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Meet the Team

Tellwell editor Kim Martins shares tips for transforming your manuscript

Get pro tips from a Tellwell book editor on perfecting your manuscript & improving your writing.

Everyone should read, read, and then read more. It exercises the brain and improves mental health, but it is also great fun to lose yourself in another world for a few hours.

Kim Martins – Editor

If you’re an aspiring author, you know how crucial it is to have your manuscript polished to perfection before submitting it to publishers. That’s where manuscript editor Kim Martins comes in. With years of experience under her belt, Kim has edited a wide range of genres and helped numerous authors refine their writing. In this exclusive interview, Kim, an Australian editor based in New Zealand, opens up about her inspiration for becoming an editor and her all-time favourite books, and shares valuable tips and advice on how authors can improve their writing and increase their chances of success.

Can you tell us about your role as a book editor at the publishing company? What are your responsibilities, and what does your typical workday look like?

I edit everything from poetry collections to memoirs and novels in most genres, and it is a joy to work with authors. My typical workday begins around 8.00 a.m., and it might include a manuscript evaluation, paying close attention to story structure and character arc. Or it might be a substantive edit of a novel, which means I look at the manuscript broadly and help the author with things like pacing, clarifying plot points or possibly ambiguous sentences, whether the narrative is being lost due to unnecessary inclusion of too much information, and so on. 

Because the editing process is thorough, I might also work on manuscripts that have been through a substantive editing round and have now moved to the copy and line edit. With copy editing, grammar, spelling and punctuation are looked at as well as fact-checking, while line editing involves tightening up sentence structure so the language is sharp.

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Author of the Month

Heather Shtuka honours her missing son’s legacy through her book “Missing From Me”

The power of social media combined with the relentless devotion of a mother’s love has brought tremendous success to Heather Shtuka’s Missing From Me

Heather Shtuka penned her #1 bestseller, Missing From Me, after her son Ryan went missing. In this insightful interview, she opens up about her grief, her son’s legacy, the power of social media for community-building, and how her story has gone on to support other families who have missing loved ones through her organization, the Free Bird Project.

I will never understand the concept that there is a reason this has happened. There can be no reason that makes sense that my son is not here living the life of his choosing.  But I believe strongly there can be a purpose.

To get started, tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Heather Shtuka. I was born in Comox, BC, where I lived with my father, mother, and older brother for the first six years of my life. My father was in the air force, and when I finished kindergarten, we made the first of many moves to Trenton, Ontario. A far cry from the ocean waters and rainy weather I was used to, but still, I loved living in small-town Ontario. Despite a brief move to Ottawa, it was in Trenton that I graduated high school. Soon after, my dad made his final move with the air force and chose Edmonton, AB, for his retirement. Feeling the need for a change and wanting to remain close to my parents, I followed soon after. Even the chilly winters here could not mask the warmth and genuineness that I felt from the people living in this province. One of them became my husband, Scott.  We met, fell in love, and married in seven short months.  Looking back now, I can only imagine the fear our parents felt at the rush in which we began our relationship. But I knew that in Scott I had found a kindred soul.  Twenty-eight years later, I still marvel at my good fortune. 

I have held many titles that describe me as daughter, sister, friend, and wife. But my favourite and perhaps most fulfilling has always been a mom.  I have been blessed to have had three imperfectly perfect children, Ryan John Marcus, Jordyn Delaney, and Julianna Michelle. I was a stay-at-home mom for most of Ryan and Jordyn’s childhood. During that time, I did carpools, hot-lunch programs and countless volunteer hours at their schools. Then, three years after the birth of our third baby, I ventured back into the workforce, accepting a position with WestJet Airlines. I loved the hustle and bustle of the airport and the people I worked with. I honestly never thought I would leave. I did not anticipate the loss of my son would lead me to other less tangible yet still significant holes that would never be filled. But perhaps the adage that when one door closes, another opens is correct. I completed my degree in public relations in the years since Ryan’s disappearance and embarked on a career in communications and advocacy. I also wrote my book, Missing From Me.

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Book Giveaways

March into a new adventure with our book giveaways!

Hey there, fellow bookworms! Are you ready for an adventure? We sure are, and we’ve got just the thing to get you started: this month’s book giveaways!

Whatever genre you are into, we’ve definitely got you covered. These books are guaranteed to take you on a wild ride as you get lost in their great stories. We can’t wait to see where these books will take you!

Sit back and enjoy in yet another book adventure!

Starting this month’s exciting reads is The Almost True Adventures of Brandon and Josh by Barry M. Fellinger, full of fun, imaginative, and thrilling escapades!

When Josh gets kidnapped by Aliens because he refuses to eat his broccoli, he and his cousin Brandon end up having a hilarious outer-space adventure. The two eleven-year-old boys must face down the Intergalactic Council, rescue an alien who starts a flood every time she cries, fly an air sled, travel through time, and deal with a talking broccoli plant that might even eat them! Whether you like broccoli or not, you will definitely want to find out what happens, and after reading this you may even find you eat your vegetables all the time! But the fun doesn’t end there. Brandon says, “I can’t wait until our next adventure to see how we rescue our cousin Adam!” While Josh says, “I hope we don’t have to go back up there to rescue Adam. Those aliens give me the creeps!” They’ll find out in the next book, so watch for “The Not So True Adventures of Brandon, Josh and Adam,” coming soon!

Click HERE to get your FREE copy

Experience magic

Get ready to be swept away into a world of enchantment and wonder with every turn of the page of When Time Stands Still by Diane Martin. This book is your ticket to a magical adventure!

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Tellwell News Uncategorized

Her story, her voice: A celebration of female creativity this International Women’s Day!

For centuries, women writers have been making their mark on the world of literature, breaking through barriers and inspiring readers with their stories. From fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, classic novels, to modern memoirs, the works of women writers have left an indelible mark on the literary landscape.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to take time to honour female authors who have helped shaped the literary world as we know it today. So, join us as we take a closer look at some of the remarkable women who continue to inspire us today!

Rita Kakati-Shah

Award-winning entrepreneur, public speaker, media contributor, best-selling author, and recognized by President Joe Biden with the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for her international mentoring and volunteering to support young people, women, and minorities of all ages.

Her book, Goddess of Go-Getting, has become the number-one bestseller across multiple categories on Amazon.

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Book Marketing Tips & Tricks

Synopsis Writing Tips for Indie Authors

Master the art of writing a captivating novel synopsis with these top tips and impress media outlets and readers alike!

Focus on the main plot points and character arc, and don’t try to include every single detail or character in the book.

WHAT IS A SYNOPSIS?

A synopsis is a concise summary of your novel, typically spanning one to four pages. It outlines the plot, main character arc, and resolution of the story. The purpose of a synopsis is to market your book to the publishing industry, including both traditional publishers and self-publishing platforms. It is a critical component of your book proposal and can significantly impact your chances of securing opportunities. A good synopsis is a must for any indie or self-published author.

If you’re writing a novel synopsis, here are some useful tips to keep in mind:

  • The three-paragraph format is a common method to follow.
  • In the first paragraph, introduce the character, setting, and conflict or inciting incident.
  • The second paragraph should cover major plot points, conflicts, and characters necessary for the conclusion to make sense.
  • The third paragraph should detail how the conflict is resolved and how the character changes from the beginning of the book.
  • Use active voice instead of passive voice to make the synopsis more engaging.
  • Stick to the standard third-person point of view.
  • Remember that your synopsis is a reflection of your writing skills. Write it in a way that showcases your style rather than just summarizing the book.
  • Keep your synopsis clear and concise. Avoid being too long or rambling, or you risk losing the reader’s interest.
  • Focus on the main plot points and character arc, and don’t try to include every single detail or character in the book.
  • Don’t worry about trying to create an intriguing or mysterious hook. Simply provide the necessary information. Save the hook for your book blurb, which we’ll talk about later.
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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Page-turning wins: Celebrating author success stories

Join us as we celebrate the incredible authors whose works have touched our hearts and minds. From page-turning suspense to poignant reflections on life, these writers have enriched our lives with their powerful stories and unique perspectives.

Let’s honour their contributions to the literary world and the joy they bring to readers everywhere!

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Guest Post Tips & Tricks

Tellwell editor Simon Ogden’s advice to first-time authors

By Simon Ogden, Tellwell editor

Welcome!
You’ve done it. You’ve committed to the writing life. How are you feeling? Excited? Scared? Bored? Lonely? Us too. Welcome to the band—we’re delighted that you’ve decided to join us. We’re a bizarro group and legion, all of us utterly, fantastically, bewilderingly unique, except for one little idiosyncrasy: we all have stories screaming and punching and kicking inside of us that we need to wrestle into the world. There are many out there with the same constipation as us, but they may let it loose through interpretive dance or song or watercolours, or by yelling it into the faces of people in line for the bus. But not us. Not we. We’re the scribes, the men and women of letters. We adore specificity and nuance. We love the tranquility of words nestled on a page, the calm, rational, and quiet way they present themselves to our audience. Our hearts beat for that alchemic conversion of action and imagery and diaphanous emotion into the solidity of language. We’re the Hobbits of the storytelling tribe, and we don’t give a fig if you haven’t yet been paid for your writing. If you’ve managed to set a word down on a page and followed it, tentatively or resolutely with another, you’re one of us and you are welcome here. Make yourself comfortable and we’ll put the kettle on.

As a brand-new author, the first thing you need to be clear on is that all those concerns you have about what comes next and exactly how this whole writing puzzle works—samesies! We’re right there with you, in one way or another. This, like all great and worthy art forms, is a mentorship trade, like sculpture or carpentry. The longer you do it, the more sense it makes, and the more your lovely, unique, necessary voice rings out melodically to the readers who need to read that thing in that way at that precise time, and they will be grateful in ways none of us can hope to fathom. Delightfully, unlike most mentorship trades, our mentors are all around us: our bookshelves groan under their weight, our end tables disappear beneath them, our bathwater occasionally reshapes them for us.

Read and find inspiration
The all-time, number one, pin-it-to-the-top-of-your-list chunk of writing advice from anyone worth listening to will always be: Get your nose in as many books as possible. Find the authors who talk in the way you want to be talked to and ingest their work.

The second piece of advice toward becoming a better writer is—no surprises here—to write a whole bunch. It’s a close number two, but make no mistake, number two it is. It would be hard to build a nice house if you’ve never been inside of a nice house, no matter how many nails you’ve hammered into a board. However, in the wake of these bits of obviousness, the sea of writing advice starts to get a little choppy. What is revelatory for some from here on forward may be pure bilge for others. There is a freakish amount of writing advice out there to shovel up if you choose to dig for it. Give it all due consideration, but understand as you do that there is no specific method applied by another artist that is also exactly your method. This is the essence and provenance of art. If some “genius” advice doesn’t resonate with you, it ain’t your soup—chuck it and move on.

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Tips & Tricks

Should you consider joining a writer’s organization?

Much like running, writing has a tendency to be a lengthy independent exercise. The road can often get lonely and desolate, and it can certainly be reassuring to see some fellow runners, or in this case writers, alongside. Regardless of which publishing route you choose – traditional or self-published, there’s still a long journey of self-promotion that lies ahead.

As a self-published author, you’re essentially taking on a new profession, and if this is your first book, there can be a steep learning curve ahead. But, having an outlet to gain advice and support from other writers can help drive momentum and establish a solid foundation as a writer.

Many authors look to a writer’s organization as an opportunity to turn an independent effort into a team sport. Whether it be a national organization with smaller regional branches, a provincial organization, or a niche specific group, you may want to consider joining one as part of your marketing and promotion strategy.

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Here are some of the advantages of becoming a member of a writer’s organization:

  • Support from a community of writers – In any given writer’s group, you’re guaranteed to have the opportunity to connect and interact with other authors, many of whom will have unique insights to bring to the discussion based on their own publishing experiences. In essence, they’re a great forum to gain feedback from fellow members of your craft.
  • Networking opportunities – Most writer’s organizations arrange events and other interactive opportunities for you to meet with professionals in the publishing industry. Whether they be editors, reviewers, booksellers or other high-profile authors, writer’s organizations offer good settings to increase your author network.
  • “How-To” guides and instructional information – One of the greatest advantages of writer’s groups (particularly at a national level,) is the knowledge base they can provide, especially to newcomers. From contracts and legalities to marketing and promotion, writer’s organizations are a great preliminary source for best practices in publishing.
  • Access to readings programs – Some writer’s organizations provide their members with the opportunities to participate in pre-established events and speaking engagements. These can include subsidies to invite writers to perform at a school or public reading, which can act as a great gateway to showcase your book to appropriate markets.
  • Access to apply for awards – Many writer’s organizations offer awards to recognize contributions to the literary industry, but the committee’s considerations are often limited to members only. By joining one of these organizations, you’ll have the opportunity to submit your work for award consideration.
  • Writer’s Coalition Benefits – Many writer’s organizations include eligibility to participate in the group health and dental benefits plan through the Writer’s Coalition. If your principal profession is writing, it may be worth your while to have access to benefits, which aren’t usually available at a group rate in this trade.
  • Credibility – In the publishing realm, having a membership to a writer’s organization can enhance your status and clout as an author. As a self-published author in particular, this can be an extremely valuable confidence boost when you’re first starting out.
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Tellwell Books

Nine Black authors to add to your to-be-read list for Black History Month

Celebrating the works of some of our talented authors during Black History Month

This February, we are honouring some of our talented Black authors in their contributions to the literary world! Spanning genres that range from business to children’s and religious to memoir, our authors have stories they have carefully and courageously shared with the world.

Lamar Jackson

I Dream, You Dream, Let Us Dream! was written to inspire children of all ages to never give up on their dreams. When accompanied by hard work, dedication, consistency, and faith, your dream can turn into your reality. Do not allow others to tell you that your dreams are impossible and can’t be done. Even if it’s never been done before, you’re just the one chosen to do it. Dream big, work hard, and live your reality! You can do it!

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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews Book Giveaways Book Marketing Tellwell Books Tellwell News

Team Tellwell Scores A Hat Trick

Top-ranked books by master storytellers Diane Martin, Mike Ellis, and Shelley Snow

Three Tellwell authors have recently achieved a remarkable accomplishment by reaching the top spot on various Amazon charts. Diane Martin, Mike Ellis, and Shelley Snow are the masterminds behind these hit books, each of which has achieved #1 status in its respective category.

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