Grad School Class Presentations

So, it’s currently the end of Week Three here at PSU, which means everything is gearing up to be busy for the rest of the term. It means we have big assignments due for class pretty soon. What’s up next for my classes? Presentations.

Yup. Presentations.


I’m still not used to getting up and talking in front of a class. I don’t know why. I participated in toastmasters, did drama, and co-created a reading event back in my hometown which I MCed every now and then. And I’ve also had previous classes have me to present. I also was a moderator for the Willamette Writers conference over the summer! So I don’t know why this freaks me out so much, it just does.

To combat that freak out, I prepare.

There are many different ways of preparing for a presentation. Some people go over the material once or twice. Some people look at bullet points. Some people just simply know everything and are perfectly find rambling for a few minutes. Some people don’t prepare at all.

I am none of those people.

In order to prepare for my presentations, I memorize. And by memorize, I do mean the whole entire thing.

Now, it might be a catch from my drama days when standing in front an audience forced you to memorize all your lines and spout them out perfectly each time. It might be something from my toastmasters group that had a “no notes at all” policy. Or it could just be a weird little quirk of mine.

I dunno.

Either way, that’s what I’m doing this weekend. Memorizing a presentation. And what am I doing next weekend? Memorizing another one.

Yup, that’s my life nowadays. (And, by the way, this persistent cough is really not making this process any easier.)

How do you prepare for a presentation? Any tips and tricks you can give me?

Warm regards,

Postscript – I have a new goal for this school year. I’m not going to memorize a presentation. Not these upcoming ones…or the Write to Publish 2016 stuff…but by the end of the school year in June I’ll try it out. See what happens. Maybe I’ll burst into flames of endless embarrassment. But maybe I won’t. You never really do know, do you?

PublishingHack: Transmedia Marketing

So one of the classes I’m in this fall is Transmedia Marketing for Book Publishers. It’s taught by Kathi Inman Berens, the newest faculty member in PSU’s book publishing program.

The class is pretty cool. While I have to admit I am struggling a little because I’m also taking her Concepts in Digital Publishing and there’s a bit of an overlap, the Transmedia Marketing class is pretty fascinating.

So what the heck is transmedia marketing?

Well, let me tell you. Basically it’s a form of marketing that uses social media and digital publishing to allow multiple entry points for a work and expand the story. It’s a type of worldbuilding across different platforms, where the content is specific to that type of platform. It also cultivates a participatory culture, where fans actively share, create, and play with their content.

A great example of this from class that we’ve read about but haven’t yet talked about is The Hunger Games and how they marketed the movies. We all know the currently released movies were huge, and we have the ability to look back in the past and analyze why that is so. So why was it so successful? Well, of course it’s because THG had a huge fanbase to support it to begin with, but a main reason, perhaps, is because the transmedia marketing for it was strong as hell. For the Catching Fire movie, specifically, it was a great mixture of social media and fan participation, as well as the creativity of the ad agency Ignition Creative.

Note: I got most of this information from the Transmedia Marketing Case Study: The Hunger Games – Catching Fire blogpost, written by Christine Weitbrecht on Thoughts on the T, if you’d like to read it.

So what did IC actually do? They had IRL high-fashion billboards with “Capitol Couture” written on them and if the people googled capitol couture they would be taken to a Tumblr, Twitter, Youtube, and website specifically for the Capitol. (This could also demonstrate additive culture, because the fans would know instantly that it was from THG but new people would just be intrigued by it. Don’t quote me on that, though, as I’m still learning what that term means.)

The various social media accounts reflected different aspects of THG. For example, the Tumblr was fashioned like a magazine—with IRL fashion brands and writers—people from the Capitol would read, with updates on events in the Capitol, what it was like in the Capitol, and updates on the various characters in THG world. They also had IRL fan challenges, where the fans could upload fashion statements of their own.

The website was the Citizen Control Center of Panem (where viewers had to get ID cards and had the ability to unlock new content), the Facebook and Twitter accounts were the Capitol/Panem Government center (where they had ideologic messaging one would find in the Capitol like “Respect Boundaries” as well as Facebook pages for each district), and the YouTube was the Capitol TV (where they uploaded official trailers and fan-made videos).

Aside from the fan-made content, the information isn’t new, it just amps up the original world by reflecting the life of the Capitol and allows the fans to be immersed into THG world, like they’re really there living it with these characters.

Now, the official website has changed to reflect the upcoming movie—Mockingjay, Part 2—but there are still pretty cool features. For example, it looks and sounds like a governmental-issued website, but if you hover over a certain part, it changes and you can join the “Revolution.” Seriously, go do the thing, and you’ll be amazed.

From a fan perspective, it’s just freaking cool.

Under the lens of this transmedia class, it’s quite the interesting idea in the storybuilding aspect of THG world. It was an amazing transmedia marketing campaign ,and something that is aspiring to look at. (Also it’s freaking cool.)

So, what do you think? Is this the future of marketing? Is this what authors and publishers should consider doing?

I certainly think so.

Warm regards,

Write to Publish 2016 Writing Contests!

I can’t believe it’s already October!

Submissions for the Write to Publish 2016 writing contests close on the 30th of this month, so if you have any marvelous Flash Fiction or PNW Poetry pieces, be sure to submit them! I’ve included some of the basic information below, but you can find the rest of the submission guidelines here.

Write to Publish, Ooligan Press’s annual publishing conference, in partnership with the Timberline Review, a literary journal from the Willamette Writers publishing a wide variety of content, and Cirque, a literary journal publishing Alaskan and Pacific Northwest writing, are excited to offer a flash fiction contest and a Pacific Northwest poetry contest this year. Submission for both contests open September 8 and close October 30, 2015.

Entries for the Pacific Northwest poetry contest may be original, unpublished works in any style of poetry up to 40 lines and should be centered on a Pacific Northwest theme. The winning poet will be notified in the first week of December and will win a cash prize of $100, a reading at the conference, and publication in the Timberline Review

Entries for the flash fiction contest must be 700 words or fewer, original, unpublished, and double spaced. The winning writer will be notified the first week of December and will win a cash prize of $100, a reading at the conference, and publication with Cirque.

The contest fee is $10, and only one story or poem may be submitted per person, per contest. Please send submissions via email to with “Flash Fiction Contest Submission” or “PNW Poetry Contest Submission” as the subject line.

We’ve been getting some wonderful submissions thus far, but we want more! I’d love to read some from my writing friends here in the blogosphere. And, if you know of any writers, pass the word onto them, too!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Warm regards,

Writer vs. Editor

So, as some of you know, Desert Palm Press signed me up as an author. I couldn’t be happier. It’s been one of my dreams to get published, and I’m so grateful it’s happening.

One of the things I’m really looking forward to, however, is the journey*.

The journey will be…interesting.

As all of you know by now, I’m an editor. I have my own freelance company, and it’s something I’m specializing in at Portland State University’s graduate program.

But both writing and editing are two facets of my professional life. To be fair, I started writing earlier, but really, editing will probably pay the bills later on in life.

Anyway, inspired by Indigo Editing book designer and publications consultant Vinnie Kinsella’s post, I figured it might be fun to do a back and forth of what a writer would say and what an editor would say.

(And, yes, I’ve thought all of these things at some point in both my writing and editing careers.)

Writer: I’ve worked hard to pick the perfect title for this manuscript. It’s a real eye-catcher and reflects what I want the reader to understand about my story.
Editor: Does the title reflect what’s inside or give too much of something away? Is it too long? Too short? Are there any other titles out there like this one? I need to do some research.

Writer: I’ve slaved over every word of this manuscript, and it’s perfection.
Editor: It’s not perfect. There are thousands of words in this book and chances are there will be some misspellings, misplaced commas, dangling participles, and characters whose hair changes color half way through.

Writer: I’ve edited this draft a few times all ready, why do I need to look at it again? It takes such a long time finish this.
Editor: There are many stages of editing. Developmental. Copyediting. Proofreading. All of these stages help make the work perfect and all of the stages are necessary. Yes, it might take a while, but it’s worth it.

Writer: That time/place/character description isn’t important. I should just move onto the next scene.
Editor: The readers can’t see inside your head. We need those descriptions in order to ground the reader in your world.

Writer: I’m breaking the rules in order to create this really cool sentence structure/paragraph style/grammar thing. The readers will love it!
Editor: I need to make sure that rule-breaking sentence structure/paragraph style/grammar thing is consistent throughout the entire novel. The readers will need that consistency.

Writer: I need to write everything down, everything is necessary, and everything is needed. The readers will want everything, even the tangents.
Editor: I need to cut some of this for clarity, especially the tangents that don’t belong in the novel. The readers will thank me for this.

Writer: This minor character is totally relevant. It’s my baby.
Editor: This minor character has nothing to do with the plotline. We have to cut them. Or figure out a way to incorporate them more.

Writer: I can’t wait to see this in print/ebook/audiobook!
Editor: I can’t wait to send this through up through the chain of publishing and then see this in print/ebook/audiobook!

We’re both going for the same thing—a polished story—but we see it in very different ways.

And with this journey, I’m not going to be on the editing side of things, a side I’m used to being on and have been on for quite some time now, I’m going to be on the writing side of it. I’m going to be the Writer on this equation.

It’s going to be a wild ride.

Warm regards,

*Aside from holding a physical copy of a book I wrote in my hands, of course. What? I’m old school.

Moderating a Panel

This weekend I attended the Willamette Writers Conference as a moderator, representing Ooligan Press. I figured this might not be something people get to do everyday, so I wanted to share my process of how I got ready.

Three months before the conference: Per asked me if I would be interested in doing something for the Willamette Writers Conference. I said yes, then pretty much forget about it until after finals and vacation.

A month and a half before: Per offered me a panel—How to Develop an Author Platform—and asked if I’d like to participate as a moderator. I said “Of course!” and added it to my ToDo list. *looked up what the hell a moderator does on Google* *felt pretty good about myself*

A month before: I researched my panel topic, my panelists, how to moderate things, and brainstormed questions. I sent them to Per, got some feedback, and revised.

Two weeks before: I sent the questions out to my panelists for their feedback. I drafted my talking points and added the timing so I’d know what I’d like to hit. I went over the questions five times a day. (Anyone who knows me, knows this is not excessive… for me.)

A week before: *nervously sweats* I started to freak out. I realized I would be speaking in front people, asking questions, and generally doing something I’ve never done before. I kept going over the questions. And I drank tea. Copious amounts of tea.

Two days before: I created some new business card designs and sent them to the printer. I also went over my questions with Molly, one of my friends here at the Ooligan Press. I had been saying it out loud in front of my cats and it was good to practice in front of a person. I also advertised on Facebook and Twitter.

The day before: I gathered my items—binder with paper, pens, water bottle, coat, folder with my moderator stuff in it, bag, keys, wallet, business cards. I tried on a bunch of different outfits. I was perfectly calm.

The day of – T-6 hours: I got up early and dressed. I wore my orange pretzel socks from one of my best friends, Meredith, because they were awesome and I needed to be awesome. I fed the cats and made breakfast. Then, after hugging my cats for good luck, I left.

The day of – T-4 hours: I hung out with Bess, another Oolie and a friend of mine, for a while, waiting for our turn to start this whole crazy moderating thing. Bess was cool as a cucumber. Oddly, I was, too. We met up with Molly right before Bess’s panel. I watched Bess fly through her moderating business. She did amazing. I was still okay.

The day of – T-1 hour: My coolness vanished around lunchtime. I think the process of sitting down with my own thoughts and eating made me realize just how close this insane thing I was doing actually was.

The day of – T-30 minutes: We had just finished lunch. I was nervous. Super nervous. I’d like to say I hid it well, but I probably didn’t. After heading to the panel room, I met with some of my lovely panelists Mary Bisbee-Beek and Todd Sattersten. I was proud that my hands didn’t shake when I poured and handed out the water glasses. (My peeps from high school will tell you, my hands shake when I get nervous.)

The day of – T-10 minutes: I met my final panelist Karelia Stetz-Waters. I chatted with her a little, getting more anxious about the stream of people trickling in. I made sure my talking points were in easy reach. The venue staff came by and handed us mics. I (internally) freaked, since I had never really used a mic before. I told myself it would be okay. I checked my phone to make sure we started on time.

The day of – T-30 seconds: I took a few deep breaths, gave myself an internal pep talk, and grabbed the mic. I fumbled a bit with it at first. The attendees were nice and mimed how I should hold it. *internally freaked out because I always want everything to start off smoothly… … … got over it and moved on*

The day of – 1:313:00pm: The panel went smoothly after that. And oddly enough, even though I was nervous to begin with, the nerves fell away while I was asking the questions.

The day of – 3:00end of day: Completely relieved, I watched Molly moderate her panel—she did awesome—and hung out for a little while, then went home. I made sure to email (and Tweet) the panelists a thank you and announce on Facebook that I had successfully completed the event and everything went well. Then, I crossed it off my list.

Annnnd that’s my process! Really, it was all about having confidence that I could actually pull this thing off. (I gave myself lots of pep talks.) I also prepared quite a lot beforehand, practicing out loud and such. Remember, the preparation process is different for everyone. Do what’s right for you!

It was also lovely to have my friends there, too, so we could root each other on.

Overall, I’m glad I did it. It was an interesting experience and one I can put on my resume. If you have the chance to do it, I’d say go for it! (And coming from a woman who generally doesn’t like speaking in public, that’s saying a lot.)

Warm regards,
Kellie Doherty

Post Script – I have some super exciting news to share with you all, and, because of that, there might be a Bonus Post sometime later in the week!

Achievements: Unlocked

So, a lot happened while I was on vacation and the few weeks after I got back. The U.S. Supreme Court decided marriage equality is the way to go, Donald Trump apparently got fired from a few different places, and Greece is going through a debt crisis. Plus, Jurassic World came out, the Legend of Korra ship Korrasami is going to be a comic book series, and marijuana was legalized in Oregon.

Obviously much more happened than what I mentioned above. (And probably much more important stuff, honestly, but those things caught my eye.)

These are all pretty big things.

But these are big things to a larger community, a larger universe, and a larger sense of whole.

Larger than me.

I, however, also had a few big things happen. Achievements I unlocked, so to say. Things that live in my little bubble of existence.

  • Two more books I edited came out from Desert Palm Press – Wylde About Her, by Beth Wylde and New Cuts, Old Wounds by S. L. Kassidy – which brings my grand total of published works for DPP up to six since I started in the beginning of 2014. I’ve been working with them for over a year and a half now, and I’ve loved every minute of it!
  • I’m going to be a moderator for the Willamette Writers Conference “How to Develop an Author Platform” and will be representing Ooligan Press. I’m currently doing research on how to moderate a panel successfully, research on the panelists, and brainstorming questions to ask.
  • Write to Publish 2016 got some sponsors, raffles, and vendors. (Including two pretty freaking huge things that I’ll talk about in a later post.) It finally feels like we’re moving along.
  • I secured an internship with Ripple Grove Press, starting in the fall. This is a super cool opportunity, because it’ll allow me to see how another publisher works, gain new insight in the publishing world, and use the skills I’ve been acquiring to help their business grow and succeed. Plus, I get credit for it!
  • I’m also going to be a copyeditor for the Portland State Vanguard, starting possibly next week, and a PSU Chronicles blogger, starting in the fall. These two things are combined because they are related to PSU in the broader sense, not Ooligan Press. The Vanguard is a school newspaper and the Chronicles is a school blog. I’m excited about these two opportunities, because it will allow me to use both editing and writing, two big passions of mine. Bonus Point: I get paid!

These are pretty big things for my little bubble.

Warm regards,

Post Script – I read a blog earlier this week about planning blogposts ahead of time. It was a good idea, very meta in a way, and it’s something I’m going to try. I have a few ideas cooking in my head, but I wondered, did you have any suggestions on what you’d like to see on this blog? (Publishing, life stuff, advice on writing or editing, cats, dragons…?)

InDesign vs. Print

So this past term I took Book Design & Production with Abbey, the head of Ooligan Press. It was a great class, I feel like I learned quite a bit and I was happy to stretch my design muscles a little bit. I liked it so much that next year I plan on taking another design class (if they offer it, of course).

For the final project we had to pick a public domain book and design the whole thing from cover to cover. It was quite the project, but we worked on it in bits and pieces during the entire term so it wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be. We did the whole shebang, cover designs, interior designs, chose the typeface, leading, point size, designed the front matter, the folios, the margins. (All of this in InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop, by the way.)

We made ALL THE DECISIONS… and it was awesome.

For the final, we had to print out our book. For reasons out of our control, it took much longer than we had originally expected and I waited over a week and a half to get my book printed. Honestly, I didn’t really mind too much, since the project was already complete, you know? It wasn’t like I had to worry about it any longer.

But I did have to wait to actually hold the book.

And, let me tell you, the waiting was horrible!

Why was it horrible?

Well, during class, my professor had specifically mentioned that the way we see our design in InDesign screen would not necessarily reflect exactly on how we would see our design in print. Some things wouldn’t transfer over the way we, as designers, might imagine.

Which let me to think… what if my design looks horrible in print?

Well, after a week and a half of agonizing how it would look, I finally got to hold the book! My professor was right! (Which isn’t terribly shocking if you knew her, she’s right about a lot of things.) Some things really didn’t transfer the way I expected them to. And perhaps I shouldn’t be showing this to the world… perhaps it should be kept hidden in a secret folder on my desktop labeled “Never Open” and I should just forget what I had on screen and just be happy with the print version. But then I would not get the chance to look critically at things one more time. And you would never get to see this behind-the-stage look of what designers need to deal with on a daily basis. So, to that end, I decided to let everyone in on this secret and showcase what was on my InDesign screen and what it looked like in print form.

Here’s the cover on InDesign:


Here’s the cover in print:


Here’s the title page on InDesign:

title page

Here’s the title page in print:


Here’s the chapter heading on InDesign:


Here’s the chapter heading in print:


See the differences? I do. The middle leaf on the cover of the InDesign file is way lighter than actually in print. I would want to fiddle around with the InDesign file so the printed version of the leaf is lighter. The same goes for the hook and sword on the title and chapter headings. Now, while I think the darker hook and sword works fine on the title page in print, the chapter headings are a bit too dark. Because the sword and hook are much darker in print, it overshadows the chapter heading, title, and drop cap a little more than I would’ve liked.

So what did I learn from actually printing the book? Always Print Proofs.

Before you actually print in bulk, print a proof copy that get signed off by everyone. Proofs allow you to see how the book will turn out before you commit everything. They are a valuable tool. (We treated these copies like proofs, simply one more step in that direction.) So I learned that things do indeed look different in print than on screen and there are things I would tweak to make the printed version reflect the InDesign version better.

I still really like how this version turned out and am quite proud of the work I did over the term to make it happen. For being the first book I’ve ever designed cover-to-cover, I think it turned out quite well indeed.

Warm regards,

P.s. – I also redesigned my Edit. Revise. Perfect. logo. Go check it out!



Okay, now that we got that out of the way, I’d like to talk about publishing.

But, really, I’d like to talk about marketing. (Which is a part of publishing.)


Because something great happened with Ooligan Press’s last novel Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before. Tegan and Sarah picked up the book and promoted it on their Instagram. Now, apparently, Tegan and Sarah are a popular singing duo, but I’ve admittedly never heard of them before this happened.

But because of them, the book did very well. The simple Instagram post skyrocketed our book into the eyes of all their followers. Their statement of re-reading the book on a beach made others look at the book, take interest of the book, and actually buy the book, too.


Because they created a buzz around the product. And they have a reach that far surpasses our own humble one. They have 4.9k followers on their Instagram alone, not to mention all the other non-Instagram folks. Plus, they are a supporter of the LGBTQIA movement, too, which helps push the book into that section of the world, the section that Forgive Me rightfully wants to inhabit, since the book is of a LGBTQIA nature.

Granted there were other marketing aspects that Ooilgan Press employed for Forgive Me, but that one marketing push for Tegan and Sarah helped Ooligan Press immensely. The book has done very well. It’s a good story, too, so I’m happy it’s getting popular.

I bring this up because 1) it’s exciting and 2) it shows the power of marketing, the power of creating a buzz and getting people talking about something (in this case a book).

I also bring this up because 3) it shocked me. Not that the book did well, it’s a good read. Or that the marketing plans worked, because we’ve done successful marketing at Ooligan Press before. What shocked me is how effective that one simple Instagram post was, how much it did for the book.

And why?

Because this duo is famous. They have a following, a loyal fan-base who trusts their judgment.

It’s what we call the Oprah affect.

I read about it in my book and we talked about it briefly in our Intro class, but I didn’t expect to see it in-person so soon into the publishing program.

It showed me powerful marketing can be, how important marketing is for a book. Or for any product!

Lets hope we can recreate this kind of buzz for our next book, too.

Now, I’m off to have a glass of wine to celebrate the end of my first term as a grad student.
Warm regards,