McKenzie Workman & Kelsey Yocum
Winter 2013–Spring 2013
Spring 2013–Summer 2013
Miriam Hope Friis is a bright and talented young woman in search of her voice. Due to a pronounced stutter, Hope struggles to communicate—which becomes especially challenging as the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s engulfs her hometown of Berkeley, CA. The one person with whom she shares a special connection is her ailing grandfather, whose own unbelievable past soon embroils Hope in a journey through time and history in a quest to save a baby from an awful fate. Hope must find her voice—and confront her own personal mistakes—or face the terrible consequences.
It has only been a few short weeks since I have last updated, but it certainly seems like much longer. As I wrote during my last post of 2013, the launch party for The Ninth Day happened on December 16 at the Koehler House. One of the Ninth Day project team members blogged about the party here. As most of our efforts for the last week or two of the term were concentrated on finalizing launch details, it was an enormous relief to see the party go off without a hitch.
Attendees of the launch were even treated to a quick tour of the Koehler house and got see all of the house’s special features, including the secret safe downstairs and the third floor attic, which is said to be the favorite haunt of Gustav, one of the original inhabitants of the house. As is tradition, Ruth read select passages from the book and answered questions afterward. She also treated us all to an inside peak into the forthcoming third book in the Blue Thread series, which she is currently working on.
Now that the book has launched, we are in full-on sales mode. This term we will be implementing the sell-through plan that the team created in the fall. This plan includes following up with some of the market influencers we targeted last fall, applying for awards, and coordinating a blog tour, among other tasks. In April, Ruth will be hosting a fantasy panel. Stay tuned to Ooligan’s blog and Facebook for updates and more information on that event.
The launch is swiftly approaching, so remember to mark your calendars for December 16! You can also RSVP on Facebook. Since the launch is so near, the Ninth Day team has been wrapped up in event planning. Stop by the Koehler house next Monday to see how our efforts this term have paid off.
If you haven’t RSVP’d on Facebook yet, the launch begins at 7 p.m. at the Koehler house, currently home to the law firm of Kilmer, Voorhees, and Laurick, at 732 NW 19th Avenue. Ruth will be reading, signing books, and participating in a brief Q&A session. And if you’ve been following either my updates or Ruth’s career, you know that her readings are never dull affairs.
In addition to finalizing the details of the launch, we are also swiftly nearing the time when the production process ends and the book moves from production (i.e. “sell-in”) to the sell-through period. To that end, a few people on the Ninth Day team have worked up a sell-through plan over the last few weeks. Such plans include possible awards to apply for and other ways to reach out to the audience for the book. In Ruth’s case, next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, an important cultural and political turning point in American life and an integral aspect of her novel. She will be promoting the book throughout the year, and while these posts may not be around to cover all of these upcoming events, Ooligan certainly will.
I will be back next week to talk about how the launch went—and to reveal some details about an exciting panel that Ruth will be moderating next spring—but why don’t you come see for yourself?
We received notice this week that Ruth’s novel Blue Thread has been reviewed in the most recent issue of Lilith, a Jewish feminist magazine, just in time for Hanukkah this year. It is especially gratifying to see reviews are still coming in after publication, particularly since the Ninth Day team has spent a significant amount of energy this term identifying potential new reviewers and following up with those we have already contacted.
Aside from contacting new reviewers, our tasks for The Ninth Day have become very launch-centric. We are working to secure snacks and prizes for our activities. As I mentioned last week, we will be raffling off a classroom set of books to an interested teacher, and we have been brainstorming the most effective way to execute that plan. The launch already has an event page on Facebook (link: https://www.facebook.
We will be posting more launch details as they come in, so be sure to check back soon.
Over the past few weeks, I have been posting quite a bit about the Ninth Day team’s efforts to secure a launch venue and date. Happily, our efforts have paid off, and we are proud to announce that The Ninth Day will officially launch on Monday, December 16 at 7 p.m. at the historic Koehler house (732 NW 19th Avenue), which is currently home to the law firm Kilmer, Voorhees, and Laurick. This building features prominently as Miriam Josefson’s home in Ruth’s first novel, Blue Thread. The team and I will be visiting the site this week to strategize for the launch, and the next few weeks are going to be busy busy busy with activities brainstorm and event planning.
In addition to the December launch, Powell’s Books at Cedar Crossing will host a reading from The Ninth Day this Friday, November 15, at 7 p.m. Ruth was also recently interviewed by Dan Sodowsky over at OPB about historical fiction and her writing process.
I was blown away by the incredibly comprehensive media brainstorms that John Hartman’s Transmedia Marketing class was able to come up with when I sat in on them last week. They have thought up some brilliant strategies to get the word out about the Blue Thread series. This conversation will continue when John, Ruth, our marketing lead, Adam, and some of the Ninth Day team meet again this week.
With the books printed and event dates confirmed, it might be tempting to think that the work for a specific project is nearly done.
Tempting, sure, but also misleading and inaccurate.
At this point, the Ninth Day team is still knee-deep—or possibly even waist-deep—in the middle of our marketing and sales push. We are in the process of confirming new readings and events for Ruth (more details coming soon!), and we have started planning out games and activities for the launch. Since any event with Ruth tends to involve interactive presentations and exciting costume changes, we want to capitalize on that and host something a little more than your average launch.
In addition to continuing outreach efforts with the identified audience for the book, the team and I are busy creating brand new spreadsheets full of reviewers and other contacts we might have missed the first time around. We are incredibly fortunate that John Hartman’s Transmedia Marketing class has taken on The Ninth Day and corresponding Blue Thread universe for their final project assignment, which means that we have an entire extra classroom worth of marketing-minded Ooligan students thinking about the most effective ways to engage Ruth’s audience with her book. This week, I have the pleasure of sitting in on that class with Ruth and brainstorming new strategies for the books. Stay tune for all the details on this meeting and more later on this week!
This week in the world of The Ninth Day, the team has been keeping pretty busy. In addition to big picture duties like finalizing launch details and designing collateral, we have been making sure that smaller assignments get taken care of, too. This includes tasks like updating the book information on Ooligan’s website—check it out to read some of the amazing advance praise—and refreshing out-of-date links so that people can buy the book. Earlier in the week, we voted on slogans to put on our Free Speech Movement-style political buttons that we will be using for collateral. The pins are being designed this weekend and will be ready just in time for the launch party at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing.
In addition to planning the launch, we are working to schedule more author readings for Ruth. She is currently slated to present this weekend at the Lincoln County Historical Society in Newport, Oregon. Find out all the details on her blog. In addition to this visit, Ruth will also be reading as a part of Jewish Voices at the Oregon Jewish Museum on November 12 along with Kerri Cohen, David Axelrod, and more. If you have the chance, don’t miss out on these opportunities to hear Ruth speak—we know you won’t be disappointed.
After a bustling first week of classes, there has been little rest for the Ninth Day team.
Last weekend, Ruth made her debut appearance for this title in a smash-hit performance with Francesca Lia Block Saturday morning at Wordstock. As mentioned in the last post, Ruth came prepared with a powerpoint, props, and even a costume change, inspiring a rousing question-and-answer period that lasted until the very end of her allotted time slot. Afterward, she signed books for local and out-of-town fans alike.
Ruth then spent Tuesday morning signing books for booksellers at PNBA. Always the busy author, Ruth will be making several appearances in the near future. Next up is a presentation at the Lincoln County Historical Society in Newport, OR on Saturday, October 19.
On the Ooligan side of things, we are still ironing out the launch party details (there will be trivia!) and finalizing the ebook so that it is also ready to go as soon as the print book hits the stores. As I mentioned last week, the Ninth Day team is also getting together to design the final pieces of collateral to have in time for the official launch: Ruth will be reading at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hill Crossing on Friday, November 15 at 7 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there for a fabulous night of celebration!
Last week I wrote that we were just getting back into the swing of things with the new school term beginning and all of our students returning to campus. And we’ve certainly had to dive right in at Ooligan in order to get ready for what feels like a dozen literary festivals and trade shows this week.
Wordstock, Day One took place today, including a reading and Q&A by Ruth in the morning. Sharing the McMenamin’s main event stage at 11 a.m. with Francesca Lia Block, Ruth surprised the audience by appearing in a tie-dye ensemble reminiscent of 1960s fashion. If you missed the chance to pick up her brand new book today, be sure to stop by the Ooligan table tomorrow and get your copy.
The initial print run of the books was delivered to Ooligan just yesterday—perfect timing for Wordstock and PNBA. Also right on time for these events, we have brand new TND bookmarks designed by Robyn Best, the Ooligan staffer who completed the interior design for the book. In addition to the new collateral, we are in the process of completing the final proofs to ensure that the ebook will be ready to go by the launch date.
Check back next week for updates about the official launch in November.
The Ooligan office has been pretty quiet the past few weeks during our summer hiatus, but that doesn’t mean press work has stopped entirely. We’ve still managed to make great progress on The Ninth Day. Since our last update, Ruth’s book has been reviewed online by Kirkus Reviews (the print version will appear in their October 1 edition); Florrie Steinbacher has continued her takeover of Ruth’s blog, bringing her posts up to a total of 45; and just this week, we received our first print-run of the finalized publication.
All this means we’re nearly finished, right? Well, not quite. We still have collateral to print before Ruth’s upcoming October events and a huge marketing push ahead of us.
At the moment, we are gearing up for a whole slew of readings, author appearances, and book launches to take place over the next couple of months. First up, we have the Wordstock festival: on Saturday, October 5, Ruth will make an appearance here alongside fellow YA writer Francesca Lia Block. Then, on Tuesday, October 8, Ruth will be signing copies of her freshly printed book at the Pacific Northwest Bookseller’s Association (PNBA) tradeshow. If you’re planning to attend, you can find Ruth on the exhibit floor from 10:45-11:15 that morning.
In addition to all of these October events, we are in the process of planning some exciting activities and giveaways for our events in November. On November 15, Ruth will hold a reading at the Cedar Hills Crossing location of Powell’s bookstore. We are incredibly excited to celebrate the launch of this book at such a wonderful location. But don’t worry—that’s not the only event in November we have up our sleeves. When classes begin next week and Ooligan Press officially starts back up, we will have a whole new team of students to brainstorm fun and innovative ideas for the launch.
Be sure to check back in next Friday for updates on our promotional plans. Until then, happy reading!
Hello, everyone! I hope you all have been enjoying the delightful weather summer has afforded us Portlanders. The Ninth Day has been progressing wonderfully this term, and we hope to make even more headway on this project over the next few weeks in preparation for our autumn launch.
The first bit of news is that our galleys have been mailed out—woohoo! I have many people to thank for helping to make this happen: first the marketing team for getting the review requests written, then the exterior/interior design teams for working so expeditiously and creating such a lovely looking book, and then the marketing team once again for getting the advanced reader copies of these beauties packaged and mailed out. It looks like the continuation of great things for Ruth’s novel.
The digital resource copy of The Ninth Day is now available on Edelweiss as well, and Keely has already received many requests for this book. I hope to spread to word about Ruth’s novel far and wide in the blog world, the vlog (i.e., video blog) world, and other wonderful book review venues. Keely has been doing an excellent job of staying on top of this, so another big round of applause to her!
Ruth has been posting quite regularly on her new blog about Miriam—or Mim, as she is referred to in this story—from the perspective of Florrie, Mim’s best friend. The blog is up to 18 posts as of August 9, and although I am a little behind in reading it, I have been enjoying it very much. I really love Ruth’s series, so it is always exciting to read anything that takes place in the fictional world she has created.
The fourth and final blurb we received was from the famous American author, radio journalist, and NPR correspondent Margot Adler, whose own experiences at Berkley allowed for a wonderful historical perspective on the novel. Her blurb will be a prominent feature on the back cover of The Ninth Day.
The book’s interior and exterior design have been fully completed and the novel is currently being taken through the proofreading stage. I have had the opportunity to review the book in its preliminary physical form, and it is absolutely delightful; our designers have really exceeded themselves with this second book in the Serakh saga. I can’t wait for the October publication of this novel and the chance to show it off at Wordstock.
Be sure to check back in on September 16 for the latest update on The Ninth Day. Until then, happy reading!
Happy July, everyone! The beginning of summer term marked Kate’s first week as the incoming project manager for The Ninth Day. I look forward to showing her more about the process of overseeing this book’s production and gaining a more integrated partnership with her as my fellow manager. She has been very enthusiastic in her desire to be a PM for Ruth’s book, and I am excited to think of what we can accomplish together this term.
Our marketing team was hard at work last week securing a third blurb for The Ninth Day. This one was a beautiful write-up from Jen Violi, author of the YA novel, Putting Makeup on Dead People. In my my favorite part of the review, Jen states, “Reading this book felt like looking at a night sky full of stars and having a wise someone connect the bright spots for me, revealing constellations rich with story, myth, and magic.” I was moved by how well Jen put into words what I have only felt about Ruth’s newest book.
Our marketing manager, Keely, has also provided us with excellent back cover copy for the book. After working through two completely different drafts from the last marketing team, Keely has come up with a truly stellar description for The Ninth Day that we can all be proud of. Thank you, Keely!
Robyn is still diligently crafting her interior design, working in tandem with Ruth now to ensure that the end product is just right. Once we have the interior completed, we can move forward there. I believe readers are going to be delighted with the elegance of this book’s final design, and I look forward to revealing extra details about this and more during The Ninth Day’s next post on August 12th. Until then, happy reading!
T9D has an interior! Robyn has been rocking it with her design, and all of us on the T9D team are super happy with the results. A gorgeous full-page spread at the beginning with 1960s rock concert imagery got me even more excited about this book; it really reflects the story’s themes beautifully, and I sincerely feel it will hold the interest of anyone who picks this book up. Besides the full-page spread, Robyn created stunning clock-like imagery for each of the nine days. All in all, a beautiful and professional design—I love it.
T9D also now has a list of six reviewers interested in writing a blurb. Keely’s been doing an excellent job keeping on top of this for us, and I am so happy with the reaction to Ruth’s latest entry in the Serakh Saga. Let’s hope we get some awesome reviews!
This Monday, Robyn’s design for the interior of The Ninth Day will be revealed to the press. After discussing several ideas with Ruth at our meeting a few weeks ago, it will be exciting to see the completed product. Once we get the blurbs, exterior design, and page count finalized, we will be moving forward with printing the ARCs.
So this week Ruth is in Istanbul doing research for her next book, and enjoying all the lovely bazaars. Back home we’ve had some very good things happening for T9D. Ruth’s book will once again have a chance at the PNBA awards, and we can thank Robyn in Sales for that. Yeah! Thank you Robyn! Also, Ruth will be going to Wordstock this year to promote her book, which will be great for marketing and sales.
We have received some requests from potential blurbers for a printed copy of T9D, so those will be mailed out really soon. Riley and Robyn are doing an awesome job with the exterior and interior design of the book. The interior design should be done very soon, and hopefully we will receive blurbs here soon to finalize the exterior. For the PMs of T9D, this week is a lot about waiting, but it will be worth it. We are hoping for rave reviews from our blurbers and that Ruth will just rock it at Wordstock, and we’re looking forward to her next installment in the Florrie series. So, yeah, lots of good things happening for T9D!
At the moment, The Ninth Day project manager team is waiting for work to come back from the departments. Bits of the project are being worked on in almost every group: Editing finished typecoding the manuscript and will be receiving back cover copy to edit any day now; Design is working on the back cover and spine while Robyn is plugging away on the interior; Marketing is hearing back from potential blurbers who want to read the manuscript and they are writing up a review request cover letter to be sent out next month; and we will be talking to Digital soon about metadata.
In terms of us managers, we are going to start constructing the marketing budget, taking into account the number of ARCs and collateral we’ll need. We are also brainstorming marketing ideas to be expanded upon in the summer.
Speaking of cool marketing ideas, Ruth has started a serialized story, which will continue during the summer, connecting Blue Thread and The Ninth Day. Check it out!
The Ninth Day has an interior designer! Robyn Best, who is also doing an independent study this term to help TND with its sales plan, is really excited to get this project. Robyn, Ruth and I met last Wednesday to go over Robyn’s ideas and the first results of the YA interior design research. Robyn has chosen to draw inspiration from the interior design of The Diviners by Libba Bray, envisioning a beautiful two-page spread image and less white space. They also discussed typeface choices and the need for a feminine touch for the design of the whole book. Robyn’s enthusiasm and preparedness gave me confidence that she is the perfect person for this project, and I look forward to seeing what she will create for the interior of TND.
Ruth plans to have the acknowledgements done by May 13th, and will be in touch even while she is away on vacation. Ruth and I also briefly talked about her vision for a story arc in blog form, to provide a bridge between the stories of Miriam and Hope, which I am personally really excited about. She has a lot of great ideas that will need to be discussed with us and her critique group before the story is ready to launch.
We will continue to post design developments as they come up, as well as updates about Ruth’s website redesign. So stay tuned.
It is now time for The Ninth Day to have its own interior designer! Some lucky Oolie will take what is now a simple Word document and turn it into a beautiful, professional layout using Adobe InDesign. From the outside, the interior design process looks simple—fonts and margins turn into square-ish pages of prose—but there is much more to interior design than can be seen and understood at a glance. For every project, thousands of typefaces are discarded before one emerges as the perfect choice. Then, point size and leading are chosen to fit that typeface in this specific project. Characters per line are counted and averaged out to see if the margins are too narrow or too wide. Tracking must be adjusted throughout hundreds of pages to eliminate those pesky widows, orphans, and runts…The list of tiny, crucial details could go on forever.
The interior design process is all about small changes that create big impact. If you’ve ever read a book—really, anything with words on it—and been distracted by the type or layout, then the designer made a mistake. Unless you’re a typophile or a designer yourself, then you shouldn’t notice the interior of a publication. As a reader, you should experience and enjoy the material, not think about margins or point size.
Whoever is chosen to be the interior designer of The Ninth Day will be tasked with creating a design that works with the text, but also works for the text. He or she will do extensive research into appropriate interior design for young adult literature. The design concept will be consistent with choices made on the book cover as well with the companion novel Blue Thread. The designer(s) will work for weeks, even months, to create an interior design that—if it is successful—the casual reader probably won’t even be aware of. But that’s okay, because we take beautiful things for granted all the time. The next time you open a book or magazine or newspaper, try to pay attention to the interior design. You might be surprised by how complicated an interior can be!
This past week has truly been a mix of tasks. The big one for us was wrangling the schedule—it is our job to keep track of all the balls in the air in all the different departments. Though we want to keep our major due dates intact, the intermediate ones often have to shift slightly due to unforeseen events. We constantly have to balance being strict about due dates with being flexible with the realities of working with so many people.
We also met with Marketing to start our blurber list. Blurbs are the quotes from reviewers and authors that appear on the back (or sometimes front) of the book, on the website, and in promotional materials. They are an important part of book marketing, because they endorse the quality of the book and hopefully increase sales as a result.
This week, we have been accepting applications for interior designers, who will have a month to turn the manuscript into an actual book. Once a designer is chosen, we’ll be sure to keep you posted about the interior design process in the coming weeks.
On Monday, Ooligan author Ruth Tenzer Feldman won an Oregon Book Award for her first novel, Blue Thread. Published last year, Blue Thread has been a bestseller for Ooligan Press and has earned an impressive reputation among reviewers and readers in the Pacific Northwest. We have always been proud of Ruth and of Blue Thread, but to win an Oregon Book Award is a really big deal—it’s something that very few authors can say they have done. Every publisher hopes that their book will be award-winning, and applying for awards is an important step in the publication of a book, but, naturally, not every book will win. Ooligan Press is fortunate to have won more than one Oregon Book Award, but this latest one for Blue Thread is particularly exciting since we are publishing its companion novel, The Ninth Day, this fall. If everything goes according to plan, then The Ninth Day will be as popular as Blue Thread, and maybe win its own Oregon Book Award someday. No one deserves it more than Ruth.
Next week, we will be researching authors and reviewers to start acquiring blurbs for The Ninth Day, as well as adding book award research to the marketing plan.
Over spring break, our intrepid Editing team pulled off a giant task for us: they copyedited The Ninth Day in about half the time we usually take. The reason for the rush is our shortened production schedule—we need a finished manuscript to hand off to an interior designer so that we can print galleys and send them out to reviewers on time. The manuscript is now back with Ruth, who will go over the Editing group’s track changes and accept or reject the edits.
People often view copyediting as a very structured process, a straightforward application of strict rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. To some extent, that’s true; reviewing those details is a major staple of copyediting. But those rules are not always as strict as you may think—it depends on the style of the piece. For example, some grammarians would never begin a sentence with a conjunction. However, in a YA novel, with its much more relaxed tone, it would read very strangely if all conjunction-starting sentences were eliminated, especially in dialogue.
In reality, copyediting can involve everything from checking the smallest punctuation marks up to moving whole paragraphs around. Luckily for us, Ruth is a very clean writer, meaning the manuscript needed only a few minor grammar and punctuation changes rather than the reworking of entire sentences or paragraphs.
Once Ruth returns the manuscript to us, it is off to the interior designer!
N.B. — Blue Thread is nominated for an Oregon Book Award! The ceremony is on Monday and and tickets are still available . We have all our fingers and toes crossed for Ruth.
For the past week, while the editing department copyedited the final manuscript, Kelsey and I worked on Sales Kits. For those of you who are quietly scratching your heads and wondering why I am capitalizing such simple words…I was once you. If you had asked me a month ago what Sales Kits were, I would have laughed at you (politely) and then distracted you with a tangential question about your plans for Spring Break. Unfortunately—or fortunately, if your glass is half-full—Abbey (Ooligan’s Publisher) could not be distracted. As it turned out, Kelsey and I were responsible for assembling and mailing nearly eighty kits before the first of April. So as soon as we were finished with our end-of-term projects and presentations, we got busy.
The first step was to ask Abbey what Sales Kits are. She explained to us that Sales Kits are sent to the sales representatives at Ingram (our distributor), who then use those kits to familiarize themselves with our press and our book. Since The Ninth Day is a young adult novel, we sent kits to the reps who specialize in children’s and young adult books. These reps—who are spread all over the US and Canada—go to bookstores and try to sell our book to the store’s book buyers.
Knowing the why of Sales Kits was helpful, but we still didn’t know what went inside them. Well, we found out pretty quick. You can see in the photo below five stacks of paper. From left to right, they are: an introductory letter from Kelsey and I summarizing The Ninth Day and thanking the reps for their future hard work; an informational sheet introducing Ooligan Press; a two-page tipsheet for The Ninth Day; a full-page printout of our beautiful cover; and Chapter 1 of The Ninth Day, which the editing department copyedited for us to include as an excerpt.
The whole thing took us about eight hours—including the time it took to write the cover letter, proofread everything, print almost a thousand pages, staple everything that needed stapling, and then pack each of the almost eighty black folders into envelopes, which were addressed to the reps and sealed. Here is what the final stack of Sales Kits looked like:
I’m sure Kelsey will agree with me when I say that the most difficult part of this entire process was forcing the computer and printer to cooperate with us. In the end, we managed to finish the kits in time. It was close, but Kelsey and I worked our tails off, sacrificing more than one crisp morning and beautiful afternoon to work indoors. (To be fair, we did order Thai food to boost our spirits.) Hopefully, our hard work—as well as the effort put out by the editing, design, and marketing departments over the last few months—will make a difference in the long-term sales of The Ninth Day.
Next, we will be working with the marketing and design departments to create collateral for the book. Ruth will review her copyedits, and then editing will sign off on the manuscript. Plus, the design department is working on the back cover.
We are so incredibly excited. I’d like to give a big thank you to the Design department for doing such a lovely job.
I love how the button, the obscured face, and the hand-painted sign all tie in with Blue Thread, while the overall look of the cover still remains unique. Its retro feel and unusual layout will help it stand out on shelves.
A quick anecdote concerning the design process: the designers had a bit of challenge finding a good location for the shoot. It turns out that all the colleges in the area have brick buildings that look nothing like UC Berkeley’s. On a fluke, we found one of the few public buildings in Portland built in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style: the Title Wave Bookstore, a used bookstore in Northeast Portland which supports the Multnomah County library system. I’m happy that this small part of the Portland literary scene made its way onto the cover.
Now that we have a cover, we are on to making sales kits. More about that next week!
Ruth has been editing since early January, and now the revisions are done! After the developmental editors went through the manuscript, they had a few suggestions to improve the characters and story of The Ninth Day. Based on these suggestions, Ruth has made some changes and a few additions to the novel.
Next, a team of Ooligan editors will be working with the manuscript on a mechanical level. They will concentrate on the grammar and syntax, rather than the major ideas and themes of the novel. Because we are producing The Ninth Day faster than we have any other book in the history of Ooligan Press, the copyeditors will only have a few weeks to do one of the most important jobs in the publishing process. Lucky for them, Ruth is an amazing writer—not only can she craft a story, but she can really work a sentence. Her writing is always clean, both efficient and effective.Kelsey and I will be waiting impatiently for the edits to be completed, since we have to start preparing sales kits before the term is over. We’ll explain these later, but the most important part of the sales kit is a sample of the novel itself. This will help the sales reps get to know The Ninth Day, so that they can turn around and tell bookstores about it.
This week was quiet on the Ninth Day front, but Ooligan has been in constant motion getting ready for this weekend’s Write to Publish conference. This year, the theme is Write What You Know. Most of the authors and experts who will be speaking at the conference work with various forms of nonfiction, including memoir, biography, journalism, and travel writing, among others.
This recent attention to nonfiction has got me thinking: even though Ruth writes primarily fiction these days, she writes what she knows. Ruth denies having time-traveled herself, but she knows more about Jewish life, women’s suffrage, the Free Speech Movement, medieval Paris, and 60s music than anyone with a full-time job has a right to know. She has found a way to mix a handful of utterly unconnected interests and write not only one, but two fantastic novels for Ooligan. Because she writes what she knows, does that make the writing easy? Nope. Does that make it fun? Definitely. In my opinion, having fun while doing something you love, even if it’s hard, is all we can ask for.
If you’re planning to come to Write to Publish, please say hi to Kelsey or me. We are always willing to talk about The Ninth Day, Ruth, time-traveling, and young adult lit.
This week has been a busy one for The Ninth Day; we had our all-press cover vote on Monday! But…we can’t show you the cover yet. I know, I know, I’m sorry. It was voted in more as a concept rather than as a final product, so we will wait to unveil it until it’s completely done.
We also had a conference call with Ingram Publisher Services, our distributor, this Friday afternoon. Luckily, Abbey reminded McKenzie and me that the call was at 3 o’clock…Central Time. I definitely would’ve called in two hours late wondering where everyone was!
The conference call included seven people: McKenzie, Abbey, and me from Ooligan, and four Ingram employees, including Keith, who manages Ooligan’s account, and Gary, the Northwest sales representative.
McKenzie and I pitched The Ninth Day to the sales reps, explaining the plot and our marketing plans. It was wonderful to hear that they enjoyed Blue Thread and were intrigued by the idea of a companion novel. They were also excited to hear that Ruth is still doing events for Blue Thread, even while in the midst of editing The Ninth Day, and that she is already starting to think about the marketing for The Ninth Day. We are incredibly lucky to have an author who is enthusiastic about pitching and participating in marketing ideas, making our job that much more fun. In the end, they didn’t have too many questions or suggestions for us, which we were assured means we did a good job.
On to collecting all our marketing ideas into a formal plan while finalizing the cover.
This week McKenzie and I had a ton of fun going to the Design Department meeting to see all the preliminary cover designs. They are still in the early stages—the covers at the moment are mostly mock-ups using images nicked from the internet—but we are super excited by all the great concepts. The designers are taking the 60s setting to heart by using vintage designs, images, colors, and fashions. I’ve heard through the grapevine there may even be some photo shoots this weekend to create the final versions of some of the covers. We are so excited to share with you the final choice after the entire press votes on the covers in a couple of weeks!
I am impressed by how the designers have taken the tone and symbolism of the book and translated it into YA-friendly designs. It is a tricky business with any book to create the cover but especially for one that incorporates two time periods, an activist movement, and time travel.
The most important aspect of cover design is to make sure it attracts the audience that is most likely to enjoy the book. In the case of The Ninth Day, it is a historical fiction novel with time travel, so we want to make sure it does not look like a paranormal romance by having a black cover and an edgy red font. Also, the book needs to look YA, which means using lots of photography, symbolism, and eye-catching visibility in the design. For example, some of the cover ideas we saw are using photographs instead of illustrations because illustrations tend to make the book look much younger. Other covers are incorporating symbolism drawn from the book, such as free speech buttons, Saxon coins, and blue threads, while a few of the designs are using 60s colors to help the covers stand out on the shelves. It is going to be a tough choice to make with all these wonderfully creative ideas.
McKenzie and I can wait until next week to see how the covers have evolved.
This week was pretty quiet for The Ninth Day, but Kelsey and I finally met our author, Ruth. Ruth has been a fixture at Ooligan since we first enrolled back in 2011, but we had never actually met her before signing on to manage her second book. Before this week, we had exchanged many emails and ideas for editing the novel, but we lacked the face-to-face time.
It still shocks me that books are published today without that face-to-face meeting. In larger publishing houses, authors rarely (if ever) meet their editors or the marketing department or their book’s cover designer. In many cases, the author only knows their agent. How stressful it must feel to nurture a book and then pass it off into the hands of total strangers!
In almost two years at Ooligan, I have worked on numerous publishing projects that were nothing more than assignments for a class. For me, meeting with Ruth has finally made The Ninth Day feel real, like something more important than a class project. I won’t be graded on my work with The Ninth Day, but my work will influence the eventual success of this novel. This responsibility will extend to the work I’ll do after Ooligan.
Next week, Kelsey and I will meet with the Design department to see their cover concepts and finalize the tipsheet with the Marketing department.
This past week, The Ninth Day started projects in three departments at once—Editing, Design, and Marketing. Our two editors, Tara and Kathryn, finished their preliminary edits of the manuscript, which we then passed on to Ruth. McKenzie and I are looking forward to meeting Ruth for the first time next week to discuss the edits!
The Design department has started on the cover design process. The designers have a tricky job: they need to find a balance between keeping the cover true to the story while also appealing to the YA audience and reflecting the book’s connection to Blue Thread. They have started by collecting images and brainstorming various approaches to figure out the most impactful design options.
Marketing is now involved with The Ninth Day as well, and their first order of business is to create the tip sheet. All week we have been discussing the best sentence for the “hook,” how to phrase the description of the book, comparative titles, our target audience, key selling points, marketing highlights, and so on. The Marketing department has also started brainstorming possible ways to market The Ninth Day in preparation for writing the marketing plan. This is everyone’s chance to come up with their wildest ideas so that later we can decide on the most effective, but also plausible, marketing plan.
For McKenzie and me, it is very exciting to be working with so many departments at once! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone’s ideas in the next few weeks.
Last year, Ooligan published Blue Thread, a novel by local author Ruth Tenzer Feldman, which has proven to be one of the most commercially and critically successful books ever published by the press, and is currently a finalist for the 2013 Oregon Book Awards. Now, Ooligan has acquired the second book in the Serakh series, The Ninth Day, which follows Hope Jacobowitz, the granddaughter Blue Thread central character of Miriam Josefsohn. Hope meets Serakh, her time-traveling ancestor, and goes back in time to 1099 in order to help a Parisian woman save her child. In order to do so, Hope must overcome her shyness about her stutter and finally speak up for herself.
When it comes to publishing this novel, Ooligan will be swimming in unfamiliar waters. We will be working on an experimental production schedule, one that aims to push the manuscript from acquisition to publication in about a year, rather than the eighteen-or-so months that most Ooligan titles enjoy. Although we are already familiar with Ruth and her characters, and have put in countless hours of work on Blue Thread, The Ninth Day will need the same amount of work as any other novel, only faster.
The first step for The Ninth Day is the editing phase. The manuscript is already terrific, but there is no such thing as a perfect manuscript. Right now, the Editing department is wrapping up its evaluation and generating recommendations for Ruth. Copyediting and proofreading will come later, after Ruth has finished all of her revisions. Next week, we will meet with the Design department to talk about possible cover ideas, as well as the Marketing department, so that we can begin to discuss the tipsheet.
Everyone at Ooligan is thrilled to be working with Ruth again, but no one more so than we are. It is an honor to be the project managers for The Ninth Day, and we hope that you enjoy following along as we make this manuscript into a real book.
The Ninth Day’s /em