Proofreading season is upon us at Ooligan Press. Really, that’s a bit of a misnomer—it’s not every year that all of the proofreading tasks align the way they have this winter. But align they have; we are rereleasing the ebook editions of Tony Wolk’s Abe Lincoln Trilogy just in time for Presidents’ Day, which means we have all three books that need to be proofread. We are also proofreading the ebook version of 50 Hikes (which publishes March 1!) and have just wrapped up on a proofread of Three Sides Water.
The more hiking guidebooks I looked at, the more it became clear to me that they had a very defined look; glossy photographs of nature with a solid color band across the top or bottom with the title. With such a rigid look, how would we be able to make our Ooligan hiking guidebook look the part?
We are all about spending this summer planning the trajectories of our upcoming releases in the marketing department. The Ooligan Press offices are already boiling over with summer anticipation over the November 7th release of Meagan Macvie’s The Ocean in My Ears, and we’ve laced up our hiking boots to explore the trails found in 50 Hikes in the Tillamook & Clatsop State Forests to collect promotional materials before The Sierra Club’s guidebook lands on bookshelves next March. Nevertheless, before we get to celebrate the launches of those awesome books, we are working with the teams to ensure that their marketing efforts are optimally strategized.
The summer term is an excellent time for Ooligan’s forthcoming hiking guide, 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. With reliably clear skies, our team members can embark on the titular hikes, strengthening their connection with the project and allowing us to ensure accuracy for our readers. Not many publishing projects involve going outside and breathing pristine forest air; we’re feeling pretty lucky.
Book marketing is a great way to get to know a book. It not only allows one to be involved with a manuscript through the entire publishing process, but it gives those responsible for marketing books the chance to tell a story about the story. Sometimes these stories work really well, and other times ideas fall flat—that’s marketing. Nevertheless, coming up with a solid marketing plan, or even a functional concept that works well for a book, typically comes from the text itself. But even before those ideas roll out, the marketing process has started; it begins as soon as a manuscript arrives at the press.
Of course, every book provides its own set of challenges, but a book like 50 Hikes is in many ways new territory for Ooligan Press. We’ve had to rethink a lot of our standard strategies to establish a workable plan for making and selling this book. Our editing team has done an admirable job of figuring out how to deal with content provided by a group of volunteers rather than a single author. Our marketing department, meanwhile, is grappling with the challenges of adapting the marketing strategies we’ve used for past titles to a hiking guidebook. For example, how many guidebooks have you seen reviewed in Publishers Weekly lately? (Answer: more than you might think, but it’s definitely not their bread and butter.)
Probably the most exciting project happening right now is the cover design, which has been selected via student vote and will be finalized over the next few weeks. As with any book, the real challenge with the aesthetic has been figuring out how to set 50 Hikes apart from other guidebooks while also having it fit in with ongoing trends. You want your book to catch the reader’s eye, but you also want it to match the rest of its genre and be recognized as such. Hiking guidebooks definitely have a particular look, and we thought a lot about how much we wanted this book to call back to those covers as we went through the design process. 50 Hikes is primarily a guidebook, of course, but the Sierra Club’s involvement means that it’s also a conservation effort—with the goal of encouraging hikers to explore, to enjoy, and, ultimately, to protect natural spaces. Making a cover that accurately reflects both of these aspects in one image hasn’t been an easy process, but Oolies decided on a gorgeous design that will no doubt merge these themes successfully in its final form.