balance was our 15th book.
My new chapbook BECOMING was our 12th title... I am so excited to be able to get this prose/short story collection out there since I started it last year. (2018- it's retired and out of print)
John's western TWO GUNS is lucky number 13 and he has already sent me more books ready to edit and publish like WRITER ON THE STORM, John's humor writing, which is 14th.
We've published and republished 20 remarkable very very good book titles. We re-published "Called Home: The RoadMap" in 2016 with a new cover and more content. I published a new anthology "Stolen Generations: Survivors of the Indian Adoption Projects and 60s Scoop" in 2016, Vol. 3 of the Lost Children Book Series. We published two titles by Barbara Robidoux (see her author page.) Charles Grolla has published his first book "Ojibwe Mocassin Game" (see his author page) and also in 2017, we published Patricia Busbee's poetry anthology "In The Veins."
In 2017, we republished Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, Vol. 1 - we have edited it and has a new cover.
Buffalo Dreams will come out eventually.
Does BLUE HAND BOOKS have a blog?
Yes we do. It's www.bluehandbooks.org and we have www.blueindiansbooks.com.
This is a story in itself. I had no idea how to create a website but I tried. First I used Webs to create bluehandbooks.com as a storefront but it was expensive and not helping sales at all! So back to the drawing board I went and decided to buy the name Blue Hand Books with the .org and use wordpress as our landing page and website. Like I said, it's all been a learning curve for me to be a book publisher! Domain names, blogs, websites, book trailers, book tours, social media, all of this was new to me in 2009 when my memoir came out. I'd never guessed this was the direction my life would take—but I am sure glad it did!
I switched the website to Blogger in 2016, and the wordpress posts were brought here.
In 2017, I have decided to take a new direction as a writer. Blue Hand Books Collective will still be up as a website and a place to find our book titles on Amazon or IndieBound. I'd retired in 2015 and Steve Dragswolf was manager for one year, but that didn't work out.
In late 2018, Trace published her first creative non-fiction:
Mental Midgets|Musqonocihte “It’s a Miracle We’ve Survived This Far,” (ISBN: 9781731074010) Her cancer surgery was a success and she's back to work.
In 2019, Patricia Busbee will update her story in a new second edition of Called Home: The RoadMap. Her story changed!
January 2019: New Name: Blue Hand Books| Blue Indians Collective.
We plan to publish more non-fiction, history, academic papers, anthologies, creative non-fiction, and memoirs.
FREE BOOK PDFS for reviewers.
We offer book clubs our books at a big discount.