1. What advice would you give to authors who want to self-publish?
The advice I give to anyone who’s going through this for the first time is be diligent in your research and shop around. Find out about the companies, look deeper into them than what is on their website and when you’re talking to them, ask specific questions. Ask about their policies on royalties, printing rates and what kind of transparency they have when it comes to who’s going to be working with you on the project.
These are all really important factors as you enter into the publishing process. There is an investment required by authors to move forward, so there’s really no room for error when choosing which company to work with to bring your book to market.
2. What is a common misconception authors have about self-publishing?
One of the common misconceptions is that their book is going to land on shelves of bookstores across Canada and around the world. Another is once they sign up and their book is available for sale, they want to know what we are going to be doing to market their book and make sure that the whole world is aware that it’s there.
It’s important for authors to understand they need to be willing to put in some effort in promoting and marketing their book. A book is like a brand and authors have to put in the work to build their brand. It should be a fun process. With all the tools available at our disposal these days, marketing and promoting can be really creative and enjoyable, and of course, we can certainly help immensely in that regard, but their involvement is imperative.
3. What’s the one service authors shouldn’t skip?
Editing. If you want your book to look professional and be taken seriously, you have to have it professionally edited. Some people are not aware of the cost, and if you have a 350 – 400 page manuscript, then the cost can put people on their heels, and some people don’t have that kind of working budget. But I cannot stress enough the importance of having a professional editor go through a manuscript before it is made available to the public.
For an editor to be able to pick up any manuscript that comes across their desk and read through it with laser like focus, recommend improvements to the story, catch errors, and make sure the manuscript flows and reads professionally – they really are a different breed. I can’t imagine how mentally taxing this is, and how focused and detail oriented you have to be.
4. What’s your approach when chatting with authors?
When I get on the phone with a client, I’ll try to get a good feel for their personality and their energy at the time of the call. If I sense they feel a little rushed, I’ll ask if there’s a better time to call back. I want the client to be totally relaxed when we’re having the conversation so that they can process all the information we’re going to discuss, and there is a lot to take in.I also want to have time to enjoy the conversation and get to know them a little bit personally. So my approach would be to find the balance of discussing business and mixing in some personal elements to the conversation as well.
5. What’s the best part of your job?
I like drawing inspiration from the people I’m chatting with because I’m talking to people every day who are hitting the finish line with their projects. I get all warm and fuzzy inside because I’m working on my own book project and I can’t wait to be standing in front of the finish line like that.
The authors I speak with feed me with inspiration to keep pushing forward. I’m going through the process myself for the first time, so I’ve got a ton of respect for anyone who completes a manuscript, as it takes lots of dedication to stick to the process and see it through to completion.
6. Tell us about your book project.
It’s a family memoir using old photographs to tell stories around each moment. It’s a lot of fun and not as daunting as I thought it was going to be. As I put more thought into it, and I relive certain moments, the details do kind of fall into place and it’s neat to watch it come together in a longer form.
7. What are some memorable conversations you’ve had with authors?
For the most part, it’s the energy of the clients I carry with me. Authors who are excited or nervous about the process, I’m really cheering for them and I carry that enthusiasm with me throughout the rest of my day.
I speak to so many different people and there are so many great conversations. The ones that stick tend to be the really sad stories.
It never fails to amaze me the obstacles some people have to overcome in their lives. Some of those conversations have a deep and lasting impact.
8. What do you like to read? What types of stories grab you?
I like reading biographies, whether it’s business, sports or music. I’ve also read a number of Stephen King books, Dean Koontz, John Grisham.
9. What do you like to do in your time off?
I live out here in a little piece of paradise (The West Kootenays). It’s one of the most beautiful places in the whole world, and that’s not just as far as I’m concerned, that’s an actual fact:) I like mountain biking, I like going out on the water in the lake. We have a boat and the family goes out there. I’ll go by myself for peace of mind when needed. I love going up the mountain, if not on the bike then in my Jeep, just to get up top there and look over the mountains. One of my hobbies is definitely taking in my surroundings in any number of ways.
I’m a sports nut so I watch far too many sports, there’s no question about that. I love hanging out with the family. I’ve got an amazing wife and some remarkable kids and really do enjoy that more than anything else, just hanging out with my gang.
10. What did you do before Tellwell?
I had an agency that sold apparel and sports equipment. I got to work with really cool brands. Some were tied to the sports I’m a fan of, so that was fun. I got to reap the rewards of some sweet perks like getting great seats to sporting events, and meeting some of the athletes I would otherwise be watching on pay-per-view in my living room. So it was a really fun career in that regard over about a ten year span.
But I was growing out of that profession and was ready for something different. With this job, I love talking to different people every single day. You never know what’s around the corner when you’re picking up the phone to call the next author. Some days just blow my mind. It never gets old.