Why Transparency Matters in Marketing

Wed, 20 Oct 2021 16:00:00 +0000

When it comes to marketing, the way we choose to communicate and present ourselves plays a huge role, especially in the current age of technology where consumers are inundated with ads and information every five seconds. As marketers, we want to make sure that the consumers within our targeted demographics choose to come to us for their needs, wants, and interests. If we want consumers to choose us, then we need to give them a reason to choose us. Many professionals have found that “playing it safe” with professional language and business jargon can actually alienate their audiences. If you are considering your audience for your social media posts, articles, and other marketing platforms, it is important to be able to engage with them. With the onslaught of advertising, the most successful businesses and individuals are the ones who engage with their patrons in ways that are authentic and fun. Consumers often choose companies that they can trust and that they feel connected to. Transparency goes a long way with current and future customers.

The marketing industry has a bit of a bad rap for being sneaky and manipulative, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you are probably going to get a lot more long-term business by being upfront and honest about your business practices than you are if you leave your consumers feeling hoodwinked because they didn’t read the fine print. So what is transparent marketing? Shel Holtz defines transparency as “the degree to which a company shares its leaders, employees, values, culture, strategy, business processes, and the results of those processes with its publics. It’s the opposite of opacity, in which companies operate behind closed doors and shuttered windows.”

We all know of situations when companies have been less than transparent in their businesses. One example might be when Wells Fargo created millions of accounts on behalf of their clients without their consent. The company addressed these concerns with an ad called Earning Your Trust that came across as being less than sincere to consumers. When Uber was associated with sexual harassment charges, they released their video, Moving Forward, to address these issues. The more Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, engaged with the issue head-on, the more consumers were able to trust that their concerns were being addressed and taken seriously. According to a study done by Label Insight, “94 percent of those surveyed are more likely to be loyal to brands that are transparent. The study also found that 56 percent of respondents would stay loyal to a brand for life if it was completely transparent.” Transparency is always important, not just when faced with negative publicity.

Think of all the brands and companies that you love. I can bet that near the top of the list of reasons why you love them is the fact that you love what they stand for and what they do. People love Starbucks because they strive for ethically sourced coffee. Toms grew in popularity because not only are the shoes comfortable, but they represent a cause that people can get behind (while getting something for themselves as well). Another example is the Spark Notes Twitter account, which has branded itself with a humorous, snarky tone that lends itself to authenticity. Transparency is becoming the standard of marketing—it’s what consumers want to see.

Spines 101: Why Book People Should Care About Ergonomics

Wed, 23 Jan 2019 18:08:34 +0000

Today’s consumers crave to feel understood, and that includes readers. Although the romantic image of Elizabeth Bennet with her back against a tree, bent gracefully over her favorite book, may be what we all hope we look like when we’re reading, the reality is more likely to include a) a contorted body in an armchair, b) a desk and a head leaning heavily forward on one hand while the other hand maintains pressure on the open book, or c) some version of reading in bed, where way too many muscles are unconsciously engaged. Whatever your usual reading position, you have likely experienced the feeling of frustration accompanied by the thought, I’ve been reading in this terrible position for two hours and am fairly sure I now need physical therapy. Most often, pain develops in the cervical spine, which is the place—like the spine of your book—holding everything together. How can we promote a positive book culture when reading is associated with a negative physical experience?

Assuming the publishing world were to accept responsibility for leading the movement in ergonomic reading solutions to save spines everywhere, a few points need addressing. First, we need to be aware of what the field of ergonomics looks like today. Ergonomics in the workplace and home offices, as well as in mattress and pillow design for sleeping, have dominated the conversation thus far. Second, we should identify the relevant tips and products that could be useful for readers. Although this may seem obvious, readers are unlikely to think they are doing harm to their spines unless they become the targeted audience. Third, we must innovate. We need to work for the reader in the design department. My focus is on the neck pain that 13 percent of Americans are experiencing right now (according to my main resource for this post, a blog by physicians called Spine-health). Other health concerns connected with reading for long periods of time, whether in print or digital format, include eye fatigue, insufficient blood flow, and improper breathing. By recognizing these issues and addressing them to the best of our ability, we can ensure reading moves into the future as a healthy activity.

Design solutions to neck pain associated with reading range from prioritizing reader comfort and accessibility in regular decision-making to creating brand-new product features, digital services, and partnerships that support the reader. Is the book wide enough to be held open without strain? Would a spiral-bind or Coptic stitch binding allow the book to lie flatter? To give advice on reading positions, could publishers create a free insert or digital tool connected with the sale of their books? The question I want to highlight, however, is this: Is the text readable from a healthy distance? In this area, ebooks hold an advantage with the option of increasing text size. Printed books should be designed with readability in mind for all, rather than just printing extra-large text versions that can cause embarrassment. This simple solution could allow readers to prop their books up at eye-level, on their knees, their dog, a pile of pillows, an angled desk, or, gasp, a reading stand. While the world has been shocked by the effects of “text neck” on our youth, the unhealthy habit of flexing the neck forward to read and respond to messages on a cell phone, avid readers have been dealing with the same condition for centuries. (Seriously, check out Nature’s Potent Methods, circa 1899, page 538). Watch the Spine-health video describing the effects of text neck, and you’ll understand why it’s preferable to keep just one bowling ball balanced over your shoulders.

Publishers need to make themselves experts on the reader in order to stay in competition with Amazon, other used booksellers, and all the free material available on the web. We cannot ignore the physical condition and habits of the reader. Showing people we know what issues make it difficult to read as much as they would like, then providing advice and design solutions, will help readers to feel good about investing in businesses that put their interests first.

OverDrive and Your Local Library

Thu, 21 Feb 2019 17:00:40 +0000

Like so much else in the world of books, libraries have an unfair reputation for being behind the times or inconvenient. The truth is, libraries are often up-to-date on the latest technology and the most efficient ways of getting knowledge into the hands of the masses. So with the ever-increasing popularity of ebooks and audiobooks, it should come as no surprise that it’s possible to borrow titles from anywhere there’s internet access.

OverDrive is a free app that allows anyone with a device that uses Android 4.0 or higher, Chrome OS41 or higher, iOS 9 or higher, or Windows 8 or 10 to rent ebooks and audiobooks directly from their local library. A desktop version of the app is also available across various operating systems. The app is connected to most public libraries in the US, including the Multnomah County Library.

Users can set up an account using a library card (or even just a phone number and a postal code) and can begin browsing their library’s available ebooks and audiobooks. Placing holds is simple, and the app uses email alerts to announce when titles are available. It’s even possible for users to suggest books they would like their library to purchase within the app. Books are returned automatically at the end of a twenty-one day period, meaning there is no way to incur late fees for titles borrowed through OverDrive. Users can read books on their phones, computers, or tablets, or send books to their Kindle (for other ereaders, the process is less streamlined). OverDrive has even produced a companion smartphone app, Libby, which is more attractive and user friendly, but currently compatible with fewer devices.

While OverDrive is getting its fair share of attention for making borrowing from the local library more convenient than ever before, there are actual quantitative measures by which this accessibility can be evaluated. In 2018, more than four million new digital library users used the OverDrive app for the first time. Some people tend to balk at the increasing relationship between books and the digital world, as evidenced by the notion of recent years that ebooks would wipe out print books for good (not to worry, print books are as popular as ever). However, the massive amount of new users recorded last year indicates that increasing readers’ access to books in the digital format draws a healthy audience.

There are also intangible ways that access to a public library’s digital catalog positively affects accessibility. For anyone who lives or works far from a library, being able to borrow books online saves significant time and transportation costs. OverDrive can also defray the cost of subscriptions to companies like Audible by providing digital audiobooks for download. Public libraries exist to provide free and easy access to information to the population they serve, and the OverDrive app has made providing and obtaining that information easier than ever.

“Old No. 1” and Me: A Digital Romance

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 16:00:46 +0000

Last month, I became the new lead of the Ooligan Press digital department, and I’m thrilled because I’m a huge fan of the work we do in digital. I’m proud of the websites we oversee: Ooligan Press, our Publishing program, and the new and evolving Oregon Authors site. But my real passion is ebooks. I love reading them, I love making them, and I love the potential that they offer us as publishers and as readers. At the same time, I recognize that digital can be off-putting for those who are passionate about printed books, and so I’d like to reveal how I fell in love with digital publishing.

The romance unfolds in an unlikely spot: the rotunda reading room of the American Antiquarian Society, where I first made the acquaintance of a 240-year-old printing press named “Old No. 1.”

For those who aren’t familiar with it, the American Antiquarian Society is a treasure of an institution in Worcester, Massachusetts; a learned society and research library, the AAS has preserved over three million books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, and other printed material created in what is now the United States, dating from the first European settlement to 1876. The AAS was founded in 1812 by a man named Isaiah Thomas. (If you’re a basketball fan, no, not that Isaiah Thomas; and if you’re an old basketball fan, no, not that Isiah Thomas either.)

This Isaiah Thomas was a Revolutionary War printer who published a newspaper called The Massachusetts Spy. It strongly supported the cause of American independence—so much so that the British authorities referred to Thomas’s printing office as “the sedition factory.” Thomas heard that the British were planning to shut him down, and knowing how important it was to keep the flow of information going, he moved his press from Boston to Worcester to keep it safe on April 16, 1775 in the dead of night. Many years later, Thomas donated that press to the American Antiquarian Society. “Old No. 1,” as Thomas described it in the donation documents, now resides on a balcony above the reading room of the AAS.

In 2014, I spent a month at the AAS doing research for a nineteenth-century detective adventure called A Person Known to Me. The project is an experiment in mixing different forms of storytelling in a single integrated narrative whole, and I realized that to combine the many types of of media that were part of the project, I would need some programming skill. Using resources suggested by Derek Sivers, including the book Head First HTML and CSS, I began to teach myself programming. By day, I was a researcher in the library, paging through nineteenth-century dime novels, newspapers, and other gorgeous resources unearthed for me by the AAS librarians; by night, I was a fledgling student of computer programming.

One day, as I sat working in the library, I looked up at Old No. 1 in its balcony perch and thought about how much precious information regarding the American Revolution it had conveyed. In that instant, I was struck by the power of what I had been learning during those evenings spent poring over my programming books. Anyone who was willing to spend some time, like me, could now build a virtual printing press. Any of us could follow in Thomas’s footsteps and take on his mantle of publishing responsibility and civil action.

My path after that moment delivered me to Portland State University, where my focus has been on digital technology and what it can do for publishing. (I define “publishing” in the broadest possible sense, incorporating as many forms of media as are necessary to tell a story well. To see some wonderful examples of journalistic use of this kind of storytelling, check out “Snowfall” from The New York Times and “Hell and High Water” from ProPublica.)

What possibilities exist down this road for even longer-form narratives? What would Isaiah Thomas have been able to do with all of this, if he too had known HTML and CSS? And how can we in the digital department and at Ooligan Press honor and advance that heritage?

Using XML for Book Design

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 16:00:08 +0000

Our recent blog post discussed XML, or eXtensible Markup Language, in relation to the editing department. Now, we’ll discuss what happens when the design team gets an XML-tagged manuscript.

Recall that XML tagging does not change a manuscript’s appearance; it merely identifies pieces of text that need to be designed. It’s like placing sticky notes in a book: you’re flagging parts of the book, maybe sentences or ideas you want to come back to that need special attention, but you’re not changing anything about the book. Also note that the editor doing the XML tagging isn’t placing tags wherever they want; they have a reference document, like a PDF or Word file, that has the proper (but not typographically designed) formatting already. So the act of XML tagging is actually a form of transcription. The editor marks every “firstpara,” or paragraph of a new chapter; “breakpara,” or paragraph after a break in the text, and everything else that isn’t straight text. Italics, accents, special characters, page breaks—everything that could trip a book designer up.

If you’ve worked with InDesign, the process of XML tagging might sound familiar. It’s exactly like creating paragraph styles and applying them to different parts of a text. The difference is, the XML tagger doesn’t determine what the text looks like. That’s up to the designer.

Fast forward to after the editor has fully tagged a document. The editor then hands the XML document to the designer, who imports the file into InDesign. The designer works some technical magic and bam! The XML tags correspond to premade paragraph and character styles in InDesign. The designer still has to determine things like font size, leading (or space between the lines of text), page breaks, and other typographic aspects, but the tedious part—applying the paragraph styles to hundreds of pages of text—has already been completed by the XML tags.

That’s not to say XML tagging itself isn’t tedious; it is. You might be wondering, “The designer would have to apply paragraph styles to the whole text anyway. What’s the benefit of using XML instead?” Well, XML helps design not only the print version of the book, but it also helps with the ebook version. Without XML, the ebook designer would have little to go off of or would have to tag the document in XML themselves. By having the editing department get XML out of the way before the design or digital departments even see the file, the process is streamlined. XML is a great way to increase the productivity of the press and reduce overhead (less time and money spent designing a book means more time and money available for other tasks!).

XML coding may not be a glamorous job, but it’s an important one. It reduces confusion and encourages communication between departments, and ultimately it helps us design great-looking books.

The Importance of Tone in Editing

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 16:00:31 +0000

What tone to use when writing a letter to an author or making queries on their manuscript is often one of the most crucial yet most challenging parts of an editor’s job. There are many factors to consider: Where are you at in the editing process? Are you speaking to the author directly, or are you addressing a senior editor? Is this the author’s first novel, or are they more experienced? With so many factors to juggle and so many tiny nuances, it’s no surprise that this is the area that trips up most novice (and sometimes more senior) editors.

When you are addressing an author that is new to the editorial process, a more gentle tone is worth considering. Because they are not used to how the publishing industry works, it sometimes comes as a surprise just how much change their novel goes through during the editing process. Establishing a good relationship with the author is always recommended no matter where they are in their career, but in the case of a new writer, it provides reassurance that their novel is in the hands of someone who cares about it and wants it to succeed. That’s not to say that more experienced authors don’t appreciate this as well—after all, authors that have proved themselves often already know what good editing is, so if you write something that offends them they can easily move on to a new editor. Having an open line of contact with the author prevents miscommunication and allows them to express any questions or concerns that they might have. If you are in either the developmental or line-level editing phases, don’t be shy about also pointing out where the novel really shines. This not only gives the writer confidence, but it highlights the areas of their novel that they should emulate throughout their writing.

There is an important line to walk when you are being considerate. You do not want to come across as too harsh, but it is equally important to convey that you are sure of yourself. You need to project confidence in your skill so that the author has confidence in you. Sometimes when editors are trying to be careful with their phrasing, they start to write queries with so many qualifiers that they look confused. “I’m not sure,” they write, “but I think this sentence might be too long. Maybe rephrase it?” Do away with some of the qualifiers, and avoid saying you aren’t sure of something.

There are times, however, when the tone you use is expected to be slightly different. Sometimes editors are working for managing editors, and the notes that they make are not for the author. Notes for an editor are expected to be more direct in order to help them quickly pinpoint problem areas and look for solutions. But in the case that the author does not see your comments, you are still expected to be polite. You never know what might get back to them, after all. As a general rule, take the time to reread everything you’ve written whenever you’re giving editorial feedback. How would you feel about receiving this feedback about a project that is incredibly important to you? If what you’ve written gives you pause, then your answer is clear—it’s time to reword your edits in a more tactful way.

Editors on Location

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 16:00:21 +0000

At the Waterline, Brian Friesen’s debut novel and Ooligan Press’s last big release, hit stores this past May. It tells the story of a strange little community that quietly exists on the shores of Oregon’s most prominent river. Houseboat and sailboat communities dot the Columbia River, just miles from Portland’s urban center, sheltering thousands of wayward men and women who choose to live atop the water. Despite the Ooligan offices standing just a few blocks from the connecting Willamette river, most of its editors had no idea these kinds of communities existed.

When one thinks about the realities of creating entertainment, the production of books lags far behind its contemporaries in terms of risk and adventure. The actor films on location and the musician records across the world. Then there is the book editor, hunched over his or her MacBook©, living or dying on the authenticity of the author’s voice, yet feeling no pressure to go out and see for themselves.

At Ooligan Press, we have the benefit of being located in the heart of the region we serve as publishers. We’re firm believers in the value of bringing personal perspectives to the table as editors. As such, when production for At the Waterline was in full sway, the editing crew decided to take a field trip to one of the Portland area’s prominent waterborne communities: Sauvie Island.

Sauvie Island’s last official census was almost 20 years ago, so its current population is not certain, though almost certainly low. Despite being just a short drive from Portland, it is well off the grid by urban standards. The state government is far more interested in conducting wildlife and environmental surveys in the area, so the communities of people who live there are usually left alone. Its houseboat communities are a near-perfect approximation of Brian Friesen’s vision and gave the At the Waterline team a chance to explore the world they’d only seen in writing. I’ve collected some of the team’s favorite memories and ideas in order to share them here:

    “[My favorite part was] seeing the houseboat communities in person. All of the boats were very different and it was very cool to see them all lined up along the piers. It also helps you imagine how the characters in At the Waterline lived: you could see where there are community gathering spaces, and you see firsthand how small their living quarters are. It was raining the day we went, and it made us all think that when living on a boat in the PNW, where it does rain a lot, much of your time has to be spent below-deck . . . .”

    —Emily Hagenberger (Editor)

    “I know the marketing process was best helped through the field trips. When you’re reading a book, you’re just there to enjoy it, but to get other people to read it, you really have to connect to that part of it that makes it special. Visiting the settings for both books was really helpful in that venture.”

    —Mackenzie Deater (Editor)

    “My favorite part was doing the corn maze at the pumpkin patch. It was over an hour of wading through a river of mud and only Mackenzie was brave enough to do it with me. Doesn’t really have anything to do with the book, but she is the [incumbent] project manager, so . . . maybe a willingness to get messy is something innate to leaders of this team.”

    —Cobi Lawson (Managing Editor)

The benefit of placing an editing team on location isn’t something that is readily apparent, as it is difficult to measure an increase in authenticity, quality, and design acuity during a production process that lasts more than a year. But if one were to observe an At the Waterline team meeting, they’d notice a certain camaraderie that can only come from a collective experience. They’d also hear the abundance of creative and extraordinary ideas that have gone into At The Waterline‘s production, from engaging marketing schemes involving riverside scavenger hunts to the creation of a companion adult coloring book (designed by the talented Riley Pittenger). A lot of big ideas are coming from that tiny team.

Perhaps most importantly, one would sense a reverence and understanding for the source material, the author’s vision, and the fascinating world of waterborne communities hidden in plain sight. Our team knows exactly what kind of story they’re presenting to the world. They’ve been there.

Social Media Book Giveaways & You: Why Giveaway Culture Matters

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 16:00:13 +0000

Online book giveaways are becoming pretty standard in the publishing industry’s marketing toolbox—so much so that readers have come to expect them. Giveaways familiarize readers with book covers and copy, increase the number of reviews they receive, generate pre-publication social media presence, and build loyalty around both the author and the publisher.

Certain publishers, of course, have the distinct advantage of resources that allow them to go all-out for their giveaways. (Penguin, I’m looking at you. Penguin Random House recently held giveaways for 25 bestsellers of 2016, a 50-book library in the genre of the reader’s choice, and a collection of 75 Little Golden Books. They don’t do these things halfway.)

Regardless of the size of the company, publishers’ social media accounts are constantly promoting their most recent giveaways. Giveaway posts on social media can also serve as a reminder to readers that they’re an actual business. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the publisher you follow on Instagram actually sells books and doesn’t just take pretty pictures. I mean, when I take pictures of books with a latte and post it on Instagram, it looks pretty much the same as the social media content of even the biggest publishers. Jumping in once in awhile to say that readers can enter win a free book also works as a reminder to buy books.

Publishers use a variety of methods to market their giveaways. They may offer book-themed goodies like a tote bag, or a book for both you and a friend you tag in comment to spread the word, or an entry if you follow them, or an entry if you share a post, or an entry if you join a mailing list, or all of the above. The same basic principle always holds true; giveaways are driven by numbers. How many people can you get onto your mailing lists or to follow you on social media for each book you give away? Small publishers are generally unable to hold these massive book giveaways to generate readership, social media buzz, and mailing lists. And from this strictly-numbers view, it seems as though there is no value for small publishers here at all—it’s just too costly for such little influence.

But I’d argue that there is a value to participating in book giveaway culture that doesn’t initially come from generating numbers: showing a willingness to engage and give and create a tangible connection with readers, an excitement that only getting a book gift in the mail can offer. Perhaps a smaller publisher’s goal is not lengthy additions to their email list, dozens of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, or their cover shared far and wide across social media platforms, but simply strengthening the relationship between a publishing house and its readers.

Small publishers don’t need to give away fifty free copies of their books (as in a current giveaway of All the Light We Cannot See from Scribner). Book giveaway culture allows for offering just a single prize from a small publisher to have an effect. While mailing lists and Goodreads reviews won’t skyrocket as a result, giving just one book away creates the same possibility for that tangible connection with a publisher, the same pre-publication hype, and the same magic of getting a fresh new book in the mail.

An Inventory of Ooligan History

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 16:00:01 +0000

As we are settling into our roles as Ooligan’s newest dynamic duo of Publisher’s Assistants, we are beginning to realize that our responsibilities exist very much like an iceberg. Above the water, there’s the work that is more directly tangible—such as running meetings—and underneath the water, there’s all of the work that we do to keep the press operating smoothly, such as archiving.

One perfect example of this dual existence is Ooligan’s inventory. We inherited responsibility over a beautifully organized bookshelf in Ooligan’s main office. This shelf contains titles that are either more recent or more successful, and most Oolies would recognize them. However, we also inherited the keys to the basement, which holds all of Ooligan’s inventory. This is a room that is typically only used by the PAs; we quietly manage the inventory and report back to the Publisher. Although the task of managing the greater inventory downstairs might not sound as appealing as organizing the most Instagram-worthy shelfie upstairs, our unique responsibility is already providing us with a newfound perspective on the press that we are supporting.

For instance, did you know that Ooligan began its journey with a collection of translated stories centered in Croatia, called Zagreb, Exit South? One of three titles in what was styled “A New Croatia,” this first book (long out of print) lives in the far back corner of the basement shelves.

Several years and shelves of book boxes later, Ooligan’s Pacific Northwest focus becomes more pronounced in Sid Miller’s Dot-to-Dot Oregon, seven series of poems marking seven routes through every part of the state, from Baker City to Coos Bay, The Dalles to Klamath Falls. Miller’s poems paint scenes ranging from the intimate experience of an old-fashioned pharmacy in downtown Grants Pass to the sweeping horizon visible from the top of the Oregon Dunes. It’s the kind of book that transports you from the floor of a fluorescent-lit storage room to the eclectic and awe-inspiring beauty of the place in which we live.

On the opposite side of that same shelf, our press shifts into the current decade with stacks of Oregon Stories, one hundred fifty answers to the question, “What does Oregon mean to you?” collected and edited by Ooligan students in honor of the Oregon sesquicentennial in 2010. Featuring a foreword by celebrated Oregon writer Kim Stafford and an introduction by former Governor Ted Kulongoski, these Oregon stories come from writers, public servants, poets, students, and more. Governor Kulongoski even chimes back in for an amusingly relatable tale of the trials and tribulations of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon’s many weathers. Full of short and sweet anecdotes and ripe with state nostalgia, Oregon Stories is a classic collection of voices connected by place, time, and the landscapes beautifully collaged together on the cover.

From Oregon Stories, our inventory shelves move into territory more familiar to more recent Oolies: Ruth Tenzer Feldman’s Blue Thread, The Ninth Day, and Seven Stitches; Oolie Kait Heacock’s Siblings and Other Disappointments; and recent award-winners A Series of Small Maneuvers by Eliot Treichel and Memories Flow in Our Veins: Forty Years of Women’s Writing from CALYX. Finally, there are the numerous boxes of our most recent titles, the 25th anniversary edition of Robin Cody’s Oregon coming-of-age classic Ricochet River and Brian K. Friesen’s literary fiction debut, At the Waterline. Where will these books be five years from now? Ten? Imagining shelves of Ooligan books expanding into the future is one of the unsung joys of inventory; what might seem a menial task, unseen and unappreciated, is actually one of the threads that weaves Ooligan Press together, past, present, and future.

Alaska in the 90s: Get Ready to Hear More About THE OCEAN IN MY EARS on Social Media

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:00:00 +0000

I’m a relative newcomer to The Ocean in My Ears and its project team, having taken over from the inimitable Margaret Henry. As such, I bring a fresh perspective to the project, but I also had a lot of catching up to do. Thankfully, the merits of The Ocean in My Ears, the enthusiasm of its author, Meagan Macvie, and Margaret’s impressive foresight have made this an easy project to fall in love with and get excited for.

I’m coming into this project with much of the work completed: the book has been proofread, galleys have been ordered, and much of the marketing and social media strategies have been planned out. My job, mostly, is to implement. YA novels are a great place to be right now, and The Ocean in My Ears brings fresh new ideas and content to the genre. This, plus its 1990s and Alaskan setting, gives our team some really fun opportunities for social media and marketing. SweeTarts, hairspray, jean skirts, and scrunchies abound in this novel, and we’re hoping to bring that 90s feel into our social media posts. We also are wanting to bring attention to its unique setting: small town Soldotna, Alaska. Be prepared for pictures of gorgeous vistas, snowy scenes, and dipnetting upcoming on our social media pages.

We’re also lucky that the novel itself is a treasure trove of hilarious lines, mostly from its protagonist, 17-year-old Meri Miller. For example: “Alaska’s like two thousand miles away from anywhere cultured. No offense, Canada.” Keep an eye on Ooligan’s social media profiles this summer and fall to hear more about the upcoming The Ocean in My Ears.