Leah Hawker with her book Breastfeeding 101.

We would like to wish Leah Hawker a very happy book birthday. Leah has just published her first book, Breastfeeding 101 – A portrayal of the pleasures and pains of breastfeeding. The book brings together 101 women to tell their stories about the realities of breastfeeding, a subject often hidden from the public eye.

Interview with the author

Author and photographer Leah Hawker in her studio

We asked Leah a few questions about her journey as an author and this is what she had to say. 

Q: What inspired you to write your book? 

A: I love working with images that look at how women feel about themselves, how they are seen and marketed too. I find the topic hugely interesting and find that working alongside women and learning about what affects their lives is inspiring. All of my work deals with the subject. 

I’m always working on a number of self-motivated projects and Breastfeeding 101 was one of these. There were a number of things that really inspired the project to start and then grow to the extent that it did. I’d say that social media was the tipping point though. I’d been following the subject of breastfeeding, amongst other women-related topics, and it suddenly exploded, articles, comments, images; they were everywhere. It may have had to do with my being involved in more birthing and new motherhood photoshoot stories but slowly I became aware of quite how valuable the subject of breasts was for our for society. I really wanted to unpack it.

Birthing link: http://www.leahhawker.co.za/portfolio/birth-newborn

Motherhood link: http://www.leahhawker.co.za/portfolio/pregnancy-motherhood

A spread from Breastfeeding 101, a book by Leah Hawker

Q: What was your favourite part of publishing your book?

A: I’ve loved learning totally new and surprising facts about all the women I worked with. It’s been a process over the past three years of producing the project and seeing it grow bit by bit, this has been hugely satisfying. Seeing the talented book designer, *Gabrielle Guy, putting what was in my mind for so long into an actual visual design made my heart pop with happiness.

Working with Staging post as a self-publishing author has been great. I’ve had so much support through the tricky bits. I would probably have struggled without their guidance. This made the end stage of actual printing and distribution a breeze.

*Url link: https://www.gabrielleguy.com

Cover shot of Breastfeeding 101

Q: What advice would you give an author planning to publish their first book?

A: Have a good support structure in place. I often felt quite isolated, mostly at the start of the whole process. Sit and really think through the whole production plan and timeline and imagine how you will realise each stage of the logistics. I had this in place right from the start as I knew I’d be working with so many people. It really helped to have order. Back-up all of your work, and do so on multiple platforms/hard-drives. Communicate often and openly with all those who you have incorporated or included in your book.

To find out more about how you can publish your book with Staging Post. Send an email to info@stagingpost.co.za with your inquiry and we will get back to you with all the information you need and a quote.

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