This week was pretty quiet for The Ninth Day, but Kelsey and I finally met our author, Ruth. Ruth has been a fixture at Ooligan since we first enrolled back in 2011, but we had never actually met her before signing on to manage her second book. Before this week, we had exchanged many emails and ideas for editing the novel, but we lacked the face-to-face time.
It still shocks me that books are published today without that face-to-face meeting. In larger publishing houses, authors rarely (if ever) meet their editors or the marketing department or their book’s cover designer. In many cases, the author only knows their agent. How stressful it must feel to nurture a book and then pass it off into the hands of total strangers!
In almost two years at Ooligan, I have worked on numerous publishing projects that were nothing more than assignments for a class. For me, meeting with Ruth has finally made The Ninth Day feel real, like something more important than a class project. I won’t be graded on my work with The Ninth Day, but my work will influence the eventual success of this novel. This responsibility will extend to the work I’ll do after Ooligan.
Next week, Kelsey and I will meet with the Design department to see their cover concepts and finalize the tipsheet with the Marketing department.
Last year, Ooligan published Blue Thread, a novel by local author Ruth Tenzer Feldman, which has proven to be one of the most commercially and critically successful books ever published by the press, and is currently a finalist for the 2013 Oregon Book Awards. Now, Ooligan has acquired the second book in the Serakh series, The Ninth Day, which follows Hope Jacobowitz, the granddaughter Blue Thread central character of Miriam Josefsohn. Hope meets Serakh, her time-traveling ancestor, and goes back in time to 1099 in order to help a Parisian woman save her child. In order to do so, Hope must overcome her shyness about her stutter and finally speak up for herself.
When it comes to publishing this novel, Ooligan will be swimming in unfamiliar waters. We will be working on an experimental production schedule, one that aims to push the manuscript from acquisition to publication in about a year, rather than the eighteen-or-so months that most Ooligan titles enjoy. Although we are already familiar with Ruth and her characters, and have put in countless hours of work on Blue Thread, The Ninth Day will need the same amount of work as any other novel, only faster.
The first step for The Ninth Day is the editing phase. The manuscript is already terrific, but there is no such thing as a perfect manuscript. Right now, the Editing department is wrapping up its evaluation and generating recommendations for Ruth. Copyediting and proofreading will come later, after Ruth has finished all of her revisions. Next week, we will meet with the Design department to talk about possible cover ideas, as well as the Marketing department, so that we can begin to discuss the tipsheet.
Everyone at Ooligan is thrilled to be working with Ruth again, but no one more so than we are. It is an honor to be the project managers for The Ninth Day, and we hope that you enjoy following along as we make this manuscript into a real book.