LAUREL EVERYWHERE Press Kit Prep

The Laurel Everywhere team members had their work cut out for them to compile and utilize Ooligan’s first-ever press kit. Our newly founded publicity department, led by the amazing Alex Gonzales, thankfully did the research for us and put a template together that we used to build the Laurel Everywhere press kit! A press kit is usually used by publishers as a prepackaged set of publicity materials that provides information about a book and is sent to members of the media for promotional use.

Ours includes a one-pager, which can be compared to a tipsheet or a fast-facts page, and a press release that has targeted and specific newsworthy copy to make it easy for a media reviewer or journalist to print it in their publication. Also included is a more in-depth about-the-book page, an about-the-author page, and an early reviews page which houses the blurbs we’ve received from distinguished authors as well as early reviews from Goodreads. On top of all that information, we also crafted discussion questions and an author Q&A formatted in AP style for a journalist to pull directly from our kit. To complete the kit, we included a simple page with information about Ooligan Press. In total, it’s about ten pages.

In the kit, we talk about Erin Moynihan’s debut YA fiction novel, Laurel Everywhere, and how it destigmatizes mental health with young readers by bringing taboo topics like death, grief, and suicidal ideation to light with a palatable narrative that encourages empathy and offers hope to readers.

Laurel Everywhere is a deeply moving, startlingly real examination of trauma, tragedy, and the indefatigable strength of the human spirit when confronted with a world that won’t stop turning in the face of loss.” —Ava Morgyn, author of Resurrection Girls

With Laurel Everywhere, we have committed to showing young readers that grief and caring for your mental health aren’t things you have to go through alone. You can even find life and love after extreme loss. Current events have taken a toll on people everywhere, and this novel opens the door for conversations we all need to have with ourselves and our loved ones about loss and healthy coping mechanisms.

Our goal with the press kit is to garner media attention for Laurel Everywhere locally and nationally. We plan to send this kit out to a list of media outlets and journalists that we think would be interested in covering the release of this novel. We would also love to partner with mental health organizations and charities to help talk about the book, the heavy themes of grief, and how we can find hope in our real-world situations.

For more information on Laurel Everywhere, or if you would like to receive a press kit or interview Erin Moynihan, please contact Grace Hansen at grace.hansen@ooliganpress.pdx.edu.

Adjusting Strategies to Fit Life While Social Distancing

Hello from the Laurel Everywhere team. As you might have noticed, the world looks a little different right now. Like countless other companies and families, the students running Ooligan Press are trying to balance living in quarantine with the laundry list of life’s demands. For me, this means homeschooling a fourth- and sixth-grader while finishing up my graduation requirements, sending out blurb requests, creating a social media plan, and training the next project manager for the team.

I was prepared—as well as one can be—for homeschooling and the countless Zoom calls, but I assumed COVID-19 wouldn’t really change how we do social media. It’s already online. However, with most bookstores closed or using curbside pickup only, chance book discoveries among the shelves in your favorite bookstore can’t happen, making online visibility more important than ever. For small independent presses like ourselves with limited marketing resources, it means needing a social media plan that stands out. It means needing to be innovative, and finding new ways to catch the audience’s eye in hopes they will help spread the word.

Luckily for my team, we were still in the process of hashing out our social media plan for Laurel Everywhere when this began, so we have time to adjust our strategies and prepare. The themes the book tackles are hard to approach on social media. We are pushing ourselves to find ways to generate engagement, toeing the line between an honest conversation about the themes of the book and leaving our audience with its hopeful message that “it’s OK to not be OK.”

The biggest surprise for me in all of this was the uncertainty of our book tour. Online encounters with a favorite author over social media are fun, but nothing compares to the excitement of engaging with an author in a Q&A session or attending an author reading. There is a reason we stand in line for hours to share a brief exchange with an author and get our book signed. But we don’t know when it will be safe to gather in groups again. We don’t know what the new normal will look like. Because we are publishing in November, we have hope that life will have resumed by then, but we can’t count on it. As such, we need to plan both a live tour and a virtual tour to be prepared for whatever November brings.

The big publishing houses are quickly adapting to the current normal. They have already started organizing free day-long virtual tours with their armies of big-name authors, a resource small independent presses don’t have. We’ve always depended on chance opportunities in a bookstore, reviews, librarian recommendations, social media campaigns, and book tours to reach our audience. We will have to get creative and hope for the best, but prepare for anything. We are eager to explore the possibilities of touring online. Honestly, the more I learn about the exciting opportunities available to organize online—like blog tours—the more I wonder why we weren’t using them before.

Introducing Laurel Everywhere

Severe loss. For fifteen-year-old Laurel Summers, those two words don’t cut it. They don’t even come close. Laurel couldn’t tell you the last words she spoke to her mother and siblings if her life depended on it—maybe something about pizza. Some guy decided to drive drunk, and now she sees the ghosts of her family everywhere. After the car accident, she and her dad are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered life, but her dad is struggling with his grief and depression. It’s up to Laurel to hold everything together. With the help of her grandparents, her two best friends, and some random airport strangers, Laurel tries to make sense of her pain. She must come to terms with the things on her List of Things Not to Talk About, learn to trust her dad again, and—on top of it all—keep her heart open to love, even in the wake of her immense loss.

Ooligan Press is excited to announce our newest YA novel, Laurel Everywhere by debut author Erin Moynihan, set to launch November 10, 2020. Laurel Everywhere is an intimate depiction of the grief and mental-health issues often experienced with the loss of loved ones. The novel highlights complicated family relationships in the wake of tragedy: Laurel grapples with her own feelings of loss while her father spirals into a deeper depression, requiring a long stay in a hospital that specializes in grief. Although much of the book focuses on grief, loss, and mental health, Laurel Everywhere is also a story of survival, love, hope, and friendship. Follow Laurel on a journey of self-discovery, self-healing, and growth as she learns that sometimes it’s okay to not be okay.

Still not convinced that Laurel Everywhere is the right book for you? Here are two more reasons you might love it:

  • We at Ooligan pride ourselves on bringing seldom-heard voices to print. Laurel Everywhere focuses on Laurel, a teenage LGBTQ+ character struggling with her sense of identity, but the narrative doesn’t revolve around her sexuality. Although her sexuality is explored, her experience with grief and her struggle with her father’s mental-health challenges are themes that are relatable to everyone, regardless of their sexual identity.
  • Grief and mental-health struggles are explored in a raw and honest way. Our author, Erin Moynihan, doesn’t hold back as she depicts life with a parent struggling with deep depression and explores what recovery can look like for the families of those experiencing mental illness. Moynihan has a background in social work, which she called on to help guide her through this writing journey and to help break through the social stigma surrounding grief and mental-health struggles.

Erin Moynihan’s editorial work has appeared on HuffPost, Buzzfeed, The Mighty, and Her Campus. She has a strong passion for elevating young female voices. When she’s not working, she’s likely spending time cuddling with her dog or adventuring around the Pacific Northwest. You can see what she’s up to at www.erinmoynihan.com.