Category : Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Meet Tellwell marketing consultant Kate Bell and learn her approach to working with authors

Kate Bell Tellwell Marketing Consultant

 

1. Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

I am a book marketing consultant at Tellwell so my job is to share knowledge, tools, and resources with authors for them to be able to successfully market their book. This role ranges anywhere from helping authors contact media outlets for a feature story, creating author websites, coaching authors on social media use, or crafting a custom marketing strategy for our authors! 

2. What did you do beforehand?

Before Tellwell I was working in the marketing division for a large scale event production company that puts on cheerleading competitions and camps all across Canada, the USA, and Australia. I was privileged to be able to travel a lot in this position and I was always learning, networking, and growing on-the-fly! During this time I was also starting up my own business in Victoria as well as completing my degree in English literature, journalism, and publishing.

3. How would you describe your personality?

I am very level-headed and rarely get worked up or angered. I can be reserved at times, however, I love to laugh and joke around with the people around me. I am also very self-motivated and love to be busy!

4. What inspires you?

I am inspired when people take risks and try something new that they may not be 100% comfortable with. I am also inspired when people are authentically themselves and not afraid to show that side of them.

5. What do you enjoy most about your role at Tellwell?

I love being able to connect with authors about their story and individual goals. Each author I work with is completely different from the next and each has different goals so every day is so diverse! It keeps things interesting and exciting!

6. Describe your approach to working with authors.

I like to be able to personally connect with authors beyond the scope of the basics. Hearing about their lives, story, how their book came to be etc. is important for me when trying to make the best possible marketing plan for them. It’s also lovely to connect back with them after their services have been completed to check in on their success!

7. What marketing advice do you have for authors?

The more time and effort you put into your marketing the more you will get out of it.

8. What are you most proud of? Biggest accomplishments?

I am very proud to be a young business owner here in Victoria going on four years. My biggest accomplishment was coaching and competing at the University World Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida in January 2018.

9. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy weight training, going to boot camp or yoga classes, and being active! I also love coaching, spending time with my family, checking out new restaurants in town with friends, and just kicking back and relaxing after a long day.

10. What are your favourite books to read?

Right now I’m reading “Sweet Bitter” by Stephanie Danler which I am really enjoying. I also recently loved “The Girls” by Emma Cline. I prefer books that have some truth to them (true crime, memoirs, essay collections etc.) but I can also easily get into a good romance fiction.

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Meet the Team

Meet Tellwell project manager Elliott Hockley and read his advice to authors

Elliott Hockley - Tellwell

1. Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

I’m the project manager team lead here at Tellwell and so other than my responsibilities ensuring each of my assigned author’s projects are on track, I have some other things I take care of from the facilitation of meetings, to making sure my team has everything they need to successfully perform their jobs.

On top of this, I also have some responsibilities within the marketing department, which is really cool because diversity in my role is something I value greatly, and it also means my degree in advertising finally has some uses.

2. What did you do beforehand?

I came to Canada in the summer of 2017 following a year of teaching English in the north of Barcelona. I have a degree in advertising and upon graduating I attained some pretty cool opportunities as a creative in London. The perception didn’t quite match the reality though and I didn’t stick around very long and sought to focus my energy elsewhere. Following that, I’ve mostly travelled, and also ran a hostel in the middle of nowhere for a year.

3. How would people describe your personality?

It depends who you’re asking, but mostly I get some combination of ‘upbeat, optimistic, kind, friendly and compassionate’.

4. What inspires you?

Reading, which is convenient. I’m an avid reader and I suppose a bit of an aspiring polymath in that respect. It’s also really easy to get inspired by nature, particularly around here.

5. What advice do you have for authors going through the publishing process?

Oooh, I have so much I’d like our authors to know, but we usually cover that throughout the process. My best piece of advice would be to try and keep a healthy sense of perspective. The nature of writing and publishing a story means that authors naturally become incredibly emotionally attached and invested in their work and that the moment their expectations are not met, there’s a tendency for them to get angry and frustrated. I can understand that, but the reality is, we’re working for our authors and we truly want the best for them and their book, and will work within the realm of our, and the industry’s capabilities to ensure that the best is what they get.

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Meet the Team

Meet project manager Simon Page and learn about his approach to working with authors

Simon Page Tellwell

Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

As a project manager, I help authors move through each step of the publishing process, providing guidance throughout the editing, design, illustration, and distribution steps, and everything in between. My role also includes acting as a liaison between the production and development teams, and I’m excited to be closely involved with producing the publishing webinars for authors that we will be launching very soon!

What did you do beforehand?

Before Tellwell, I worked in logistics and communications for a local non-profit organization, where I helped to produce and promote annual international jazz and blues festivals and other concerts.

How would people describe your personality?

I’ve been described as being very patient, calm, and optimistic.  I like to think I’m at least a little bit funny, and like to keep things pretty light-hearted around the office.

What inspires you?

I genuinely love helping people create great work that brings benefit to the world, and I get a lot of satisfaction from finding creative solutions to complex problems. I also draw a lot of inspiration from being in nature, as well as from books, music, films, and great food!

What are you most proud of in your life? Biggest accomplishments?

Some of the accomplishments that come to mind include graduating university, climbing the highest mountain in Poland (it’s not that high), and losing an impressive number of foosball matches here at Tellwell.  Also, I recently found a “Most Inspirational Player” award at my parent’s house that I won during my last year playing minor hockey, so that’s a pretty big one as well.

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Meet the Team

Meet Tellwell publishing consultant Jennifer Chapin and learn about her own book publishing experience

By Jennifer Chapin

jennifer-chapin

About Jennifer
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.

Work Experience
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.

mary-magdalene-awakes

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.

mary-magdalene-awakes-publishing

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Meet the Team

Meet Tellwell Publishing Consultant Rob Hitchen

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  1. If your role at Tellwell were to be summarized into a book title, what would it be?

Persistence is key.

  1. What’s your favourite part of the job?

Without trying to sound too grandiose it’s making people’s dreams come true.

  1. What is the most inspirational story you’ve heard from an author about their book?

I helped an 11-year-old get his book published. He is such an inspirational young man in his determination to succeed. It made me realize everyone can and should have a vision of where they want their life to go, no matter how young or old.

  1. What’s something (beyond publishing) you’ve learned from one of your authors?

Even when I’m not feeling at my best, some people have had it far worse than I could ever imagine and are still laughing and smiling.

  1. What advice do you give to first-time authors?

Don’t skimp on editing.

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Meet the Team

Meet Tellwell Designer Bonnie Mitchell

am_velocefondo20170709_01If your role at Tellwell were to be summarized into a book title, what would it be?

Word InDesigns Out: Translating Word files to InDesign files.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

When I’ve created a cover and book block that represent the book perfectly and the author is ecstatic with the results.

What do you think is the most important aspect of an author’s cover design?

Balancing text and imagery to capture the story or the essence of the book. This creates a powerful emotional reaction inviting the reader to take a closer look.

What is your favourite type of book to design and why?

Fiction. Yes, it is as broad a genre as it is open to the imagination. With a good book synopsis the cover has so many design possibilities. There are certain design principles that make the interior of the book readable, however, there is no limit to how the title pages, headers, footers, chapter starts and sections can be styled. I find it the best genre for pushing the limits of design and doing something unique.

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Meet the Team

Meet Project Manager Alison Strumberger

alison-1How would you describe your role at Tellwell?

Multifaceted. As a project manager it is my job to educate and support authors through their self-publishing journey, assisting with everything from manuscript formatting and submission, to illustrations and editing and design, and finally to book distribution. In addition to working closely with authors to bring their books into the world, I manage the editing department here at Tellwell. In this part of my role I draw on a decade of editorial experience to focus on refining our services, recruiting the best talent around, maintaining quality assurance, and supporting a team of thirteen dedicated editors who are passionate about helping authors tell their stories well.

What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

My days almost always begin in my inbox as I make my way through emails, answering questions from my authors and acting as a liaison between them and our designers, illustrators and editors. Quite a bit of my time here is spent collaborating with the rest of the in-house team about ways to improve on our processes. Invariably in the afternoon, I will find myself embroiled in an intense game of foosball in the break room. I prefer to play defence.

What is the most common misconception when it comes to editing, in particular in the self-publishing industry?

There are a number of misconceptions about editing, I think because the results of professional editing are often intangible. I would say the biggest of these is “I don’t need editing.” Every author has an editor; it is an essential stage in the publishing process. David Foster Wallace had an editor. Michael Ondaatje has an editor. Editing is so much more than adding missing periods and removing comma splices. Editing is also about style and nuance, it’s about the big picture of a narrative, it’s about character and logic and removing embarrassing unintentional puns, it’s about a fresh set of eyes reading your work as a reader would: critically, looking for the meaning, and really working to draw it out.

It is true when self-publishing that deciding to have your book edited can add substantially to your initial costs, but the investment will increase the quality of your final product exponentially, thereby setting your book apart from the rest. As Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying, “The difference between the nearly right word and the right word is the same as the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

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Meet the Team

Book Marketing Consultant Kendal Gerard’s take on joining Tellwell’s team

Kendal and her daughter Frankie.In January 2017, my family made the decision to move from Toronto to Victoria, BC (if you’ve ever spent a January in either location you’ll understand why.) I was right at the end of my maternity leave — my baby daughter had just turned one — and, in and amongst the chaos of selling our house, buying a new one, packing our boxes and changing our contact information everywhere, I was looking for flexible work in book publishing, specifically in children’s book publishing, which is where I have worked since graduating from Queen’s University in 2007 and the book publishing program at Centennial College in 2008.

By May, when we redeemed our one-way tickets to Victoria, I had been off work for nearly two years. (Though, believe me, I had read a lot of books in that time.) I had used the final few months of my pregnancy to complete a Masters in Education at the University of Toronto, which I had been chipping away at for a number of years while working full-time as the Marketing Manager at Owlkids Books (publisher of Chirp, chickaDEE and OWL magazines,) and my daughter was now nearly one and a half. In those two years, while I was home reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear for the umpteenth time, Tellwell had sprung into existence and I imagine I found this talented group of people much in the same way that you did — kudos to the individual who handles our SEO.

I didn’t have to spend very long on Tellwell’s website to realize that this was the place I wanted to work once we got settled in our new province. Even though no jobs were being advertised, I got the impression that Tellwell was the kind of company that would always find a way to make room for hard-working, enthusiastic, experienced people. Their commitment to helping authors create the best books possible means building a big team — so that every book will be matched with the ideal project manager, editor, designer and publicist. My first impression was not wrong and I was able to join Tellwell’s marketing team part-time in September, where I work on children’s books exclusively.

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Guest Post Meet the Team

Guest Post: Publishing Consultant Mitchel Anderson celebrates two years at Tellwell

img-20171024-wa0006What brought me to Tellwell at first was my determination to have a career in books and literature. As soon as I could reliably make my way through a novel at a young age, I would be asking for a new book every week until I had amassed what is a small library. The value of a good book was never lost on me which can be heard in stories my family would tell about how particular I was about the condition of my books. This carried me through my English Literature degree from York University in Toronto where I had the pleasure of arguing about the meaning of books with people much smarter than myself.

What drew me to Tellwell specifically was the different perspective we take to publishing in general. While authors I have known would lament about the difficulties of finding a publisher I would always ask why they didn’t self-publish, but the logistics never seemed to make sense for them. When I first arrived here at Tellwell and spoke to our founder Tim Lindsay, I realized the rare opportunity we had to put the freedom and control back in an author’s hands and help contribute to the global body of literature.

Coming in at the ground floor I had rare opportunities to be heard in the development of our company and I have always made it my responsibility to listen to the feedback we receive from our authors about their experiences here and elsewhere and use that to help shape our direction going forward. My favourite parts of my job are listening to our authors discuss their projects and being able to step in with my expertise to show them that what was previously an intimidating venture is actually very approachable as long as you have clear information and the right team.

At the end of the day, I firmly believe that creator-owned fiction and nonfiction is the only way to guarantee a diverse and lively discussion in literature. If every author listened to rejection and never took a chance on their vision, we would never have seen the likes of Dr. Seuss nor would we have the influential The Joy of Cooking, which was originally self-published during the Depression and used as a proof of concept for further consideration with traditional publishers. This is a route many of our authors take here at Tellwell and we do everything in our power to make sure they are situated in the best possible way to do so.

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Guest Post Meet the Team

Guest Post: Stefanie shares what motivated her to illustrate for Tellwell’s authors

stef-photoI’ve always loved art, in all forms; whether it’s sketching, colouring, singing, baking, dancing or playing an instrument…I love it all.

I come from an artistic family with an entrepreneurial spirit.  My older sister, sitting at the top of our talent pool, creates made-to-order portraits and awe-inspiring fine pencil sketches comparable to the likes of Robert Bateman.

My Dad is a very talented sketch artist as well, (though very few people know that about him).  Seeking a channel to exhaust some of my own creative energy as a young teen, I started a small business making custom designed chocolates. I was creating colourful candies and suckers in any style or character you can think of. As the client base grew, I realized that the business needed a brand presence – a challenge I gladly accepted.  Putting forth my very first branding effort, I developed a logo and fell in love with the idea of graphic design; it was an idea that launched my career.

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