The Operating System & Liminal Lab is 100% committed to transparency in our practices — from its inception this project has been built with the intention to document processes as we experiment, adapt, and evolve, which in turn are concretized to provide Open Access tools for community use (both for OS/LL produced projects and beyond — for other organizations and individuals to use and bring to their own spaces, on the ground and virtual).
What this means is that the OS/LL is modeled as a collaborative, autonomous, horizontal infrastructure. On the granular, economic end, this means that we have never and will never support our own operations through submission fees or contests, which in their very architecture are built around the production of a false meritocracy as a foil over the machinations of capital, relying on a high percentage of rejection simply to fund the operations of an organization. Instead, we seek to explore and build alternative infrastructures & tools that encourage resource allocation towards positive and productive systems, challenging the illusory hierarchies of value and permission as well as the gatekeeping structures that discourage, strangle and delimit our creative output.
What you will find below are the most recent operating documents actively in use in our current system, as well as some other resources that have been collected to help demystify some of the systemic processes of the publishing industry, in particular, and to assist OS/LL collaborator-members in considering the implications of making and disseminating materials within the current economic landscape of cultural production.
If these resources are useful to you, please disseminate and share them! We believe completely that when any part of the system becomes more intelligent, it benefits the entire ecology of our community. Why keep resources behind paywalls? That capital mindset threatens to be our undoing.
[Creative Commons Licensing: as with all of our publications and projects, the templates & documents here (developed by founder/creative director, Elæ) are offered following a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 commons license; if and when you use these for projects beyond the OS/LL framework this must happen with attribution, and with rare exceptions in a no-derivatives, non-commercial context. If you wish to include these materials in commercial or profit-generating contexts, or have any questions about adopting these materials / policies, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org]
[Donate to support Open Access: we do still function in a world in which money is necessary, and we run a super agile organization with no institutional or private funding, so if you think these free resources are valuable please consider making a small one-time or recurring donation for their use!]
OS PROJECT DOCUMENTS & POLICIES :
- OS / LL Project / Member Agreement Template [2020-21 update]
- [Re:con]versations | Archive Facing Process Prompts / Project Q & A [and FAQ]
- Design Thinking / Proprioceptive Prompts [for Print: Documentation & Speculative Exploration Across Media]
- OS Project Design Criteria & Strategy
- Extended Colophon / Instructions for Use / Accessibility Guidelines Description & Copy Development Prompts
- OS copyediting & editing policy / approach
- OS awards and prizes policy
- OS bookfair / conference / festival policy
PUBLISHING / PRODUCTION RESOURCES & INDUSTRY INFO:
- DO THE HUSTLE: THE OPERATING SYSTEM’s AS-PAINLESS-AS-POSSIBLE **HUSTLE GUIDE** (a.k.a. book/self promotion resources & FAQ’s) – **DOWNLOAD AS PDF**
- planning events or a book tour? check out this list of bookstores in the US and Canada. also: bookstores get TONS of emails from presses! if you’d like these folks to carry your book, sending an email yourself is a great way to get that to happen!
- looking for review outlets? the Poets & Writers database is an awesome resource! we will send announcements about your book to a range of publications, but the best way to get noticed is for you to work with your publisher (whether the OS or someone else) on contacting places that are a good match for your book in a more individual way than our press releases! small presses like ours don’t have the bandwidth to send personal emails to all possible reviewers, but you can!
- “How Do I Get Published” — poet, professor, and altogether kickass human Natalie Eilbert put together this terrific doc for her students and encouraged us to share it here with you. Great tips, much needed levity.
- We also HIGHLY suggest you read this list of “10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing,” compiled by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, in 2016. These are essential statistics about the current state of the industry that any author should be familiar with as you enter into the next phase of your publishing and writing life, especially if this is your first book.
- Behind the scenes of books that become commercially successful (and/or even contest winners) are a huge number of factors, almost all of them having to do with someone having the resources to get books visible and into hands. Some authors, even on small presses, have the means to hire a publicist. The standard numbers I’m seeing for this circa 2017-18 are around $3000-$5000 per month for a minimum of three months. You can read more about this (and get many other helpful marketing tips from former publicist Sandra Beckwith here at BuildBookBuzz, and we’re not being paid to say that — it’s just a helpful. illuminating site with lots of good info.)