Behind-the-Scenes of Red Hen: A Conversation with Rebeccah Sanhueza

By Lizzy Young

Our next behind-the-scenes peek into Red Hen is a conversation with Production Associate Rebeccah Sanhueza!

Rebeccah Sanhueza began as an Editorial Intern with RHP in March 2018 before moving to the positions of Editorial Assistant and Development Assistant in April and August of 2018, respectively. In July of 2021, Rebeccah was promoted to the position of Production Editor in charge of the editorial department, and in September 2021 was promoted to Production Associate, overseeing the production department as a whole, which includes editorial and design. A 2015 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a BA in English, she has worked for several years as a college English tutor, elementary school literacy coach, and freelance editor. In December 2019, she joined the Los Angeles Review as Production Editor. Her poetry and short fiction has also been published in Inscape magazine. ​

Rebeccah oversees the production, editorial, and design departments, supervising both staff and intern teams while collaborating with authors and marketing/media staff in regard to timelines and promotional materials.

Lizzy Young: What are your primary responsibilities at Red Hen?

Rebeccah Sanhueza: I’m the Production Associate, which means that with our Publisher, Mark E. Cull, I oversee the physical creation of Red Hen’s titles and manage the overall production timeline for each title. This includes determining publication seasons and negotiating contracts with our Publisher, obtaining text and artwork materials from authors and artists, liaising with printers, guiding designers on interior layouts and cover designs, and even inserting text and design edits with the design team.

LY: You have been in several different departments throughout your time at Red Hen; what have you learned from being in the different departments?

RS: For context, I knew nothing about the publishing industry before I started as an editorial intern. I only knew that books were made . . . somehow. I’ve now worked in editorial, development and fundraising, and production, so I have a fairly good idea of what goes into the creative side of bookmaking. While each department obviously requires a different set of hard skills, what matters more is the ability to be flexible and willing to learn those completely different skill sets from scratch. Doing so also taught me much about my strengths and where I could improve.

LY: How do you balance your work day with being in charge of so many departments?

RS: My days are usually broken into either blocks of hours dedicated to specific projects or whole days broken into specific projects depending on where we are at any given time in a season’s production timeline. Because production and design are so closely intertwined, I often switch between the two departments within any given block of time, sometimes even minute to minute.

LY: As a supervisor of staff and intern teams, what would you say is your leadership style?

RS: I come from a teaching background, so after assessing someone’s familiarity with a subject, I either offer suggestions, guided demonstrations, or try to be fairly hands off on a project unless otherwise required. I also ask a lot of questions myself with the goal of creating a fantastic final product with the team.

LY: What’s your favorite part of your job?

RS: Creating interior layouts and inserting edits.

LY: You list several hobbies, like weight lifting and cooking, in your bio. How do those influence your writing and/or your work at Red Hen?

RS: My hobbies remind me that doing what is hard is both rewarding and necessary for productive growth. Challenging myself can also be meditative to some extent, even if it doesn’t seem like it in the middle of the action. I try to carry that over into all aspects of my life, including my writing, which is mostly haiku and short fiction at the moment.

LY: What are you currently reading?

RS: The Milk Hours by John James and Fullmetal Alchemist: A New Beginning by Inoue Makoto (translated by Jan Mitsuko Cash with Asumi Shibata).

We hope that Rebeccah’s interview helps you understand the nuts and bolts process that goes into publishing a Red Hen book. Put any thoughts about the process into the comments below!



Nonprofit independent literary publisher aiming to amplify unheard and underrepresented voices and improve literacy in schools.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Red Hen Press

Nonprofit independent literary publisher aiming to amplify unheard and underrepresented voices and improve literacy in schools.