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A Guide to Marketing at Ooligan for Prospective Authors (Part Two) 

Welcome back current or prospective Ooligan authors! In my last blog post, I talked about the marketing plan and its components in order to give you a better understanding of the first steps in our marketing process. In this post, I am going to define a few terms that you might hear when we talk about the next steps in the marketing process. Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of what we are doing to promote your book and get it in the hands of readers. [Note: Book marketing is a complex process and one that is too extensive to cover in one blog post. If you have more questions specific to marketing at Ooligan, please email]

Branding Brief—The branding brief defines what we want the “brand” to be for your book. At Ooligan Press, each book we publish has a unique brand—meaning each book has a unique aesthetic which communicates its message and makes it different from other books. The branding brief document is where we summarize how we want to brand a certain book. This document informs the actions of the marketing, design, and social media departments moving forward to make sure our branding is consistent.

Tipsheet—A tipsheet is a two-page informational guide to your book that we will share with our sales representatives and on various book sites as a way to give a quick overview of the book and why someone would want to read it. The content on the tipsheet is taken entirely from the marketing plan—so you will have read and approved everything. This is an industry-facing document that will not be seen by the general public and readers.

Contact List—The contact list is a list of media contacts that we may reach out to for marketing and publicity purposes. The publicity department will add people that we may reach out to and ask to promote our book either with a review, a press release, or some other kind of promotion. This might include newspapers, magazines, blogs, Instagram influencers, BookTokers, local news channels, and many more. The marketing department oversees the section dedicated to finding authors to write blurbs for the book. While you don’t need to know the details of the contact list, rest assured that we are putting in the work to make sure that people know about and are talking about your book.

Blurb—A blurb is a short, typically about one to three sentences, message in praise of your book. The majority of books on your bookshelf will have blurbs on their front or back covers and they are often included on various web pages where you can purchase the book. Blurbs are often included in other promotional materials such as press releases or social media posts. We will seek out authors who have written books similar in content or style to your own or experts in fields of study related to the content of your book. When it comes to blurbs and the contact list, it is extremely helpful for us to know about your connections. Do you have friends or acquaintances who are authors that could contribute? Do you belong to any professional organizations that might be interested in promoting your book in some capacity? Do you volunteer with any organization that we could partner with? At Ooligan Press, we also want to get to know you and work closely with you in this process so that we are building a strategy that leverages your connections.

If the above information has been overwhelming to you, that’s okay! You don’t need to have a full understanding of any of the above terms or processes, but hopefully you can look back upon this article if you ever run across one of these terms and have questions. Either way, at Ooligan Press we are here for you and here to make sure every aspect of the marketing process runs smoothly.

photo of a full bookshelf with white arched box reading "Inside Ooligan Press:". Centered white box with Ooligan fishhook logo. White text bar across bottom reading "Building a Contact List"

Inside Ooligan Press: Building a Contact List at Ooligan

Most books that are published these days have some number of quotes of praise from various sources, usually other authors or major newspapers. If a reader is familiar with a genre, they’ll recognize many of the authors as being from the same genre. If not, it might leave a reader to wonder who these people are and why they are an authority qualified to review a book. It’s pretty well-known that “blurbs help attract readers to your books.” The question becomes, how do publishers choose who to contact for a blurb or review of a book? Here at Ooligan Press, The Keepers of Aris team recently got a glimpse into creating a contact list for a diverse YA fantasy novel.

The process actually begins a little earlier in the publication process, when we decide who is the ideal audience for our title. In this case, we are publishing a YA fantasy novel written by a Black woman, and our primary audience reflects that, as should the people we choose to reach out to. As we began to research and collect the names and contact information of authors we intended to reach out to for a blurb, we started with those we wanted to prioritize, Black and BIPOC fantasy authors. Bonus points if they wrote YA as well. We chose successful authors such as Tomi Adeyemi, Kalynn Bayron, and Rin Chupeco. Once we found as many as we could, we turned to other YA fantasy authors. We concluded this part of our research with a total of around seventy reputable authors as possible contacts.

The next step of building our contact list was to find major industry publications that Ooligan always reaches out to for a review. We got these contacts from Ooligan’s master contact list, so all that was needed was to ensure the information was up-to-date. Some of these sources include Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Shelf Awareness. We consistently reach out to them because they are major sources of book reviews that many are familiar with, and we are capable of successfully reaching them. Another internal source for contacts was the contact list of the previous fantasy novel we published, Court of Venom. Given the two titles are within the same genre, if for different age groups, the number of contacts that would be ideal for our newer title is significant enough to make the previous list an effective source. These contacts consist of digital magazines, blogs, and book reviewers that focus on fantasy titles. Currently, the team is expanding on these contacts by researching new ones.

Of course, it must be noted that Ooligan Press’s contact list practice is not like most publishing companies. The contact list for each title is created largely from scratch and personalized per the primary audience. We are also a small press, so authors or online personalities that have reached a certain level of fame are simply out of our reach. It’s important to keep our expectations realistic while working to reach as many people as possible. This is a glimpse into how publishers choose who is on a title’s contact list and ends up with their blurb on the cover.