A Season of Change at Ooligan Press

For many Portlanders, the arrival of summer brings with it warmer temperatures, sunshine, and days without rain. At Ooligan, the arrival of summer ushers in a season of change and growth for the press as a whole.

One of the things that makes Ooligan truly unique is that it not only operates as a full-fledged literary press, but it is a press that is run entirely by students who are enrolled in the Book Publishing program. We are responsible for nearly every aspect of the press—from acquisition to production—under the watchful and supportive eyes of our publisher. Students in the second year of the program are even selected to be managers to help lead project teams and departments.

Because we are first and foremost students, the arrival of summer means that our second-year students, including managers, are graduating and moving on from the program, while our new incoming managers are wrapping up their training and preparing to take over their departments for the summer term of classes.

In a traditional press, losing fifteen employees and training nineteen new ones would seem like the stuff of nightmares, but at Ooligan, this kind of changing-of-the-guard is normal—it’s simply how things are done.

The incoming managers also face a unique challenge: remote learning. Most of the graduating managers had the opportunity to attend in-person classes for almost a year before the pandemic closed campus, and as a result they were able to form these amazing connections with each other and this great camaraderie that resonates throughout the press. First-year students have had the reverse experience: they began the program with every aspect of their experience being remote, including training, and are finally preparing to attend in-person classes in September.

If there is one thing that I have learned while trying to navigate life as a student during a pandemic, it is that this pandemic has made us more resilient and adaptable than ever. When we were submitting our applications to the program, we had no idea that this would be our future or our reality. Regardless of our status as a first- or second-year student, we have adapted to every obstacle and challenge put in front of us. We have made it this far into a global pandemic, so we can handle pretty much anything. It is this kind of grit and determination that will have a profound impact on both the press and the program in the future.

Needless to say it will be interesting to see how these different experiences, learning environments, and mentalities will influence the press in the future.

Here is a list of current roles/departments that help run Ooligan Press:

  • Four project teams, one for each book we are currently working on
  • One project team for our Library Writer’s Project manuscript
  • Website Manager
  • Two Acquisitions Managers
  • Managing Editor
  • Copy Chief
  • Design Manager
  • Digital Manager
  • Audiobooks Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Publicity Manager
  • Social Media Manager
  • Three Publisher’s Assistants; two who focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and one who focuses on Metadata and Sales

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