Events and outreach: if you’re a new or prospective student of book publishing, chances are you’ve come across this term once or twice when looking into the program or researching the publishing industry in general. The term itself can be a bit vague, since it can encompass a lot of things. I didn’t know exactly what it was either when I first started at Ooligan. At the time, I knew it had something to do with a conference, and since I’m an avid convention goer, that was enough to hook me in. But once I started working with the team, I got a better sense of what it was, how important it was, and what it meant to be a part of it.
Outreach is a vital element of every press. There is always a person or a team (depending on the size of the press) dedicated to connecting with the community, generating exposure, and creating interest in their books, their authors, and their brand. They are the ones in charge of contacting people and networks outside of the press to review their books, feature their books and authors on their platforms, and keep the community well informed, happy, and, most importantly, interested in their list—past, present, and future.
Through outreach, a press can get its name out there, keep its titles and authors relevant and in people’s minds, and continue to bring traffic to the press, which results in more books and hopefully more sales. By facilitating interaction with people outside of the press, outreach makes publishing appear more personable. You could almost consider outreach a form of very targeted marketing that, rather than focusing on a particular book, is directed at the press and all involved in it.
So, what does this mean for Ooligan Press specifically? Well, Ooligan’s events and outreach team has one major responsibility, and that is putting together the Write to Publish conference, an annual one-day event dedicated to demystifying the world of publishing. That means that we’re the ones contacting sponsors and vendors, procuring food donations, creating panels, and deciding on a conference theme. We handle the press release, the social media campaigns, and anything else having to do with the conference. Write to Publish is important for a lot of reasons. It’s Ooligan’s main fundraising event of the year, and it’s also the place where we help local authors get together and learn about all things writing and publishing. We give them an opportunity to network by providing a space where they can introduce themselves to various local presses, which in turn helps those presses by giving them a little more exposure.
In addition to organizing the conference, this team also holds many other responsibilities, such as putting together outreach campaigns with local libraries and schools to generate interest in the press and our books; hosting Ooligan Press’s annual writing contest; and working on many other exciting behind-the-scenes projects.
So, if you’re an incoming Ooligan student or someone wanting to find their place in publishing, remember events and outreach. If you like working with books and people and you enjoy the rush of bringing something to life, this might be the place for you.