Find out how Melissa helps get authors on track and ready for book production and her life down under!
In the world of independent publishing, there are heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes to bring authors’ visions to life. One such luminary is Melissa Barker, a talented publishing consultant at Tellwell. With her extensive experience and keen eye for detail, Melissa plays a crucial role in the book-production process, ensuring that every aspect of a manuscript is polished to perfection.
Join us as we unveil Melissa’s role in the book production process and gain insights into the life of a Tellwell publishing consultant from Australia.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Mmmm, where to start? I am a Pisces, and a Myers-Briggs ENFJ personality
type. I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I have stepped foot in 35
different countries. I have been known to hold a plank for 10 minutes. I am the health nut of my family and the ocean equally intrigues me and terrifies me. But the generic answer is: I am 41 years old and currently live in Melbourne, Australia. I am the eldest of 4 children, yet to have children of my own. I am studying counselling and brain-body medicine, and have immersed myself in the health and wellness space for well over 10 years, with interests in nutrition, psychology, human development, and spirituality.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Definitely being able to connect with authors on a deep level and supporting and nurturing them, helping them feel safe, heard, and less overwhelmed. I love hearing the tone of excitement and passion in their voices as they explain their story to me.
What does a typical week look like for you at Tellwell?
Most days are the same: a mix of starting the day checking Slack and emails, then assessing new leads and making outbound calls, receiving any inbound calls and consulting with potential authors about their book and publishing needs.
What is a question you get asked the most by authors? How do you
“How much will it cost to publish my book?” Closely followed by, “So, what are the next steps?” If an author is inquiring about the costs without us having discussed anything about their book, or about the process at all, I use it as an opportunity to explain that it depends on their goals, the needs of the book, and their budget.
I segue into the milestones that each book will journey through on it’s way to being published, and how the costs involved will depend on the depth of service required through each of those steps. I always like to provide a clear path ahead for an author when it comes to the next steps. I explain that once we have identified the service requirements and settle on a package together, they will then receive an invoice from me with a payment link for them to process their own secure deposit.
From there I am guiding them through the practical steps that cross the
bridge into production, and meeting and connecting with their project manager.
Do you have an achievement that you are most proud of? What inspires
you to succeed?
I often think that, as a whole, we underestimate how much of an achievement it can be to make it through some of life’s most tragic or challenging experiences, and come out the other side a better person with a kind heart. So for me, I am proud to have made it through some of my own personal life challenges still intact and more resilient and wise. And always with compassion and appreciation for this life. My inspiration to succeed is always driven by proving to myself that I can do hard things, and to live a life that I am proud of while being the best person I can be to myself and others. Aiming to live up to my potential inspires me.
What do you enjoy doing most outside work?
I’m a nature girl, so getting out into the mountains and the trees and exploring new tracks. Cooking. Or learning all about the human body, health, psychology and why us humans are the way we are and do what we do. And drinking coffee, reading, or writing.
Australia is known for its exotic wildlife. What is your favourite Australian animal?
Hahahaha—me! But I will say that baby kangaroos are pretty cute and adorable.
Do you have any good books to recommend?
Argh . . . too hard. But I think that The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a sweet
story and a classic for any age.