By Jennifer Chapin
I work as a publishing consultant at Tellwell arriving here late in 2017. Before Tellwell, I worked in non-profit engagement for eight years, assisting organizations around the world to become investment ready. Part of this work included encouraging executive directors and their boards to tell their stories so they could receive the financing they deserved. The move to Tellwell was seamless, in that I am still helping people bring their stories forward.
I also have a solid background in corporate sales and business development through Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. I first worked in Victoria and then moved to New York City. It was while I was working in New York that 9/11 occurred and I was heavily impacted by that event. It was a turning point in my life. It made me take stock of my dreams and what I had left unaccomplished. Writing a book was one of them and so I left the corporate world and went to France and wrote my first novel.
Writing Her First Book
I was raised to love books and my enduring memory as a child is all of us sitting around, father, mother, and siblings, reading silently. I am a voracious reader now and enjoy historical fiction with a fantasy/time travel element. This is also the genre I have used in both books I have written.
The Publishing Experience
I self-published A Song of Songs: Mary Magdalene Awakes in 2008 with AuthorHouse. This is the novel that arose out of my travels to the south of France. I followed the myths and legends about her there. They are rife as she is the Patron Saint of Provence. This was in the aftermath of the Da Vinci Code days, but in my book, I do not focus on the bloodline, but on her coming back at the end of time. I have recently pulled my book out of AuthorHouse and am now in the process of a re-write over the next few months.
In reflection and after working at Tellwell, I would have approached the process of self-publishing differently. I would have spent more money on editing, for instance, and commissioned a strong marketing team to assist me. I worked hard to self-promote the book through a launch and many readings. I found that Chapters and Indigo and private bookstores were receptive to carrying my book. It was an amazing experience. I cried when I got my first copy.
I have been fortunate to live a very rich life in terms of experience. I have traveled widely and take one major trip a year. I went to Israel and Jordan just after starting at Tellwell and I am going to Morocco in the fall. I am also a photographer and have self-produced travel books for friends and family about Vietnam and Cambodia. My ongoing dream is to continue to travel, and then write and photograph my experiences.
I am described as quite committed and intense, but that commitment and intensity comes from an underlying vision of the world that I have garnered from my work internationally with non-profits and with my own travels. Rather than being extroverted as we would tend to describe someone in sales, I am focussed when I am at work but immensely enjoy my solitude.
In terms of accomplishments, my novel stands front and center for me. I understand the creative process well and have enormous respect for all writers who are brave enough to bring their voice forward. As well, I feel a great satisfaction knowing that I have assisted non-profits and social entrepreneurs globally to achieve their dreams and visions. Through them, I have come to embrace a global vision of the world that you do not hear about in the sensationalized media. It is a vision of inclusion and helping one another, as we are all in this together.
Best Part of the Job
Bringing this closer to home, I love coming into work knowing that I am with a team of bright, creative people who do their job well. But at the end of the day, I have a smile on my face when I talk to my authors. If I feel that I have inspired them (as they have certainly inspired me) and given them the hope to finish their narrative, then I have done my job well.