Change is Good: Behind the Scenes in the Acquisitions Department

This past summer, we managed to find our footing as the new department leads for acquisitions at Ooligan Press. We are now in our fifth week of the fall term, and the tasks at hand are substantially increasing. While some aspects of our job are fairly routine in procedure, there are some projects happening in the background that are exciting and could bring changes to the acquisitions department.
One of our biggest projects currently being developed is reading and researching for our upcoming pitch at the end of November. The particular manuscript that we are pitching has been in the works since the beginning of Bess and Molly’s (our predecessors) time in the publishing program. We are thrilled to finally have the completed manuscript in our hands and are excited to get started on the research.
The pitch process at Ooligan is fairly straightforward. We gather a team of students; collect research data related to the marketing, sales, audience, and potential success of the title; create a presentation; and deliver it to all the members in the press. After everyone has a sense of the project, we democratically vote to determine whether we want to acquire the project or not. While it is no guarantee that the project will be voted through, as department leads we strive to present projects that fulfill our mission statement—projects that we know we can represent to the fullest. Thankfully, we have a group of very ambitious, go-getting new students on board to help with this important step.
That’s not all that’s happening in Ooligan’s acquisitions department. We are also currently reworking our submission guidelines. Given the recent successes of A Series of Small Maneuvers, Memories Flow in Our Veins, and the launch of Siblings and Other Disappointments, we are adapting this ongoing project to bring into focus our exciting new trajectory. We are hoping that these revised guidelines give our potential authors an even clearer idea of what we’re looking for, as we know our backlist can be a bit eclectic in terms of genre.
Currently, we have ten manuscripts and seven proposals on our docket, all at various stages in the reviewing process. Meanwhile, weekly batches of queries continue to fill up our email. We have heard some very interesting pitches recently: variations on the travel and homestead memoir, some fascinating historical looks at Pacific Northwest culture, and of course the steady stream of slightly fantastical YA novels. It is exciting to see that we have begun to really hone our image as a publisher, and it is an honor to know writers are taking notice.
With such a large workload, we are thrilled to have a lot of help this term. The fall brought with it some bright and enthusiastic new students who have rolled up their sleeves and plunged right into the sea of proposals. They have been asking really good questions and providing excellent feedback. We are extremely impressed by them, and we are excited to see what the next year has in store for Ooligan’s next round of managers.

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