Want to know what happens once you sign up with Tellwell? Project manager Natasha Miller answers questions on the publishing process.
1. How would you describe your role? What do you do?
I act as a liaison between authors and all the different talented people who work for Tellwell doing things like editing, designing, marketing and any other aspect you can think of when it comes to the creation of a book.
On a day-to-day basis my day would start with answering emails and answering all the questions authors have about any step of the process, from editing, to design or all the way to the very end of the process with distribution. I also do a lot of the back end work of making sure that books are set up properly for distribution.
2. What’s your favourite part of the job?
My favourite part of the job is working directly with authors and the conversations we have about how to make their dream project a reality. It is really rewarding when you see someone who initially doesn’t know a lot about the publishing process learning how it works through their journey with us. And at the end of it, they have a book they are really proud of.
3. What advice do you have for authors once they’ve signed up and have started the production process?
Understand that it is a process and it’s not something that just happens overnight. There’s a lot of work that goes into it, and work that needs to be done by both us and the author to make sure that in the end what comes out is a really high-quality, professional book.
4. What message do you find yourself repeating to authors?
I often find myself repeating how important the editing process is and how crucial it is to make sure your manuscript is as good as it can be before it goes into the design phase. That might mean taking a little bit of extra time or spending a little bit of extra money to make sure the editing is consistent and thorough.
It will save you money down the line when you go to print because there won’t be any spelling mistakes or typos to change later.
5. What is a common question you get at this stage?
I get a lot of questions but most of them are about distribution. People want to know where their books will be available. They also want to know whether their books are immediately going to be on physical bookshelves or only online.
I generally tell people their book will start off available to over 39,000 online retailers and that selling online is an important step of the process. It’s a great way to start building your sales record and showing that there is a want and a need for your book. Physical bookstores want to see a proven sales record before they take the risk of stocking a book.
6. What’s the worst mistake an author can make during the production phase?
Rushing the process. If the author takes the time to go through each step not necessarily with a final date in mind, but with a final product then the focus can be on producing the highest quality product.
7. What are some of the benefits to authors at the production stage when working with a self-publisher as opposed to doing everything yourself?
A self-publisher can connect you with a very high level of talent when it comes to editors, designers and marketers. These are professionals with many years of experience behind them who have a proven track record and know the industry well.
An author can be good at writing, but they may not have the same skill in graphic design or marketing. When authors are working with a talented team, it takes some of the pressure off to do everything themselves.
They also don’t have to go searching for the talent themselves, which can take time, be a risk, and can sometimes cost more money for a highly qualified designer or editor.
8. How quickly can authors get their book to market?
A book that doesn’t have too many complicated aspects to it and has already been edited takes anywhere from two to four months. It helps if the author has some understanding of technology such as the PDF markup tool.
A book that has a number of charts and graphs, illustrations or other figures will take longer. The book will need to be edited and then formatted properly, and that can take much longer.
9. What advice do you have for authors who want to speed up the process?
If editing is included in your publishing package, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with Microsoft Word’s track changes features. That way once you have your edited manuscript back, the technology won’t be a barrier causing delays in the process.
Similarly, learning how PDF markup tools work will save you time down the road in the design process.
10. What did you do before Tellwell?
I graduated with a degree in Professional Communications from Royal Roads University. I started working with Tellwell in May. Before that, I was the editor-in-chief of a local magazine, I worked in communications and operations for non-profit organizations, and I worked as a videographer.
11. What do you like to read? What type of stories grab you?
One of my favourite books of all time is White Teeth by Zadie Smith. She is an incredible author. Her writing style is very postmodern stream of consciousness, where she jumps to different perspectives. The book is about what brings families together. It goes through different generations of three families looking at how parents influence children and children influence parents.
I also really like author Terry Fallis. He’s got a book called Up and Down about a man working in public relations for NASA. He’s trying to make NASA cool again and without giving too much away, starts pushing to make a really zany idea into a reality.
12. What do you do in your time off?
I watch a little bit too much Netflix and also spend a lot of time with my family, especially my sister. I enjoy crafting, travelling, cooking (and eating), playing board games with friends, and playing with my cat, Meanie.