Another semester come and gone, and now I’m that much closer to graduating. It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was pacing the halls in my apartment with a new seven month old foster son and wondering, “Am I crazy for going back to school, now, after so long?” I’m glad that I didn’t heed the negative voices in my mind, and instead jumped headlong into this experience. The winter semester has brought a load of new challenges and experiences that have both enriched and better prepared me for a future in the publishing industry. I think that I have a better grasp of where my strengths and weaknesses lie, and I owe a great deal of that to my work with Ooligan Press, and in particular the publishing group for The Ghosts That Travel With Me.
I felt pretty lucky to be coming back to the same group as the previous semester. I feel like I had a better grasp of what was going on, and how I could contribute the ultimate goals of the book. Our group leader, Arianna, and the whole group in fact, was always enthusiastic about the work, and had great ideas to take it that extra step. I was paired with awesome grad students at different points in the semester to work on different tasks, and each of them was wonderfully helpful and collaborative.
Type coding a portion of the book was an interesting process, and one I’ve always been curious about. I’m glad I’ve added that skill to my repertoire, and I’m sure it will help me in not only job prospects but also in my personal publishing endeavors as well. At this point in the process I’m really hoping to placed with this group for my final semester - that way will get to see the book through to the end.
As for my responsibilities this go around, I primarily worked on following up with authors who had contributed blurbs, and collecting those into a spreadsheet. I also worked with pretty extensively book group marketing - which required a great deal of time collecting contacts and compiling a spreadsheet of potential groups we could reach out to. I put together a form letter to use in those contacts that could be tailored for each group to give that added personal touch. Our discussions with Mary Bisbee, former curator of the San Francisco Museum of Comic Art and book marketing guru, have been very informative, and I hope that I can retain as much information about book marketing as she has.
Apart from the work I’ve done on The Ghosts That Travel With Me, I’ve done a number of task with the press that have been fun and informative. Sitting in on design team meetings has been a real treat this semester, and I hope that the advice I gave for the Mastersounds t-shirt and cover for Ooligan's next hit YA title, A Series of Small Maneuvers, were all very helpful. Initially I had hoped to design a cover for the latter, but after seeing some of the amazing designs my classmates had come up with I felt that I shouldn’t muddy the water, and instead decided to follow their design processes and give encouragement and constructive criticism when I could. They really turned out awesome, and I hoping there is a way we can use at least two of the designs in the final book, or at least one for the book and another for marketing.
This semester has also brought me a few opportunities to use my illustrations for press projects, in particular the Mastersounds original print. I loved doing the jazz art, and working on a special item for the project’s Kickstarter was a great chance to really have some fun. I’m really proud of the final product, and I hope that it’s helpful in attracting contributors.
Seeing the Out of Time Series covers finalized and ready to post has been very rewarding for me as well. There is definitely something gratifying to see your work being used by the press - I’m quite proud to have contributed to the look of Ooligan. I even had a chance to answer some questions posed to me for a blog post about the new covers. In the post, I was able to talk about my design process from sketches, to picking photographs, all the way to the finished product. I love talking about design, and I hope my insights will be helpful to anyone who reads the post. With my final two design projects for the press, the catalog cover designs and the poster for The Ghosts That Travel With Me, I hope further influence the visibility of the press.
My two blog posts for this semester where personally gratifying as well this semester. In a lot of graduate writing for research papers and essays, I have been particular about focussing on areas of publishing I am most excited about - children’s books and graphic novels. My blog posts fell into these categories as well, and have given me the opportunity to grow my knowledge these subjects. I’m not sure when they will be posted, but when they are I am excited to share them through social media. I am also hoping to post my peer reviewed research papers to online journals as well, especially since there is very little scholarship on the subjects.
Probably the thing I am most proud of this semester would be moderating the graphic novel panel at Write To Publish. I know I wrote about this a good bit in my midterm reflection paper. It was just such a great honor to be sitting at that table with such creative professionals. Since the event, I’ve posted a few photos from my panel (there were so few) to my website and social media pages. There is so much industry cred that comes from being a part of an event like that , and I’ve been promoting it as much as I possibly can.
We just finished our presentation in Intro to Publishing, and it went great! Thanks to Aaron Thayer and Corinne Gould for being the best class partners a guy could ask for. I've been a little all over the place this semester, but I feel like we put together some stellar work. KUDOS.
In closing, winter semester has brought a number of new experiences, and fresh understanding about myself and the my chosen field. I’m looking forward to my final semester in the publishing program, and hopefully being a resource to the Ooligan for many years to come. #gradschool #OoliganPress #doingthedamnthing
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