One of the biggest challenges we face at Ooligan Press is sorting through the hundreds of queries, book proposals, and manuscripts that we receive each term. While the overwhelming majority of what we receive through our online submission manager makes for intriguing reading, 95 percent of what we receive is not in keeping with our submission guidelines and our mission “to publish regionally significant works of literary, historical, and social value.” These works are unfortunately rejected right off the bat.

A great many aspiring authors take immeasurable time learning the specialized knowledge it takes to produce excellent work, only to waste their energy, postage, and paper by submitting work that simply isn’t a good fit for Ooligan. As the current acquisitions manager for the press, I thought it might be worthwhile to write an argument in favor of reading our submission guidelines prior to sending a manuscript to us (or any other publisher, for that matter).

We understand that it can be difficult and emotionally taxing to submit your work for publication. Many of us who work at Ooligan are writers as well as aspiring publishers. We know what you’re going through, and we understand the temptation to fling your work at the wall of potential publishers and hope that it sticks somewhere. We understand that it is exhausting to pour yourself into your words, crafting and recrafting your manuscript or proposal at the level of the phrase, only to have to turn around and do a ton of research, trying to figure out the best places to send it. We get it. Really. We do. But you’re doing yourself, your work, and the publishing community absolutely zero favors by submitting your work to publishers that have expressly indicated what they do and do not publish via their submission guidelines. No matter how much we love your work, if it isn’t in keeping with what we do, then the best you can hope for is a nice rejection letter. Do yourself a favor and read the entire posted submission guidelines before you offer up your carefully crafted work.

For the full guidelines and a link to our Submittable portal, check out the Ooligan submissions webpage. For a look at our current titles in progress, check out the Ooligan Start to Finish webpage. And, finally, for a look at our full backlist, go to the . If, after you’ve done that research, you still feel like your piece would be something Ooligan Press would love to publish and promote, then please—send us your story!

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