The dust has settled. The Where We Call Home launch party went off without a hitch (unless you consider a random man offering Ramon, the illustrator, some homemade chocolate drink in the middle of the book talk a “hitch”). Josephine and Ramon continue to participate in book events and sell the book. I am a proud project manager.
Now we get to do the whole book production process all over again!
My project team is sticking to the nonfiction category, but we’re moving away from the natural sciences; our next manuscript, A Family, Maybe, is a memoir by Lane Igoudin about his and his husband’s struggle to form a family in the mid-2000s. It’s got drama. It’s got humor. It’s got love. My team and I are having a great time working on it.
Much has been happening this term for A Family, Maybe. The acquisitions team wrapped up the developmental edit, we’re working on the copyedit now, and we are about to start on the cover design. For my team specifically, the main focus this term has been on generating the inward-facing documents that will help us market the book. The two main documents that we’ve had our hands on so far are the persona exercise and the marketing plan. The persona exercise is an activity that my team and I did together to make up characters who we think would be interested in the book. We make up a primary audience member and secondary audience member from the ground up, identifying everything from their demographics to their family lives to their favorite foods. Being familiar with these characters’ lives helps us figure out how they would find A Family, Maybe. Would they see posts about it on social media? Would people in their lives recommend it? Would they purposely, directly seek it out?
The marketing plan is similar in the sense that we are creating the backbone of the manuscript. We include the “demographics” of the book (title, ISBN, BISAC codes, etc.) along with comparative titles, hook, back cover copy, and much more. This document serves as the foundation from which all subsequent documents stem. Soon it will be finalized, and then we’ll be moving onto generating a contact sheet. Once we reach that stage, I’ll have come full circle as a member of Ooligan; when I joined the press back in January 2022, the team I was on was in the contact stage.
It’s bittersweet, the thought that I’ve almost arrived at the same place that I started. Professionally, I’ve come so far in the past year. I have so many invaluable skills and experiences that I will take with me into my career. Yet my time at Ooligan is approaching its end. I’ll be training up a new manager in spring who will take over my role when I graduate in June. Although I am looking forward to imparting my knowledge to my successor, I’m finally starting to feel like I’ve really got the hang of this whole Ooligan thing.
But so it goes. I’m going to give my last few months, and the A Family, Maybe manuscript, my all, and I can’t wait to help it be the best it can be. There are some strong contenders for project manager after me, and I know that the next cohort is going to do a fantastic job!