Outreach and Project Development, a Reinvented Team

Spring term is always a time for transition at Ooligan as each project manager and department lead begins training the next generation of management. But this year, along with the traditional changeover, there are developments afoot at Ooligan Press. Project developments, that is.

The project team that has been known as the Write to Publish team—in charge of Ooligan’s annual writing conference—has transformed into the outreach and project development team. Don’t worry, we’ll still be planning and hosting Write to Publish every year; but as the new name suggests, our duties have expanded to fill the large time gap between each conference.

So what does “outreach and project development” mean? Outreach encapsulates everything from the Write to Publish conference to community outreach and Ooligan fundraising. This is the part of the team that is staying the same, more or less. There may be some changes coming up for the conference, but those details are going to stay secret for now because we’re still in the early planning phases. Suffice it to say, 2018 marks the tenth Write to Publish conference, and we plan to celebrate big time.

The new part of the team’s duties—project development—presents an exciting opportunity to conceptualize, develop, and pitch projects that are either brought to us by authors as ideas or incomplete manuscripts, or they are brainstormed in-house and then commissioned. Why the new addition? Ooligan’s current submission guidelines only allow completed manuscripts to be considered. However, in mainstream publishing, some of the best nonfiction books come from proposals with incomplete manuscripts. The outreach and project development team will work closely with authors to help develop their proposals into full manuscripts, which will potentially be pitched to Ooligan Press in hopes of being acquired.

The other exciting opportunity presented to project development—OPD, or just “outreach” for short—is the expansion of Ooligan’s backlist genres. Over the last couple of years, Ooligan Press has gained a reputation for producing high-quality YA fiction. While this is true of our current frontlist, there are many other genres that Ooligan has represented in the past; in fact, one of our most successful titles is our geology book, Cataclysms on the Columbia. This is our chance to experience even more genre diversity, especially in the realms of nonfiction and comics. Memoirs? Sure. Regional histories? Absolutely. Cooking, gardening, and urban development in the Pacific Northwest? Great idea!

The plan for now is to have six to eight projects in development at any given time, with one getting pitched to Ooligan Press every year. In comparison to other projects at the press, these outreach opportunities are a long-term investment, so we’ll get to spend time with them over several generations of Oolies.

We’re so excited to get this new/reinvented project team started, and we have big plans for what it can grow into. New genres to explore, new parts of the community to connect with, and a bigger, bolder Write to Publish to perfectly celebrate the conference’s tenth anniversary.

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