the word Marketing in colorful letters

 Marketing Plans 101

What’s the Goal?

The Marketing Plan: the official unofficial draft of your entire campaign. It’s where you’ll determine your book’s target audience and brainstorm how to successfully position it in a congested market. A successful Marketing Plan uniquely appeals to its intended audience so your book sells.

Step 1: The Basics

The basics? It’s pretty self explanatory. Here you’ll establish the logistics, including your book’s ISBN, pub date, list price, BISACs, print run, any other books by your author, and a plethora of other riveting information. No special nuances here.

That said, this doesn’t mean the basics aren’t important. They’re actually crucial to branding. Let’s take BISACs, for example. Choosing a list of four to five BISAC codes will help determine your book’s genre and, ultimately, the variation of audiences it’ll reach if positioned appropriately within those markets. It’ll also inform the book’s saleability.

The rest of the basics work together to further inform the metadata. It’s important to do your market research to determine an appropriate list price, publication quarter, trim size, and so forth. Other information, like the ISBN, will be supplied to you.

Who’s Your Author?

Next comes the author bio. Your author will supply this to you, so it’s important to ask them for an up-to-date, concise-but-effective bio. Readers want to know who writes the stories they love so much, but don’t bog them down with personal nuances.

What the Heck is a Comp?

A comparative title is a title similar to yours that’s used as market research to best inform sales price, projected sales, design and branding strategies, and ultimately, saleability. If your book doesn’t have a lot of comps, it’s either especially unique and fills a hole within the market or just isn’t what readers want.

Step 2: Who’s Your Audience?

This section is contingent on the Persona Exercise that will occur immediately before the Marketing Plan stage. In this phase, your team and the Marketing Manager will create a sort of audience avatar by answering many basic questions about your target audience, such as age, gender, ethnicity, political leanings, and so forth, as well as personality questions, some of which may seem trivial—the infamous iPhone-versus-Android debate, for example. Keep in mind that no question is trivial. Each informs the other. The goal is to create a real person you might run into at the bookstore browsing for a book just like yours.

Step 3: The Real Juicy Stuff: The Hook and Back Cover Copy

Ah, this is where it gets tricky. Writing an effective hook and description that reels in the audience in a snippet of a second is an art. Consider pithiness, concision, and drama. This is your first chance to make an impact. Avoid cliches and ensure the book’s primary goal comes across clearly. A hook should be no more than two short sentences, though one is preferred.

The description is what readers will see on the book’s back cover. Vague and mysterious? Not here. Write a summary that indulges the plot points and use as many keywords as possible. Amazon’s search algorithm will crawl the first 250 words of a description, so make sure those 250 words are impactful.

Step 4: SEO, Keywords, and Online Visibility

SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and appears in CoreSource and Amazon to make your book more visible online. Choosing over a hundred relevant, carefully chosen keywords ensures that your book won’t get lost in a wash of millions of internet searches.

Step 5: Reaching Your Audience

At this stage, there’s no need to create the actual Contact List. Instead, get inside the mind of your target audience and brainstorm the best categories to find reviewers in. Referring back to the section “Where are they?” in the Persona Exercise will tell you about your audience’s social media presence. Consider podcasts, bloggers, social media accounts, news outlets, industry outlets, clubs, academia, and so forth.

Step 6: Build That Campaign

Now’s the time to brainstorm what your campaign will look like. List the actionable things you’ll do to promote your book. Though you’ll want to keep these as bullet points, don’t skip the simple stuff like targeting reviews. Your sales reps will want to know this information. Brainstorm review and social media strategies, and promotional activities like author interviews, community outreach, and collaborations.

Now, get campaigning!

scrabble pieces spelling "IN LIFTING OTHERS WE RISE"

Local Literary Organizations Everyone Should Support

Portland has a rich literary community full of amazing writers, dedicated readers, and endless amounts of creativity! In response, organizations have blossomed around all of that bountiful energy in hopes of doing anything they can to help nurture it. Through my equity work with Ooligan and personal exploring, I have been fortunate enough to learn about these five local literary organizations doing great work in the local community.

Literary Arts

When Portland Arts and Lectures merged with Oregon Institute for Literary Arts, Literary Arts was born! Since its formation, Literary Arts has grown tremendously and developed and acquired remarkable programs for readers, writers, and youth in the local community. Some of their annual programs include the Oregon Book Awards, Verselandia! Youth Slam Championship, Oregon Literary Fellowships, and Writers in the Schools workshops. These programs are just some things that Literary Arts is doing to enrich the local literary community.

Write Around Portland

Write Around believes in the power of writing and aims to create opportunities for people in the local community to develop that skill. Since 1999, this organization has held over six hundred workshops, published over fifty anthologies, partnered with over two hundred community organizations, and trained over three hundred volunteer workshop facilitators. These free and low-cost events are beloved by the local community.

Willamette Writers

Willamette Writers is the largest writers organization in the Pacific Northwest dedicated to helping authors connect with their community, develop their craft, and advance their careers. Membership benefits include the opportunity to bond with local writers, monthly meetings with wonderful speakers, discounted rates on sponsored workshops and the annual conference, and more! They also offer a Young Willamette Writers Program for writers ages thirteen to eighteen.

Independent Publishing Resource Center

The Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is an organization devoted to nurturing collaboration, community-building, and creativity through its variety of resources and services for writing, printmaking, and publishing. IPRC has a letterpress studio, screen printing studio, risograph print studio, binding service, and computer lab available to local authors. There are opportunities for authors—members or not—to have access to the studios and services offered at the center to develop their writing careers.

Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP)

AWP is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the growing presence of literary writers in higher education by advocating for new creative writing programs and providing publishing opportunities for young writers. Students with an AWP membership have access to a database of information including a job list and calendar of grants, a mentorship program, and networking opportunities with their list of over four thousand members.

If you want to get involved or just learn more about the local literary community, these nonprofits would be a great place to start! Check out the links in this post to see what events they have going on!

bread and wine picnic

Finding a Venue, Ordering Food and Drinks, Planning a Launch Party? Oh, My!

Planning an event of any scale is no easy task, much less when the world is still slowly coming out of a global pandemic. This article divides the overflowing to-do list into three different phases and compiles a list of best practices Ooligan Press employs with our own events. Here are some tips to keep in mind and help plan your next launch event!

Phase 1

  • Determine the event’s date, time, and activities
  • Calculate the budget for your event and divide accordingly
  • Reserve the venue
    • Analyze your estimated attendance numbers to determine a “Goldilocks” venue that will fit your guests just right!
    • Confirm venue requirements or limitations—how much parking is there? Is it ADA accessible?
  • Create social media pages promoting your event and use them
  • Brainstorm the “activities” at the event
    • For a launch party, start a conversation with the author!
    • This part of your event should be between forty-five minutes to an hour.
    • Remember to add extra time before and after the activity for your guests to mingle!
  • Contact potential vendors and get quotes
  • Determine giveaway(s), which not every event needs
    • Make sure you order at least a month in advance.
  • If you’re selling something, what are the options for people to pay? Do you have a cash box or card swipe?

Phase 2

  • Determine event staff
    • If your event staff will be volunteer-based, focus on making it appealing and fun, rather than a “work” thing.
    • Don’t forget to send an initial email to not only touch base with them well in advance, but thank them too!
  • Coordinate with vendors/departments
    • Is there a social media manager who needs to directly set up the pages?
    • Are there graphic designers to assist in physical marketing?
  • Communicate with your venue
    • Will the event be exclusive access or open to the public as well?
    • Does the venue have A/V equipment (if needed)? If so, will they set it up?
    • Is there Wi-Fi available? Find out the password in advance.
    • Any other policies the venue might have?
  • Establish a supply list—here are some to get you started!
    • Books, the new release and other titles that fit well
    • Book stands
    • Tabling materials such as posters, banners, raffle tickets, and anything else you might need to display it
    • Clipboard, paper, pens
    • Any A/V supplies not supplied by the venue, like a projector or laptop adapter

Phase 3

  • Confirm event details
    • Touch base with your author, venue, panelists, staff, and anyone else to confirm responsibility and conjure excitement.
  • Follow through with your marketing initiatives
    • Are social media pages up and active?
    • If flyers were printed, how were they distributed?
  • Create a “Day-Of” document
    • This serves as a ready-made sheet of any information someone might need to successfully run your event!
    • Include contact information, event schedule, and staff list.
    • Assign duties to your volunteers! Create task lists for set up, clean up, and the stations for during your event.
    • Get specific—adding exact times can not only ensure accountability for your volunteers, but helps to keep you on track as well.
  • Have fun! You and your team have done so much work towards this event, you deserve to enjoy it too!

Overall, planning an entire event can be a lot of work, but it can also be one of the best experiences. The world of events is constantly changing, but for now, Ooligan Press has you covered.

Text reading "Bulk Upload Sheets for Beginners" above an example of a bulk upload spreadsheet

Bulk Upload Sheets for Beginners

Are you starting a social media campaign for your book? You should create a bulk upload sheet to help manage your posts! Bulk upload sheets, also known as BUSes, house the numerous social media post materials for a social media marketing campaign, keep the campaign organized, and streamline the uploading process to your scheduling platform. If you’re curious about BUS file types, layout, creating your own BUS, and keeping a BUS organized, keep reading!

What does a BUS look like?

BUSes for social media are less technical and scary than they sound; they’re really just spreadsheets that are specially formatted to organize your social media content in an easy-to-track way. Each column of the spreadsheet is given a title as a header such as “Date and Time,” “Copy,” and “Link,” and your various post materials and the timing information go in the rows below. BUSes usually also have multiple tabs within the spreadsheet to separate your materials by their intended social media platform.

At Ooligan Press, we have several additional columns to the right of the first three columns that are designated as “Notes,” “Design Approval,” and “Copy Chief Approval” sections. These extra columns help the press communicate about which posts have been approved by Ooligan’s current design manager and copy chief, about if revisions are needed (via the Google Sheets “comment” and “assign” functions), and about which posts are ready to be scheduled. However, your extra columns should be tailored to the size of your campaign, the length, and the size of your marketing team. For example, if your social media campaign includes plans for fifty social media posts per platform, across three separate social platforms, with a campaign duration of three months, you might want additional columns for second and third editing passes over your post captions and media.

How do I make a BUS?

Making a BUS for your social media campaign is easy! Just open Google Sheets (free with a Gmail account and suggested for BUSes) and fill out the first row of cells with the headings “Date and Time (mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm),” “Copy,” and “Link.” I recommend bolding these and coloring the first row’s cells so the titles of each column are obvious. I also suggest adding an extra column or two for editing passes and reminders/notes like mentioned, but otherwise, you’ve built your first BUS! Now your BUS is ready for your social media post materials.

How do I use the BUS and keep it organized?

To start using your BUS, just copy and paste the social media post captions and media you’ve created under the corresponding columns (captions under “Copy,” Google Drive links to media under “Links”—remember to change share settings on media files to “anyone with the link can view”). Then select the date and time for each post to publish and record it in the first column following the heading’s suggested format. As you finalize the materials for each post, I suggest using a highlighting system to keep track of which posts have been scheduled. At Ooligan, we keep it simple. When a row of the spreadsheet’s cells are filled yellow, it means the post materials have been reviewed and are ready to schedule. Green rows mean that the post has been uploaded to your social media scheduling platform. Red rows mean a post hasn’t been scheduled yet and is on a time crunch.

How do I schedule posts in advance?

To schedule posts in advance, you need a third party scheduling platform like Hootsuite or Later. Both platforms offer a free plan to schedule a small number of posts at a time across two to three social media platforms. Other scheduling platforms offer similar free scheduling plans with their own set of restrictions, but if both Hootsuite’s and Later’s free plans don’t fit your BUS needs, you may need to look into a paid scheduling plan. Luckily, these are fairly inexpensive, with Later’s plans starting at $8/month and Hootsuite’s starting a bit pricier at $49/month, as of February 2022. BUS posts can be scheduled individually on platforms like Hootsuite and Later, or with a few minor layout edits, you can upload your BUS posts in batches by downloading the BUS as a CSV file and uploading it directly to your scheduling platform.

Happy bulk uploading!

Four people interacting with the internet

Metadata from Publisher to Reader

Even if you’re not familiar with the term, you know what metadata is and use it often. Every time you looked for books by an author’s name on a library’s website or searched for a title on a retailer website or looked up when that upcoming release was finally coming out, you were using metadata.

Metadata is made up of all the individual data points about the thing you’re looking for. For books, it includes many things ranging from:

  • title
  • author
  • book cover
  • price
  • format (hardcover/paperback)
  • keywords to help with searching
  • and a lot more!

It’s the publisher’s responsibility to enter their metadata into whatever distribution system they’re using and to ensure that, when it goes out to all the places it needs to be online, it goes there without any errors. (If you’ve ever seen a whole bunch of random characters in a book’s description instead of punctuation, that’s a sign that something in the metadata isn’t working.)

It goes without saying that making sure a book has correct and detailed metadata is extremely important to book publishing. How else will a future reader find your book online in the sea of thousands of texts that exist and are published all the time?

Here at Ooligan Press, our metadata is stored by CoreSource, which is run by our distribution partner, Ingram. When a book is acquired, the acquisitions and book project teams work to develop all the information that needs to be reported out into the world. Once the information is gathered, some of it goes through the Marketing and Copy Chief departments, and then it’s back to the project manager. The project manager enters the approved text and information into the CoreSource Tipsheet, also known as the Ingestion Document.

The CS Tipsheet is a living document that holds the most current information about the book. As the book project develops, information is updated in this document so it’s all in one place, and each book gets its own tipsheet. After the project manager puts the new information into the CS tipsheet, they tag the Operations Publisher’s Assistant, and they in turn enter that information into CoreSource.

At Ooligan, the Ops PA (currently, that’s me!) takes care of the press’s metadata in CoreSource. This means updating individual data points as they change, troubleshooting problems as they occur, making sure information is updated in line with publishing schedules, and entering/ingesting new books into the system. When the Ops PA ingests a book for the first time, it can take anywhere from three to four hours—that should tell you how much information is tied to a book even when the project is brand new! Even after a book has been published, the CS Tipsheet is still important to the book’s success. Author interviews, book tour stops, articles or reviews about the book, and awards the book has won go into the tipsheet and into the metadata.

Our lives are more and more online, especially after the big shutdowns and during the continuing pandemic, so it follows that making sure your book is represented well online is more important than ever. As it becomes even more clear how important metadata is, the best practices and conventions adapt to match what people need to know about a book. As more data points are added to each book’s metadata, it will be even easier to reach readers trying to find a book that’s perfect for them.

The cover of SHORT, VIGOROUS ROOTS, a 2022 anthology published by Ooligan Press, centered over an image of a colorful foreign city taken from the sky

Designing Basic Social Media Images for Your Book

Are you lost when it comes to designing social media images for your upcoming book? This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of creating basic social media images to promote your book, including the preferred image dimensions for several social media platforms.

  1. Determine Your Platform(s) and Dimensions
  2. What social media platforms do you want to promote your book on? Popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have different suggested image dimensions that are their “best fit.” Because you want your book’s online promotion to be professional, you should follow these suggested dimensions. According to Sprout Social, the suggested dimensions for visual content on each platform are:

    • 1200 x 630 pixels for Facebook
    • 1080 x 1080 pixels for Instagram
    • 1200 x 675 pixels for tweets sharing a single image on Twitter

  3. Choose a Design Software
  4. Adobe Creative Cloud is the industry standard for graphic designers, but because social media posts are more ephemeral in nature, it’s perfectly acceptable to make your designs using free software like Canva. If you don’t have access to an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription or are worried about being overwhelmed by Adobe’s software, Canva is a free and easy design software that I recommend.

  5. Set Your Dimensions and Upload Your Cover
  6. The dimensions of your design should be based on the social media platform(s) outlined in step one. Social media posts aimed at promoting your book should incorporate the book’s cover, so you’ll want to upload it to the design software you’re using or have the file ready to incorporate into your design later.

  7. Find and Download a Copyright-Free Image that Complements Your Cover
  8. You want a copyright-free image that emphasizes the cover without being too busy or distracting, but you also want to stay away from images that are obviously meant to be “background” rather than the focal point of your design. If your book has a cover design brief, try selecting simple images that follow the tone and color scheme outlined in the cover design brief. Images like these will naturally go well with your cover because both designs are working from the same brief. If you’re unsure where to look for copyright-free images, websites like Pixabay, Unsplash, and Pexels are safe, user-friendly platforms to start your search. Although these websites offer copyright-free images, double-check each website’s search settings to ensure that “copyright-free” isn’t a search feature that you need to turn on before starting your image search.

  9. Upload and Position Your Image
  10. Check that the image isn’t blurry at the size you need to fill your design’s dimensions. If it’s blurry and you’re familiar with Photoshop, you can try sharpening the image there, but a blurry image most likely means you should choose a different copyright-free image for the background. Position the image over the dimensions of your design in a way that gives the design the best crop lines possible. In other words, make sure that the dimensions of your design don’t cut off the background image in a way that’s distracting.

  11. Place Your Cover
  12. Since your cover is the focal point of the image, I recommend centering it in your design. Canva and Adobe both have guides to help with this. However, if your background image has a unique border, some type of visual element on one side, or if the dimensions make the cover look “off” when centered, try aligning the cover within the background image using the rule of thirds or aligning the book cover to something in the background image. The goal is to have the placement of the cover within the design appear natural. The goal of centering or aligning the cover within the background image is to keep the cover from appearing as though it “floats” in the design.

  13. Download and Preview Your Design
  14. For this last step, simply download your design (I recommend downloading it as a PNG file) and review your work! Double-check that your cover is positioned the way you intended and that nothing shifted during the download process. Be critical of your work and ask yourself if the focal point of the design is the book cover. Once you’re pleased with your design, you’re ready to write a caption for your image and post.

Congratulations, you’ve designed a basic social media image for your book!

FROM KNOWLEDGE TO POWER Summer Update

The November 2021 publication date for From Knowledge to Power: The Comprehensive Handbook to Climate Science and Advocacy is rapidly approaching, and we are busier than ever trying to get everything planned for a successful launch. We’ve made great progress since our spring update, and we are thrilled with the pace we’ve set.

Since our last update in May, we’ve reached out to professionals who might be interested in reading the book and writing a review. We’ve received several notable endorsements for the book, ranging from climate change experts to professors and even executive directors. Some of the praise we’ve received will be used as blurbs for the cover, and others will be used in the metadata for the book. We are continually reaching out for more reviewers, and we’re delighted with the praise we’ve already received.

You have probably noticed that Ooligan’s social media pages have been posting content about the book as well. Although the publication date is still months away, we hope to engage our audiences with the book’s content and get people excited about the launch. Because we want to ensure that the book illustrates the most recent and important information, we’ve also conducted more proofreads of the book and have been busy double-checking our references. The book is meant to serve as a tool for education and advocacy for various audiences, so our goal is to make the information as accessible as possible.

Our most noteworthy update is that the website for the book has launched. The author created the website to further discuss climate science and advocacy and to go more in-depth into the topics in the book. It’s a great place to educate yourself about climate change and what you can do for the environment. The website features excerpts and a glossary section that can be referenced when reading the book.

Recently our team has been working on social media promotion and marketing outreach. We will continue to work on these materials until the book’s publication date. Our curation of social media content and promotion will extend past the book’s publication date in hopes that readers and potential readers will remain excited about the book’s content. Our social media content is aimed towards various national environmental awareness days, and we hope to continue connecting these occasions with the relevant content of the book.

Our focus for the summer is to continue curating social media content and marketing materials. In the coming weeks, we will be discussing and planning the book launch, which we’re very excited about. The possibility of having an in-person book launch is exciting, and we’re more than eager to plan one that’s safe for everyone.

Overall, we’re making great progress and we’re counting down the days until the book launches. We hope that this book reaches climate scientists, advocates, and those who want to educate themselves about climate change. We couldn’t be more excited to share this book with the world.

Navigating the Publicist-Author Relationship

Book publishing is one big group project. Learning how to navigate relationships with authors is an essential part of being in the industry. There is bound to be some disagreement with the way the book is being edited, designed, marketed, and publicized. As the publicity manager for Ooligan Press, I have been in delicate situations with authors where everyone’s feelings must be taken into account. And the most important thing I’ve learned from going through these slightly awkward situations is that communication is king. Below, I will give some advice on how to coach your authors and clearly lay out what is needed and what they can expect when their book is ready for publicity.

Preparation

The first thing a publicist should do when preparing an author for their book launch is to get with the author and listen to their elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a thirty-to-sixty-second spiel on what the book is about and why someone should read it. It is called an elevator pitch because it should take the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator. Now, some authors may have already come up with a pitch like this when they were looking for publishing houses to publish their manuscripts. The difference between that pitch and this one is that this one should be slightly different to better sell the book to readers instead of publishing houses. It is also important you and the author are on the same page with how you want to sell the book. Working with marketing is a great way to do this because they have already come up with selling points and buyer personas for the book. Similar to the elevator pitch, it is also helpful for publicists to help authors come up with key talking points for interviews. This way, the interview stays on track and the author doesn’t feel lost or nervous.

Communication

Throughout the process of publishing an author’s book, there are bound to be disagreements between the press and the author. The most important thing to remember is that both you and the author want the same thing—to get their book read by people who will enjoy it. Always listen to and respect the author’s point of view. But remember that the author does not always know what will best sell and publicize their book. Clearly explain why you and the press are doing what you are doing so the author can understand where you are coming from. Sometimes you will want to compromise, and other times you will need to put your foot down.

Professionalism

Above all else, you are helping to run a business, so being professional is important. Clear communication, active listening, and compassion are important in professionalism. A publicist’s job is to make sure an author is knowledgeable about the publicity process. This may mean anything from making sure they are comfortable with interviews or author meet-ups to explaining to them how everything works. Again, remember you and the author have the same goal: to get their book to the right audience. Hopefully these tips will help you to have a successful relationship with your author.

For more tips from book publicists to authors check out: 33 Tips From Book Publicists For Self Published Authors or What to Look for in a Book Publicist.

FAULTLAND Shakes Up Social Media

Ooligan Press is in a flurry of excitement over all the new projects coming out in the next few months, and the Faultland team is busy at the frontlines of it all. Ooligan’s newest speculative fiction novel is the next book on our release schedule and is due to hit shelves on March 30, 2021! Behind the scenes, the team is working hard developing new ways to promote the novel online and coming up with original ideas for how to get more readers to engage with the book through the Ooligan social media channels.

Faultland is set in a near-future Portland that is rocked by a major earthquake. While not Ooligan’s first foray into speculative fiction, Faultland is unlike anything we’ve published before. Author Suzy Vitello masterfully combines future-tech and family drama to bring her “what if” landscape of a not-so-distant Portland to life before razing it to the ground. When the city is hit by the Portland Hills Fault earthquake, siblings Morgan, Olivia, and Sherman are faced with keeping their family alive following one of the worst natural disasters in living memory. Once separated by secrets and resentment, the Sparrow family realize they are now united by survival.

Right now, the Sparrow family’s survival is at the forefront of the book’s online presence as Faultland moves into the all-important social media phase of our production cycle. While each step of a title’s development helps Oolies hone their publishing skills, there are few moments in a book’s lifecycle that allow us to be as creative as social media, so our team is using this moment to put all of our creativity to good use. We knew early on that Faultland was the kind of book that could carry a strong and unconventional social media presence, and our Oolies are busily working away to demonstrate just how accurate that prediction was. The whole team is committing their efforts to creating engaging copy and images to generate interest in the book, and all the while they’re sprinkling in their favorite quotes and excerpts from our fantastic early reviewers to make their posts really pop.

While there are few specific parameters around what topics the team members are able to talk about in their posts, most have been focusing on the landscapes that the author, Portland local Vitello, creates in the book. We see the city both before and after the earthquake shatters it, filtered through the eyes of the narrators in quotes and in images created by the team. Another focus has been on the subject of emergency preparedness, with many early readers of the book internalizing the warning at the heart of the novel—that being ready for this kind of emergency can lessen the physical, emotional, and mental toll that just such an event takes on all of us. Several posts link to preparedness guidelines through the CDC, Red Cross, and other emergency agencies in order to guide readers to resources that the Sparrow siblings don’t have access to in the novel.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this social media initiative is our advanced planning for an upcoming scavenger hunt to get readers even more excited when the book launches. That’s right, the Faultland team is busy working on an emergency preparedness–themed scavenger hunt that will allow fans in the Portland area to follow along with Olivia’s journey after the book officially hits shelves. While the specific details for this initiative will remain a secret until we get closer to the book launch, the Faultland team will be centralizing Ooligan social media channels to get it off the ground and get readers engaged.

Stay tuned into Ooligan’s social media at @ooliganpress on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for the latest news about what’s on the horizon for Faultland and to see some of the incredible work the team has put together there.

The LAUREL EVERYWHERE Virtual Launch Party

There was a time back in March of 2020 when we imagined an in-person book launch for Laurel Everywhere. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other plans, and we pivoted to a virtual event and a virtual reading tour. Though in-person book events have a magical quality to them, my team and I worked extremely hard to bring that magic online.

On Tuesday, November 10, at 6:30 p.m. PST, Ooligan Press hosted Erin Moynihan, author of Laurel Everywhere, on Zoom for the virtual launch of her book. We invited editors and designers from the press to join Moynihan in conversation about the publishing process, and we dove into topics like developmental editing and cover design.

Moynihan also took over the Ooligan Instagram on Friday, November 6, to introduce her book and offer a space for anyone to ask questions about her writing process, character development, and what she’s currently working on. She also answered some of these questions during the Zoom launch party.

One of the highlights of the event was the launch party book giveaway. We hosted the giveaway on our Instagram page, and anyone could enter by liking the informational post and tagging two friends. The winner had to attend the book launch, and received a signed copy of Laurel Everywhere for free! In addition to the giveaway, anyone who preordered the book up to a week after the launch received a signed bookplate to go along with their copy of the book.

While my team and I were brainstorming ways to bring joy and excitement to this virtual event, we came up with a couple of great ideas that I hope captured the attention of our wonderful audience. We researched different mock-tail and tea recipes that correlated with the personality and description of each sibling in the Summers family. We curated a playlist on Spotify and YouTube to help readers empathize with Laurel, and it’s mostly made up of cathartic songs that you can listen to for a good cry when you need it. We sent out a virtual care package to attendees with links to the playlist, drink recipes, even a couple paint-by-number pages so that they can participate in a self-care routine as they read Laurel Everywhere.

We promoted the event through our social media and we also reached out to others in the literary community to boost the event on their own social media pages. We reached out to the booksellers in our community as well as reviewers and other Portland authors to spread the word about the event. We also reached out to these community members to plan our virtual reading tour, and all the events of the launch party were hugely successful.

We had an incredible turnout for this event, and attendees thoroughly enjoyed listening to Erin talk about her writing process for the book. It was also wonderful to listen to her talk with Ooligan editors and designers about how the book came together, and it gave the audience a look into what it’s really like to publish a book. All in all, the publication of Laurel Everywhere was a joyful and memorable experience, even though it was all done remotely. It’s not impossible to recreate some of that in-person book launch magic, but it does take a little more work.