Introducing Odsburg: Finding the Surreal amongst the Everyday

You know how everyone from a small town has a deeply ingrained sense of being watched by neighbors, family, and their friend’s abuelita? In a small community, no personal business is ever truly personal. The baristas at the only coffee shop in town have your order memorized; meanwhile, the dating pool somehow intertwines parents with their kids’ teachers, and then spills into the local bar, where a memorial service is being held. How about those old folks down the street whose lifelong feud is imbued with power by a peculiar last will? If you’ve never before lived in a place like this, then allow me to welcome you to the small, fictional town of Odsburg, Washington.

Ooligan Press is proud to announce our upcoming title: the thought-provoking, skin-crawl-inducing, non-cannibalism-condoning novel Odsburg by Matt Tompkins, to be released October 29th.

First, a bit about the book. Odsburg is a novel compiled by the town’s local socio-anthropo-lingui-loreologist, Wallace Jenkins-Ross, yet he isn’t the main character. He’s the guide to this quirky locale, but the main character is the town itself, composed of its citizens, its pet parades, the local pharmaceutical company, and a variety of Washington wildlife. The voices of Odsburg’s residents are collected in the form of transcriptions and found documents, which has presented a unique challenge for Ooligan, pushing us to consider more complicated design and editing techniques to best convey the story.

As the manager for Odsburg, I have the responsibility of making sure each aspect of this book’s production is on track and working to benefit the book and the author. We acquired this book right when I started as a project manager, and now, one year in, I still feel it’s been a difficult book to grasp. In the simplest terms, it offers readers so much lovely and strange content—depictions of loss, aging, hunger, and the questionable place of pharmaceuticals in the world—that it isn’t a story that lends itself to a one-line description; yet that’s exactly what my team and I have attempted to capture during the marketing phase of the book’s production. Distilling the essence of a book into copy that will be enticing to reviewers and readers alike is never an easy task, and it’s even more difficult with a book whose mission is to both confound and familiarize readers with the surreal and the strange in an otherwise mundane small town.

At this point, Odsburg has undergone a line edit, two rounds of copyediting, and a proofread. During this time, we’ve also worked to create and integrate found documents and miscellaneous design elements to mirror the texture and voices this book contains. It’s been an intricate collaboration between editing and design as we’ve tried to figure out what we can bring to life from this town while maintaining logical and textual consistency within the book. Developing this book for publication couldn’t have worked without the immense talent our press has captured recently (for example, the gorgeous cover is a testament to the skills of our amazing designers Hanna and Jenny), and this process is sure to provide both a test of our publishing skills and a wonderful opportunity for creativity as we move forward.

We’re wrapping up a busy spring term as we continue working on marketing, design, reviews, and social media, all while trying to find out just how many people we can get to believe in the town of Odsburg. It’s rare to work on a novel that you genuinely enjoy and want to read, give as a gift, and possibly buy extra copies of, but so far, Odsburg is hitting all these marks. Keep your eye out for Odsburg (as Odsburg will definitely be keeping an eye out for you)!