Each department at Ooligan oversees a particular area of a book’s production; Design works on the book’s cover and interior, Digital handles the ebook version, Audiobooks scripts the book and works with the narrator or narrators to produce an audiobook version, and so on and so forth. In a previous blog post, I introduced myself as the DEI Publisher’s Assistant for Ooligan Press and gave a brief overview of my position; here, I’m back to walk you through my involvement with each book as it makes its way through the publishing process.
When Ooligan is in its acquiring phase for a book, the Acquisitions managers reach out to me if any aspect of the book will require special attention and consideration from a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion standpoint. If the press as a whole votes to acquire the manuscript, I join the developmental edit team and provide insight into issues of sensitivity and authenticity. Following the developmental edit, I join the copyediting team(s) and provide additional insight into issues of inclusive language and any other aspects of the written manuscript that need to be treated with care. I also work with the book project team and copyediting team(s) to create the manuscript’s style sheet, and I answer any questions, assist in querying the author on certain issues, and provide resources that will assist the team in making the book as equitable and inclusive as possible.
After editorial comes cover design. I work with the book project team and the Design manager to build the book’s cover design brief and provide feedback to the cover designers to make sure a cover does not portray any stereotypes or offensive images (e.g., making sure a book about immigrant stories doesn’t have barbed wire or weeds on the cover).
I then assist in creating and maintaining social media and marketing strategies to ensure no part of the book, the author’s identity, or the audience is being commodified or tokenized in the promotion of the book.
When a book is being considered for an audiobook component, I work with the Audiobooks manager in instances of underrepresented or marginalized people potentially being narrated by someone outside of that group so that DEI efforts are considered in both choosing a narrator and narrating that character’s lines.
Throughout the processes outlined above, I work closely with anyone within the press who has questions or concerns about any aspect of the manuscript, and I jump in and out of book teams when needed. Overall, our goal as a press is to publish each book with care to be as diverse, equitable, and inclusive as possible, and my position has a very heavy hand in that process. Consulting with book project teams and the different departments within Ooligan is one of my favorite aspects of this position, and I am very proud of our press’s mission to publish diverse, authentic books and the initiatives we take to make our mission a reality.