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

From the set to the page: Author Michael Parnall shares advice for those working in the film industry

By Tyler Hooper

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While working as a production assistant on a film set, Michael Parnall learned the hard way not to make a mistake. But this mistake also sparked some creativity, which led him to publish his first book, “Am I the on Idiot Set?,” an often funny, yet practical guide for those new to working on film productions.

“As the film industry grows, there are increasingly new people starting in several different departments and I know this guide will save productions time and money. I also wish there was a book with this info when I started because learning by mistake is not fun,” said Michael.

However, there was also a more personal motivation for Michael wanting to publish his book. In January of 2017, Michael was also diagnosed with multiple scleroses, a diagnosis that drastically changed his life. MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, and because of the disease, Michael isn’t able to do all of the things on set that he used to. But he didn’t let this deter him. Through sheer optimism and love of film, Michael made his dream come true of publishing his book and now he’s also giving back.

“During my lifetime, I have witnessed the magnitude and devastation that this disease can inflict. It is my intention to not only bring awareness to multiple scleroses but provide a useful and practical way for people to donate as well. “

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Book Marketing Tips & Tricks

How to market your book while on vacation – Tellwell’s book marketing tips

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School’s out and many are packing up the car en route to their next summer vacation. Meanwhile, the book you’ve spent the winter editing, revising and finalizing was just released this spring and your marketing plan is set and ready to be executed. As you glance at the calendar you realize the 3-week overseas holiday you booked a year ago is fast approaching. Your first thought is: Well I guess my marketing is just going to have to wait until the fall…

As an author, you’re not immune to taking a well-deserved holiday, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your book marketing on hold. So, before you jet set off on your next summer adventure, check out Tellwell’s top 5 marketing tips to keep the momentum going from wherever your travels may take you.

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Tips & Tricks

What is 49th shelf and how can you be using it?

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In celebration of Canadian culture and talent, allow me to introduce you to 49th Shelf – an online database designed to make it easier for readers to find Canadian books by Canadian authors.

Similar to Goodreads, those who sign up for a membership (which is free,) can populate a user profile and use the website to search for new book titles. 49th Shelf features reading lists and new releases, and you can also search for books by author or by book title. Each book listing includes the cover, description, publisher and retail information and links that redirect to the outlets carrying the title for purchase.

While it isn’t necessary to become a member, joining the 49th Shelf community allows you to contribute reviews, comments and book ratings, create and share reading lists and recommendations, and enter to win advance copies and new releases through their giveaways.

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Meet the Team

Meet Tellwell Publishing Consultant Rob Hitchen

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  1. If your role at Tellwell were to be summarized into a book title, what would it be?

Persistence is key.

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

Without trying to sound too grandiose it’s making people’s dreams come true.

  1. What is the most inspirational story you’ve heard from an author about their book?

I helped an 11-year-old get his book published. He is such an inspirational young man in his determination to succeed. It made me realize everyone can and should have a vision of where they want their life to go, no matter how young or old.

  1. What’s something (beyond publishing) you’ve learned from one of your authors?

Even when I’m not feeling at my best, some people have had it far worse than I could ever imagine and are still laughing and smiling.

  1. What advice do you give to first-time authors?

Don’t skimp on editing.

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Author of the Month

From historical research to staff-picked, award-winning novel – Renée Veillet shares of her accomplishments as an indie author

img_0002-180x300What started as research into her own family’s history during the settling of Western Canada in the 1900s, transitioned to an award-winning historical fiction novel and a long-term career as a writer and published author for Renée Veillet.

Inspired by the stories she learned of her ancestors, the Calgary-based author sought out to honour Canadian history in a medium that might be more entertaining and enjoyable for young adults.

“My ancestors endured hardships that were unimaginable; my great grandfather was forced to leave his family behind in order to seek work in Canada. The first family member he could afford to bring over travelled in steerage class on the Titanic and did not survive,” explains Veillet. “I feel a debt of gratitude towards my ancestors and want to honour them by sharing their stories with my children and the generations to come.”

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By the fall of 2017, Veillet was a published author and Rings of Time quickly began to receive high praise. The book, which has been compared to the popular TV series Outlander, has been described by Goodreads readers as “[p]erfectly paced and beautifully descriptive” and “an entertaining escape into another time.”

Local bookstores have also expressed interest in the book, and it was even featured as a Staff Pick at the Crowfoot Chapters in December 2017.

“As a first-time author, having my book on the shelf of the local bookstore was a huge milestone,” says Veillet. “Having it chosen as a staff pick was an unexpected surprise.”

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Tips & Tricks

The Art of the ARC – How advanced reader copies can add buzz, publicity and reviews to your book before the official release

There is nothing better than the smell of a freshly cracked book spine – unless of course, that book is an advance reader copy (ARC). ARC’s are copies of a book that are given to certain people who are permitted to read it before its scheduled release date.  They are typically given to bloggers, critics, and other online influencers to review and promote the work to a wider audience.  For authors, sending out an ARC is a great way to gain buzz and publicity before the big release.  Although this may open the door to potential negative criticism, this also gives authors the chance to make last-minute changes before releasing their book to the world. So how do you create an ARC for reviewers?

 

Making an ARC

An ARC does not need to be fancy, however, there are additional elements that need to be considered:

  • Disclaimer – A complete cover is not necessary, but there should be a disclaimer stating that this copy of the book is an advance reader copy that is not for resale.
  • Quick facts – Include a list that has information like: number of pages, price, release date, ISBN etc.
  • Formatting – While this may not be your final copy of your book, you should still make sure it appears clean and professional. Reviewers may have several ARCs to review, and an aesthetically appealing file could boost your chances of getting read first.

When it comes to distribution, you can choose an electronic copy, such as a PDF, or a print copy. Digital distribution is inexpensive and easy to deliver, however, this also makes it easier to leak. Print is the traditional route, but it does take more effort and time to produce.

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Meet the Team

Meet Tellwell Designer Bonnie Mitchell

am_velocefondo20170709_01If your role at Tellwell were to be summarized into a book title, what would it be?

Word InDesigns Out: Translating Word files to InDesign files.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

When I’ve created a cover and book block that represent the book perfectly and the author is ecstatic with the results.

What do you think is the most important aspect of an author’s cover design?

Balancing text and imagery to capture the story or the essence of the book. This creates a powerful emotional reaction inviting the reader to take a closer look.

What is your favourite type of book to design and why?

Fiction. Yes, it is as broad a genre as it is open to the imagination. With a good book synopsis the cover has so many design possibilities. There are certain design principles that make the interior of the book readable, however, there is no limit to how the title pages, headers, footers, chapter starts and sections can be styled. I find it the best genre for pushing the limits of design and doing something unique.

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Design Showcase Guest Post

The behind the scenes creative process to achieve this incredible YA fantasy cover design – Demons at the Doorstep

Guest post by Tellwell designer Tara Price

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Demons at the Doorstep is a young adult urban fantasy. Written by Rachael Bell-Irving, the story follows Jessica, a witch who must team up with her mortal enemy to stop mutated demons from destroying her city. Hard copies and eBooks are now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Chapters Indigo.

Why did you choose this cover as a monthly focus?

This was a book that I started working on at the end of last year that wrapped up mid-April. It was a little out of our normal process because it required a custom illustration. A lot of the time, the cover is either done first or designed in tandem with the interior. For this one the interior was formatted well before the illustration was done. I had an initial idea of what I wanted for the title, but I knew that it may change drastically when the cover was on my plate. However, once I saw this amazing image, I was able to work in the title surprisingly well, with only minor re-working on spacing.

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Author of the Month

Tellwell author Kristin Pierce ignites self-discovery in children through Inner Compass Books

Soul-searching, finding yourself and self-empowerment are often facets of transitioning from childhood to adulthood, but Tellwell author Kristin Pierce wanted to spark the journey of self-discovery earlier on.

As a mother of two, she sought out to find picture books with empowering messages to share with her children. But the nature of the subject matter left her with few options. Drawing from her personal journey of self-discovery, Pierce transformed some strong, thought-provoking life lessons into a beautifully illustrated children’s book titled Your Inner Compass That Could.

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“As a mother, I thought that if I was craving books with deeper learning messages for my kids, maybe there were other parents out there wanting that too,” she explains. Her goal in creating the story was to use the book to bring empowering messages to the world in an inspirational, understandable and relatable way.

The messages conveyed are concepts that Pierce began unraveling when faced with ovarian cancer at age 21. Self-reflection and inner confidence were pivotal throughout her experience, and are topics that she felt when described appropriately, could resonate just as strongly with children.

“What I uncovered along the way is that we all have this inner wisdom that we can use to help us navigate life from a place of alignment and truth. I realized that this was something I had been ignoring in myself for so long that I felt very disconnected from my truth and who I really was. In the process of getting to know myself better, I knew I was not the only one who felt disconnected or lost along the way,” she says.

To adapt these seemingly abstract concepts into a children-friendly story, Pierce knew the illustrations would carry a significant amount of the messaging.

“I had to dig deep into my creative depths to bring my illustration vision to the surface for Your Inner Compass That Could,” she explains. “The illustrations are infused with symbolism and meaning, and that process required a lot of reflecting, but it was so worth it in the end!”

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Meet the Team

Meet Project Manager Alison Strumberger

alison-1How would you describe your role at Tellwell?

Multifaceted. As a project manager it is my job to educate and support authors through their self-publishing journey, assisting with everything from manuscript formatting and submission, to illustrations and editing and design, and finally to book distribution. In addition to working closely with authors to bring their books into the world, I manage the editing department here at Tellwell. In this part of my role I draw on a decade of editorial experience to focus on refining our services, recruiting the best talent around, maintaining quality assurance, and supporting a team of thirteen dedicated editors who are passionate about helping authors tell their stories well.

What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

My days almost always begin in my inbox as I make my way through emails, answering questions from my authors and acting as a liaison between them and our designers, illustrators and editors. Quite a bit of my time here is spent collaborating with the rest of the in-house team about ways to improve on our processes. Invariably in the afternoon, I will find myself embroiled in an intense game of foosball in the break room. I prefer to play defence.

What is the most common misconception when it comes to editing, in particular in the self-publishing industry?

There are a number of misconceptions about editing, I think because the results of professional editing are often intangible. I would say the biggest of these is “I don’t need editing.” Every author has an editor; it is an essential stage in the publishing process. David Foster Wallace had an editor. Michael Ondaatje has an editor. Editing is so much more than adding missing periods and removing comma splices. Editing is also about style and nuance, it’s about the big picture of a narrative, it’s about character and logic and removing embarrassing unintentional puns, it’s about a fresh set of eyes reading your work as a reader would: critically, looking for the meaning, and really working to draw it out.

It is true when self-publishing that deciding to have your book edited can add substantially to your initial costs, but the investment will increase the quality of your final product exponentially, thereby setting your book apart from the rest. As Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying, “The difference between the nearly right word and the right word is the same as the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

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