Connie King Leonard is the author of Sleeping in My Jeans, a YA novel about a teen girl who has to live out of her car with her mother and young sister. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Connie to discuss what inspired her to write a book about being homeless, what message she hopes it will send, and the unique protagonist at the center of it all—Mattie Rollins.
At the end of every winter term, students at Ooligan Press have the opportunity to become project managers (PMs) and department leads, and a year later, they must pass the torch to next year’s students. As managers are currently in the process of training their successors, three departing project managers reflect on the challenges and achievements throughout their tenure and give advice to future Ooligan PMs.
Right from the start, I wanted to focus on marketing throughout the Book Publishing program because it was what I knew best from a previous internship. And lucky for me, on my first day I was assigned to a project group that was in the marketing stage. While I had experience with social media, blog posts, and other digital forms of marketing, I had never heard of the term “collateral” before and wasn’t aware of its significance in marketing.
Marketing is focused on finding a book’s most interesting points and framing them in a way that appeals to the intended audience. Editing needs to take similar ideas into account: What are the readers going to see from this book? What is the most interesting part of this book to readers? Which characters appeal to readers, and which bore them? Are the themes in this book suitable for the intended audience? While you don’t need to tailor the book to a specific audience, it is important to see where the book shines (not just what you like about it), and how those elements merge to create the final project.
With three books ready to hit the market in the coming months, two teams are working hard on their Social Media Strategy Document, which covers everything from who they aim to reach with their social media campaign to when this campaign will be launched and—most importantly—how they plan to execute their ideas. The document is extensive, and for every platform they utilize (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.), there is “paperwork” to be done. So, where do I come in?
When I took over this project at the end of spring term last year, I honestly could not imagine this end point: we have a finished book, reviews coming in, and several upcoming book events. It has been a long road, and yet it feels just like yesterday that my predecessor was graduating and handing me the reigns. And now, as we wrap up the marketing plan for Seven Stitches and celebrate the launch, we turn to a new manuscript. This is one of the most amazing aspects of our time at Ooligan Press. We have our hands in so many pieces of the process.