Sean Davis is the author of the memoir The Wax Bullet War, which he is currently promoting through book tours and readings. You can see him read at Powell’s City of Books on May 27th at 7:30 p.m. in the Pearl Room.
The Wax Bullet War is about my experiences during war, my difficulty transitioning back into the civilian life, and some other very hard times in my life. When I finished the manuscript and it was time to shop it around, I spent some time sending it to agents and big houses. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was looking in the wrong places. I wanted these moments in my life to be cared for. The story was filled with some of the most proud, vulnerable, and embarrassing moments in my life. I needed to find a place that would take special care of them.
When I was a student at PSU I always saw the glass case outside of the English Department office on the third floor of Neuberger Hall. It was filled with Ooligan Press books. I would stop and read about the newest book coming out and I clearly remember telling myself I would get my book in there some day. I knew the Ooligan team was filled with talented people who really had a passion for words, and a passion to put out the best product possible.
I stopped sending my manuscript to the big houses even though there was some interest and sent it was Ooligan Press instead. I’m so glad I did. Having a book with Ooligan Press is like having an entire team of people supporting you. This is important because writers, especially early in their careers, need that support. I know it really helped validate this leap I made into the literary world. I would go to meetings with ten people and find that not only did they all read the book, they all loved the book and had a ton of ideas. They were enthusiastic and wanted to make the book great, and in my opinion they did. Whenever I get emails or messages from people telling me that they loved the book I always thank them and say it was a group effort. If they’re writers I recommend they submit to Ooligan.
The support doesn’t stop when the book comes out. I’m pleasantly surprised just about every week when Laurel, the project manager, has some sort of marketing plan or a new scheduled reading. Not only that, but since my book was being worked on so long I cycled through a few different project managers. People like Kait Heacock or Mary Breaden have moved on, but we never lost touch. They have set up readings for me in New York City this summer.
The Wax Bullet War is a good book. I’m proud of it. I let everyone know that it wouldn’t be the book it is without Ooligan Press. Everyone I met—from the director of the program to the social-media guru—had a hand in this book, and I have no doubt The Wax Bullet War will keep doing well because of the effort and support I received.