The Beginning of Our New YA Title

Love, Dance & Egg Rolls is unlike any title we have ever worked on at Ooligan. One of the biggest challenges we have faced so far is not having a similar title to reference in our backlist. The press as a whole has only recently delved into the YA scene with The Step Back and Laurel Everywhere. While these are great reference points, we also don’t have experience marketing a Filipino-American title. As part of our new mission statement, Ooligan is working to diversify our catalog and amplify the voices that often go unnoticed. We stand by our mission statement, and while we may encounter obstacles in the months ahead, we are committed to doing everything we can for the incredible story Jason Tanamor has written.

The biggest obstacle with Love, Dance & Egg Rolls is that it went through multiple revisions, which means that there were several sections in the marketing plan that had comments saying “to be determined.” For a while, the title was in question, and as new revisions came in, we were constantly thinking about the synchronicity between the title and the content. What ended up being affected the most was the back cover copy. We suggested a lot of changes to the author, and without knowing if those changes would be implemented, we couldn’t guarantee the back cover copy just yet. While major themes and story arcs didn’t change, there were a few marketing angles that were put on hold until the final manuscript was complete. We are so close to completing our marketing plan, and our back cover just needs a little tweaking in order for it to be perfect.

These challenges have also provided many learning opportunities. Love, Dance & Egg Rolls is not your typical YA novel, so we have a lot of different angles to consider. While we are definitely going to market the Own Voices angle, we are most excited about the Tinikling aspects of the book; dancing and food is this book’s best asset, and we are trying to market it wildly. This decision has not only influenced our choice of BISAC codes and SEO keywords, but also led us to research places where we could amplify these themes: dance festivals, multicultural festivals, restaurants, and educational centers that strive to help Filipino youth. We’ve been thinking outside the box to come up with unique marketing strategies and are considering partnering with dance troupes that perform Tinikling and maybe even Filipino restaurants that serve delicious egg rolls. Everyone likes Filipino food, and we are shamelessly capitalizing on that love. After all, when else will we get to work on a book with the words “egg rolls” in the title?

What are some of the unique awards this book could win? Which outlets could cover this book? Who is willing to write a blurb? What will the interior design look like? These are all things to come, and we are excited to tackle them in the upcoming months. With so few Filipino-American books on the market, we know that we have to work a little harder to find those podcasts, social media accounts, and people who are as excited as we are to see this book get published.

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