Getting Involved: Student Media at PSU

If I learned one lesson during my first year at Ooligan Press, it is this: experience outside of the classroom is crucial to the comprehension and retention of what is learned inside the classroom. One of the (many) great things about Ooligan Press is the abundance of opportunities to do just that, and you couldn’t ask for a better literary scene than Portland to get your feet wet.

One of these incredible local opportunities is Portland State University’s Student Media, an umbrella group that oversees and assists seven student organizations focused on publishing in various media. These groups are student-staffed and united under the common goal of sharing important media with PSU’s student body. They serve as learning labs, or places where students can both express their creativity and grow as student leaders. This is an especially unique opportunity for Oolies to use their newly-acquired publishing skills: students involved with these groups are frequently tasked with editing, design, digital, and marketing projects for the benefit of their group.

I’ve been involved with Student Media in one form or another since my second term at PSU, and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I have gained valuable leadership experience, a killer addition to my resume, and professional relationships with both my peers and mentors. If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I tend to learn things best the hard way, by diving straight in and figuring out the challenges as they come. Student Media gave me the chance to do just that, and I am a better student, a better artist, and a better leader because of it.

If you are a student or member of Portland’s creative community, I highly encourage you to check out Student Media and their efforts. They are, alphabetically:

  • KPSU, Portland State’s student-run radio, has been making waves since 1994. They provide a voice for the student body and offer unique hands-on experience for those interested in airtime.
  • Pathos Literary Magazine is more than just a lit mag. Featuring exclusively student work, Pathos accepts poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photography, graphic design work, short plays, music, and a variety of other creative formats.
  • Portland Review is an established literary journal based out of Portland State University with an international audience. Students seeking publishing opportunities can submit their work or gain valuable publishing experience via a variety of student positions.
  • Portland Spectrum, formerly the Portland Spectator, is a full-color magazine published once a month. It features everything from biting editorials about the latest political issues to reviews of the best places to eat on campus.
  • PSU TV is your go-to source for interesting multimedia content on and around the Portland State campus. It provides the chance for students to get involved in reporting, marketing, editing, camera work, and much more.
  • The Rearguard is a progressive publication that supports campus and community diversity. They publish predominantly alternative viewpoints and provide a voice for the underrepresented communities at PSU.
  • The Vanguard is Portland State’s entirely student-run newspaper. Focusing on local campus news, it provides an opportunity to get the latest information about what’s happening on campus.

Student Media Groups Logos

Vendors for Bookworms

The Write to Publish Conference is upon us. In less than one month, attendees will enjoy a full, catered day sitting at the feet of Portland’s leading publishing experts.

This Ooligan fundraiser is nothing like most conferences available to writers. Unlike writing conferences, Write to Publish makes the publishing process accessible to ticket-holders, revealing the ins and outs of the industry and answering your questions about how to get published. Read our previous posts about speakers, panels, and this year’s theme (New Adult).

However, the publishing content and catered food aren’t all Write to Publish offers writers. Ooligan Press also hosts tables worthy of a bookworm’s dream. Vendors from every step of the writing and publishing process will be peddling their wares—the ones writers actually want.

From publishers to agencies, Write to Publish has secured half a dozen vendors we know bookworms will love:

  • Cogitate Studios—an editing firm to edit your manuscript. With more than three hundred and fifty edited titles in print, Cogitate Studios offers a wide range of editing services: writing query letters and book proposals, copyediting, developmental editing, ghostwriting, and proofreading.
  • Gertrude Press—an LGBTQ literary journal to publish your work. Launched in 1998, Gertrude Press is the oldest queer journal still in print and continues to be the mouthpiece for LGBTQ voices.
  • MacGregor Literary Agency—an agency to find a publisher right for you. MacGregor Literary Agency’s team of accomplished agents is one of the busiest agencies in Portland. Its credentials and services are impressive, assisting authors in editing, writing, branding, marketing, web presence, order fulfillment, and strategic planning.
  • MindBuck Media—a full-service book publicity company to assist you post-writing. MindBuck Media specialize in consultation and creating interest during any point of a book’s evolution. Having helped authors sell half a million books during the last two years, MindBuck assists authors with marketing, preparing manuscripts for submission, and interior and cover design.
  • The Portland Review—a literary journal to publish your work. Publishing exceptional local and international writing and art since 1956, the Portland Review presents readers with fresh, innovative works from Oregon and around the world.
  • PSU Bookstore—a bookstore to support your reading and writing habits. Part of the Nebraska Book Company and located at Portland State University, the bookstore provides textbooks, gear, and supplies.

Visit the Write to Publish 2014 website for vendor bios and links, conference registration, and more information.

Take advantage of this unique conference February 15th, 2014. Bring your friends and questions, learn trade secrets, and enjoy meeting people who love what you love.

The Shuffling Madness

I began working with Ooligan my first term as a grad student at PSU. Way back in April, I had a bit of chip on my shoulder. I’d been writing, getting published, and editing the work of other writers for a variety of small press journals for around twenty years. Additionally, I’d spent the prior seven years working in sales and marketing, managing accounts and designing and producing content marketing pieces. All of these experiences together led me to believe that I had little to learn about the workaday life of someone in publishing. I planned to do my time in the program, receive my proverbial sheepskin, and launch a new career in the field of my desire.

My first two terms went completely according to plan. I took Book Marketing and Book Sales, two subjects I could readily apply my background to. I worked in the Marketing department at Ooligan. Then over the summer I took an online grant writing course as an elective and spent the remainder of my time split between Ooligan Acquisitions and Marketing. I headed into the fall feeling good. I was about to take over managing the Acquisitions department for Ooligan, as well as the position of editor in chief at Portland Review, the independent, student-run literary quarterly that’s been published out of Portland State since 1956. I would be taking Book Editing and Intro to Publishing as well, but I wasn’t sweating my course work. Those were two classes that I “could probably teach,” according to one of the other editors at Portland Review. I was soon to find out how wrong she was.

I set a ridiculous timeline for Portland Review: from the start of the term on September 30th, we would have fifteen days to cull through our backlog of roughly two thousand submissions, edit for content and copyedit, design the cover and interior layout, and get it to the printer in time for our scheduled launch party on October 31st. It bears mentioning that I booked all of this knowing full well that we were going to be a brand-new team of full-time students inheriting an office still in boxes with a budget for the following year due on the same date we were set to release our first issue. It seemed like a challenging, yet reasonable schedule: something that would be totally doable, based on the fact that there would be eight of us editors, and we’d have around twenty-five volunteer readers.

I cut my editing teeth in the world of very small independent presses. It’s a world that bears little resemblance, in terms of process and intensity, to the professional world of editing for publication. I am also generally the kind of person who jumps into any new project without waiting for or reading the directions. As a result of my background and nature, I was laboring under a cloud of severe misapprehension: I thought the industry-defined work of acquisitions, developmental editing, and copyediting were all one job, a job I called “content editing.” I also thought that what the industry defines as “proofing” was “copyediting.” From my experience in micropress, zine, and online journal publishing, I’d taken on this assumption as standard. Needless to say, expecting that each section editor would naturally carry these assumptions themselves, not to mention complete their assigned tasks independent of direction or instruction, proved foolish. I inadvertently presumed that most people work like I do and figure things out as they go along. I thought I could assign responsibilities and expect members of the editing staff to work out the details on their own and let me know if they ran into problems.

Thanks to taking that book editing course (the one I supposedly could have taught) in conjunction with our first term of production at Portland Review, I’ve been disabused of many of the assumptions I carried with me into the Book Publishing program. As a team, we are looking at what worked and didn’t work in this last month and developing a structured procedure to use in bringing the next issue into the world. We’re establishing clearer roles and responsibilities based on what I’ve been learning in both Book Editing and Intro to Book Publishing.

Despite my arrogance and ignorance, we managed to get advance copies of our fall issue back in time for the launch events we had scheduled at Rogue Hall on campus Halloween night and the Independent Publishing Resource Center on the first of November. The readings were well-attended and roundly praised. We sold some merchandise, some back issues, and most of our modest advance print run. Now we just have to proof the thing, finalize the design, and get the final to the printer for a delayed launch on the day of this post: November fifteenth. The chip on my shoulder is gone. The process of putting out the fall issue of Portland Review in conjunction with the classes I’m taking has taught me more about publishing than I’ve learned in twenty years of participating in the industry. For that, I am thankful.