How We Updated Our Mission Statement

In the aftermath of the George Floyd protests last year, our press decided it was time to take more active and progressive steps towards diversifying the books that we publish. In the fall we began investigating and discussing the best way to implement these changes, and in the winter we assembled a team to research and draft an updated mission statement for our press.
Ooligan’s Background
Ooligan Press is a trade press run by the students of Portland State University’s Masters in Book Publishing program. Our press publishes four books each year, which creates learning experiences and fosters growth so that students can enter the publishing industry with both experience and knowledge.
Most of our decisions are made together through a democratic process, whether we are acquiring a new book or voting on a cover. This is a pretty rare process in the publishing industry—and it’s somewhat unique to us—so we wanted the process for updating our mission statement to be just as unique.
Our first task was to have all of our students write a list of several words and/or phrases that they believed should be included in the new mission statement. Regardless of whether or not it was included in the final draft, this allowed the mission writing team to see various trends and learn the values of those who make up the press, which would then be reflected in the updated statement.
Our writing team was composed of eight people who met over Zoom to complete the necessary tasks until a finalized draft was ready to present to the press.
In the winter, we began looking at mission statements from other presses and other facets of the industry such as publishers and printers. Our goal was to analyze a variety of mission statements in order to see what was working and what we could benefit from in terms of structure, rhetoric, etc. This may seem like a fairly obvious step, but this type of research allowed us to see all sorts of language and structures and to consider what would best fit the personality of our organization before we began writing.
We also looked at the slogans used by different corporations. Larger companies tend to focus on their brand and their outward image, so this exercise allowed us to look at effective and punchy copy that used a short number of words.
One of the most delicate parts of updating a mission statement is choosing your words precisely. While our press had a largely democratic process in the fall, the writing team was responsible for choosing rhetoric that matched the unique identity of our press. We discussed, agreed, and even disagreed, respectfully, favoring words like “equity” and “inclusion” over the more simple and overused “diversity.”
Another important part of the process was finding a way to simplify our press into its key parts, to really figure out who we are and what we represent in this industry. We felt that the most pertinent aspects of our press were the student-run and Pacific Northwest aspects, but we also wanted to add in a third idea of publishing diverse authorships.
We also looked at the structure of other mission statements, paying particular attention to word count and paragraph breaks to figure out how to most effectively organize our ideas.
Mission statements are most successful when they are focused and to-the-point. A writer who is submitting their manuscript is going to read dozens of mission statements, so we wanted ours to be under one hundred words in order to keep readers engaged, while still allowing them to get an understanding of who we are.
Pledge for Inclusivity
Our main focus, which I’ve been hinting at, was to add the idea of publishing diverse authorships so that we can demonstrate our progressive values as students. This has been an emerging part of our identity as a press, and we wanted this value to be stated clearly, without being buried behind our other goals. We want other publishers to know that this is what we are going for moving forward.
Team Writing
After our research and discussion near the end of winter, we finally began writing as a team. Team writing can be quite difficult, but we set out with concrete goals and tasks in terms of rhetoric, structure, concision, and our goal for inclusivity.
Our first meeting was very discussion-oriented, and before our second meeting, I compiled the most prominent points from each writer into a draft. When we met the second time, we discussed, tweaked, and played with the format until we had several versions of the same mission statement.
An advisory board of faculty members decided on one of these versions. After we presented it to the press, we allowed each student the chance to vote on the mission statement, and it ultimately passed. We are so excited to release it later this year!
The End of A First Step
Clarity, brevity, and utility were our main goals in updating our mission statement, and our group is incredibly proud of the work we’ve done. In moving towards our values of inclusivity, however, the mission statement is just the first step. Updating our mission statement is at the core of things that Ooligan Press wants to accomplish in terms of shaping literature and the publishing industry, and our work is still cut out for us.

Study Abroad in Germany

There are many reasons students choose to partake in study abroad programs, and here at PSU there are a ton of resources to help make that possible during normal times. Before the onset of COVID-19, students in the book publishing program were going to have the opportunity to study abroad in Germany beginning in 2020. Formerly, there was only the chance to expand our knowledge of book publishing on an international scale by participating in the summer term by traveling to Scotland, but the program has recently expanded its study abroad opportunities to allow students to spend a quarter taking classes at Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart.

Speaking with Dr. Rachel Noorda, Director of Publishing in our program, offered further insight into how this opportunity came about. “I had been looking for more opportunities for our book publishing students to experience book publishing abroad when I received an email from someone at the office of the Baden-Wurttemberg exchange with Oregon.” Dr. Noorda then traveled to visit and present at Hochschule der Medien in November 2019 to check it out and was impressed by all they had to offer.

Classes offered (and taught in English) range from Rights & Licenses, Binding and Finishing, Entrepreneurship, and much more. Being only two hours away from Frankfurt, this program will also offer the exciting chance to attend future iterations of the Frankfurt Book Fair. According to their website, the book fair is “the world’s most important fair for the print and digital content business, as well as an outstanding social and cultural event.”

Whenever it becomes safe to travel again, this will be an amazing opportunity for students within our program, especially because of the benefits of studying abroad. The following are some statistics from the University of California, Merced. 97 percent of students who studied abroad find employment within twelve months of graduating. Compared to students who did not at 49 percent, the numbers mean the likelihood is almost double. Students who study abroad are likely to earn 25 percent higher starting salaries, and 59 percent of employers say studying abroad is seen as valuable to their organizations. But it’s not all about your future career. Students who studied abroad claim that they feel an increase in self-confidence and a greater tolerance for ambiguity.

Although COVID-19 has made international travel and study abroad impossible for now, we look forward to a future where book publishing students are able to participate in this incredible program. There is so much value in traveling and experiencing cultures other than our own. Not only can it help you in your future career, but it can help you grow as an individual. Check out the links above to learn more about studying abroad and this specific opportunity, and stay tuned for updates on when the program will be offered again.

The How and Why of Mission Statements

With thousands upon thousands of publishing companies to choose from in the United States, it can be daunting for an author to know where to start. Who will provide them with the best experience? Who can devote the resources needed to create their product? Who has the expertise to make the book the best it can be? Who can most effectively reach the book’s target audience?

Now flip this situation around. With millions upon millions of people in the United States who think they have the next New York Times best seller, how can a publishing company find the diamond in the rough? What can a publishing house do to ensure they are receiving submissions for books they actually can and want to publish?

The most effective way a publishing house can convey this information to an author is through the company’s mission statement. Mission statements are not by any means specific to publishing houses. Any organization, from a multibillion-dollar corporate conglomerate to your kid’s sidewalk lemonade stand, needs to have a compass guiding its decision-making process.

Within a publishing house, a mission statement typically addresses a few key topics. For example, Ooligan Press’s current mission statement falls under the title “Our Interests,” dictating that our press looks for books that are regionally significant works of literary, historical, and social value to the Pacific Northwest. In addition, Ooligan Press is concerned with comprehensive representation and with sustainability.

In three simple paragraphs, authors can now see what Ooligan Press is interested in publishing. Does your book talk about sustainable practices? We’re interested. Does it take place in the Pacific Northwest? We’re into it. Is the author from the PNW? We’ll check it out. Is your book actually a cookbook or children’s book? Sorry, we can’t help you.

By having a mission statement, a publishing house narrows its focus to become an expert in the field. If we tried to publish the several dozen different types of books out there in the world, we would be mediocre at all of them. But by focusing on what we can accomplish within our financial and staffing limitations as a teaching, trade publisher, we can ensure that each book we acquire will provide adequate learning opportunities for our students.

But our jobs aren’t done when the last period is added to that final draft of our mission statement. We must work as a press to uphold and apply those values, and we must make a conscious effort to revisit our values as the nature of the world—and of publishing—changes.

Publishing companies have an amazing power to facilitate change and to shed light into the dark corners of the human experience. And because of this, we all have a responsibility to do what we can to help make the world a more enlightened place, one page at a time.

Finding the Face of FAULTLAND

Suzy Vitello’s Faultland has evolved quite a bit as a novel since Ooligan acquired it, and the rest of the project is developing well, too. We’re planning our marketing strategy, finalizing the book’s description and gearing up for the last rounds of copyediting. All of this contributes to the feeling that the Faultland project is taking shape, but nothing makes a publishing project feel realized quite like finally getting a cover. We’re so close to having a final design as I write this. I can’t wait to share this striking image with the world.

Cover design is an important, frequently complicated affair for any press, but Ooligan’s process probably has most beat. We don’t select a single or small handful of designers at the outset. Instead, we invite the entire press to submit mockups. In several rounds of feedback from the head of the Design department and the rest of the press, all of the potential designers receive input on their ideas and make adjustments. Often, one designer will work on a few ideas simultaneously. For Faultland, we went through six rounds of feedback. Ooligan usually ends up with three finalists, but there were so many fantastic options that Faultland had four. I got Suzy’s feedback on those four, which was detailed and showed a great deal of understanding of the role of a book cover.

With her feedback in mind, the entire press weighed our options. This book’s cover was a tough choice. Any of the four final covers could have worked well, which was a surprise considering the book’s cross-genre content. (I had expected designers to fall too heavily on either the sci-fi or the literary side of the book, but many of them walked the line with style.) While voting, we had to remember that the cover isn’t primarily a work of art—it’s the book’s most important piece of marketing. We had to set aside our personal aesthetics and think about an audience that knows nothing of the novel’s content. For many readers, a cover can have a bigger influence on their choices than the book’s description or the author’s previous work.

I’m excited about the decision the press made. It’s an iconic image, and very “Portland” in all the best ways. Not to spoil the upcoming cover reveal, but as a big Blazers fan, I’m in love with the color scheme. We have a lot to work with as we apply the cover’s aesthetics to our other marketing materials.

As pleased as I am with our cover, there’s a bittersweetness to Ooligan’s cover selection process. Because of the collaborative nature of our rounds of feedback, we had the pleasure of watching several designs evolve and improve. In a world of extravagantly funded university presses, I’d publish editions of this book with each of the four final covers. After each cover vote I participated in, I felt like the press made the right decision, but still felt a pang of loss. So much work goes into covers that don’t end up being used. I want to find ways to make use of those alternate faces of Faultland. Sometimes, this press has more talent than we can make use of.

“You’re crazy” is Lazy: How Editors Can Most Authentically Portray Mental Illness in Fiction

The topic of mental health is one that has been more openly discussed in the media in recent years. While open dialogue around crucial issues is important to encourage, this increased exposure brings about new considerations and challenges, mainly about how we discuss mental health. Words have power, and the way fictional stories about mental health are told can have just as crucial of an impact on readers as facts presented in news outlets. Editors have the responsibility to put forth stories that promote a respectful and authentic perspective on mental health, and below are four practices they can implement to achieve this goal.

1. Create a house style guide about mental health language.

Editors and writers are given the opportunity to use language in such a way that encourages productive conversations about mental health. The Guardian’s style guide, which has a section specifically for mental health, lists words not to use, such as loony, maniac, nutter, etc. because they “stereotype and stigmatize.” The guide also advises moving away from language that paints the person as a victim, such as “suffering from” or “afflicted by.” Another example is the Buzzfeed style guide. They emphasize using “people-first” language (“a person with schizophrenia” vs. “a schizophrenic person”); understanding the difference between an emotion and a mental disorder (using “sad” vs. “depressed”); and they offer specific guidelines for articles that report on suicide, such as avoiding specification of the methods used and avoiding usage of the word “commit,” which can carry a criminal or negative moral connotation. If publishing houses employ a similar style guide, it encourages everyone to be on the same page about how to respectfully discuss issues and properly characterize a protagonist with a mental illness.

2. Hire Own Voices authors.

The term “Own Voices” was coined by YA author Corinne Duyvis, who hashtagged “#ownvoices” on Twitter in 2015. Own Voices authors are writers who share the same identity—race, ethnicity, gender, disability, etc.—as their protagonist. Lee & Low Books, an independent, minority-owned children’s book publisher, surveyed over thirteen thousand employees within thirty-five publishing companies and eight review journals in its first Diversity Baseline Survey in 2015. The data showed the publishing industry is overwhelmingly white, straight, and non-disabled, making it difficult for stories that aren’t mainstream by these standards to reach the collective consciousness of publishing companies. Adrianna Herrera, an Own Voices romance novelist, says, “That in and of itself is a problem, because it’s kind of the unwritten rule that queer stories don’t have a place in the general mainstream market or [sit] on the bookshelves next to the historicals.” As a queer person of color, she set out to write stories that reflected her own experience, and people who find themselves at a similar intersection of identity can relate to them. For an example of a publishing house that prioritizes Own Voices authors, check out Blue Crow Publishing.

3. Where Own Voices authors aren’t accessible, hire sensitivity readers.

Sensitivity readers serve as part fact-checker, part “cultural ambassador,” according to Slate journalist Katy Walman. Minority group members are hired by an author or a publishing house and are specifically tasked with identifying hurtful, inaccurate, or inappropriate depictions of that group. According to Marketwatch, 50.2 percent of Americans five years old or less are part of a minority ethnic group; they make up the first majority-minority generation in U.S. history. These statistics and the ever-growing presence of social media contribute to growing concerns for writers: an audience’s desire for more diverse representation that might be out of a given writer’s comfort zone or personal experience, and, if done incorrectly, can result in major bad press from the young, socially conscious online readers. Ooligan sought out sensitivity readers for a recent title, and the experience proved invaluable as a learning opportunity for those involved and for the editorial process overall.

4. Include helpline information at the end of relevant books.

Mind-wise Innovation, powered by a team of behavioral health professionals from Massachusetts who equip organizations to discuss mental health, detail the appropriate ways for media to tell the story of suicide, as well as offer tips. The first tip they share is to emphasize that suicide is preventable, and to include information on warning signs and how to talk to someone who may be at risk. They say, “Perhaps most importantly, include resources. This would include a number for a suicide hotline and maybe even local resources where someone could go to get help.” While these guidelines are suggested for traditional media outlets, they can also be effective in relevant books.

The meaning we attribute to words, the ways we view people unlike us, and the cultural norms we slip into as a collective society shape the way we perceive people and their circumstances. These are a few examples of many decisions editors and publishers can make that can help contribute to a healthier societal perception of mental illness.

Marketing a Sensitive Book: Is It Ever Okay?

In my previous blog post, “Book Marketing for Good: The Importance of Reaching a Young Adult Readership,” I explain how different it is to market a book versus a more mundane product like a bottle of soap. What I mean by that is that it is unlikely for someone to feel offended, targeted, or triggered by looking at a marketing plan for hand soap—not impossible, but unlikely.

Our team here at Ooligan is working tirelessly to launch our upcoming fall title by debut author Erin Monyihan. In large part, this means working on our marketing strategy. We’ve come across quite a few obstacles regarding our intentions and how we wish to be understood while presenting Laurel Everywhere.

To help you understand what I mean, here is a short description of Laurel Everywhere:

Severe loss. For Laurel Summers, those two words don’t cut it. They don’t even come close. After a car wreck kills her mother and siblings, the ghosts of her family surround her as she wrestles with grief, anger, and the fear that she won’t be enough to keep her dad alive either.

We as a press believe in this novel; we think it will have the power to open young adults’ minds and help them become more empathetic and understanding when it comes to loss and grief. That said, we know this book may not be for everyone. We understand that it covers trauma and loss, and we understand that it will not represent everyone’s experiences of loss and grief, as everyone’s experiences are different. As we create our marketing plan, the big question we keep asking ourselves is this: How can we market this book without making anyone who is grieving or experiencing a similar trauma feel like we are targeting them for our gain, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the article “Profiteering and Loss: Should you market your brand during coronavirus?,” Daisy Atkinson lays out three acceptable circumstances in which to market sensitive or triggering products:

  1. There’s currently a strong need for what you’re offering.
  2. You have a valuable message for consumers.
  3. You’re not hurting anyone.

As Atkinson notes, “you can market yourself successfully in the eyes of the consumer even in crisis: As long as it’s considered. As long as the product or message is beneficial. And as long as you play fair.”

As part of our market research, we looked at all types of media (like podcasts and blogs) that talked about grief, and we also looked at groups on Facebook. What was disappointing to see was that these Facebook groups often had messages that warned against trying to sell medications or items that would supposedly “help people grieve.” This would be in direct violation of the rules laid out by Atkinson above.

As long you practice mindful marketing by maintaining pure intentions, you do not blatantly disregard warnings, you take into consideration how you may come across to a variety of people, and you try your best to avoid triggering or offending any of your potential audiences, it is acceptable to market something you believe in—even if it does contain sensitive material. That doesn’t mean it will be accepted by every person, but you still need to do everything in your power to make your mission clear and to spare those who could be harmed in the process.

A New Department at Ooligan

At nearly every press, there is a room that is stacked high with cardboard boxes.

For people in publishing, a certain feeling may be invoked by this image. I feel it myself. A book unread is a sadder sight than one unloved.

As a publishing student rounding out my final year in grad school, I have found that bookstores have become bittersweet places for me, especially now that I am aware of a book’s progress among the shelves. I now track them, from their start as new releases to their final days on the discount shelf. When a book disappears after that final stage, I know not to assume that it was sold.

For those unfamiliar with these things, that room in every press is meant to hold books that are to be sent out. How long a book is sitting in this space can determine its future at our press and in our backlist.

As passionate as we are about the industry we love, we are still operating as a business. Book sales sustain it.

And in this industry, some books sell well while others don’t. New titles in particular have only one or two boxes in that back room. Other books have more. Some boxes have even begun to collect dust. Some boxes have been sent out and returned with corners folded in and packing labels torn off.

Sometimes the books we love as publishers don’t end up selling as well as we would have liked. I find it important to note here that a book’s not selling well is rarely a sign of its quality. Some factors (like marketing budgets) can be determined, while others remain pure happenstance. Either way, most unread books exist because somewhere along that lifeline between a press and its readers, a connection was cut and a book didn’t make it to readers in time.

Markets move quickly; sales determine our place in them and whether we can remain there for longer than the “new release” phase. In book publishing, we have a very finite period of time to make a first impression on readers: it is about three months pre-launch and five to seven weeks post-launch. Additionally, over three-quarters of these outreach efforts are directed not at readers but at intermediaries like book reviewers, media outlets, and booksellers.

Currently at Ooligan, we are trying to extend this period of time. My position as a manager is transitioning to take on this project.

How do we do this impossible task? By engaging directly with our readers. Media has an expiration date on timely content, but readers experience time differently (more on this soon). We are currently working on planning several strategies to engage readers. This project is somewhere between mass communication and community building, and it involves creating a brand-new publicity department at Ooligan. As for the day-to-day, I have been working on creating various newsletters that include curated content made especially for Ooligan readers. With this work, we hope to build a more direct relationship with the reading communities that we provide books for. In doing this, we hope to extend the shelf life of our books for a longer time than what the present market and media space can offer.

These newsletters allow for us as publishers to speak about our books and how they came to exist. If you would like to receive newsletters from Ooligan, please contact Our newsletters go out biannually and are tailored to our readers’ diverse reading interests.

One final thought:
A book is a time object that captures its author’s consciousness in the moment in which it is created. A bookstore is therefore a space filled to the brim with people displaced by time. And an author can capture the imagination of readers two decades or two centuries after their book has been released. So, if an author can speak through time and a reader can listen, then why can’t a publisher pull a book back from the past and speak a little about it?

Ooligan Press: Making Books, Designing Careers

I recently joined Portland State University’s graduate program in book publishing. When I applied, I was aware that the program had its own publisher called Ooligan Press, but I must confess I did not think much about it. I thought of Ooligan as an interesting adjunct to the more important academic elements of the program. I could not have been more wrong.

As I have discovered, the breadth and quality of Ooligan’s publishing work is impressive by any measure. But what is beyond impressive is what Ooligan does for its students.

I am quite a bit different from almost all the students at Ooligan. I came to the program after retiring from a long career in a different industry. I came back to school simply for the joy of learning. I wasn’t—and still am not—thinking much about a career after graduation.

My much-younger classmates at Ooligan are in a very different phase of life. They are exactly where I was thirty-five years ago: they are trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives and how they want to start their careers. Ooligan gives these students a hands-on, immersive experience in the publishing process. Quite literally, it is the students who do all the work at Ooligan. They own the publishing process from beginning to end. They are entirely responsible for the success of each book’s publication.

As Ooligan students build successful books, they are also building their own careers. Students are exposed to all the steps in the publishing process, so they get a chance to discover what interests them the most and where they might best succeed in the publishing industry. For those students who wish to pursue a career in writing (as opposed to publishing), Ooligan shows them all the practical steps required to realize their creative aspirations.

Beyond obtaining this hands-on experience, students receive another priceless gift: exposure to Ooligan’s values. For Ooligan, it’s not just about the process of publishing books into the marketplace. It’s about honoring the authors and the stories those authors are seeking to tell. The project teams at Ooligan strive to find authors who would otherwise go unrecognized and stories that would otherwise be left untold. The teams then work tirelessly to ensure each story comes through the publishing process just as the author envisioned.

Through their work with Ooligan, students see that publishing can be more than merely a profitable business venture. Publishing can be the business of finding and sharing important voices for the benefit of our society and our world. These are values upon which students can build meaningful and fulfilling publishing careers, whether they choose to focus on acquisition, editing, marketing, or any other part of the publishing process.

One of my favorite books (not published by Ooligan) is Creative Calling by renowned photographer Chase Jarvis. In the book, Jarvis offers a key insight based on his long and successful career: “Creative lives and creative careers are each designed. They happen intentionally.” Ooligan Press is giving each of its students the opportunity to design a publishing career and a life of purpose that they desire and deserve. And that is beyond impressive by any measure.

Ooligan in Quarantine: Our Best Titles Paired with the Rooms of Your Home

We are tired of our dwellings. The COVID-19 quarantine has given us house fatigue and has made our precious casas mundane. But what if I told you there was a new way to look at your house? A path—no, a tour—that would help you see your humble abode with fresh eyes?

After minutes of research into our Ooligan titles, I’ve paired each book with a topographical feature of the modern American home. We’ve already endured many weeks of social distancing—during which we’ve learned new recipes or drunk our entire wine cellar—and this tour will provide you with the entertainment and intellectual stimulation you’ll need to get you through the rest of your time at home.

Kitchen: The Widmer Way by Jeff Alworth
According to George Costanza, the kitchen is the most sociable room in the house. But why not learn a little bit about the history of the beer industry with Jeff Alworth’s The Widmer Way: How Two Brothers Led Portland’s Craft Beer Revolution? It’ll catch you up on Portland’s craft beer scene and how Widmer’s Hefeweizen became Portland’s unofficial beer. So stay inside and “sociable” with a few pints and this read.

Living Room: Odsburg by Matt Tompkins
In what might be the quirkiest book on our frontlist, Tompkins takes us to the fictional Pacific Northwest town of Odsburg to experience strange tales and eccentric characters. While you won’t find Odsburg on a map, Tompkins fills the book with entertaining short tales and pokes fun at PNW tropes. “The entire book,” according to Locus Magazine, “is full of strange and inventive ideas.” So strange and original you’ll read long into the night.

Bathtub: The Names We Take by Trace Kerr
Coming in May 2020: you in your bathtub with a bunch of bubbles, reading this book by candlelight. In the wake of a devastating plague (stay with me), our characters must fend for themselves and stick together. This book is a perfect match for our time in quarantine. This may take a few sessions, so settle into that bubble bath and soak up a speculative-fiction story with a premise that might not be too far off in the future.

Dining Room: The Portland Red Guide by Michael Munk
A great conversation piece, The Portland Red Guide plots Portland with walking tours and guides readers through the city’s rich history of radical social dissent. Break bread (with yourself) and celebrate a town of ideas and activism, but also plot your next city activity for when our COVID-19 quarantine finally lifts.

Porch/Backyard: 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests by the Sierra Club Oregon Chapter
Speaking of planning, pick a bright spring day and a refreshing drink to help you select your next trail. With a wide selection of day hikes between Portland and the coast that range in difficulty, this guide has something for everyone. Summer is right around the corner, so get planning.

Office/Study: Elephant Speak by Melissa Crandall
One of our more recent releases, Elephant Speak is a nonfiction book that dives into one man’s career caring for our favorite pachyderms. Rated 5/5 by the San Francisco Book Review for its clarity and “wealth of information,” this book is one to dwell on and ruminate over as we get a behind-the-scenes look at a zoo through Roger Henneous’s eyes.

Bedroom: Iditarod Nights by Cindy Hiday
In Ooligan’s first romance (brought to you in partnership with our friends at the Multnomah County Library Writers Project), Cindy Hiday takes us to Alaska, where two wandering souls enter the famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in pursuit of healing and redemption. In this adventure near the Arctic, the two must navigate the treacherous path as their own paths intertwine. This is no snoozefest, but rather a steamy journey for your nightstand.

(Bonus) A More Optimistic Post-Quarantine Future: Rethinking Paper & Ink by Jessie Carver and Natalie Guidry
When we emerge from quarantine into a bright future, Rethinking Paper & Ink will give us a look into sustainable publishing. Bright, informative, and perfect for reading outside, this book is an optimistic title and a step toward a healthier future for our planet.

The end (of quarantine) is nigh, but instead of completing Netflix or thinking you’re actually going to get to your Duolingo, break up your time inside with a few Ooligan titles of various genres. Happy reading and stay inside.

Announcing FAULTLAND by Suzy Vitello

The Big One is coming, whether it’s the big earthquake that could liquidize hillsides or the big revelation that threatens to tear a family apart.

And the Sparrow family is already on the verge of falling apart. Olivia is divorcing, Sherman’s business is in constant legal trouble, and Morgan resents them both for leaving her to care for their ailing father. As the tensions between them multiply, the city itself is shaken to its foundations. The Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake hits Portland, and the Sparrows must come together to survive disaster—and stay on their guard against those who would take advantage of the chaos to further their own political goals.

Ooligan Press is excited to announce Faultland by Suzy Vitello, coming March 30, 2021. This near-future speculative-fiction novel is grounded in family drama between heartbreakingly human characters.

On a personal note, this book is everything I’ve hoped to work on in book publishing. As a lifelong sci-fi reader, I’m always looking for speculative fiction that focuses on heart and humanity as much as it brings up startling ideas about the future. Faultland is what I’ve searched for as a reader, and it’s an honor to help bring it to the world. As this book’s first project manager at Ooligan Press, I’m planning its entire production schedule and working with my team to develop its marketing plan from the ground up. Acquiring a new book always leads to an exciting flurry of work, but it’s especially wonderful when the book is something you’d pick up off the shelf just for fun. Faultland is that book for me.

Right now, editorial is working on copyediting the manuscript. The cover-design process is underway. We’re refining the copy we’ll use to market this book so that it will reach all those readers who will love it just as much as I do. We’re about a year out from publication, but that time will evaporate quickly in the face of all we need to do to give Faultland the life it deserves.

Suzy Vitello’s characters are the kind that make you feel like you know them as real people. She gets into the mud as she explores the Sparrow siblings’ hopes and failings, along with the drastic misunderstandings between them. The first time I read the Faultland manuscript, I knew that witnessing this family come together to survive a very real disaster was an experience I wouldn’t forget. I’m a Portlander myself, and my heart ached at the startling possibility that this could be the future of my city if The Big One were to hit. I know the streets, bridges, and neighborhoods that make up the destruction the Sparrows must navigate. The image of Portland in rubble has stuck with me, but the more human-scale struggles of the Sparrows prove to be just as dramatic.

Prepare for Faultland in March 2021!