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Empowering Women Through Red Thread Publishing And Red Falcon Press – Exclusive Interview With Sierra Melcher

Sierra Melcher is a best-selling author, publisher, international speaker, and founder of Red Thread Publishing. The imprint Red Thread Books was founded to support 10,000 women to become successful published authorpreneurs. She has supported 250+ people from 26 countries to write and publish in the last three years, with 55 books published. Now, with the addition of Red Falcon Press as a new imprint, she maintains her goal of offering world-class writing and publishing support that focuses on community, collaboration, and a uniquely human approach at every stage of the authoring process.

 

Sierra has a Master’s degree in education and has spoken and taught around the world. Originally from the United States, Sierra lives in Medellin, Colombia, with her young daughter. She is the author of 16 books, including Typo: The Art of Imperfect Creation, which won Gold in the Nautilus Book Awards Category for Creativity & Innovation. Her book celebrates the beauty and necessity of embracing imperfections in the creative process, encouraging readers to find freedom and authenticity in their creative endeavors.


Image photo of Sierra Melcher

Sierra Melcher, Founder, Red Thread Publishing


What inspired you to start your own publishing company, and what challenges did you face in the early stages?

 

After navigating the traditional and self-publishing options, I was inspired to start Red Thread Publishing. I loved the impact of publishing but saw significant room for innovation, both in terms of the stories being told and how authors and readers could connect. After taking the leap in the early days, securing our first authors to take a chance on a start-up press was the biggest challenge. As a new company, we had to work hard to build credibility and distinguish ourselves. Even before that, believing in myself and my vision enough to take the risk was the hardest part. We overcame those obstacles through grit, learning from mistakes, creative hustle, and a strong vision for what Red Thread could become.

 

How do you balance these different roles and responsibilities as an author, publisher, and entrepreneur?


That's a great question. I love it. We all have a lot of different roles and identities. In addition to all the things you mentioned, I am a single mom living in a foreign country. When we set out to do grander things, major obstacles are our expectations and simultaneously limiting beliefs, the ongoing questioning of what it looks like to do these things well.

 

On any given day, I can be a publisher, a mom, a CEO, and an author. However, these different roles didn't happen simultaneously, so I focused on each at various stages. When starting something new, like writing a book or building a publishing company, it demanded intense and singular attention upfront. However, once established, those efforts require less hands-on time daily. The key is prioritizing what needs my full presence at any given moment. When writing, I immerse myself completely in the creative process. As a publisher, I'm laser-focused on acquiring books and supporting authors. And as an entrepreneur, I'm driving the company's strategic vision and growth initiatives.

 

It takes discipline to segment my energy, devoting my focus to one role at a time rather than dividing attention. I've found that establishing a routine and setting clear priorities with systems to back them up help me stay on track. Clear boundaries around how I spend my time have been crucial, in addition to having a supportive team to delegate tasks to where possible. Some days, despite my intentions, an urgent issue will inevitably pull my focus elsewhere. In those cases, I re-evaluate priorities and rebalance. Ultimately, diving fully into one role at a time allows me to produce my best work across all endeavors. I would be remiss to overlook the importance of rest and personal time in all of this. It is easy to fall into workaholism and perfectionism when juggling many responsibilities. However, one key to making it in the long run as an entrepreneur is having fun stuff to balance all the effort.

 

Your recent Anthology, Notes from Motherland, features all-female authors. Can you tell us about the themes and messages?

 

Notes from Motherland is a collaborative book celebrating the raw, underexplored truths about modern motherhood, its joys, and challenges told from the diverse voices of our female authors. We hope to empower and inspire other mothers while shedding light on issues often swept under the rug. The essays range from hilarious to heartbreaking, but all subvert the dated, sanitized portrayals of mom-hood we often see.

 

The core themes are maternal ambivalence, identity evolution, resiliency through struggle, and radical candor around topics like marriage strain, loss of sexuality, Mom rage, and reconceived dreams. It's a rallying cry for all moms to feel seen, human, and united in its beautiful mess.

 

I hope that by elevating these previously hushed perspectives, we can move towards greater honesty, self-acceptance, and support within the vastly undervalued role of mothering.

 

As mentioned in a recent feature article, Leadership in Latin America: How Women are Driving Medellin’s Entrepreneurial Revolution, motherhood and work are at odds. There is a significant additional requirement to do either well, but to do both simultaneously is significantly undervalued. “It is akin to juggling 10 items at one, but 5 of them are on fire; however, she makes it look seamless.”


Group of sitting on white wooden chair outdoor

How do you think being a female entrepreneur has influenced your business and publishing approach?

 

As a woman, I know what it feels like to have your voice and stories underestimated or dismissed. That first-hand experience has made me hyper-attuned to whose voices we're spotlighting and whose we've been culturally conditioned to overlook.

 

In business, I've had to build confidence by demanding a seat at the table and sometimes building a new table while inviting people to join me there. That resilience has been instrumental in backing controversial but important books that push societal boundaries. Modeling courage and ingenuity for my authors, not just in theory but in practice, is part of what we are all about.

 

I also value creating work cultures of collaboration over hierarchy, policies, and systems that truly support women. The lack of those values at previous companies directly influenced my leadership philosophies.

 

Overall, being a female entrepreneur means every aspect of Red Thread—the books we acquire, the work environments we build, and the equitable practices we implement—is intentionally designed to counter outdated, imbalanced norms.

 

What advice do you have for other women looking to start publishing or writing endeavors?

 

My top advice is to develop a strong self-belief from the start. So much of the path will test your resolve through rejection and barriers. Having an unshakable faith in your voice and vision will sustain you. Even when you stumble into self-doubt, honor your vision and keep showing up for it. Surround yourself with a supportive community, whether engaging in writing groups, developing referrals and connections in the publishing world, or finding financial and emotional sponsors who intuitively "get" your work's value. Above all, we always remind our authors to focus on who needs their stories; by honing in on the value you have to offer and the people you can serve, we are fortified to endure and triumph over countless hurdles.

 

Don't be afraid to launch scrappily and imperfectly at first. Getting your ideas out into the world is more important than waiting for the "perfect" time or plan, as my book Typo: The Art of Imperfect Creation reminds authors. It is as true in writing as in any other endeavor. Pursue it step-by-step with passion and perseverance. Finally, seek out skilled mentors further ahead.


Their seasoned guidance can help you leapfrog hurdles you can't yet see coming. I truly believe if you stubbornly stay true to your creative callings, the path will unfold. But you have to be the original believer in your own journey. Storytelling is the universal language that allows us to feel seen, understood, and less alone. Regardless of our backgrounds, we crave narrative voices illuminating the universality of the most nuanced personal experiences.

 

The books and authors I've worked with have been able to transcend conventional boundaries and construct communities across ethnicities, generations, and locations simply through the power of skillful, authentic storytelling. I've witnessed strangers show up to readings as fans, only to feel so moved by the bravery and resonance in the stories that they leave as invested community members. They realize the themes speak deeper truths about their own lives.


Connecting on that profoundly human level through the written word is both magical and impactful. Stories shrink the vastness between us and create intentional spaces of empathy and belonging, even among those leading seemingly divergent lives.

 

How do you stay motivated and creative in your endeavors?

 

For me, creativity is oxygen, so it is imperative to feel fully alive and engaged with the world around me. I return to practices that fill my creative well whenever I'm stuck or uninspired. That means reading incessantly across genres and disciplines. It resets my sense of curiosity and awe about the vast human experience still left to explore and interpret. I'm also endlessly inspired by the writers I work with. Their determination and ability to tap into raw emotional resonance fires up my drive and imagination.

 

Stepping away—whether through travel, immersing yourself in nature, or doing something physically active—is key, too. Creating from a well of stillness and wonder rather than frenetic overthinking is most impactful. We teach the value of cyclical rest as vital for any and all creative endeavors.

 

Ultimately, motivation comes from ruthlessly carving out pockets of time to play with words, images, and ideas again, reconnecting with that childlike spark that started it all. My daughter constantly reminds me of playfulness, creativity, imagination, and curiosity. She constantly invites me to reimagine and reconceive the world, my perceptions, and what is possible. As adults, we learn to hold back and work within the confines of what is “possible,” creating countless self-imposed limitations. I used to believe without question that I could never write a book. I am dyslexic and grew up in the shadow of that wound, always feeling behind, and like I wasn’t smart enough, learning to hide and putting all my energy into passing. It remained true as long as I believed and never tested or challenged that reality. By reimagining that story and believing I could try, I created an entirely new reality far beyond anything I had ever dreamed possible. I have watched this same powerful reinvention for so many of our authors. Children are not as afraid of failure as most adults. Rather, they play and explore. None of us have lost that capacity; it must be reawakened and dusted off.


Sierra and her daughter at the cafe

What future projects or goals are you most excited about?

 

Before founding Red Thread, I spent fifteen years as a history teacher. We are taught who we are and who is important in those classes. Even as an informed, empowered woman, I was still repeating the cultural story that rich white men were the important voices. The stories we hear subtly or not so subtly teach us values and worthiness. We learn to undervalue ourselves when we do not see ourselves in those stories. Woven into our mission/vision and systems, we aspire to rectify this prevalent injustice. That is a fierce motivation that drives our work in our Red Thread Imprints to initiate meaningful conversations and bring more people to see themselves in the stories being told to inherently know they are worthy and valuable just as they are.

 

Now, we are working to incorporate a second imprint: Red Falcon Press. We are dedicated to amplifying underrepresented voices. Driven by a spirit of defiance and unbound by societal limitations, we cultivate impactful authors through publishing groundbreaking stories. As we further build out Red Falcon Press, we envision a world where the voices of marginalized people are not just heard but celebrated. A world worthy of our children that encourages self-expression, belonging, and mutual acceptance. Where our ‘authors' stories forge a new reality in which every voice is honored and every story has the power to transform.

 

Finally, what message would you want readers to gain from your work?

 

Ultimately, I hope readers walk away from my books and publishing work with this message: Your story is invaluable. Do not shrink it or silence it based on someone else's conventions about what narratives matter more than others. Publishing has the power to expand our minds, challenge assumptions, and build inclusive belonging. Uncovering the raw, radiant truth of our varied human experiences is the path toward a more compassionate and understanding world.


Book awards

Here are the outstanding books and authors who have been honored with Nautilus Book Awards:

 

Gold Winner: Creativity & Innovation

 

Typo: The Art of Imperfect Creation by Sierra Melcher.

 

Sierra Melcher, the founder of Red Thread Publishing, has won a gold award in the Creativity & Innovation category for her inspiring book, "Typo: The Art of Imperfect Creation." This book celebrates the beauty and necessity of embracing imperfections in the creative process, encouraging readers to find freedom and authenticity in their creative endeavors.


Gold Winner: Grief & Loss

 

 

Therese Marchitelli's profound exploration of grief through the lens of neuroscience and mindfulness offers invaluable insights and practical tools for those navigating the painful journey of loss. This book's gold award in the Grief & Loss category highlights its impact and the importance of addressing grief with compassion and scientific understanding.

 

Silver Winner: Death & Dying

 

 

Jessica Stokes' poignant memoir about her mother's battle with Alzheimer's disease has earned a silver award in the Death & Dying category. "Seeking Clarity in the Labyrinth" is a heartfelt narrative that offers solace and understanding to those facing similar challenges, shedding light on the emotional complexities of caregiving and loss.

 

Silver Winner: Rise to the Moment

 

 

This collaborative work, led by Frances Trejo-Lay & Sierra Melcher, has received a silver award in the Rise to the Moment category. "Planting the Seed" is a collection of lessons and stories aimed at fostering a brighter, more sustainable future. The book brings together diverse voices to share insights and strategies for positive change, making it a vital resource for those committed to environmental and social progress.

 

Silver Winner: Death & Dying (2023)

 


Leslie Peake's inspiring story of overcoming cancer has been awarded a silver in the Death & Dying category. "Healing Against the Odds" is a powerful testament to the human spirit's resilience and the strength found in adversity. Leslie's journey from diagnosis to recovery is a beacon of hope for anyone facing similar battles.


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