Ashley Graham – A Driving Force in The Next Generation of Publishing
Everybody has a story, and every story matters. Ashley Graham of Lift Bridge Publishing definitely understands this. Lift Bridge Publishing is leading the wave in publishing the stories of everyday people much like ourselves. Offering services from author consultations to marketing packages and photo shoots, the company is determined to keep urban publishing alive and well.. Lift Bridge Publishing gives authors the confidence and direction they need to publish!! We recently spoke with Ashley for a look inside her vision and her company.
Parlé Magazine: What influenced you to start your own publishing company?
Ashley Graham: I came up with the idea to start my own publishing company a few years ago. I’m an author and I’ve used a publishing company’s services, but did not feel that they instilled tools for me to succeed. So after I published my first book in 2009, I would speak at different engagements and people would later email me expressing their dream of publishing and asking how they should start. At first I was directing them to the publisher I used but the publisher wasn’t giving them enough information. I researched each question, began consulting with authors and developing a strategy for their books. After lending myself to consult with authors for 2 years, I thought, why not just start a business that not only consults, but also helps produce and distribute books to outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. I wanted to run my business on integrity, build my relationships with my authors so that they developed trust, and let them know that my intent is to see them win. That was the moment that I decided to start my own publishing company.
Parlé: When did you officially start Lift Bridge Publishing?
Ashley: I started Lift Bridge Publishing in Spring of 2014. I had just resigned from my job of 5 years, I originally started an IT consulting business where I contracted my services to different business owners for their systems but that wasn’t really my passion and it wasn’t as big of a success as I had hoped. Books and consulting about books just came natural to me so I took the steps needed to make Lift Bridge Publishing a reality.
Parlé: Do you consider yourself to be a trailblazer for women, (let alone BLACK women) who sometimes can’t overcome certain roadblocks or ceilings?
Ashley: I don’t really consider myself to be a trail blazer. For some reason, I just see myself doing what I love to do and pursuing my gift. I think it’s great when people let me know how following my dreams encouraged them to follow theirs. I think being a wife and mother could be considered an obstacle for a lot of women because in these roles our husbands and children require our undivided attention but I have a great working relationship with my husband who supports any and everything that I do 100% and my kids the same. Rather than a trailblazer, I do consider myself a role model for my two daughters and the only way I can be the best mom for them is to be the best me by following my dreams.
Parlé: In the age of technology, with Kindles and Nooks, how does Lift Bridge Publishing keep up with the times?
Ashley: Lift Bridge Publishing keeps up with the times by studying what’s out, gathering data on what’s being tested and what has proven to be effective in the market as it relate to authors. When we gather results from what we research, we begin developing strategies for our authors to not limit them to print but we develop innovative ideas for our authors to tell their story. Lift Bridge Publishing offer e-books and audio books as a way to give our readers books to fit their lifestyle.
Parlé: What are some of the services you provide to your clients?
Ashley: The services that we provide to our clients are so broad. The number one thing that we pride ourselves on is excellent customer service. When I started Lift Bridge Publishing, it was with the intention to give authors confidence and a place where integrity was exercised… always. Authors are our number one priority, we want to provide a service that not only makes the product successful, but make the authors successful in their journey of publishing. Aside from great customer service, Lift Bridge Publishing offers audio books, author consulting, e-books, graphic design, marketing packages, illustrations, photo shoots, book trailers, and resources such as workshops and seminars. We like to think of ourselves as a one stop shop for authors.
Parlé: Without divulging too much, what are some things we can expect from Lift Bridge Publishing in the near future?
Ashley: Lift Bridge Publishing will continue providing authors with great books and a great publishing experience. We will have more publishing workshops and seminars to give authors resources in their process. We will also launch our program called, “Generation Write Now” in April of this year. Generation Write Now is a writing and publishing program designed for aspiring young writers 8-16 years of age. As each young participant matriculates through the program, the goal of Generation Write Now is to develop writers and have them become published authors by the end of the program. I am extremely excited about this program because while leading a publishing workshop, I met so many young writers who had their books written and just wanted knowledge about how to get published. When I met these young writers, I felt the need to start a program to make them authors right now.