Tellwell's 2016/2017
Publishing Guide
Learn the five steps to publishing a book, the pros and cons of self-publishing, and how distribution and royalties work.
Learn how to publish.
Author of the Month

Don Levers talks book marketing – Masterminding the perfect strategy for success

don-levers-author-headshotIn January 1977, five men tunneled through steel and concrete to break into the Vancouver Safety Deposit Vault. The men pilfered more than 1200 safety deposit boxes and stole millions of dollars in jewelry, gold bars, and cash. It was a perfect crime. Except, when staff at Vancouver International Airport noticed that the men’s luggage was exceptionally heavy, they called the police. The men were arrested. The perfect crime a flop.

This is the true story that inspired Don Levers to begin to write his novel, Loot for the Taking. “The idea of these professional criminals who staged the perfect crime with an imperfect getaway wouldn’t leave me,” said Levers.  He began writing the novel in 1987 and last year, with encouragement from his family, Levers sat down to finish his book. “It took a solid year of writing, re-writing, editing, re-writing, and more editing to reach the finish line,” said Levers.

There are a lot of parallels to publishing a book and planning the perfect crime. You can write the best book on the planet, but if you don’t take steps to make sure your getaway (marketing plan) is solid, you’ll be grounded in terms of book sales. Which is why Levers decided to make book marketing his primary occupation. “It’s a lot of work but if you enjoy it, it’s not a job,” he explained.

lootforthetaking

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Tips & Tricks

An Image-Based App for a Text-Centric Industry

Marketing your book requires branding.  Putting aside that nearly 70% of brands are using Instagram as a marketing tool and that it boasts an impressive worldwide user count of 700 million, humans are 90% visual beings able to process images 60,000 times faster than text.

 

new-instagram-text-logo

But we’re in the business of books and you’ve recently published a book that may be more than a little too word-heavy to be considered a “picture book”. So, how can an image-based app like Instagram be useful to you as an author?

Social media gurus would say, if you’re not active on social media, you don’t exist. Active social media doesn’t just mean hosting a website or having a Facebook account. Today, being active online means posting content often and engaging with other users on all major platforms – the big three being Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Let’s focus on how authors can best utilize a picture-driven platform like Instagram.

Instagram is fun! It offers the opportunity for you as an author to give readers and fellow writers an insight into who you are as an individual, your process, your life beyond the cover of a book and a brief description of yourself. While Instagram certainly can be an enjoyable app with many cool features, like the rules of writing, you’ve got to know them in order to break them.

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Meet the Team

Meet Book Marketing Manager Francesca Jackman

fj-blog1. How would you describe your role at Tellwell?

I’m the Book Marketing Manager, which means I’m responsible for our marketing program and the services offered to authors to help them promote their books. A large portion of my day is dedicated to working directly with our clients on the marketing aspects of their project, but I also spend a lot of my time developing the program through hiring and enhancing the resources and tools at our disposal.

 

2. What’s your favourite part of the job?

I’m an avid learner, so my favourite part of the job is that I’m learning new things every day, whether it be through authors and their work, or through the book marketing industry itself. Coming from a journalism background, I also love the fact that no day is ever the same, and the work is always diversified by the range of authors we work with and their unique projects. This job certainly keeps me on my toes, and I love being constantly challenged to learn more, and broaden my understanding of the book marketing industry.

 

3. What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is letting go. I’m a passionate person by nature, and once I invest myself in a new author’s project, it’s difficult to pass the baton over to them when our time together is finished. We have the pleasure of being able to work with many authors as they begin the book marketing component of self-publishing, but at the end of the day, our main job is to empower those authors to embrace marketing. Unlike publicists, who are actively promoting an author’s work over an extended period of time, we focus on providing the resources, tools, and education necessary to have authors executing marketing strategies on their own. What they do with it from there is up to them. I now understand how difficult it must be for teachers who have to say goodbye to another group of their students each year!

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Tips & Tricks

Why authors should have a media kit

Whether you’re looking to gain some media attention, attract book reviewers, pique the interest of bookstores, or develop relationships with key figures and organizations from your niche market, having professional materials to outline your project will be an essential asset to your pitch.

These materials can take many forms, depending on how best to showcase your work, but in the publishing industry, the package you put together will commonly be referred to as a media kit. At Tellwell, we call this package a Book Backgrounder, because it can and should be used to pitch your project to more than just media contacts. In fact, these promotive materials should be attached to every email you send out to inform someone about your book, and you should have copies printed and ready to bring with you for any in-person networking.

What makes up a media kit?

Think of a media kit as a 2-5-page portfolio that outlines your project and what sets it apart from the rest. Much like a resume, the most important information should be featured up front, and in many cases, the kit can be kept to 2 pages in length.

Here are some components to consider adding when putting together your media kit:

  • A fact sheet which would include the book synopsis and cover image, your author bio and headshot, and other details about the book, including ISBN’s, the genre, your publisher and retail information.

Why it’s useful: This component is crucial if you plan to use this kit to get your book into physical bookstores. The store managers will benefit from having both the product details and a description of the book, to determine if they think it will sell well in their store. These elements are also commonly requested from book reviewers when considering review requests from authors and publishers.

Tellwell Tip: Even though the fact sheet will display the contents of the front and back cover of your book, it still helps to bring in a sample copy of the book for the store manager to review.

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Author of the Month

Celebrating Canada 150: Heather Pattullo’s passion for her country drives book’s success

heather-bioLike many first-time authors, Heather Pattullo didn’t realize the journey she was getting herself into when she decided to self-publish. On a steep learning curve, she encountered many hurdles along the way, including a 4-month waiting period to gain permission to use the images in her book.

But, her ‘cross-Canada guidebook’ Positively Canadian: A fun guide to Canadian language, culture and history, couldn’t have been released at a better time.

On the cusp of Canada’s 150th birthday, Pattullo has been taking advantage of any opportunity to feature her book, and it’s certainly paying off.

“The end was worth the means to get there. My fingernails are growing again” she said.

positivelycanadian

Not only has it been extremely rewarding to finally hold the book in hand, but also Pattullo said she’s been overwhelmed with the response from those she’s connected with so far.

Taking advantage of the waiting period to develop some good working relationships with those in her local community, Pattullo has already had book signings at Albany Books in Tsawwassen and Black Bond Books in Delta. Both bookstores are now carrying her book on consignment.

She was featured in her local paper, the Delta Optimist (read the article here,) and was also invited to sell her book at the national and provincial conventions for the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE) in Vancouver at the end of May.

Her calendar is already filled up with events throughout July, including book readings and signings at three Fraser Valley Regional libraries in the Delta area, and a signing at the Granville Chapters in Vancouver on July 9.

Pattullo has approached private schools and the Vancouver Community College, to add copies of her book to their libraries for students to read and learn about Canada. She’s already sold the first 150 copies of the book, and a second order has arrived for her upcoming events.

“I haven’t even tapped into the all the ESL schools in Vancouver,” said Pattullo. “I still have lots of places to go, I’ll probably be busy until Christmas!” she laughed.

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Meet the Team

Meet Publishing Consultant Carolyn Molson

carolyn-image-1-newsletter

1. How would you describe your role at Tellwell?

My role at Tellwell is to help authors figure out what their needs are for the direction they want to take their book. Shedding light on the services that they are going to need and on the ones they won’t.

 

2. What’s your favourite part of the job?

Meeting new people. In this industry there are so many intriguing people, everybody is just so different than the last. I also really like the education part of the job, I like helping authors learn more about the industry.

 

3. What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Trying to convince authors to “beta” test their book. Not just with friends and family, but with readers. It’s always a challenge for someone to take what they have worked on and thrust it out into the world for criticism so I can understand the hesitation. However the broader the scope the better the feedback will be.

Also asking specific questions not just “Did you like it?”-  often people will say yes. Some better questions would be “Did the timelines work?” “Did I develop this character enough?”

 

4. What’s the most common question you get from new authors?

Will my book sell? The answer usually comes down to how much the author is willing to work at it. I’ve found a big piece of the puzzle to do that is the marketing of the book. A lot of people know they need marketing, and want marketing, but that’s often the first service they are willing to opt out of.

I compare having a successful book to a three legged stool… I know that sounds weird but you need a great cover, a great story and great marketing. If you have a stool that’s missing one of those things, it’s going to fall over, so you really need all three.

 

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Tellwell Books

Canadian Authors from Coast to Coast

Alberta

angie-pierce-abAuthor Name: Angie Pierce

Book Title: Dale’s Journey: Receiving Inspiration From Our Own Mortality

Chapters.ca link: Click here.

What is the most inspiring place in your province for you to write?

The most inspiring place for me to write is from my picturesque horse farm in rural Beaver County, AB.  There, I am peacefully surrounded by nature and all the creatures that make this place their home.

What is something uniquely Canadian about you or your book?

I was born in Vancouver, BC and Dale, my late husband, whom the book is about, was born in Winnipeg, MB.

How are you going to celebrate Canada 150?

I will be competing in a 25 mile competitive trail ride near Milk River, AB.

 

BC

camilla-joubert-bcAuthor Name: Camilla Joubert

Book Title: Unravelling

Chapters.ca link: Click here.

What is the most inspiring place in your province for you to write?

I love to write in my backyard in West Vancouver looking up to the North Shore mighty snow-capped mountains while listening to the birds chirping in the trees. I’m privileged to live in what I think is Canada’s most majestic province, and I’m constantly inspired by nature in my immediate environment.

What is something uniquely Canadian about you or your book?

Although I was born in South Africa I have lived in Canada for 27 years and feel more Canadian than South African. I chose to print in Canadian English; hence Unravelling has two l’s. Six of the writers who contributed to the book of stories in Unravelling are Canadian, and three of them are BC born and bred locals!

How are you going to celebrate Canada 150?

I’m planning to pack a sumptuous picnic and hike the Chief in Squamish to take in the vistas of our gorgeous Howe Sound passage with my family.

 

Manitoba

anthony-nelson-mbAuthor Name: Anthony Nelson

Book Title: Awaykin with Colour

Chapters.ca link: Click here

What is the most inspiring place in your province for you to write?

The place I was most inspired while working on my colouring book was my completely secluded cabin a little north of Gimli, MB.

What is something uniquely Canadian about you or your book?

My book includes many images that celebrate cultures from around the world, showing how they can work in unison. I feel this is an idea important to Canadians.

How are you going to celebrate Canada 150?

My boyfriend runs an arts organization that will be doing live mural painting at the Forks Market in Winnipeg, so I will be helping with their event.

 

New Brunswick

mildred-drost-nbAuthor Name: Mildred Drost

Book Title: Until Each One Has a Home. Heartfelt Stories From DunRoamin’ Stray and Rescue –A Canadian Pet Rescue

Chapters.ca link: Click here.

What is the most inspiring place in your province for you to write?

I write from my home along the banks of the Saint John River in New Brunswick. There, I see the results of the work we do – the pets that have been rescued form dire circumstances, and have gone on to live in safe, loving homes. Many are now my neighbours; many of their owners keep in contact via Facebook and email. They all inspire me to do more.

What is something uniquely Canadian about you or your book?

I think that we are uniquely Canadian in that we aspire to help as many as possible, pets, wildlife or people, and we do it with no expectation of being compensated, except by the good feeling resulting from having helped. We believe in fairness, justice and kindness toward everyone.

How are you going to celebrate Canada 150?

We celebrate Canada Day every year with the Canada Day Dog Wash, with newly washed dogs sporting the red and white bandanas. We have a barbeque with hotdogs, hamburgers and many red and white desserts. We welcome old and new friends to our gathering and enjoy their company, human and canine alike.

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Tips & Tricks

Writing Festivals Around Canada

We know that summer has only just begun, but that means that writing festival season is just around the corner! From August until November, Canadian cities both large and small host a wide range of international writing festivals that will re-ignite your passion for literary arts.

Vancouver Writers Fest

Vancouver, British Columbia

October 16-22

For 30 years, the Vancouver Writers Fest has brought writers together on Granville Island to celebrate storytelling, and continues to foster a community of passionate writers from across British Columbia each year. Visit their website to find out more information.

 

International Festival of Authors

Toronto, Ontario

October 19-29, 2017

The International Festival of Authors (IFOA) has been gathering world-renowned authors since 1974. From poetry to playwrights, IFOA provides a space for Canadian writers to present their work, and connect with international novelists, short story writers and more. Visit their website to find out more information.

 

Writers at Woody Point

Bonne Bay, Newfoundland

August 15-20, 2017

If you’re looking for a unique experience in a historic seaside town, the Writers at Woody Point might be your ideal literary getaway. Hosted by CBC’s Shelagh Rogers, this 5-day writing festival fosters community like no other, and will inspire you to share your passion for writing with artists from around the world. Visit their website to find out more information.

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Author of the Month

An educator, an illustrator and a puppeteer walk into a bar…

lindaanddariapreview

…While that could be the beginning of a corny joke, it’s also, save for the bar, the beginning of Linda Briden’s story as an author.

Long before holding her new book, Know Me, in her hands, before retiring, before hosting her first workshop for children, Linda spent her days as a child and youth worker and a special education teacher.

“I’ve always worked with kids that didn’t quite fit the system,” she says. “The system wasn’t designed for these kids. These kids that had some challenges, that had different stories and, perhaps, had strengths and gifts that weren’t quite mainstream.”

After retiring and finally having some time on her hands, Linda felt compelled to find a way to keep helping the kinds of kids she’d spent years working with. This led to two very important things happening — a meeting about pictures and a meeting about puppets.

“It was kind of a perfect storm,” she says of Know Me’s early days. “I connected with this young woman who did the illustrating (Daria Pekh), and she was really keen to do something a little different from what she had been doing. I then developed a business partnership with a woman who’s a puppeteer, and we’ve created a workshop that incorporates the book and a performance piece which uses the text from the book.”

Linda and her Puppeteria workshop partner, Shelley King, wanted to create something to address the bigger ideas of inclusiveness, tolerance, and acknowledging individual stories. The idea of the Know Me workshops and book were born together as chicken and egg, creating completely cohesive and complementary companion pieces to one another.

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Tips & Tricks

Picking a perfect cover image

There are only ever a few reasons as to why we are compelled to pick up a new book from Amazon or our local bookstore:

  • It’s one of those must-read titles.
  • One of our friends or family members mentioned it.
  • It’s mandatory to pass our upcoming high school test.
  • Our favorite author finally finished another book. Like maybe the sixth book, George?
  • Or…we liked the look of the cover.

I can easily think of a few books that I picked up for one of those reasons, and I bet you can too!

The importance of a cover

Your book cover is the first thing a reader will see, it will determine if they look past it on a shelf, or if they keep scrolling down while shopping online. Your cover is important, I can’t stress this enough; it is also one of the biggest contributors of creating a successful book as a self-published author.

Let’s break the cover down to its elements: a cover is essentially a title and an image. While the title is usually a few words or a phrase that describe the content or the story of the book, an image is a bit more than that. The image is a picture that introduces readers to the story. It can be used to convey themes, plot points, characters, and it can even foreshadow events to come.

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