Outreach and Project Development: Who Are We?

As you may have read in our last blog post, there have been changes afoot at Ooligan Press—including the invention and rebranding of our team, Outreach and Project Development. Now that we’ve had a term to establish how our team runs, we’d love to share more with you. While we can’t tell you specific details about our projects in development, we can tell you more about us.

A large part of our first term in existence as a team consisted of developing protocols for the members to come. Since Ooligan has never had a project development team before, we had to start from scratch in terms of how many projects we wanted to take on, how to incorporate both aspects of our team in weekly assignments, and how to balance the sheer amount of work that has to be done to help create books and plan a conference at the same time. Our first step? Create a manual for future managers to learn from and follow.

In the nine years Write to Publish has been run by Ooligan Press, previous project managers have kept an annually updated manual detailing the previous years. Triumphs and challenges were meticulously recorded side-by-side, and there’s a breadth of information and advice passed down through those pages. We took that text and incorporated it into a new manual with a section for project development and other outreach opportunities. At the beginning of our new manual, we created a list of goals and intentions for the team. While this manual is a living document and still in development, it’s now full of rules and suggestions for the managers to come.

After creating our new manual, it was time to get to work. We have a conference to plan and projects to develop, after all—and with the beginning of the summer term, our projects have become more labor-intensive as our authors begin to produce material for us to review. As of July, we have communicated with multiple authors about potential future projects, and we have three projects in development. We’re knee-deep in plans for Write to Publish, and can’t wait to share more details about our tenth anniversary conference in our posts to come. We’re currently in the process of solidifying a venue and picking the perfect keynote speaker to best represent our theme: A Journey Through Publishing. We hope to use this theme to further educate curious attendees about the publishing industry and highlight some of the magic it takes to bring a book from a bright idea to a bookshelf.

We’ve just chosen a design aesthetic for the conference that will be developed further, and we’re working on options to revamp our team’s logo—while we love our typewriter, we’re open to see how the students of Ooligan can help best convey the idea of our new team. There’s a lot to talk about when a term goes by between public updates, and only so much can fit into one post. Suffice it to say that we’ve made good progress with our team this term, and we can’t wait to see how the rest of the year treats us!

Outreach and Project Development, a Reinvented Team

Spring term is always a time for transition at Ooligan as each project manager and department lead begins training the next generation of management. But this year, along with the traditional changeover, there are developments afoot at Ooligan Press. Project developments, that is.

The project team that has been known as the Write to Publish team—in charge of Ooligan’s annual writing conference—has transformed into the outreach and project development team. Don’t worry, we’ll still be planning and hosting Write to Publish every year; but as the new name suggests, our duties have expanded to fill the large time gap between each conference.

So what does “outreach and project development” mean? Outreach encapsulates everything from the Write to Publish conference to community outreach and Ooligan fundraising. This is the part of the team that is staying the same, more or less. There may be some changes coming up for the conference, but those details are going to stay secret for now because we’re still in the early planning phases. Suffice it to say, 2018 marks the tenth Write to Publish conference, and we plan to celebrate big time.

The new part of the team’s duties—project development—presents an exciting opportunity to conceptualize, develop, and pitch projects that are either brought to us by authors as ideas or incomplete manuscripts, or they are brainstormed in-house and then commissioned. Why the new addition? Ooligan’s current submission guidelines only allow completed manuscripts to be considered. However, in mainstream publishing, some of the best nonfiction books come from proposals with incomplete manuscripts. The outreach and project development team will work closely with authors to help develop their proposals into full manuscripts, which will potentially be pitched to Ooligan Press in hopes of being acquired.

The other exciting opportunity presented to project development—OPD, or just “outreach” for short—is the expansion of Ooligan’s backlist genres. Over the last couple of years, Ooligan Press has gained a reputation for producing high-quality YA fiction. While this is true of our current frontlist, there are many other genres that Ooligan has represented in the past; in fact, one of our most successful titles is our geology book, Cataclysms on the Columbia. This is our chance to experience even more genre diversity, especially in the realms of nonfiction and comics. Memoirs? Sure. Regional histories? Absolutely. Cooking, gardening, and urban development in the Pacific Northwest? Great idea!

The plan for now is to have six to eight projects in development at any given time, with one getting pitched to Ooligan Press every year. In comparison to other projects at the press, these outreach opportunities are a long-term investment, so we’ll get to spend time with them over several generations of Oolies.

We’re so excited to get this new/reinvented project team started, and we have big plans for what it can grow into. New genres to explore, new parts of the community to connect with, and a bigger, bolder Write to Publish to perfectly celebrate the conference’s tenth anniversary.