the word "proofread" followed check boxes that say "grammar," "formatting," and "spelling"

The Dos and Don’ts of Proofreading

The topic of copyediting is talked about at length within the publishing industry, but there is little discussion about another aspect of the editorial process that is equally as important: proofreading. Here is a quick guide to everything you need to know about proofreading your next project.

Proofreading is one of the last steps in the editorial process. The manuscript has completed all rounds of copyediting, has been XML typecoded, and has been sent to the designer to complete the interior. The book is nearly complete and just needs a final check to ensure that errors weren’t introduced during the design process and that there are no lingering grammatical errors. Proofreading is the final step before the book is sent to the printer, but there is much confusion about what is and is not covered during this stage of editing.

Here are some things to look for as you complete your next proofread:

Weird Spacing:

Be on the lookout for missing spaces between words or punctuation and places where there are additional spaces where there shouldn’t be.

Leftover XML Coding:

At Ooligan, our books are XML typecoded so that the designer knows what special treatment different words and sections should have. Sometimes parts of this code accidentally make its way into the final manuscript, so be on the lookout for erroneous code.

Discrepancies:

Double-check that everything from the final version of the manuscript has been included in the designed version. Check for missing paragraphs or words, missing images or graphics, or missing punctuation marks.

Punctuation:

As you are proofreading, check the punctuation surrounding words that are in bold or italics—do they follow the guidelines outlined in your style guide? Also be on the lookout for placement of punctuation within quotations—do they follow the guidelines outlined in your style guide?

Closed vs. Open Compounds:

Make sure that compounds are following the Hyphenation Guide for Chicago.

Consistent Spelling:

Be on the lookout for names, places, and other words that may be spelled inconsistently throughout the manuscript. We recommend keeping the style sheet for the book nearby as you proofread.

Ellipses:

Double-check that all ellipses are formatted according to the style guide. For Chicago, it is three periods with spaces: . . .

Windows, Runts, and Orphans:

Be mindful of the way paragraphs start and end. Widows happen when the last line of a paragraph starts at the top of the next page. Runts occur when the last line of a paragraph ends with a single word. Orphans happen when the first line of a paragraph is on the bottom of a page.

Here are some things to keep in mind when completing a proofread. The time for any substantial editing is over. Now is the time to look for any glaring errors that are remaining after the copyedits are completed. We don’t want to be rewriting any of the text or posing queries to the author—there shouldn’t be any substantial changes to the manuscript at this stage.

I hope this guide helped shed some light on what is expected—and what to avoid—for your next proofread.

Happy proofreading!

Gargoyle overlooking city of Paris

Marketing YA Fantasy

At Ooligan Press we publish about four new titles each year. Each book has a unique aesthetic which is consistent across all marketing, design, publicity, and social media collateral. In order to inform this aesthetic, our team puts together a “branding brief” for each book. This document serves as a way to inform how our marketing should look and feel.

Currently, our team just completed the branding brief for Keepers of Aris, our upcoming YA fantasy novel by Autumn Green. Keepers of Aris is about a young woman, Jay Raremore, who was born with immense and growing magical powers. At the time when our story takes place, Aris Magica, the secretive realm of magic that exists parallel to humanity, is in danger and Jay is the only one powerful enough to save both worlds.

Keepers of Aris touches upon themes such as grief, loss of innocence, and the struggle of battling with real-life and inner demons. Because the content of the story is more advanced, one of our goals is to make it clear in our marketing materials that this is a book that will appeal to an adult audience, as well as to young adult readers. To do this, we need to make it clear that Keepers of Aris, as far as young adult books go, leans more towards the adult end of the spectrum, rather than the middle grade end. Often middle grade novels include cartoonish or illustrated images on their covers or images with recognizable faces or silhouettes, which we have avoided using on the cover. For future marketing materials, we are avoiding bright or vibrant colors and using a darker color palette instead. On the other hand, we also want to avoid communicating that Keepers of Aris is too heavy or dark for a young audience. As a result, we are not going to focus on the violence or bloodshed in the story; this is not a significant focus of the novel, so we don’t want it to be a significant focus in our marketing.

Another consideration when branding Keepers of Aris is how to communicate what type of fantasy the book entails, or what subset of fantasy it falls into. Keepers of Aris can be considered low fantasy, meaning that the story takes place in a world that is otherwise normal, outside of the magical elements that our characters encounter. This is in contrast to high fantasy, in which the story takes place in an alternative world. Keepers of Aris takes place in the modern-day universe, so we want to steer away from an aesthetic that would communicate a medieval, ancient, or futuristic setting.

The plot of Keepers of Aris largely takes place at the Institute, a boarding school for teenagers with magical abilities. To communicate this, we are going to focus on images related to the aesthetic of “dark academia”. Dark academia is typically associated with a darker, moodier color palette and images of gothic architecture, vast libraries, school uniforms, and candlelit study sessions.

All of these things help communicate the tone of the book, which we described as being “serious, somber, dark, and mysterious”. Developing a cohesive brand for a book helps communicate to readers the core message and themes of a book, thereby connecting our book with our target audience.

a person holding a notated script and sitting at a table.

How to do Audiobook Scripting Part Two: Formatting and Special Considerations

Photo credit to Ron Lach

Ever wonder what narrators do to avoid making mistakes while recording audiobooks? One of the answers is that they have scripts!

If you’re just starting to learn about the audiobook recording process, or already have some experience in the process, this suggested step may come as a surprise to you; but this step isn’t too widely talked about outside of the industry. This is part two of a series on audiobook scripting. In the previous post, I went over why you should make a script for audiobooks and how to do quality assurance for it. In this part, I’ll address how you can format the script and some special considerations for it.

Formatting

There are tons of ways to format your script, and unfortunately there is no set standard because every book and narrator are different. You can borrow a lot of principles of formatting from genres such as screenwriting that you see for film, but understand that it is not a straight cross-over. There are a couple of reasons why:

Different way to annotate: Some narrators may want their characters’ changes noted by color, some by underlining, some by bolding. (Though I would avoid italics as they are generally used in the text itself to indicate interior thoughts.)

Dialogue tags: This is probably the number one reason why you can’t convert a book straight into an audiobook script using basic screenwriting formatting. Unlike a traditional script, where the speaker is naturally indicated by the formatting, audiobook narrators have to read dialogue tags to match the book itself.

  • For example, the narrator would have to read this full sentence, “‘He said, “I hate eggs. They smell disgusting to me.”‘” And the narrator would most likely have used two voices for that, the narrator and the voice of the character, we’ll call him Walter for this example.
  • In a typical script, the sentence would have read, “Walter: I hate eggs. They smell disgusting to me.”

On a related note, the point of view of the book can drastically change the formatting of a script. Depending if it is first, second, third person, or even with narrative frames like the unreliable narrator, it can drastically change the look of your script, how dialogue tags are handled, and how you would want to annotate it.

Depending on the scenes in the book you may see that you end up unintentionally revealing surprises earlier than you would in the book in its traditional format.

As an example, in Lord of the Rings, narrated by Andy Serkis, when the characters Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn come across who they think is Saruman. If the listener is paying attention, they realize it is Gandalf (spoiler alert: who everyone thought was dead) due to Serkis’ acting. This revelation happens several lines before it is actually revealed in the book.

Special Considerations

Depending on what the book is about, and what elements there are to telling the story, there may be some other odd things to format in the script:

  • Texting/email bubbles
  • Lots of internal dialogue, hearing voices, or telepathic conversations.
  • Sound effects and songs (which you may not get the rights to).
  • Signs, pictures or visuals

I know that may be a lot to take in and keep in mind when making an audiobook script, but just remember, take it one chapter at a time. Not all of these special cases or logistics may apply to you and your audiobook. You’re also not in this alone. Have a conversation with the author and narrator, see what they think and what preferences they may have. It may save you a lot of work in the end!

a person holding a notated script and sitting at a table

Audiobook Scripting Part One: Why You Should Do It

Photo credit: Ron Lach

Ever wonder what narrators do to avoid making mistakes while recording audiobooks? One of the answers is that they have scripts!

If you’re just starting to learn about the audiobook recording process, or already have some experience with the process, this suggested step may come as a surprise to you, but this step isn’t too widely talked about outside of the industry. Here we will go over why you should make an audiobook script and some of the logistics of it, including why you should make a script, the importance of quality assurance, how to format a script, and some special considerations. This will be part one of a two part series explaining this subject. In this part I’ll address why you should make a script and the importance of quality assurance.

Why should you make a script for an audiobook?

If you’ve ever edited audio before, you know that mistakes and retakes are an inevitable part of the process. But have you ever wanted to do less of those? Of course you do! That is when scripts can help.

You may be wondering why the narrator can’t just read the book out loud when recording. And that’s a fair point. Some narrators might even have that as their preference. But, the advantages to making a script are as follows:

  • It’s easier to read. The spacing between words and lines of dialogue are easier to read than in a traditional book, and therefore easier on the eyes, which means fewer mistakes.
  • The extra space also allows the narrator to use the script to study their part(s) however they see fit. They can color code, underline, highlight, or annotate the text however they like without it becoming unnecessarily overcrowded. And the less overcrowded the script is, again the easier it is on the eyes.
  • If some of the characters have accents, or use difficult words, you can insert pronunciation notes into the script versus having to make a separate document.
  • Words like “in this book” can easily be changed to “in this audiobook.” If your book includes a lot of pictures, you can insert phrases like, “please refer to Appendix A, figure 1 for the diagram.” This will help in the overall navigation of your audiobook.

This all being said, if your narrator prefers to have no script and just to read from the book, then go with what they prefer. After all, they’re the ones that will have to stare at it for hours on end to study the material and then record.

If your narrator would like to have a script, here are some things to keep in mind. Quality Assurance, Formating, and some Special Considerations.

Quality Assurance

In terms of where this process happens during the book production, you will have to wait until the copyedit is done to start on the script. Optionally, you may want to do a quality check to make sure the script matches up with the book. But even if you still do this step and you have recorded the book, you will have to make sure you do one more quality assurance check to make sure your audio matches the book. As always, when one messes with a completed text, it is always possible to introduce errors in each new format it takes.

If you do go through the trouble of making a script, your narrator should be expected to study and use it. If they don’t study it, it defeats the purpose of making one to reduce possible errors when recording.

In part two, I’ll go over how to Format a script and some Special Considerations for scripts.

stack of WHERE WE CALL HOME books on shelf

The WHERE WE CALL HOME Stretch: Preparing for the Launch Party and Transitioning to a New Title

October 18 marked exactly four weeks until Where We Call Home officially enters the world! I know you’ve all been champing at the bit to get your hands on Josephine Woolington’s poetic nonfiction essays and Ramon Shiloh’s beautifully crafted illustrations. Some lucky Pacific Northwesterners who went to Josephine’s first book-related event already have signed copies. If you weren’t there but you are near Portland, don’t you worry—the book launch event is happening right in your backyard.

The Where We Call Home team has been hard at work generating fun, aesthetic graphics to get the word out about the book launch. You can check out our graphics on our social media, but they match the cover of the book seen in the image at the top of this blog post. Our posts and graphics adhere to the design kit that the Design manager and I made last term. Inside the design kit, we have a color palette, font options, design elements, and basic templates for making social media posts. (Because yes, we do have to make social media posts. It’s the best way to reach an audience to promote our books.) If you go to Ooligan’s Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you’ll see that the Where We Call Home posts all have generally the same feel to them. If you see blue-gray or pale purple balanced with eye-catching text and images, then you know you’re seeing a post about our book.

Along with getting the word out via social media, Ooligan has also been working on pumping out the last of the review requests. We are planning on reaching out to some pretty cool partners, and I can’t wait to send those requests out once they clear the necessary channels inside the press. And Ooligan hasn’t been the only one reaching out; Josephine has been a rockstar about making connections and booking events for herself. She had the one I mentioned above, and after the book launch she has several more lined up for the rest of the year and even one in 2023 already. This is an excellent example for any author working with any press: be your own best advocate. A good press will be there to support you in your endeavors. It’s like one of my editing professors once said: “The author is the mother. We’re the midwives helping to birth the book into the world.”

So once Where We Call Home is “birthed,” what’s next? For this title, we will enter the post-launch phase, meaning that we will keep promoting the book and Josephine’s events. In addition, the team will be starting on a new manuscript from the beginning of the publication process. This mystery manuscript has not been announced yet, so I can’t give you much of a hint as to what it’s going to be. All I can tell you is that after mid-November, my team will be focused on generating inward-facing documents like the marketing plan. I’m going to miss reaching out to the public and hearing such great things about the book, but that will be for posterity to experience. My team and I will lay a great foundation for the next project manager who will take over for me in spring.

Before that, though, we are so excited to share Where We Call Home with you. Join us on November 15 at Powell’s Books in Portland to welcome the book into the world!

books on shelf

Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion at Ooligan Press

In 2020, Ooligan Press updated our mission statement to put a focus on publishing “local, marginalized voices in order to make literature accessible and redefine who has a place within its pages.” Along with promising to acquire more manuscripts by underrepresented authors, Ooligan added a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Publisher’s Assistant as a management position. This position is very new, and as such, I am the second person to hold this position.

When I started out in the book publishing program and Ooligan Press, in addition to pursuing editorial work, I knew I wanted to advocate for LGBTQ+ authors, publishing professionals, and stories within the publishing industry. Working as the DEI Publisher’s Assistant for the next year gives me the opportunity to do just that, as well as work with and advocate for other underrepresented groups in publishing.

What Does the DEI PA Do, Anyway?

As the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Publisher’s Assistant, my job is to work within and outside of the press to make sure that Ooligan is diverse, equitable, and inclusive in our publishing process and that any of our manuscripts written by/about underrepresented people and communities are authentic to those people groups and their experiences. Outside of Ooligan, I work with organizations that are for underrepresented authors in the Pacific Northwest to put on our new How to: Publishing events.

How to: Publishing

So far, we have had two How to: Publishing presentations, but going forward, we will present three to four times a year, depending on our partnerships. This coming fall term we are presenting to Willamette Writers; during winter term, we work with the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC); and during spring term, we work with the YWCA of Greater Portland.

How to: Publishing is a crash course in submitting materials to publishers to pursue getting a book published, including query letters, proposal packages, pitches, and self-promotion. This knowledge is fairly difficult to obtain unless you have been published, have an agent, or have other connections within the industry. This information is gatekept, especially from underrepresented communities that may not have access to these resources or the means to pay for them. My predecessor created this program, and Ooligan believes that the tools to get published should be available to all and that publishing should be more accessible. Students in the press get the opportunity to present and work with authors in this workshop, which makes the experience more personable.

If you’re interested in our How to: Publishing workshop, more details are available on our Events page.

Since the DEI position within Ooligan is so new, there is still room for the position to develop and for all of the aspects to be refined. As the second DEI PA, I’m excited to have this role and to help it grow!

aerial view of a busy bookstore

Catalogs: A Useful Tool Selling Book Rights

International book fairs are the comic con of the book publishing industry. This might be an overexaggeration; however, these fairs are how agents and publishers market their books to other industry professionals to spread the word about their backlist and frontlist titles. (Frontlist titles are the up-and-coming books of a publisher, and backlist titles are books that have already been published.) Promoting these books at conventions can be accomplished in many ways. The most useful of these methods that we use during these networking events are called book catalogs.

Catalogs are large documents (either print or digital) that have all the information an agent, publisher, or book buyer would need to learn about the titles you are looking to market or sell. These documents can be a standard, informational paper; however, most publishers will have elaborate designs to capture buyers’ attention. Catalogs have many uses, and not all these uses are exclusively for book fairs. Publishers use catalogs to present their frontlist and backlist titles to booksellers and buyers around the country so they may pick and choose what titles they want to sell.

Now, you must be asking yourself what goes into these catalogs. Throughout the industry, there is a set standard of elements that need to be in the document. Let’s go through some of the elements that should be included.

Title
Obviously, the first thing a catalog should have is the book’s title to ensure ease and accessibility. They might even include a table of contents or section markers to ensure the catalog is easy to navigate. This is especially helpful if the publisher works with multiple genres.

Hook and Description

All catalogs have detailed book descriptions and hooks. This book description is a little different from what you would normally see on the back of a book or even when online shopping. When writing a book description for a catalog, you have to explain why a publisher or agent should be interested in your title. This is the section where publishers add any praise or awards the book has received.

ISBN, Page Count, etc.

Having things like the ISBN, page count, and word count in a catalog will provide agents and publishers with the important information they need to see if the particular title they are interested in is a good fit for the presses they represent.

Rights Sold

Catalogs that are used by rights agents have a section that clearly states what rights have already been sold for each title. For example: if the Spanish rights for Love, Dance & Egg Rolls have been sold, the Ooligan Press catalog would state that in the rights section to make sure no agents or buyers make inquiries for rights that have already been sold.

Our goal here at Ooligan Press is to have our catalogs in these book fairs every year to spread the word about our engaging titles. That is why our rights coordinator and agent Sylvia Hayse, from Sylvia Hayse Literary Agency, has started to circulate our catalogs at these types of events. By having our catalog in these book fairs, we have the power to connect with publishers abroad.

Catalogs are often openly available to view by consumers. As a bookseller or even a reader, it might be interesting to poke around and see what goes into the business of book publishing.

You should all take a look!

paper question marks in paper speech bubbles

Understanding the Differences Between Middle Grade, Young Adult, and New Adult

When I first started at Ooligan Press, I was, of course, familiar with the term Young Adult (YA). I grew up reading plenty of YA books: the Animorphs, The Outsiders, The Giver, Harry Potter, Sabriel, The Golden Compass, and The Hunger Games to name a few. Until recently, I had only just started to hear the term Middle Grade (MG), and I had never heard the term New Adult (NA). So, if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what all these terms mean and how they differ from one another. You may also be surprised to learn that some of the books I mentioned, which I thought of as YA, could actually be categorized as MG. So how do you know what’s what, what does it all mean, and why does it matter?

There are a lot of blurred lines and gray areas, and even the pros sometimes have difficulty differentiating between these terms and properly placing novels in the correct category. But knowing the basics of each term (and understanding the audience each category represents) can help publishers and authors make sure their books succeed and can help booksellers and librarians make sure those books reach their intended audiences. The first, and most important, thing to note is that YA, MG, and NA are not genres but categories—like fiction, nonfiction, or comics.

Middle Grade—MG is defined as books that are intended for readers aged eight to twelve. Often, MG titles feature a protagonist who is in the age range of eight to twelve and focuses on the experiences these readers may be going through. Friendships, family, physical changes, elementary and middle school experiences, life lessons, and a growing awareness of the world feature heavily in MG novels. MG novels can take the reader on fantastical journeys but usually with the promise of coming “home.” The early Harry Potter novels, the Animorphs, and The Golden Compass are considered MG titles. Current popular MG titles include Wonder, Troublemaker, and The Last Cuentista. To learn more about MG, check out this Publisher’s Weekly article on “Navigating Middle Grade Books” or check out this Ooligan Press blog post for some stellar recommendations for MG reads.

Young Adult—This term has been around the longest of the three—since 1944, in fact, when New York Public Library librarian Margaret Scoggin started calling teens “young adults” in her Library Journal column. YA books are generally intended for audiences aged twelve to eighteen. Often, YA titles feature a protagonist who is in the age range of twelve to eighteen and focuses on the experiences these readers may be going through. Although themes may vary by genre, YA books may feature aspects of coming-of-age, budding romance, violence, high school experiences, and/or leaving home. The Outsiders, The Giver, Sabriel, the later Harry Potter novels, and The Hunger Games are considered YA. Some current popular YA titles include One of Us Is Lying, Gallant, and You’ve Reached Sam. To learn more about YA, check out this video on PBS or check out this Ooligan Press blog post on the role of empathy in YA.

New Adult—The new “kid” on the block. Only recently coined in 2009 when St. Martin’s Press teamed up with book blogger Georgia McBride to run a contest for “YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an ‘older YA’ or ‘new adult.’” NA books are generally intended for audiences aged eighteen to twenty-five. Often, NA titles feature a protagonist who is in the age range of eighteen to twenty-five and focuses on the experiences these readers may be going through. They may feature themes of coming-of-age, living away from home, college experiences, first job experiences, violence, identity, and sexuality. Popular NA titles include Red, White & Royal Blue, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and Yolk. To learn more about NA, check out this article in the New York Times or read one of these Ooligan Press blog posts: “The New Adult Revolution,” “The New Adult Revolution: A Recap,” or “What Ever Happened to New Adult.”

So that is the most basic categorization of MG, YA, and NA. Obviously, many titles blur these lines, and things get even more complicated when we start talking about readers who “read-up” or “read-down.” However, I believe these categories can help readers find what they’re looking for—whether they are the “intended audience” or not.

Laptop computer with a line graph on the screen

What Makes a Book Become a Best Seller?

The publishing world is an industry that has been around for many years and has produced millions of books. From the books that are published every year, only a few make it to best-seller lists, like the one The New York Times publishes annually. But what makes certain books so successful?

An editor’s job in any publishing company is to acquire books that fit into their guidelines but that also show promise. Many would consider that finding a best seller in their slush pile is a question of luck, of gut instinct, and therefore, there is no easy answer to the question of what makes a book become a best seller.

The twenty-first century, however, has brought many attempts to find the key to a best selling book by both researching and building software programs. One of the most relevant studies in the field is the one conducted by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers, which was published in 2016 under the title The Bestseller Code. This book is based on an extensive database built with best-selling and non-best-selling books that had the aim to identify the characteristics of best-selling books and to build a machine that was able to identify if a manuscript was going to be successful or not.

The analysis of the different books considered for the study was carried out through Natural Language Processing software that investigated language aspects like frequency of words and sentence length.

As Jia Tolentino points out in her article for The New Yorker, the result of the study identifies the characteristics and topics of best-selling books. The main characteristics range from writing style to character development, and include traits like colloquial writing style, decisive and active characters, fast pacing, short and clean sentences, nouns and verbs over adjectives and adverbs, short and clear titles, and connection and closeness between the reader and the characters, among others. The main topics that best-selling books cover are those connected to technology, family, work, and relationships.

The publication of these findings after five years of investigation revolutionized the publishing world and had everybody wondering if artificial intelligence would in fact become a part of presses and change the way things were being done at that time by, for example, introducing machine learning into the acquisition process and, thus, making editors available to do other tasks and improving the rate of successful books per press.

In fact, a few years later, Jodie Archer brought this study to life and created Marlowe, an AI that analyzes manuscripts and gives suggestions for improvements. This technology focuses on some of the points that were highlighted in the study by giving feedback about plot, pacing, characters, dialogues and narrative, and language (adverbs, adjectives, verbs, nouns, and punctuation), among others.

All the efforts to decode best-selling books show that the industry is working toward understanding what is behind a successful book. Could this be the beginning of a new era in the publishing industry where the acquisition process changes?

I guess we will find out with time.

person holding a globe

Why We Need To Be Reading More Translated Fiction

Book publishing has a long history of international collaboration. Publishers around the world are constantly exchanging manuscripts, translating them, and sharing their culture with others. Here in the US, publishers regularly sell rights to international markets and export manuscripts to foreign countries, but unfortunately, this process is currently a one-way street. We export significantly more manuscripts than we import; this is otherwise known as “the 3 percent problem.” According to the University of Rochester, only about 3 percent of books published in the US are works in translation, and “in terms of literary fiction and poetry, the number is actually closer to 0.7 percent.”

Some readers might be wondering why we should care about translated fiction; after all, we publish hundreds of thousands of books here in the US every year. There is certainly not a lack of stories available to read when it comes to fiction. However, there are several reasons why we should be concerned that we are missing out on the exchange of literature that is happening around the rest of the world.

One reason why reading translated fiction is so important is because it allows us to experience other cultures from a firsthand perspective. While some of us may read books set in foreign countries, reading a book set in France written from an American writer’s perspective is a completely different experience than reading one written from a French writer’s perspective. As the blog Books & Bao states, “They’re not the world as described by English-speaking white people, but worlds brought to you through the imaginations and experiences of local people—their words travel across seas to those of us who cannot cross the seas ourselves.” Readers can gain valuable insight into a country and its culture through reading its books, even if the books have nothing to do with the setting itself.

Reading translated fiction can also have significant positive effects on us as individuals as well as a collective society. Empathy is a skill that is incredibly important to us as humans, but it can be hard for some to acquire. According to
Scientific American, “Researchers at The New School in New York City have found evidence that literary fiction improves a reader’s capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling.” Reading fiction allows us to understand others’ emotions and perspectives, and reading translated fiction can help us do this with perspectives from all across the globe. Reading translated works is not just fun; it also helps us learn, grow, and become better humans with a larger capacity for empathy and compassion.

Some might argue that traveling is a better way to experience other cultures. While traveling is another great way to experience different lifestyles and settings, it isn’t realistic for many of us. Translated fiction is much more accessible in terms of expenses and time, and in my opinion, it can give even more insight than you would receive from traveling alone.

Right now, many large publishers in the US are making an effort to publish more diverse books that help expose us to new perspectives and give voices to underrepresented writers. This is an amazing transformation for this industry; however, big publishers are still avoiding translated fiction out of fear that there isn’t a market for these books. The best thing that we can do as readers is to make an effort to start reading more translated fiction, and to make our voices heard through social media or other platforms. The more demand there is for translated works, the more we will start to see them in mainstream publishing. Imagine a future where the New York Times Best Seller list includes fiction originally published in Japan, Germany, India, or Brazil? Readers would still be able to read great fiction, while also being exposed to new ideas and expanding their global perspective.

It is up to us as readers to seek out more of these books, and pressure publishers to make them more available. Here at Ooligan Press, we are currently making an effort to publish translated fiction and to spread awareness of its importance. As the Rights Coordinator at Ooligan, I am excited to see translated fiction become more popular and accessible, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the publishing industry can transform to include even more diverse literature for readers here in the US.