The Evolution of an Oolie, Part Three: Travis Kremer

We’ve reached the end of this series, my friends. After hearing about the anticipation of a green Oolie and the expectations of a graduating Oolie, it’s time to hear from the one you’ve been waiting for: an alum extraordinaire—an Oolie all grown up.

Name: Travis Kremer

Graduation year: 2013

Origin: Portland, Oregon

Alma mater: Portland State University

Bachelor’s degree: Economics

What was your favorite class in the program?

Can I say most of them? Because that’s the answer. There was an entrepreneurial publishing class that was incredibly fun and taught me a fair bit about how to move from being a graduate student to a working professional. The editing and design classes provided me with enough of a background to immediately start picking up paying work.

What positions did you hold in Ooligan?

I foolishly volunteered to be a project manager my first term (I was bad at it, but I learned a lot). After that, I spent three terms as an operations manager (I think this has been retitled to “publisher’s assistant”). I was one of the graduate assistants for the program during my second year. I also spent a lot of time working on other projects such as the Ooligan website, a few of the ebooks, the Write to Publish conference, and one term a friend and I put together a very short-lived (we were both working and couldn’t get our schedules to line up) radio show about publishing with KPSU.

What are you doing now?

I’m an editor at an odd little legal publisher in Portland [called Trial Guides] that focuses on practical skills and strategy books for trial lawyers. It’s like a mix between publishing business books and how-to manuals. The company is very small so I get to do a lot. Some days I get to the office and our salesperson will need a full-page magazine ad in two days. Other days I manage book projects, hire contractors, write marketing copy, design covers, copy edit—I get to do a huge range of things; it’s rarely dull. Today I’ve been putting together cost estimates for our upcoming titles and finishing edits for a manuscript that’s going into production next month.

How do you think graduating from the program prepared you for your career?

I wouldn’t have this career if I hadn’t gone through the program.

What do you wish you did differently in the program?

I wish I’d taken some digital marketing classes. It would have made finding a job easier, and I like data.

What is something you’ve had to learn on the job you didn’t learn at Ooligan?

There are a lot of publishing-related jobs and niche markets that very few people talk or seem to know about. There are a lot of things that an Ooligan grad is capable of doing that have nothing to do with mighty random penguins.

Is book publishing everything you thought it would be?

Let’s say it’s confirmed some of the suspicions I had when I started the program. Most of the work people want to pay you to do is boring, and most of the interesting things are going to be what you do in your spare time.

What would you tell incoming Oolies to help them make the most of their time at Ooligan?

It’s up to you. Literally. Once you graduate, no one is going to care about your past GPA or test scores, so do too many things, go nuts, take risks, and always, always, always treat others with kindness and respect. The publishing world is a very small pond, and you never know who is going to be sitting on the other side of that interview some day in the future. You have to be willing to get outside of your comfort zone and talk to people—and you really should! Publishing people are some of the best people, and some of them will even help you get jobs.