Well, we made it.
Kait Heacock’s Siblings and Other Disappointments is out in the world, and maybe even at a bookstore near you! It’s been a journey. As a team, we’ve all been grappling with some mixed emotions lately—from the particular thrill of seeing hard work pay off to the melancholy feeling of saying goodbye to an old friend—but what is Siblings itself if not an emotionally complicated experience from start to finish? We continue to be blown away by the positive and personal reactions that Siblings elicits in its readers, including this lovely review from Lauren O’Brien in Shelf Awareness. Though the lion’s share of our work with Siblings is behind us now, we’ll still be keeping up with the book—and with Kait, as she too moves on to new and different things. Keep an eye on Ooligan’s Facebook page and Twitter account for all the updates. (But you’re already following us, right?)
Meanwhile, we’ve started laying plans for the future. The Siblings team is becoming the 50 Hikes team as we get to work on a brand new project. At the end of last year, the press unanimously voted to acquire 50 Hikes in the Tillamook State Forest, a hiking guidebook originally published by the Oregon chapter of the Sierra Club back in 2001. The hikes have all been newly reviewed and vetted for 2017, and we could not be more excited to reintroduce readers to this guide that explores the state forests that we Oregonians are lucky enough to have right in our backyard. Even Portland’s annual January snowpocalypse couldn’t tamp down our enthusiasm for this project, and we’re now back in the swing of things and hard at work deciding what we want this book to be. The team already has tons of great ideas about design elements, marketing efforts, and supplemental content, but the first step, as with any new Ooligan acquisition, will be to take the Sierra Club’s manuscript through developmental editing, working with the original authors to make the text of the book as strong (and, in this case, as useful) as it can possibly be.
It’s sure to be a busy term for us, but we’ve got lots of talent on our team, and a new book is always something to get excited about. Here’s hoping this particular one will also be an opportunity to leave campus and get out into nature once the weather warms up. I’m already planning some field trips. See you on the trails!
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.
The end of any project can be bittersweet. Returning to square one of the production schedule with a new book project can be a bit of a shock—but at Ooligan Press, we don’t have to go cold turkey because our previous project is still ours, and it serves as a critical reminder of what you’re working towards. Memories Flow in Our Veins has been out for two months, and it continues to surprise us with its sweet victories and positive reception.
In addition to being included on the Tumblr Queer Book Club’s list of top ten April book releases, Memories received its first review in the June/July print issue of BUST magazine—the one and only magazine that provides a book rating system on a scale of one to five tiny boob icons. (Spoiler alert: Memories knocked it out the park with a five-boob [OMG AMAZING] review—find it on newsstands this summer!)
We’ve been hustling behind the scenes to maintain this momentum, assembling all the necessary materials to help the summer team follow through on our postpub sales and publicity goals. Some endeavors, like our effort to pitch Memories to local specialty markets, have already yielded promising results. Other efforts, like our work to present our anthology as a new go-to text for the college classrooms where CALYX titles have previously thrived as academic tools, have proved to be more involved and will require ongoing pursuit from the summer team if they choose.
As for our next move as a team, we have already been assigned to our new project, and its development is well underway. Earlier this spring, Ooligan Press voted to acquire a new young-adult-fiction manuscript by debut author Meagan Macvie. Meagan’s work first came to the attention of Ooligan’s acquisitions managers at the 2016 Write to Publish conference, and as the acquisitions department was abuzz about the manuscript from the moment they heard the pitch, our team was delighted to dig in on this new assignment. Our first round of developmental edits is complete, and the summer project team will be eagerly waiting to receive the next draft.
Next up: additional rounds of developmental editing and heavy line editing, researching and building our marketing plan, brainstorming titles, helping CALYX Press to plan a small summer reading tour, and setting up a brand-new Start to Finish page. Memories, over and out!