Each year, the students of Ooligan Press host a publishing conference called Write to Publish to raise money for the program and spread knowledge and enthusiasm about writing. This year, the theme of the conference was “Demystifying the Publishing Process,” with panels and workshops aimed at providing a better understanding of the ins and outs of many aspects of the publishing business that people are not as familiar with. Based on the positive feedback given so far, it seems Write to Publish’s 2015 conference has done just that for many of its attendees.
On Saturday, people started lining up at the registration table at 8:45 a.m., ready to begin the day. They were met with a copy of the day’s schedule and a bag full of goodies, not to mention breakfast provided by Sesame Donuts, Anna Bannanas, and Voodoo Donuts.
After an opening speech by Abbey Gaterud, the publisher of Ooligan Press, the panels began. With subjects like “Creating a Professional Platform” and “Straight Talk about Contracts and Rights,” there were plenty of questions for the panelists to run with, and their answers were enlightening for audience members and presenters alike. One of the panelists was heard saying that it’s “great when you get to panel with people who know what they’re talking about.”
After the first round of panels, the conference broke for lunch and the pitch roundtable. Attendees could sign up for five-minute slots to pitch their work to local publishers and agents like Chip MacGregor, who volunteered to come listen to pitches. Many attendees came out of the roundtable talking about how productive it was. Several attendees were asked for pages of their work, and everyone walked away with helpful advice.
There were two workshops at the conference this year—“Design as a Marketing Tool” and “The Stages of the Editing Process”—that were meant to be forty-five minutes, but the participants were so engrossed in their work that they continued talking for an extra quarter hour each.
Throughout the day, people could purchase raffle tickets for prizes like a gift card to Broadway Books, a marketing consultation, and a one-night stay at the Hotel deLuxe. All of the winners were tremendously excited, and many of them let us know while receiving their prizes how much fun they were having at Write to Publish.
After the conference was over, the attendees were invited across the street to Rogue Hall for a meet-and-greet with the press’s students. About twenty people in total went over to eat, drink, and discuss how the conference went, and it was interesting to hear everyone’s different views about the day’s events.
One attendee in particular enjoyed her time very much. She came up to the table where several of the conference organizers were sitting and thanked them for putting on a great conference. “It was very well organized,” she said, “and I got so much out of it! Chip MacGregor asked to see forty pages of my work, and I won the dinner for two at Hotel deLuxe in the raffle. I can’t believe it. We’re going over there right now to have dinner and celebrate!” All of the students involved with Write to Publish were so happy to hear that people got something out of the conference they worked so hard on.
Ooligan Press hosts Write to Publish every year, so be sure to check their website occasionally for information on next year’s conference!