Pairing Ooligan Titles with Documentaries

During the cooler months here in the Pacific Northwest, many of us can be found taking refuge indoors from the harsh weather raging outside, bundled in layers of sweaters or (comfortably, safely) smothered under blankets. And, if you’re anything like me, your reading list and Netflix queue are dwindling as you burn through them faster than logs in a fireplace. Fear not, my chilly children, for I have compiled yet another list, this time to help you fill those drizzly, blizzardy, blustery days. Following are my suggestions for how to pair some Ooligan Press titles with documentaries.

  1. Book: Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before
    Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before revolves a teenage girl coming to terms with her sexuality during a time particularly turbulent for those in the LGBTQ+ community. It’s only fitting that the documentary I picked was made in the 1980s as Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before takes place in 1989.
    The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
    The Times of Harvey Milk follows Milk’s career as the first openly gay elected official in the US through till the end, including the trial after Milk’s assassination (which included the infamous “Twinkie defense,” if you remember) and the candlelight march through San Francisco in memoriam of Milk’s life.
  2. Book:
    Sleeping in My Jeans
    Sleeping in My Jeans tells the story of a teenage girl and her family who find themselves suddenly experiencing homelessness.
    Lost in America (2017)
    Lost in America documents the journey of Rotimi Rainwater, a former homeless youth himself, as he travels across the United States in order to highlight the often ignored epidemic of youth homelessness.
  3. Book:
    A Heart for Any Fate
    A Heart for Any Fate follows a family as they face many trials and tribulations while travelling on the Oregon Trail from Missouri to Oregon.
    New Perspectives on the West (1996)
    New Perspectives on the West is a fairly classic PBS documentary that covers the evolution of the Western part of the US. Episode two, “Empire Upon the Trails,” covers the Oregon Trail.
  4. Book:
    The Ninth Day
    The Ninth Day tells the story of a girl living in Berkely in the 1960s whose plans to be part of a singing competition could be ruined after she takes part in the Free Speech movement.
    She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
    She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry is a documentary that explores the history of the women who were part of second wave feminist protests in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It’s not about the free speech movement, I know, but with all of the strong women characters in this novel, I felt that focusing on a women’s movement in the same time period was fitting for my documentary choice. If you’d prefer one more relevant to the reading selection, PBS has a documentary title Berkley in the Sixties that you can watch instead (or in addition).
  5. Book:
    50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests
    50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests is a guide providing information about hikes you can do in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests brought to you by the Sierra Club.
    The National Parks: America’s Best Idea
    Learn the history of national parks in this six-episode docu-series produced by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan. I suggest putting this one at the end of your list, right before you’re ready to thaw out—you’ll want to take that copy of 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests and start hiking as soon as you finish.

Go forth, frosty friends! Like a cozy bear in a cave living off of its stored up fat, consume this media and let it give you life during your hibernating months. I’ll see you when the sun starts shining.

5 Ideas for Summer Book Tourism in Oregon

The sun has finally shown its face after months of chilling rain and grey days here in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re anything like me, you’re torn between your can’t-stop-won’t-stop addiction to reading and your desire to soak up some of that sweet, sweet sun while you can. Lucky for us, I’ve created a list of ten books and corresponding activities for this summer. To keep it local, I’ve made sure all of the books are set in the Pacific Northwest, and all of the proposed activities are set in Oregon, primarily the Portland area.

  1. Book: The Ocean in My Ears by Meagan Macvie
    Activity: Ice Cream Tasting!
    While navigating the drama that comes with being a senior in high school, 90’s teen queen Meri Miller spends quite a bit of time devouring ice cream at her local Dairy Queen in Soldotna, Alaska. So, in her honor, the first activity is ice cream tasting! There are a lot of wonderful ice cream shops in Portland. You could hit up the famous Salt & Straw, which offers a tasting option where you can try a few of their deliciously unique concoctions. Or there’s Ruby Jewels Scoops, Cool Moon Ice Cream, and many more available on this list.
    Don’t forget your copy of The Ocean in My Ears; the lovely watercolor-style design of the cover next to your sweet treat will make an Instagram-worthy moment you won’t want to miss!
  2. Book: 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests by Sierra Club Oregon Chapter
    Activity: Hiking, of course.
    50 Hikes is a guide curated by the Oregon Sierra Club providing trail information and maps, directions, and a guide to regional plants. The guide has options for all skill levels and different hike lengths, all within an hour of the city, so it’s the perfect option for any Portland hiker. Grab a hiking partner, pack some provisions, and take in the sights of these beautiful, underrated forests.
  3. Book: At the Waterline by Brian K. Friesen
    Activity: River Tours
    At the Waterline follows a man who finds himself living and working among a motley crew on the Willamette River. Take a river tour, of which there are many, which can be found here, here, and here. If you’re looking for another option that involves drinking beer in an active group setting, consider the BrewBarge. Get familiar with the setting of this wonderful novel and enjoy some of the most interesting characters you’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about while soaking up some sun on the river!
  4. Book: Dot to Dot Oregon by Sid Miller
    Activity: Roadtrip!
    I’ll admit this activity is a bit more of a commitment, but road tripping is such a quintessential summer event, and this book lends itself to it so well that I couldn’t resist including it. In fifty poems, Sid Miller explores seven routes covering a variety of environments, including the coast, mountains, and Idaho border. And, for those Portlanders looking to stay closer to home, there are even some routes for inner-city Portland. These poems will make you look at Oregon in a whole new light and bring you into summer with fresh eyes.
  5. Book: Brew to Bikes by Charles Heying
    Activity: Brewery Bike Tours
    Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy profiles local businesses and explores the way businesses, from microbreweries to bike manufacturers, have changed the way locals consume. In its honor, I suggest doing a bike tour between some of Portland’s many microbreweries and not-so-micro-breweries. There are a few different services where you can rent bikes both for groups and individuals, including the Nike Bikes conveniently located all over the city. They’re bright orange, so you really can’t miss them. For breweries, here are a few places you can find some lists to inspire you: An Essential Guide to Portland’s Breweries, Travel Portland: Portland Breweries, PortlandBeer.Org: All Breweries.

Have fun, be safe, and soak up the sun while you can!

Marketing a Hiking Book in the Winter

Have you ever tried hiking during the winter in the Pacific Northwest? I have. Twice, in fact. Once was intentional. Once was not.

The first time I went, I embraced the rain. I let myself get drenched and covered in mud, as though this were a requirement for being a “true” Oregonian. This was all great until I got back in the car and realized that the downpour had soaked through my not-so-waterproof backpack and ruined my phone.

The second time I hiked during the winter, it was a lovely and dark January morning. I was sleep deprived, wearing a dress, and had no food or water. We’re not going to talk about that hike.

Fun fact: In Quebec, they have a saying for winter hiking: s’habiller comme un oignon. It means “dress like an onion.” Well, I can tell you right now, this onion did not have a whole lot of layers that morning.

Maybe there are some extreme hikers out there who are ready for any season the Pacific Northwest throws at them. They’re thick onions, ready for anything. If that’s you, I congratulate you. In fact, I envy you. Most of us, however, don’t really think about hiking until April or May (or, let’s be real, June). Hiking seasons aren’t something many people have to think a whole lot about, unless you decide to publish a Pacific Northwest hiking guide book at the tail end of winter.

On March 1, Ooligan Press released hiking guide 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. The hikes featured in the guide take place in what is a beautiful and classic example of the Pacific Northwest at its finest—vast rolling hills full of diverse forests, rushing rivers, clear mountain streams cascading over rocks, and views for miles towards the cold Pacific Ocean. But these lands can also be very unforgiving in the winter season. Some of the roads and pathways become closed off due to mudslides or destruction caused by wind, hail, rain, and ice. So how does a press market a hiking guide in the months leading up to its spring release if we can’t access the trails?

This last summer, many of our brave members at Ooligan Press hiked every single one of the trails in the guidebook. No one had to dress like an onion. And since no one got eaten by a bear, the trails were deemed safe enough for the book. An added benefit of this fact-checking experiment was that many people took photos of the trails in their pristine summer condition, which we then used to sustain us through the long winter.

We were very honest when posting these pictures. It wasn’t like we were saying in mid-December, “This is what the forest looks like right now! Go try it and tell us how it goes!” But the pictures did allow us to create social media content highlighting the beauty of these forests and reminding those of us who were still hibernating that Oregon (and the Pacific Northwest in general) can be a very beautiful place in the spring and summer. It allowed us to get people excited for new adventures after they finally thawed out.

With the content itself, we aimed to write things that matched the brand of the product and stayed consistent in our readers’ minds. One post reminded you that your face was frozen. Another reminded you that the land is terrifying and that you shouldn’t attempt to go outside unless you wanted to die. While it’s fun to compare the dangers of hiking in the winter to eating tide pods (please don’t), these statements all had grains of truth about the hikes that continued to reflect the Ooligan brand. Keeping the facts and images for these hikes consistent was the most important part of the marketing phase.

Thankfully, we had these marketing strategies in place so we didn’t have to go on slightly dangerous adventures in the frozen forests of Oregon. And now that summer is almost here, we can put our guide book to good use and bask in the sunny glory of the trails!

Check out 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests here!

50 Hikes Photo Contest: Win a Wearable Sleeping Bag from Poler!

Planning a hike or two this spring? Turn your hiking photos into a chance to win an excellent prize!

Ooligan Press is holding a photo contest to spread the word about our new book, 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. After hitting the trail, share your beautiful hiking photos with us for a chance to win a Napsack wearable sleeping bag from Poler. Can’t decide which hike to go on? Pick up a copy of 50 Hikes online or at a bookstore near you. See the rules below to find out how to enter.


  • Must upload a photo from a hike in an Oregon forest

  • Use this hashtag: #50hikesphotos

  • Tag @ooliganpress

  • Limit one entry per person per day

  • Entries accepted only on Instagram

Contest lasts from Friday, May 18 through Sunday, June 3.

The *winner, chosen at random, will be announced on Monday, June 4.

*Winner must be in the United States

Hit the Trail: 50 Hikes Is Now Available!

50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests was published on March 1, 2018, and hundreds of hikers have already snagged a copy and hit the trails. On March 10, The Ranger Station hosted a well-attended launch event, at which guest speakers Tara Brown of the Wild Salmon Center and Greg Jacob of the Sierra Club shared important information about our state forests and how to turn hiking into advocacy.

Now we’re trying to get the word out about the book as much as possible, though the book seems to sell itself. Still, we are broadening our audience with continued news coverage, social media posts, and book events. In April, Tillamook Bay Community College invited me and Greg Jacob of the Sierra Club to speak about the book and the forests. In the coming weeks, you can learn more about 50 Hikes in an Astoria radio spot, a May 17 meeting of the Oregon Sierra Club, and through many other channels.

This spring and summer is this book’s chance to shine. We urge you to look out for a 50 Hikes photo contest over social media; the best photo from the Tillamook or Clatsop State Forest will garner a special grand prize to facilitate further adventures into the wilderness.

This book is special to us because it’s more than just another book. It introduces Northwesterners to beautiful yet relatively unexplored areas in our backyard. It’s about showing people that these forests, which have been famously devastated by fire and logging, are now viable playgrounds for horseback riders, cyclists, hikers, and campers. It’s about encouraging people to become advocates for these forests and the wildlife within so that future generations can enjoy the same trails.

50 Hikes was a pleasure to work on, and we hope outdoor enthusiasts of all types will continue to discover it. But now that this title has slipped into the backlist, we have set our sights on a new project, and we think readers will be very pleased with what we’re brewing. Stay tuned!

Happy Trails: 50 Hikes Is Almost Here

The pub date for 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests (March 1, 2018) is so close we can already smell the pristine forest air. The Ooligan Press editorial team, design team, and 50 Hikes project team have worked tirelessly to put the finishing touches on a handsome, accurate, and useful hiking guide. As of this writing, 50 Hikes is at the printer, having gone through a rigorous OpenBook audit to ensure it is printed responsibly and sustainably. The final product will hit Northwest bookstores soon; but if you’re like us and just can’t wait, you can always preorder it online.

The book has already received an excellent write up in Coast Weekend, and the team is hard at work soliciting last-minute reviews from other media outlets in the region. You may have seen posts on Ooligan’s social media pages creating buzz for the book, and we ask you to stay tuned as the publication date draws near. We’ve set our sights on a March 10 launch event at the Ranger Station on SE Forty-Second and Hawthorne, and we would love to see you there.

Our efforts to market 50 Hikes will not slow down after the launch—if anything, we will work harder to ensure our readers can get the most out of our book during the warm and dry months. The Tillamook and Clatsop forests are resplendent between April and September, and we expect our guide’s first summer to be a great one. In addition to practical directions for the hikes, our guide offers fascinating information on the area’s history and elegant illustrations of some of the most abundant plants and trees. Our readers will discover something new and amazing each time they hit the trail.

Producing this book has been a challenging and rewarding experience. We are thankful to the Sierra Club Oregon Chapter for entrusting us with their trail wisdom, and we hope our guide inspires readers to be responsible stewards of the elegant Tillamook and Clatsop state forests. See you all on the trail!

50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forest Preparedness Guide

This spring, Ooligan Press will publish a new edition of The Sierra Club’s 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests, a guidebook to Portland’s nearest, beautiful State Forests. In anticipation of the new edition, members of the Sierra Club and Ooligan Press took to the trails to fact check and sweat over miles of beautiful forest land. This guidebook will cover the basics of successful hiking in the forests of Oregon.
Among the basics of an enjoyable day on the trails is preparation, and the guide has a list of essentials to bring. The guide will start any trekker on their way to equipping perfectly for a day in the forest. However, everyone has different needs for their different adventures. With this in mind, we have compiled a list with some extra additions we found useful in our own travels.

Hiking Gear Setup For Publishing Research

The outfitting for a safe and relaxing day in the forest.

Necessities for hiking the Tillamook and Clatsop Forests in no particular order:

  1. Raingear: Rain makes our forests green. It may also make you miserable, cranky, and cold.
  2. Extra layers: This helps avoid the cold, and possibly the cranky.
  3. Water: Lots of water. Leave some in the car, too.
  4. Headlamp or Flashlight: Wrong trail, late start? Lost is one thing, lost and blind is scary.
  5. Knife: Useful for cutting.
  6. Sunscreen: Stay protected, stay beautiful . . . sunscreen.
  7. Action Figure: In case you get lonely.
  8. A book: The extra weight will make you strong, and quiet time in the woods with a good book will make you more so.
  9. Sunglasses: Something protective and not your best; the streams and underbrush have claimed many a pair. Bonus points for croakies.
  10. Rain fly or tarp: If you get stuck in the drizzles, keeping your gear dry means the difference between a soggy sandwich and the feast of royalty.
  11. Art Supplies: Sketchbooks are great for logging trail memories and writing down information as you go. They have also been known to be great for drawing.
  12. Extra food and snacks: Hungry folk make mistakes and yell at one another. Don’t.
  13. Dry bag: Do you sweat incessantly? Me, too. On a long hike, this can protect your everything from sweaty backs, necks, armpits, etc.
  14. A solid backpack: Something that won’t irritate you while travelling and carries your precious cargo.
  15. Emergency supplies: Extra batteries, first aid, fire-starting kit (dryer lint is cheap and flammable), epi pen, and anything else you may need in a pinch. Bonus points for a dry container that can fit your phone and keys.
  16. Binoculars: Useful for finding birds and far off landmarks while keeping a sharp eye out, you vigilant hero.
  17. A hat: Something protective, comfortable, and quick-drying.This one has a wire brim you can bend into a cowboy or pirate hat.
  18. Boots: Running shoes will get you through shorter trips, but to stay warm and dry over many miles, find something with a rigid sole and some ankle support.
  19. Compass and Map: To know where you are and where you are headed is a beautiful thing. Making it there and back off-trail can take some doing, even for the practiced.

We hope you will join us this spring for the release of 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests and put the guide to the test as you discover the beautiful trails.

The trailhead ascending Elk Mountain in the Tillamook

Happy trails.

Grand Designs

Another season has passed for the 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests team, and the project feels ever more real to us. Since our last update, our talented design team has brought together the many elements of this book—the photographs, maps, illustrations, informational icons, and text—into a cohesive product.

Our advance reader copies (ARCs) are being printed and will soon be on their way; once they arrive, they’ll go straight out the door to reviewers, booksellers, bloggers, and others who may have an interest in our book—either to sell or feature on their respective platforms. We are confident our ARCs will be well received, setting the stage for the finished product’s success.

Our publication date of March 1, 2018, seems both far away and extremely close. It’s hard to imagine sipping cocktails at our launch event, yet it’s very easy to imagine the amount of work left to do. The most daunting task is the proofread. Given the book’s many authors and disparate elements, we will have to be especially meticulous as we ensure grammatical and factual accuracy. However, we have no shortage of eager and talented proofreaders to help make this book the best it can be.

As our pub date draws near, you can expect more 50 Hikes social media posts in your feed as we seek to spread our enthusiasm for this book to the general public. Fortunately, the beautiful Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests speak for themselves. We can’t wait for you to enjoy them with our handy guide nestled in your day pack.

Designing a Hiking Guidebook

This past spring term I took on the task of creating a cover design brief for Ooligan’s newest title, 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. A cover design brief is a document that lets designers know what elements you are and are not looking for in a cover. Ooligan’s cover design briefs typically begin with a section that provides a brief synopsis of the book—very useful for those designers who do not have time to read the entire manuscript—and then list various themes, visual elements, and potential color palettes to inform the designer’s decisions. At the end of the brief, designers are given examples of published covers that the press feels are successful and that our cover should emulate as well as some that the press would like to avoid.

I began research for the design brief for 50 Hikes by looking at Ooligan’s backlist titles. Although each book is unique, it is important to take into account what the press’s mission statement is and the overall look and feel of the backlist covers. The new book does need to stand out, but it also needs to fit in with the other titles that have been released. One element that stood out as I looked through previous titles were handmade elements used in many titles, such as the sink drawing on the cover of Siblings and Other Disappointments and the paper cut-outs used on the A Series of Small Maneuvers cover. This was an aspect which I felt represented Ooligan’s cover style, and I wanted to incorporate it in the cover design brief.

The next step was to look at comparative titles for 50 Hikes and to find their defining look. A book’s cover should fit in with the press’s backlist, but the book should also fit in with its comparative titles. This way readers have an idea of what to expect from the book they pick up. The more hiking guidebooks I looked at, the more it became clear to me that they had a very defined look; glossy photographs of nature with a solid color band across the top or bottom with the title. With such a rigid look, how would we be able to make our Ooligan hiking guidebook look the part? I asked around to see if anyone had ever seen a nature or hiking book with hand-made elements and a few were suggested to me. One of the best suggestions was to look at the national park posters for inspiration, so I picked a few of those that really stood out and included them on the cover design brief. My hope was this would help our designers figure out how to incorporate both styles.

Many of the designers ended up incorporating handmade elements such as maps, footprints, and photographs that appear painted. Ultimately, the cover that we selected ended up reflecting Ooligan’s signature look while still following some of the more typical guidebook styles.

Blazing a Trail with 50 Hikes

It’s been a busy spring term for the 50 Hikes team. From editing to cover design to marketing, all the little ins and outs of bringing a book into the world have ensured that we won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

Of course, every book provides its own set of challenges, but a book like 50 Hikes is in many ways new territory for Ooligan Press. We’ve had to rethink a lot of our standard strategies to establish a workable plan for making and selling this book. Our editing team has done an admirable job of figuring out how to deal with content provided by a group of volunteers rather than a single author. Our marketing department, meanwhile, is grappling with the challenges of adapting the marketing strategies we’ve used for past titles to a hiking guidebook. For example, how many guidebooks have you seen reviewed in Publishers Weekly lately? (Answer: more than you might think, but it’s definitely not their bread and butter.)

Probably the most exciting project happening right now is the cover design, which has been selected via student vote and will be finalized over the next few weeks. As with any book, the real challenge with the aesthetic has been figuring out how to set 50 Hikes apart from other guidebooks while also having it fit in with ongoing trends. You want your book to catch the reader’s eye, but you also want it to match the rest of its genre and be recognized as such. Hiking guidebooks definitely have a particular look, and we thought a lot about how much we wanted this book to call back to those covers as we went through the design process. 50 Hikes is primarily a guidebook, of course, but the Sierra Club’s involvement means that it’s also a conservation effort—with the goal of encouraging hikers to explore, to enjoy, and, ultimately, to protect natural spaces. Making a cover that accurately reflects both of these aspects in one image hasn’t been an easy process, but Oolies decided on a gorgeous design that will no doubt merge these themes successfully in its final form.

Everything feels a little more real once a book’s cover is chosen and finalized. The cover design will help clarify audience and tone, and it will drive the book’s marketing as the primary source of inspiration for our visual branding and collateral that we’ll be putting together soon. It’s a big step forward for 50 Hikes, and I’m looking forward to showing it off.