The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV alumna inspires creativity, storytelling with publishing company

Courtesy | Bracket Publishing Instagram

Grand Valley State University alumna and author of the 2020 children’s book “Love is Powerful” Heather Brewer has been busy since her graduation in 2022. Just a year after graduation, Brewer started Bracket Publishing, a publishing company that specializes in creative non-fiction, fiction and children’s books. 

Brewer said she became fascinated with the idea of starting a publishing company during her time at GVSU. Largely influenced and inspired by the professors she studied under, Brewer said she felt compelled to take her career to the next level by creating something that would help others bring their dreams to life.

Brewer founded Bracket with her friend and business partner Miranda Gardner in the fall of 2023. As a women-owned micro-publishing company based in West Michigan, Bracket aims to collaborate with authors who have powerful stories to tell.  

“We really focus on books that we’re passionate about and that we feel like we can help make a success,” Brewer said. “Being part of the creative process is really fulfilling (and) it’s motivating (to be) creating something that lasts.”

As an adult learner, Brewer said she was forced to return to school when she found herself unable to advance in the field of publishing. Despite having two decades of experience in the industry, Brewer said the lack of a college degree limited her opportunities. However, Brewer said GVSU’s Integrative Studies Program gave her the opportunity she had been looking for.

During her time in the program, Brewer said conversing with her professors and other faculty significantly motivated and encouraged her to start a publishing company. Brewer specifically named her advisor, Krista Benson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Integrative, Religious and Intercultural Studies, as being especially influential during this time.

“Benson really encouraged my practicum, so all of my research was dedicated to publishing and writing,” Brewer said.

Benson said Brewer took classes at GVSU that gave her creative liberty. Benson said these courses allowed Brewer to apply a set of skills to her interests in writing and publishing. Additionally, Benson they were happy to hear about Brewer’s success after graduation and encourages past students to keep in touch with their professors and advisors.

“I’ve always found that students retain what they’ve learned more when they’re allowed to combine that learning with their own lives, the real world or their interests,” Benson said. “Whether a student knows what they want to do after graduation or not, they know what they’re interested in. We (faculty) often don’t see what students do with what they’ve learned in college, so hearing from former students is always a wonderful way to see where they end up (and) who they end up being.”

Brewer said she prioritizes making connections with booksellers, co-workers and people in the community, personally and as part of Bracket Publishing. Brewer said this has been essential to her success as an author, publisher and student.  

“Investing in relationships is important,” Brewer said. “Creating new ones (relationships) after graduation, getting involved in community organizations and reaching back to your professors to see how they’re doing and updating them on your life progress (is important).”

Brewer also emphasized that it’s never too late for adults to reach a goal or find an opportunity to start a career. She said getting a degree can open up opportunities, but that everyone’s path looks different, which is okay.

“Whatever you do next is not necessarily the rest of your life– it’s just the next thing,” Brewer said. “There’s always going to be a next thing if you want there to be a next thing, and you can always pursue it.”  

Bracket Publishing currently has three books published, including “Love is Powerful,” but Brewer said more are on the way. The company is currently working to publish a forthcoming children’s book about Genevieve Gillette, an important figure in the creation of Michigan’s park system.

More to Discover