The Evolution of an Oolie, Part One: Hayley Wilson

Being a part of Ooligan Press is what you’d expect: we publish books, operate the business, and drink lots of coffee. We also, however, are students. Ooligan Press is completely student-run (under the fabulous direction of Abbey Gaterud), and while we’re in the trenches slamming out books, we’re also busy in the classroom learning best practices for how to do it even better.

The evolution of an Oolie goes something like this: Term one, day one: “Uh, what’s ‘POD’?” (That’s print on demand for non-industry readers.) Term six, graduation day: “You’re looking at the next publishing maven.”

This new recurring post will track incoming Oolies, expose what it’s like training in PSU’s book publishing program, and observe how we evolve from surrendering our first tuition dollars to tossing our caps.

Name: Hayley Wilson

Term: First

Origin: Portland, Oregon

Alma mater: University of Oregon

Bachelor’s degree: English

Classes: Introduction to Publishing, Publishing Software, and Publishing Lab (Ooligan Press)

How did you discover PSU’s book publishing program?

When I was a senior in my undergrad, I did some light research on grad school and this program came up. I was definitely interested in publishing. I think when I was younger I thought agenting sounded really cool without knowing anything about it whatsoever. I didn’t get really excited about the program until I had a friend [in the program]; she graduated in June. So I knew someone.

Did your own writing influence your decision to go into publishing?

I discovered agenting was a thing when I was a wayward adolescent. And I do write and have been writing my whole life, so when I was doing my initial research in the publishing industry, it was with the youthful idea that if I researched it, I would understand how to be a better writer. I wasn’t even aware of how a manuscript got from your computer to being a book when I was fourteen. I thought that would be something useful to research in the hopes that maybe I would understand what makes a piece of writing better or worse or publishable or not. But, the more I researched about publishing, the more interested I was in agenting. I was reading agent blogs and things like that. My favorite one was an agent who posted terrible query letters, and it was amazing. I still write, but I got the sense when I was younger that I’m better at filtering and editing other things, which is part of the reason I get frustrated with my own writing. It’s not up to my own standards.

You’re taking Lab (Ooligan), Intro to Book Publishing, and Publishing Software this term. So far, are you interested in book design?

I will be really thrilled if I can just use any of the programs. I don’t envision myself going into design or being a brilliant designer in any way, shape, or form. I don’t think that’s for me, but I enjoy having the knowledge of that area. I think you kind of need to know how to do a little bit of everything.

What project are you on for Ooligan?

Untangling the Knot. We finished reading the manuscript early in the term, and now I’m assigned to social media [for the project]. I hadn’t really thought about that as something I was specifically interested in, but I had to do that for a job previously, and it’s fun.

Are you interested in completing any internships?

I am, definitely. I’m interested in getting as much hands-on experience as I can because I’m definitely a very learn-by-doing kind of a person. That was one of the reasons I was interested in the program [with the student-run press].

Were there any parts to publishing you didn’t know existed that you’re learning about?

Somehow, I never thought about the legal aspects. I’m doing a short presentation in Introduction to Publishing (class) on copyright law and libel and slander; I hadn’t thought about how those issues affect publishing.

Have you felt overwhelmed with the scale of what you’re learning?

Everyone has been very welcoming and seems really comfortable with the material, which makes me feel better. I have no idea what anyone’s talking about sometimes, but I know I will soon.

Where do you see yourself fitting in the publishing industry?

At this point I really have no idea. Just in the last two weeks I learned there’s so much to the industry that is on the quieter side. Agenting—you hear about it. It’s kind of exciting. But, there are other parts of publishing that are more behind the scenes that I don’t know much about yet, so I’m keeping an open and flexible mind.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully in Portland. One of my hesitations in studying publishing when I was younger was the whole you-have-to-go-to-New-York thing. Now, it seems like Portland is a little more robust in terms of what’s available and what’s out there, which is very encouraging. Hopefully, I’ll still be in Portland—working on books. Maybe my own book.

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