Author Archives: Monica Martinez

Meet the Team

Tellwell’s managing editor Alison Strumberger on why she believes editing is crucial for a quality book

There is an unwritten contract between an author and their readers. Picking out a book, purchasing and opening that book, sitting down in a solitary moment to read that book – all of this is an act of trust. It’s a leap of faith. It’s an investment of your readers’ time, money, and attention.

Alison Strumberger, Tellwell’s Managing Editor

Tell us about your background, as well as your role at Tellwell.

I’ve been working in publishing for a little over fifteen years, starting out as a submissions reader for a magazine in Montreal while completing a BA in English literature and creative writing. I went abroad after I graduated. Thirty countries and some years later, my travels took me to Melbourne, Australia, where I got my MA in publishing and editing while working in both trade and educational publishing houses. I ran my own writing/editing business for several years, editing everything from novels and travel guides to celebrity memoirs and annual reports. My own essays, fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines and journals in Canada and Australia.

Here at Tellwell I mostly manage the editing department, and have been doing so since I moved to Victoria and joined the Tellwell team in 2017. In my capacity as managing editor, I make sure to recruit (and rigorously test!) highly experienced and professional editors who love what they do, and who are as passionate as I am about supporting authors to make their good writing great. It’s an incredible privilege getting to work so closely with a cohort of twenty-five talented editors based across Canada, the US, the UK and New Zealand. Along with our indispensable in-house editor, Simon Ogden, I work closely to monitor the quality of the editing while adjusting our services to respond to feedback from our authors. I’m an inveterate perfectionist with high standards, so I keep the team on their toes! I also spend a lot of time focusing on the quality of our production process, working to improve what we make, and the experience of the amazing authors with whom we make it.

Why is editing crucial for creating a quality, professional book? 

There is an unwritten contract between an author and their readers. Picking out a book, purchasing and opening that book, sitting down in a solitary moment to read that book – all of this is an act of trust. It’s a leap of faith. It’s an investment of your readers’ time, money, and attention. With each typo, error, malapropism, unintentional pun, break in logic, inconsistency, accidental repetition, missed punchline, unchecked fact, misused semicolon etc, that trust erodes, and so does the author’s credibility and the reader’s lasting impression. 

A well-regarded book is not weighed down by its technical pitfalls, which can be plentiful and distracting in unedited books. It is disappointing to read a review of your book that says, “It would have been great, if only it had been edited.” The crux of your book – the concept, the idea, the dare-I-say genius of it – can be clouded or confused or missed altogether when the reader needs to wade through a sea of errors, correcting as they go.

Just as each word you put on a page contributes to the meaning of your work, so too does each space, each paragraph break, each punctuation mark. Your editor is an expert in units of meaning. As Mark Twain put it: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter; ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Dr. Seuss put it more playfully perhaps: “The writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

Your editor doesn’t see mistakes, they see opportunities to make your writing tighter, cleaner, and clearer.

Alison Strumberger, Tellwell’s Managing Editor

What do you consider to be a great edit? 

Read More
Meet the Team

Get to know Tellwell project manager Atheena Carilla

Learn the most common misconception authors have about self-publishing.

As the author, you have full creative control over your book, so provide as much input as you can and don’t rush to publish!

Atheena Carilla, Tellwell Project Manager & Marketing Associate

Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

I work both as a project manager and marketing associate at Tellwell. As a project manager, I help authors through their self-publishing journey, providing guidance on the production process, and liaising with our talented editors, designers, and illustrators.

As a marketing associate, I help manage author websites and help the marketing team carry out aspects of our marketing services. 

What do you enjoy most about working with authors?

I love hearing the inspiration behind the author’s book and what motivated them to publish their story. As a creative person myself, I’m fascinated by the craft of writing, and the author’s efforts in creating and moulding the book. 

It’s valuable to me to be involved and to witness that process, as it isn’t something the reader can see in the end product.

What is a common misconception authors have about the self-publishing process?

I find there is still confusion over the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing. Self-publishing requires the author’s involvement throughout the production process, which includes providing feedback on drafts and making decisions for their book.

For authors, one of the best things about assisted self-publishing is you get to maintain your own artistic flair while receiving guidance about the technicalities of the publishing process.

Read More
Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Celebrating Tellwell authors in the media, award-winners, bestsellers, and more!

Tellwell-Author-Celebrations

From book launches to rave reviews to bestsellers, Tellwell authors have done it again! We’re always thrilled to celebrate author success!

Author of Immigration, Race and Survival Cecily Alexander was featured in The Caribbean Camera!

This memoir is a collection of many journals she has kept over the years. She uses journalling as a way of working through feelings and emotions and of learning from her experiences. She has had a career as a dietitian for over forty years. Her career has included academic writing, and she has one previous book publication: a book on nutrition and weight loss called “Just Eat Less: Easier said than done.” She has a master’s in business administration specializing in organizational behaviour in addition to her nutrition degree from the University of Guelph. She has taught at both the university and college levels. She lives in Southern Ontario.

Read More
Meet the Team Tellwell Books

Meet Tellwell book-cover designer Benjam Mosquera and learn his favourite cover-design trend

Tellwell book-cover designer Benjam Mosquera has been a valued member of the Tellwell team since 2018. He has ten years of book-design experience and is passionate about creating covers that draw people in at first glance. Read on to learn Benjam’s favourite book cover-design trends and hear his advice to authors working with book designers for the first time.

What inspired you to become a book-cover designer?  

I began my book-design career working as an interior book designer. I was really inspired seeing beautifully created cover designs by my teammates, in bookstores and online. It led me to learn how to artfully create book covers. I have been enjoying creating book covers for a decade now.

Where do you draw creative inspiration from?

I am often inspired by film posters. I’ll search for the designer’s name and look through their work for more inspiration.

What advice do you have for authors working with a book designer?

Clear instruction is really key. If an author has a specific vision for their book, then it’s important for the author to relay detailed instructions for the cover designer. That allows the designer to more easily visually interpret the instructions.

We are also creative individuals who love taking a concept and running with it. So if authors don’t have a clear vision for their book cover, that’s OK. That’s why we are here, to put in our professional touch and create magic. Showing covers that you love and want to emulate also go a long way.

Read More
Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Tellwell authors celebrate major awards in the New York Book Festival, great reviews and media mentions!

Blood and Silver
by Vali Benson

Blood and Silver won its second major award this year, taking home top honors for the Young Adult category at the 2021 New York Book Festival! Vali Benson previously won first place in two categories at the San Francisco Book Festival in the same year.


I Call My Grandma Gigi
by Carole Aldred

Carole Aldred’s I Call My Grandma Gigi, a book about celebrating the special relationship between grandmothers and grandchildren, received the Canada Book Award.

Read More
Author of the Month Tellwell Books

How to speak with your teenager about money

Advice from Doug Allan, Tellwell’s September author of the month and author of A Fighting Chance: The High School Finance Education Everyone Deserves

Doug Allan, accountant and author of A Fighting Chance: The High School Finance Education Everyone Deserves

Vancouver-based author and accountant Doug Allan believes financial literacy is fundamental to success and should be part of our high school education system. To help parents fill that educational gap, he wrote A Fighting Chance: The High School Finance Education Everyone Deserves. Allan’s book was released in early 2021, selling hundreds of copies, and earning thousands in book royalties.

He has had some notable moments which includes appearing in The Globe and Mail, CTV News, The North Shore News and the MapleMoney podcast. He was also asked to speak at various high schools in his region on money topics he covers in his book.

The Tellwell author highlights a special moment chatting with David Chilton of The Wealthy Barber. Read more to learn the key steps Allan took to ensure his book’s success.

What inspired you to write Fighting Chance? 

As a CPA, CA and a parent of two young children, financial education is near and dear to me. Over my career in finance, I have accumulated an immense amount of knowledge which I have, in turn, applied to my personal finances. Without the benefit of a financial education, most people do not have the opportunity to properly learn how to manage their money. The unfair advantage I have gained, as it relates to managing my personal finances, over those without formal financial education and experience inspired me to write down my knowledge as the book I wished I was given as a teenager.

What do you hope readers will get out of it?

I am hopeful that readers can learn one or two things within the pages of the book that gets them excited about their finances and the opportunities which are out there. I don’t expect everyone to finish the book and instantly be a financial expert, but if certain foundational lessons like the time value of money can be absorbed, readers will be much better prepared to manage their money. After reading my book, it is my hope that readers will advance to more complex financial topics and continue to learn.

In your book, you state that governments and school boards are failing our children by setting them up for financial failure once they enter the workforce. What steps would you like to see schools take to better educate youth about making and managing money?

Read More
Book Giveaways

Free business books to level up your business and your life!

Tellwell Publishing is partnering with talented entrepreneurs and non-fiction authors to bring you some motivational and insightful reads to level up your business and your life! We have 13 books available completely for FREE from August 26 – September 26!

Featuring two Tellwell business authors and entrepreneurs – Paul Sacco and Jack Lumsden!

Read More
Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews Tellwell Books

Tellwell Author Success Stories

Tellwell authors receiving awards, rave reviews, making bestsellers lists and appearing in the news. Congratulations!

If My Oak Tree Could Speak by Rachel Greening

Tellwell children’s author Rachel Greening’s book If My Oak Tree Could Speak tied for second place for Best Picture Book (5 and under), and received an honourable mention in the poetry category for the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards!


Where did Luna go? & Luna Loves Biscuits by Stephanie Hewitt

Stephanie Hewitt’s books Where did Luna go? and Luna Loves Biscuits – received honorable mentions from the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards in the new author – fiction category. Congratulations!


Sushi & Samosas : A Trip of Tasty Transformations by Rishma Govani

Author Rishma Govani is getting lots of positive hype for her book Sushi & Samosas. Check out some of her interviews here: katethismomloves &
twosouls.onejourney

Read More
Meet the Team

Tellwell designer Jamie Jamandre on what makes for an awesome illustration

Tellwell illustrator and cover design consultant Jamie Jamandre spends her days illustrating beautiful images for Tellwell’s children’s authors and consulting with authors about their cover design. Get to know Jamie, learn what illustration styles she’s most drawn to, and what she believes makes for a really good illustration.

I think the key to a good working relationship is communication and understanding.

Jamie Jamandre, Tellwell Publishing Illustrator

What inspired you to become an illustrator?

Like many illustrators, I’m largely inspired by cartoons, comic books, animated films and Japanese anime. Sci-fi and fantasy genres inspire me the most.

What do you love about illustrating children’s books?

I like being able to peer into the lives of the authors, and hear their stories. Stories from people of all walks of life, their families, their values, or the places they are from – I like getting a glimpse into their world through the power of their words.

What design/illustration styles are you most drawn to?

Although I appreciate all sorts of design styles, I find myself most drawn to soft watercolors and painterly styles, as well as pen and ink drawings. I like playing around with gradients and textures and experimenting when I can with my artwork.

What do you think makes for a really good book illustration?

Read More
Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews Tellwell Books

Tellwell author success stories – awards, media, and reviews!

Our authors have been making headlines all month long! From winning awards to securing interviews, to generating reviews – our authors are getting their names out there! Great work, everyone!


Awards

Blood and Silver

by Vali Benson

Vali Benson’s Blood and Silver was also named a winner in the 2021 San Francisco Book Festival, for two categories; History and Young Adult.

Nine Ways to Empower Tweens #Lifeskills

by Kathleen Boucher

Kathleen Boucher’s Nine Ways to Empower Tweens #Lifeskills does it again! She is a finalist in the Young Adult Non-Fiction Category of the 2021 International Book Awards sponsored by the American Book Fest! 

Read More
1 2 3 11