The Ins and Outs of the Publicity Department at Ooligan

Like many Oolies before me, when I first started the graduate program in Book Publishing at Portland State University, I thought I would be most interested in editorial. In fact, besides being an editor, I didn’t really know anything about the other jobs that existed in the publishing industry. I had a lot to learn!

After learning more about the industry from different classes and through my work as a team member on Ooligan’s YA title, Love, Dance & Egg Rolls by Jason Tanamor, I discover that I had a penchant for marketing and publicity. I applied to a few different managerial positions, but I was thrilled to be assigned my top choice: Publicity Manager!

So, what is book publicity? And how does it work at Ooligan Press?

Here’s the basics:

What is Book Publicity?

A book publicist’s job is to serve as the liaison between the author and the media with the goal of acquiring press coverage for the book and/or author. Publicity is often defined as “earned media,” being something that generates attention without necessarily paying for it.

How Does it Work at Ooligan?

The Publicity Department is relatively new to Ooligan—I’m only the third person to hold the title of Publicity Manager! The Publicity Department is responsible for:

Press Kits

Press kits provide information to the media on our books and authors, which saves media editors time in research and preparation. Press kits should be easily accessible, have consistent messaging, be author-centric, and be kept updated like a resume. For more about press kits, check out this blog on The Anatomy of a Press Kit or this blog on How to Write an Effective Press Release.

Review Requests

Review requests are just that—requests for reviews! We send out review requests to different media outlets, bloggers, bookstagrammers, authors, and book reviewers. For more about review requests, check out this blog on writing review requests, or this blog on what to do about reviews!

Launch Events

Launch events can be held in a variety of ways, and there have been many different types of launches with Ooligan and our authors—from events at pubs and bookstores to virtual events! At Ooligan, our launch events are about giving the students and the authors a chance to celebrate together. To get an idea of how to plan a successful launch party, check out this blog, or for a look at what we’ve learned from a year of hosting virtual book launch events and some helpful advice from past Project Managers, check out this blog!


It’s Publicity’s responsibility to organize and apply for awards for all of our books! There are a few awards we generally apply to, like the Oregon Book Award and the Foreword INDIES, but project teams will also gather other viable options, sometimes based on things like genre or author identity. To learn more about the importance of awards, check out this blog!

Author Events

It’s also the Publicity Department’s responsibility to submit our authors for events such as The Portland Book Festival and The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) Fall Tradeshow. The publicity manager fills out submission forms and writes cover letters pitching our books and authors to be featured at these events.

IPS Updates

If our books or our authors receive any publicity—reviews, events, interviews, awards, etc.—the Publicity Department updates our distributor, Ingram.

Some Final Thoughts.

  • Publicity is about cultivating authentic attention for our authors and our books.
  • Something I love about publicity is that we’re receiving recognition and validation for our authors, our books, and Ooligan Press!
  • In a way, finding the right media outlets to reach the right audience can be a bit like matchmaking.
  • At Ooligan, we’re passionate about our books, so it makes marketing and publicizing them easy!
bread and wine picnic

Finding a Venue, Ordering Food and Drinks, Planning a Launch Party? Oh, My!

Planning an event of any scale is no easy task, much less when the world is still slowly coming out of a global pandemic. This article divides the overflowing to-do list into three different phases and compiles a list of best practices Ooligan Press employs with our own events. Here are some tips to keep in mind and help plan your next launch event!

Phase 1

  • Determine the event’s date, time, and activities
  • Calculate the budget for your event and divide accordingly
  • Reserve the venue
    • Analyze your estimated attendance numbers to determine a “Goldilocks” venue that will fit your guests just right!
    • Confirm venue requirements or limitations—how much parking is there? Is it ADA accessible?
  • Create social media pages promoting your event and use them
  • Brainstorm the “activities” at the event
    • For a launch party, start a conversation with the author!
    • This part of your event should be between forty-five minutes to an hour.
    • Remember to add extra time before and after the activity for your guests to mingle!
  • Contact potential vendors and get quotes
  • Determine giveaway(s), which not every event needs
    • Make sure you order at least a month in advance.
  • If you’re selling something, what are the options for people to pay? Do you have a cash box or card swipe?

Phase 2

  • Determine event staff
    • If your event staff will be volunteer-based, focus on making it appealing and fun, rather than a “work” thing.
    • Don’t forget to send an initial email to not only touch base with them well in advance, but thank them too!
  • Coordinate with vendors/departments
    • Is there a social media manager who needs to directly set up the pages?
    • Are there graphic designers to assist in physical marketing?
  • Communicate with your venue
    • Will the event be exclusive access or open to the public as well?
    • Does the venue have A/V equipment (if needed)? If so, will they set it up?
    • Is there Wi-Fi available? Find out the password in advance.
    • Any other policies the venue might have?
  • Establish a supply list—here are some to get you started!
    • Books, the new release and other titles that fit well
    • Book stands
    • Tabling materials such as posters, banners, raffle tickets, and anything else you might need to display it
    • Clipboard, paper, pens
    • Any A/V supplies not supplied by the venue, like a projector or laptop adapter

Phase 3

  • Confirm event details
    • Touch base with your author, venue, panelists, staff, and anyone else to confirm responsibility and conjure excitement.
  • Follow through with your marketing initiatives
    • Are social media pages up and active?
    • If flyers were printed, how were they distributed?
  • Create a “Day-Of” document
    • This serves as a ready-made sheet of any information someone might need to successfully run your event!
    • Include contact information, event schedule, and staff list.
    • Assign duties to your volunteers! Create task lists for set up, clean up, and the stations for during your event.
    • Get specific—adding exact times can not only ensure accountability for your volunteers, but helps to keep you on track as well.
  • Have fun! You and your team have done so much work towards this event, you deserve to enjoy it too!

Overall, planning an entire event can be a lot of work, but it can also be one of the best experiences. The world of events is constantly changing, but for now, Ooligan Press has you covered.