As I sat in my first executive meeting for Ooligan Press, I nervously observed everyone around me. Their heads bent toward one another, they talked about the various books that were in the works, the assignments they had completed over the break, and the teams they would be joining this quarter. I felt like an outsider looking in. I couldn’t help but sink a little lower in my seat. Did I even belong here?
While editing might seem quite straightforward at first, the process must be flexible based on the manuscript, the genre, and the press. In this post, I’ll be giving a little bit of insight into how books are edited here at Ooligan, since we do things a little differently.
The entirely student-run Ooligan Press is divided into several tiers of management, including team members, project managers, and department leads, all of whom are overseen by Portland State University faculty.
In publishing, we have the privilege to breathe life into a book many times over through editing, design, and marketing. We get to guide a manuscript through many transformations and make many choices that affect its future. We decide how the edits will shape the story, how the design will frame it, and how the readers will see it in stores. At the end of all this, a book exists in the world that might not have otherwise.
Ooligan Press is mostly made up of students in either their first or second year of the master’s in book publishing program at PSU. This means that every student is working on a book project team or as a department manager in addition to taking another two or three classes. And who can find the time to create cover and interior designs as we juggle up to six books in development at once? The key is collaboration. By trusting each other as managers, creators, and book lovers with valuable feedback to give, we work toward a fully designed book that best reflects the essence of the final manuscript.
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.