“There would be no book without the skills and shared belief in this project by [several other people and] the Small Business Development Center.”
Humboldt Heartland is a story of ranching on California's remote North Coast. Fifth generation resident and rancher Andy Westfall has visited ranches throughout Humboldt County since 1996, photographing and conducting interviews for this book. Each of the book's five chapters: The Lore; The Landscape; The Livelihood; The Life; and The Legacy, are filled with beautiful photographs and the voices of the people - ranchers, woodsmen, young and old, men, women, and children. The book documents the past, present, and future of this unpretentious way of life through the stories, the rugged beauty of Humboldt, the hard work and the humor, and the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead for these ranching families.
Westfall visited ranches and collected photographs and stories for nearly 14 years before he was ready to start creating his book. Getting the book layout set for printing and working with a printer was a new experience for Westfall. And he would have to market the finished product as well as address all of the legal requirements of a new venture and account for the sales.
Westfall’s business advisor connected him with regional historical and book experts who gave him advice and direction on many things having to do with what would sell well while maintaining the integrity and intent of the book and its subjects. Westfall decided on releasing his book in time for the Christmas season, and a public relations campaign centered on the book’s release date was planned. A special project consultant assisted with writing a press release to announce the book and coached Westfall on talking with the media. Book signings and shows were planned around his target market and other regional events that would draw interested readers.
In late November, 2010, Westfall was featured on the front page of the Times Standard newspaper, where he told his story and why the rural ranching way of life in Humboldt County, California means so much to him and others. Humboldt Heartland was officially released in December 2010 and Westfall sold half of his supply that first month. He met people and signed copies of his book, meeting old and new friends from Humboldt County and beyond.
Westfall has won two awards for the book; a bronze medal for photography books from the Independent Publisher Book Awards and two Will Rogers Medallion Awards for author and publisher of photographic essays. With the first printing nearly sold out, Westfall is considering his options for another edition. The success of Westfall’s book, in his words, “…reflects the richness of the ranching culture – the people, the way of life, and the land.”