Ooligan’s summer term is almost over, and for the Three Sides Water team, that means wrapping up the cover design and starting work on the book’s interior. We started work on the cover way back at the beginning of spring term, nearly five months ago, and it’s a joy to see our efforts come to fruition.
As winter term wound down, Ooligan Press voted to acquire Peter Donahue’s manuscript Three Sides Water. Donahue, whose novel Madison House won the 2005 Langum Prize for Historical Fiction, brings the Olympic Peninsula to life in this exciting trilogy of three short novels.
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.
With the river books of Ooligan Press (Ricochet River and At the Waterline) sent happily upstream to the printers, the next big project for Team Design is focusing on Ooligan’s revised edition of the Sierra Club guidebook, 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. Originally published in 2001 as a trail guide for Sierra Club members, this collection provides trail descriptions, hiking difficulty rankings, and regional history. The second edition will include updated information, featured photographs, original illustrations, plant guides, and a new introduction. This title offered the design department plenty of creative potential, which began with researching and designing concepts for a fitting cover.
Kait Heacock’s Siblings and Other Disappointments is out in the world, and maybe even at a bookstore near you! It’s been a journey. As a team, we’ve all been grappling with some mixed emotions lately—from the particular thrill of seeing hard work pay off to the melancholy feeling of saying goodbye to an old friend—but what is Siblings itself if not an emotionally complicated experience from start to finish? We continue to be blown away by the positive and personal reactions that Siblings elicits in its readers, including this lovely review from Lauren O’Brien in Shelf Awareness. Though the lion’s share of our work with Siblings is behind us now, we’ll still be keeping up with the book—and with Kait, as she too moves on to new and different things. Keep an eye on Ooligan’s Facebook page and Twitter account for all the updates. (But you’re already following us, right?)
If you’re of the bookish persuasion (and if you’re reading this blog post, the odds are probably good), you may also be of the mappish persuasion: when you pick up a book and discover it contains a map, a little piece of you erupts in excitement over this double-page spread that promises a literary quest is waiting inside.