cover of LOVE, DANCE & EGG ROLLS

What Happens Before a Book Pubs?

The book publishing process often remains a mystery to those outside the industry. The exact process for how a book gets from one step to the next within a certain amount of time usually varies from press to press. Some people might expect that things get done relatively quickly, perhaps in a year or less. Others believe that publishers simply move on once the book is completed. For authors, it might seem like an eternity of waiting for news and working to spread the word about their book on their own. The last couple of months before a book is officially published is a very important and busy time for a publishing press.

At the average publishing house, these last few months are spent ensuring that the title gets printed, arrives at the warehouse, and that the early copies are received at the publishing house. At the same time, the marketing and publicity work continues as it has for the past several months. The specifics of what this looks like depends on several factors and varies from press to press. Some factors to consider include the resources that the press has access to, whether the author has published before, how popular the press is expecting the book to be, and many others. There may be a dedicated fanbase for an author and their upcoming title, but if the press doesn’t have many resources, the amount of marketing it gets will be lower.

Here at Ooligan, the Love, Dance, & Egg Rolls team is hard at work preparing for our pub day. The first thing we have been working on is promoting the book across our social media platforms. Each member of the team has created their own posts on various topics that are aimed at generating excitement for the book. We have had the pleasure of focusing on the representation of and aspects of Filipino culture, including food and dance. We are also keeping an eye out for any mention of the book that we were not already anticipating. We love seeing publicity for the titles that our authors have worked so hard on.

As for the rest of the press, we are encouraging everyone to like, comment, and share the posts on their personal accounts so that we can boost the content and generate more viewers. We also have other members of the press who help keep an eye out for how the book is looking online. They are all great contributors to the creation of this book.

We have been very excited to plan the launch event for this book. This event is a great way to celebrate the author and everyone’s contributions that helped bring this book into the world. We are gathering ideas and determining their feasibility in order to make this event the best it can possibly be.

The publication process varies with each publisher, and this is just a glimpse into a small portion of the process. In some cases, this process can last up to two years. Of course, Ooligan Press is a small press made up of almost entirely students, so how we are able to get our books out into the world is different. How some publishing houses like the Big 5 do it may remain a mystery.

Finding the Perfect Indie Press in Oregon

With all of the independent publishers that exist, it can be difficult to find which one is the perfect fit for your newly completed manuscript. Whether you write romance, comics, young adult, or flarf poetry, Oregon is likely to have a press that serves your niche. Here is a round-up of some local independent presses who are accepting (either open, limited, or opening soon) submissions from authors like you. You can browse the list below, then follow the link to each publisher’s website and read more about their submission guidelines and existing catalog. Happy hunting!

Children’s

Ripple Grove Press (Portland) names their mission as pairing talented writers and gifted illustrators to make their children’s books as beautiful and masterful as possible. They are calling out for manuscript-only submissions for a unique picture story that “captures a moment with a timeless feel” for children two to eight years old. They ask for five months to review each submission and do not expect to hear from them unless you have been accepted. They also have a helpful list on their website of what stories not to send and how not to submit a manuscript.

Pomegranate (Portland), while not strictly a children’s book publisher, offers numerous children’s titles in addition to coloring books, puzzles, flashcards, and games. This art-focused publisher offers the resources of a large publisher with the attention and care of a small house. They ask writers and artists to submit their materials either through email or direct mail and offer a response within eight weeks of receiving the submission.

Comics

Dark Horse Comics (Portland) hardly needs an introduction with a backlist of Hellboy, Fight Club 2, Lady Killer, and American Gods. The comic publisher currently accepts two kinds of submissions: “art samples or story/series proposals” from either solo artists or teams (writer-only submissions will not be reviewed). Writers must complete a submission agreement before sending any stories or proposals. All submissions should not expect a response unless their material has been accepted.

Image Comics (Portland) was formed by some of Marvel Comics’ best-selling artists in 1992. Since then, the creator-owned house has become the third largest publisher of comics in the US, producing greatness like The Walking Dead, which inspired the top-rated TV show by the same name. Image Comics accepts proposal-only submissions from writers (no manuscript or storyboards) and photocopies of inking, penciling, and lettering samples from artists. Those who submit can expect a response within one month after submitting only if their material has been accepted.

Fiction

Atelier 26 Books (Portland), which published one to three titles a year, preaches reading as a non-consumerist endeavor offering “beautifully designed and expressive books that get people listening, talking, and exchanging ideas.” While submissions are closed for 2018, they are likely to open again in 2019 and will be looking for writing that bravely diverts from the standard in the current publishing industry. For news on reopenings, you can keep an eye on their Facebook and Twitter or check their website contact page for updates.

Forest Avenue Press (Portland) rose to prominence on the wings of the effervescent Laura Stanfill, a luminary in the Portland writing and publishing community. Stanfill and her three-person team produce a few high-quality books and organize numerous book-related events throughout the year, all while encouraging consumers to turn back to their indie bookstores. Submissions are closed for 2018 but will reopen in 2019. When they reopen, they accept submissions through the free platform Submittable and will be looking for 60,000-80,000 word literary fiction that fits within the existing audience reach of the press. True to their mission, they are also looking for authors who will help promote the book themselves through independent bookstores.

Nonfiction

NewSage Press (Troutdale) publishes nonfiction books in numerous areas, including “animal and human bond, environmental issues, nature, women’s issues,” grief and loss, health and wellbeing, and American life as an immigrant. NewSage claims notoriety from American Library Association, which named the press as offering the best books for young adults. The press asks for proposal-only submissions limited to a ten double-spaced page maximum. They have a useful guide on their website for exactly what they expect to see in the proposal and how they would like it to be submitted. They offer no timeline or promise of a response.

Overcup Press (Portland) focuses on producing high-quality books that serve unique niches with travel, art, and design inclinations, publishing everything from a children’s book starring a raccoon to a highly-illustrated guide to Portland’s craft distilling community. The press asks specifically for nonfiction proposals on the following topics: “Pacific Northwest, travel, architecture and design, food and drink, contemporary arts and culture, music/music history/music journalism, STEM titles (in middle-grade or YA).” The small press accepts submissions through Submittable.

BookTok vs. Bookstagram—Who Will Win: Readers or Publishers?

Being a Millenial who’s usually late to the crazes, I’ve resisted TikTok. Somehow I’ve managed to avoid downloading the app, but TikToks make their way to Instagram all the time. It feels like there’s no escaping it.

Can you imagine my shock when I first got a whiff of BookTok, immediately followed by reports of sales surging due to viral BookTok videos? The BookTok videos that make their way to my Instagram are mostly YA fantasy, and I have to admit, they are pretty clever. In what could have been a pretty photo-review of a novel, these creators bear all, and I have to say, it works as a marketing hook.

In an interview with The New York Times, Shannon DeVito, director of books at Barnes & Noble, said, “it becomes this very emotional 45-second video that people immediately connect with….We haven’t seen these types of crazy sales—I mean tens of thousands of copies a month—with other social media formats.”

Millennial Bookstagrammers, veteran or not, marvel at the simplicity of a beautiful photo. Maybe it’s because we’re from the time of early social media platforms, bathroom selfies, and disposable cameras. Maybe it’s not my cup of tea, but I think it’s a wickedly fresh way to reach a younger audience.

It turns out that it’s not all about YA on BookTok. Madeline Miller’s first novel went viral with #songofachilles garnering nineteen million views on TikTok. According to The New York Times, the video, which has been viewed more than one hundred and fifty thousand times, only lasts about seven seconds.

Now that blows Bookstagram out of the water.

Kat McKenna, a marketing consultant, remarked in an interview with The Guardian that “these ‘snapshot’ visual trailers are making books cinematic in a way that publishers have been trying to do with marketing book trailers for a really long time. But the way TikTok users are creating imagery inspired by what they are reading is so simple, and so clever. It’s that thing of bringing the pages to life, showing what you get from a book beyond words.”

According to Wallaroo Media, as of June 14, TikTok has one billion users in over one hundred and fifty countries. A book would typically be marketed using tipsheets (informational documents sent internally within the publishing industry), Goodreads giveaways, and Bookstagram campaigns, but with TikTok, you have a much wider reach across demographics. For marketing books, and not just YA, it feels like a no-brainer.

We all knew this day would come. Just look at Myspace and, in most cases, Facebook. As a Bookstragrammer, the creative challenges and innovations are daunting. As a future marketing professional, it’s exhilarating. Backlist titles climbing up the best-seller list? Creativity pouring from the readers supporting the authors? It seems that anything is possible in a sixty-second video.

The Art of Giving Feedback When You Don’t Feel Like an Expert

One of the coolest things about Ooligan Press is that we are entirely made up of students who are beginners. As a teaching press, our purpose is to provide learning experiences within the publishing industry, so we do everything in-house, including cover designs, despite the fact that very, very few of our students come into the program with any design experience. The best part is that you don’t need any prior design experience to try your hand at cover design. But that open-door policy doesn’t necessarily make it any less intimidating.

Here’s how the cover design process works at Ooligan: The project team, under the guidance of the design manager, develops the cover design brief, which the design manager sends out to the press in the form of a press-wide call-out for cover design submissions. This submission process involves three rounds of open submissions, which are due on Mondays, and those who submit designs receive feedback from the press by the following Wednesday. Week 4 is the semi-finals—only people who submitted a cover in rounds 1–3 may submit their revised covers in this round. The management team selects the top three cover designs, and the design manager presents these three covers in a press-wide meeting and holds a vote to decide the cover. The chosen designer then works with the design manager to develop a final draft and package it into the jacket.

Ooligan students can get involved with the cover design process in two ways: by submitting designs and/or submitting feedback for the designs in the first three rounds. Submitting feedback is the less intimidating route to contributing to our book covers, but even still, too many students find themselves avoiding this due to a perceived lack of experience. What it really comes down to is imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome, as Healthline explains, “involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.” At Ooligan, we often find ourselves experiencing the symptoms of imposter syndrome as we engage in our professional-level work, and perhaps it is in the design department more than any other department where this rings true.

At face value, there seems to be a lot of technical knowledge involved with design work. That’s definitely true, but it’s a much more accessible body of knowledge than you might think, particularly when it comes to giving feedback during the cover design rounds. Because the important technical issues will be resolved under the guidance of the design manager during the final cover development, these rounds of feedback are more about creative direction than they are about technical rigor. The sort of valuable feedback we love to see in these rounds is feedback on the creative decisions like font choice, color, and use of space—the kinds of things that are either going to attract a reader to a book on the shelf or turn them away from buying it. These are the kinds of things that everyone picks up on, even without having taken a single design course.

That’s why all Oolies are encouraged to participate in these rounds of cover design feedback. Really good feedback is not unattainable, even without technical knowledge or familiarity with the jargon. Bad feedback is “I don’t like it.” Better feedback is “I don’t like the font,” or better yet, “The serif font isn’t working.” It’s being specific about what isn’t working. Great feedback just has to give a little bit more, add a little bit of reflection, a little bit more about why you think it might not be working or how it could be improved. To follow our example, great feedback might look like this: “The serif font isn’t working. Since the market is YA, I think a sans serif font, or maybe even a script font, would work better since serif fonts come off as more serious, and this book has a lighter, more playful tone. Sans serifs and scripts tend to communicate that more.” Great feedback is specific, explanatory, and offers suggestions for revision.

You don’t need to have technical knowledge to supply that!

The Best Audiobooks to Escape the Mundane

One of the most common things you hear from readers who don’t listen to audiobooks is that their mind often wanders when listening. “I can’t pay attention,” they say. To prove these readers wrong, I’m here with five full-cast audiobooks you can’t help but fall into. These engaging audiobooks will make you wish you had more mundane tasks to do in order to find the time to listen.

Let’s start with some advice regarding the mindset you need to have in order to get into audiobooks.

  1. According to researchers from the Gallant Lab at UC Berkeley, listening to audiobooks and reading books simulate the “same cognitive and emotional areas” of your brain. Though it’s early research with only a small group of participants, the argument that listening to audiobooks shouldn’t count as reading looks like it’s going to be debunked.
  2. You need to choose your activity wisely when it comes to listening to an audiobook. I recommend choosing something that allows you to use your hands but not your brain. By choosing an activity that you can do with little thought, you’ll be able to fully focus on the audiobook you’ve chosen. I love listening to audiobooks while cleaning and driving. Knitting or painting are also great activities that allow you to use your hands while also shitting off your brain in order to focus on your audiobook!

Hopefully with these two things in mind, you’ll be able to find an audiobook to fall into! There’s a lot to choose from, but my absolute favorite audiobooks are ones that have full casts. These full-cast audiobooks not only have voices for every main character as well as a collection of supporting ones, but sometimes they even include sound effects. The production value of these audiobooks are amazing, and you may find yourself listening late into the night.

The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This writing duo merges science fiction, humor, and bits of horror in this novel with a misguided AI and the humans who fight to stop it. I recommend this one to readers even if they say they don’t like science fiction because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. This is one of the most intense audiobooks I’ve read because not only does it have a full cast, but the recording adds in sound effects that make you feel like you’re on the ship fleeing from disaster while dealing with several disasters on board.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuval. This is an adult science fiction audiobook similar to The Illuminae Files. This audiobook uses a full cast to really draw you in. Each of the character’s motivations change throughout the book, but ultimately they all are connected by their desire to seek answers about where the giant mechanical hand came from and if we’re truly alone in the universe.

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto. Another impressive full-voice cast, this novel has a rich background and history that really sets up the conflict between two sisters. With phoenixes, the threat of war, and the classic trope of hiding your identity to get what you want, this is a great listen for readers who like richly detailed fantasy.

Sadie by Courtney Summers. This is a YA mystery that is incredibly dark. It’s an intense read that should not be taken lightly, so take a look at the trigger warnings on Goodreads before listening. The format of this book is perfect for an audiobook, and the publisher even created a podcast as a fascinating way to follow Sadie’s story from an investigative perspective as well as Sadie’s own investigation.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I couldn’t resist adding another science fiction audiobook to this list. As mentioned above, this writing duo really knows how to use multiple points of view in order to craft a story that you can fall in love with. When a girl two hundred years out of her own time is discovered, the small group of Aurora Academy cadets are thrust on a path that has them realizing that they may be the only people who can save the galaxy.

I wish I had the space to recommend more of my favorite dual-narrator audiobooks because I have a lot that I absolutely love. I hope that these recommendations allow you to get into audiobooks as much as I have and that you’re able to get some cleaning done while listening!

Editing Your Own Work: The First Draft to the Polished Product

Many years ago I came across an interview with the late James Michener, the Pulitzer Prize winning author whose forty books have sold tens of millions of copies. In the interview, he was asked about the secret to his success. The essence of his answer, which has always stuck in my head, was this: I am a better editor than a writer.

A prior blog post discussed the often formidable writer’s block that can prevent us from creating a first draft. The blog offered four suggestions on how to overcome the block: spend enough time thinking about your subject before you start writing; forget about your intended audience and write the first draft for yourself; set aside any formal requirements and approach the project as an unconstrained creative writing assignment; be cheerful about how bad the first draft might be.

But once you have that bad first draft in hand, how do you turn it into a finished product? It is, as James Michener said, all about being a better editor than you are a writer.

Here are a few pieces of advice, some borrowed from successful authors and some derived from my own experience, to help you become a good editor of your own work.

Put it away

In his marvelous book, On Writing, Stephen King explains that he would set aside the first draft of a novel for at least six weeks in order to get some distance from it, and then come back to it with a more objective editorial eye. For most things that we write, we don’t have the luxury of letting the first draft sit for six weeks. But I find that letting a draft sit for even just one night makes a huge difference in my ability to edit objectively.

Let someone else read it

Author Anne Lamont devotes an entire chapter of Bird by Bird, her exquisite treatise on writing, to the importance of allowing someone to read your work and give you an honest critique. For most of our writing, we don’t have the luxury of employing a professional editor, but we almost always have a colleague, friend, or family member who can take a quick look and offer some feedback. I often have my wife read my essays, and she always gives me useful suggestions to improve clarity and finds typos that I can’t see because I’m too close to the text.

Edit, edit again, and keep editing

Robert Caro, who has won the Pulitzer Prize twice, explains in Working that he never stops editing: “I do so much rewriting…I rewrite the galleys…I rewrite in page proofs…I’d rewrite in the finished book if I could.” The point is that a quick once-over editing job won’t do the trick. The more times you are willing to take a fresh look at your writing (after letting it sit overnight, of course), the better your final product will be.

Print it out

Our computers are powerful tools that make it possible to produce an entire manuscript without ever using a single piece of paper. Yet I find that it helps immensely to print a draft, grab a pen, read line by line, and make edits on the paper before returning to the computer.

Read it out loud

When I read aloud slowly and deliberately, my ear picks up awkward constructions that my eyes may have missed. Reading every word aloud also helps me spot missing punctuation and spelling errors.

Read backwards

I know this sounds silly, but it works! I find that I tend to gloss over errors when I read from start to finish because I know what to expect as I’m reading. So I will often read from the back of a document, working paragraph by paragraph to the front. When I do this, I tend to see each individual paragraph more clearly and I’m a better judge of whether the paragraph makes sense and accomplishes what it is supposed to.

None of these tactics will turn you into the next Anne Lamont or James Michener, but they will go a long way towards helping you get from that really bad first draft to a polished product you can be proud to share with others.

Sensitivity Readers: An Editing Essential

It is becoming more and more common in books to see harmful stereotypes that negatively stigmatize certain demographics being applied to minority characters. You may see these characters have a racially stereotypical name or being treated differently based on their ethnicity. Just because an editor gives the green light on a book with minority experiences or narratives, does not mean that the character’s actions or how they are treated aren’t based on demeaning stereotypes. One editor can’t be responsible for providing feedback on how an entire demographic is portrayed—this is why it’s important to have multiple sensitivity readers look at the manuscript.

Sensitivity reads have become an important aspect of editing in recent years. When an author who does not identify with a characters’ demographic writes experiences or narratives from that character’s perspective, a sensitivity read—also called a diversity read—can help point out any potentially harmful stereotypes that a character may be subjected to in the book. Whether or not you like the idea of sensitivity readings, one fact is clear: sensitivity readers play a pivotal role in the editorial process when a character is written outside of a writer’s demographic.

Many authors may oppose the use of sensitivity readers because of issues regarding censorship, but underneath it all, sensitivity readers can help identify any internalized oppression that an author may have written about.

Having two or three sensitivity readers on a manuscript is ideal, not only to ensure that the author has feedback from different perspectives, but also to ensure that a culture or demographic doesn’t become a monolith, especially when there are multiple diverse narratives.

Finding a sensitivity reader who identifies with the same demographic as a minority character is a difficult process. In the Diversity Baseline Survery conducted by Lee & Low Books on the overall diversity within the publishing industry, it was found that 76 percent of people in the industry are White/Caucasian, 74 percent are cis-women, 81 percent are straight/heterosexual, and 89 percent are non-disabled. Finding sensitivity readers is a lot like trying to find a needle in a haystack for some, but it should not be a deterrent in looking for sensitivity readers.

Don’t assume that just because a sensitivity reader is from the same demographic as the character they are automatically the end-all-be-all for feedback. Multiple sensitivity readers working on the same manuscript is proven to be incredibly beneficial.

None of this is to say that an author should write a book that is void of diverse characters, in fact, quite the opposite is true—we need more diverse characters! We just want to push authors to seek assistance from multiple sensitivity readers when they do write about these types of characters. Of course, how to employ the right kind of sensitivity reader is a whole other topic, but regardless, it is expected that the author does their research.

Why Representation Matters: Symbolic Annihilation and Publishing

Recent months have shown a growing commitment to support BIPOC writers and creators in the publishing industry. While major publishers like Hachette have made gestures towards supporting marginalized groups, publishing as a field is still far behind where it needs to be in order to truly foster equity. While these conversations are continuing to unfold, it’s heartening to see that some organizations are starting to take steps to increase equity and support marginalized voices on a structural level. Ooligan Press is among a growing number of independent publishers actively working to bolster marginalized people by providing a platform for their voices and adding positive representation in their catalogues.

What is often left out of conversations surrounding equity and representation in media is the why of the conversation. Why do we need more diversity in publishing? While some may consider it self-evident that we need more representation, the answer is not nearly so simple. Numerous scholars have dedicated their entire careers to understanding why people need to see themselves represented in stories, so a blog post like this one could never adequately address (or even summarize) the complexities of the problem at hand, but these complexities shouldn’t deter us from the conversation. I want to offer an explanation for one aspect of this problem, in the hope that it will help equip those in a position to address issues of equity with a cogent reason why we should be actively providing more representation in publishing. This reason is symbolic annihilation.

The term “symbolic annihilation” refers to the erasure of people—specifically categories of people like women, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community—from popular media. As Robin R. Means Coleman and Emily Chivers Yochim explain in their article on the subject, “symbolic annihilation points to the ways in which poor media treatment can contribute to social disempowerment and in which symbolic absence in the media can erase groups and individuals from public consciousness.” More simply, symbolic annihilation is what happens when the lack of representation of a group affects their real-life empowerment in the public sphere.

In <ahref=”https: web.asc.upenn.edu=”” gerbner=”” asset.aspx?assetid=”276″”>an article written in 1976, the researcher responsible for coining the term, George Gerbner, argues that the role of symbolic annihilation is to maintain inequality on a structural and social level. By not allowing the representation of marginalized groups, “tastemakers” and other wielders of cultural capital not only strip people within these categories of their identities, but deny that identity’s place within the larger cultural context. Gerbner argues that “representation in the fictional world signifies social existence.” This denial can, and does, have lasting effects on the psychological and social well-being of people in marginalized groups, as detailed in a 2011 Opportunity Agenda study that shows the ongoing effects of poor and non-representation on the lives of Black American men.</ahref=”https:>

In 1979, Gaye Tuchman expanded Gerbner’s approach to include the insidious ways that symbolic annihilation reaches beyond the limitations of mere exclusion. Tuchman’s definition includes omission, trivialization, and condemnation as ways that symbolic annihilation manifests itself. These forms of symbolic annihilation are particularly harmful, as they present potential role models for people who need them in ways that are demeaning and often predatory. This kind of representation distort a subject’s conception of what it means to be part of a group.

A study was conducted in 2012 to understand the ways in which representation of gender and race in children’s television shows impacted self-esteem. It revealed that of the four groups that took part in the study—Black girls, Black boys, white girls, and white boys only the group of white boys’ self-esteem was not negatively impacted by the experience. In their discussion of the study, the authors cite the representations of racial and gendered stereotypes in the TV shows as the force behind this change. The study effectively shows the consequences of Tuchman’s trivialization and condemnation forms of symbolic annihilation at play as poor media representations distort the self-image of these children.

While the term was first applied to television in the 1970s, its impact is applicable across all media types, especially those that have as formative of an influence on culture as books. While publishing’s position as a taste-making entity has received some criticism in recent years, it remains a multibillion dollar industry and has worked to shape culture for as long as the book has existed. For this reason, publishing is an important medium in which to combat symbolic annihilation, both in what we produce and in who we hire. It is our duty as publishers to not only provide space for marginalized groups, but to defend the voices of the people within those groups. We are the media and passivity is not an option.

Answering the Call (For Papers)

For anyone interested in a career in academia, publications are a crucial component of professional advancement. Even for those not interested in becoming full-time scholars, publishing a paper can be a way of bolstering your resume and asserting your expertise, no matter your field. Because academic publishing requires rigorous research and has strict guidelines for form and content, the process of getting a paper published (especially for the first time) can be intimidating. The value that these publications bring with them, however, is well worth the time and effort put into answering a Call for Papers.

A Call for Papers (or CFP for short) can be put out for many different reasons, but their main purpose in publishing is to solicit papers for academic journals and book collections. These are where much of the discourse about a given field actually takes place, so having your work published in one of them can (and should) be considered meaningful. While most editors have specific things they are looking for, what’s most important to keep in mind as a writer is that these publishers want high-quality, professional work that will reflect deeply on some aspect of their field in a way that hasn’t been done before. This isn’t to say that you can’t write about something that has had research done on it already, but that your paper should bring something new to the conversation about your topic.

Typically, there are two approaches to publishing academic papers. The first is to find a CFP that fits something you have already written. This is a popular way to get a paper published, as advancing a work you already care about can be as simple as finding the right CFP. For a new writer, it’s important to keep in mind that you may need to edit your paper to fit the specifications of the publisher prior to submission, making adjustments to things like length or style. The second, less common approach is to find a CFP looking for new, original research about a specific topic and writing your paper after having a proposal accepted by an editor. This approach is meant to be much more generative than the first as most of these projects deal with contemporary issues or are about subjects that are under-researched. An example of this would be a CFP looking for papers discussing poetry written in response to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. Because of the recentness of the protests, it’s unlikely that you have a paper ready for publication about BLM poets, so you would have to write something new.

Because there are so many academic journals and editors putting collections together, there’s no shortage of new CFPs being posted. While you can seek out CFPs for specific journals or editors that interest you, the sheer volume of them can make this process daunting and difficult to navigate. According to STM’s industry report, three million articles were published amongst approximately thirty-three thousand journals in 2018 alone. This statistic only accounts for peer-reviewed, English-language journals in STEM, so adding in other areas of research and journals published in other languages makes that number grow significantly.

For this reason, most people starting out in academic publishing find it easier to access CFPs through aggregating websites like WikiCFP or to find them through profession-specific organizations, like the American Philosophical Association, which often feature CFPs on their websites. There are also several university-run catalogs, like the one run by the University of Pennsylvania’s English department that lists CFPs related to literature. As a writer, what is most important to pay attention to when searching is whether or not the journals are peer reviewed or that the editors and publishing teams behind a book are credible. This will ensure that your work is being published through someone reputable.

Once you’ve found an appropriate project and a CFP that fits your work, then comes the actual submission. A typical CFP will require an abstract about your work, your resume or vitae, and sometimes a copy of your paper. These requirements will depend on the publishers themselves. It’s important to keep these requirements in mind as you prepare your submission as each publisher will have specific instructions for what and how to submit. Because academic journals can be highly selective, these requirements can make the difference in whether or not your paper gets accepted. That is, if a CFP requests an abstract of no more than 250 words and you submit one with 1,000 words, it’s possible you may be passed over on this merit alone. But, with a little luck and some hard work, you can achieve a successful submission and find your paper the perfect publisher.

Reading Audiobooks

As I’m writing this post, I am sitting on a plane listening to You’re on an Airplane: A Self Mythologizing Memoir. The memoir by Parker Posey, and she is also the narrator of the audiobook version. The memoir is told as if I, the reader/listener, were sitting next to Ms. Posey on an airplane and she is telling her memoir as if in conversation with me. The story seems to be made for the audiobook format. In fact, memoirs narrated by the author make wonderful audio books. They are not only the words but also the voice, with the particular pitch and cadence, of the storyteller.

There is currently much debate over whether listening to an audiobook counts as “reading” a book. However, oral storytelling has been around longer than books. In fact, the first books were written in order to be read aloud. The meter and rhymes of Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales were meant to make oral recitation easier. The first audiobooks were recorded back in 1932 on vinyl records by the American Foundation for the Blind. In the 1960s, books were recorded on cassette tapes, then on CDs in the 1980s. In 1997, Audible released its first audio player made specifically for listening to audiobooks. And in the past few months, Ooligan Press has begun exploring audiobooks by testing a mock sample for Ricochet River with the hopes of venturing into the exciting audiobook world!

So does listening to the audiobook count as reading? I think that stories are what matter, not the medium through which they are told. And having stories available in different formats helps stories to reach audiences that traditional books may not be able to. Listening to stories read aloud is an important part of a child’s development. Does the benefit of hearing stories suddenly disappear once we are able to read? I think the answer is probably not. So read or listen, whichever you prefer, or do both! What matters is that you’re getting the story.