Meet the Team

Behind the Pages: Meet Shaira, Tellwell’s Book Project Manager

Introducing Shaira Villamor, a skilled project manager at Tellwell. In this month’s Meet the Team, Shaira shares her behind-the-scenes insights into the book publishing journey.

Dive into Shai’s world and discover her pivotal role in the publishing process!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a graduate of Communication Arts. I am interested in public speaking and feature writing, but that doesn’t mean I am good at them. I started reading books in an attempt to improve my speaking and writing skills. My recent favourite read is The Hunger Games Trilogy. Once in a while, I enjoy travelling with family. I learned that travelling helps me understand myself more.

What’s a typical day as a book project manager like?

A typical day revolves around reviewing design drafts and publishing materials to make sure everything is in accordance with the author’s vision, as well as the standard publishing guidelines. It also involves engaging in effective communication with authors to ensure their concerns are addressed in a timely manner. The core of being a project manager is really to be the author’s go-to person as they traverse the intricate journey of the publishing process.

What inspired you to pursue a career in book publishing, specifically in the role of a project manager?

I’ve always loved reading books, so landing a career in a publishing company was a dream come true. It is fascinating to know the intricacies of book production and publication. Being a project manager is a role that lets you connect with people from all walks of life. While we assist the authors in publishing their books, we also learn from the experiences they share, and their motivations for publishing.

How do you collaborate with authors to ensure the success of their book projects?

Effective collaboration with authors is crucial. That is why I always see to it that, from the moment I take the project, I immediately establish an open communication with the authors. I make sure that they feel heard and understood. I give them an overview of what’s to come and what to expect during the whole process, and reassure them that I, together with the whole Tellwell team who will work on their project, will be with them, guiding them along the way.

What are some challenges authors face during the publication process, and how do you help them overcome these challenges?

Publishing a book in a self-publishing company like Tellwell involves a lot of work for the author, and can be overwhelming. And since most of our activities are done using a computer, it usually creates worry and frustration among non-tech-savvy authors. To help them, I make sure they know that their concerns are valid and that we’ll look for ways to help them move forward. The first step is to send them guide articles that they can read or webinars they can watch. If these are still insufficient, I go out of my way to help them do the tasks on Octavo.

Can you share a memorable success story from your experience as a book project manager?

One of my most memorable success stories is the publication of Frank Marasco and his wife’s book, a collection of poems written by their late son. Unfortunately, their nephew who was helping them with the project passed away while the project was ongoing. This left them frustrated, thinking that they would no longer be able to proceed with their publishing journey. This is an example of a time when I was able to jump in and assist them in completing their tasks. They were so grateful to Tellwell for all our help throughout the process, and that they were able to achieve their vision for the book, which serves as their son’s legacy.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are looking to publish their first book?

Go for it! Your story deserves to be shared with the world, and Tellwell can help you do just that.

How do you prioritize tasks and manage deadlines to ensure projects stay on track?

Prioritizing tasks and managing deadlines requires good time-management skills. I usually use the Eisenhower Matrix, a task-management tool, to distinguish which tasks are urgent, important, or both. I also see to it that at least once a week I browse through all my projects to ensure that each one gets the attention and action it requires.

In your opinion, what sets Tellwell Publishing apart in the competitive publishing industry?

Tellwell takes pride in its commitment to helping authors publish their books without changing their voices and achieving the vision they have for their projects. Tellwell offers a collaborative approach and flexibility that allows authors to retain creative control while also sticking to the standard publishing guidelines.

What do you find most rewarding about your role as a book project manager at Tellwell Publishing?

Witnessing the joy and satisfaction expressed by the authors when they see the output, that wonderful moment once they see their books on the online retailers’ websites and realize their dreams have come true. I feel like their success is also my and Tellwell’s success.

What do you like doing outside of work?

I like staying at home and having a lazy day, maybe picking up a random book and browsing through a few pages. After a productive day at work, I also love rewarding myself with good food.

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