Category : Meet the Team

Meet the Team

MEET THE TEAM: Tellwell Designer, Michael!

Meet Tellwell’s interior book designer and quality assurance specialist, Michael! Read on to learn about the importance of a good book interior and how you can best prepare for this crucial step in your publishing journey.

What inspired you to work in publishing?
My passion in design inspired me to pursue a career in publishing. I am really happy to be able to get to continue to challenge myself in designing more interesting books.

How do you define your role at Tellwell?
Being a QA (quality assurance specialist) is a huge responsibility to carry on your shoulders. One mistake can potentially affect our relationship with the author or can affect our company’s reputation. I am very keen on details to make sure we can deliver the best results. At the end of the day, it is fun, challenging, and fulfilling at the same time.

Where do you draw creative inspiration from?
Internet and social media. I also check other designers’ work whom I admire the most.

Why is it important for an author to take their time to consider and review the interior of their book?
A successful book is more than just a manuscript thrown between a cover. One of the key elements to success is a professional interior design that adheres to industry standards, and to mimic what readers, retailers, and reviewers expect. So, it’s really important for the author to take the time to consider and review the book and for us to generate an aesthetically pleasing interior.

Everyone thinks design is just about the cover but it’s so much more. How does interior design help elevate a book?
Interior design helps elevate the book through these key elements; space, line, forms, light, color, texture, and pattern; creative-interesting design and keeping them balanced is the key to creating an aesthetically pleasing interior.

Also, a well laid out interior plays a crucial role in the overall reading experience, and can even impact your ability to get a bookseller’s attention.

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Meet the Team

Why self-publishing is not vanity publishing

Australian publishing consultant Despina Maclaren dispels the most common myth about self-publishing

Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

My role at Tellwell is to help authors navigate the publishing landscape, so they are able to make informed and educated decisions about the options available to them, and to guide them on what is best for their needs as well as their budget. I adore assisting authors, the day-to-day diversity of my role, and [discovering the] reasons and motivation behind what makes an author want to publish their book. It is a joy to assist them in understanding the process and expectations, offering them advice from my own years of experience in the book trade. 

Tell us about your previous publishing experience. 

I’ve been in the book industry for thirty-five years, and started out working as a bookseller at Angus & Robertsons’ flagship store in Melbourne on Elizabeth Street. I moved on to work as a bookseller across Melbourne and later became the rep there for Penguin Books. I decided to move to the UK, and worked for Penguin UK and other global and independent publishers, selling all kinds of genres, from mass-market fiction to non-fiction to children’s, education, academic, and professional books.  

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Meet the Team

What Tellwell’s General Manager Pamela Pasco loves most about working in publishing

Authors, we will never grow tired of helping you succeed!

– Pamela Pasco, Tellwell General Manager

Pam, can you tell us about your professional experience and your role at Tellwell.

I have been working in the publishing industry for nearly 15 years now. I started as a book formatter and my responsibilities never stopped growing.

I joined Tellwell in 2018 as a general manager in the Philippines to manage finance, operations, and human resources. Building a cohesive team and a work environment that is shaped around the company’s core values are a few of my responsibilities. It is my goal as the GM to make sure that as we deliver excellent Customer Satisfaction, and that employees also feel supported and taken care of. 

What does a typical week look like for you?

Team coordination, meetings, strategizing, problem-solving, and of course fun and excitement as I drive team performance.  

What do you enjoy most about your role at Tellwell?

I enjoy reaping the rewards of my hard work – finding the best people in the industry, working with them, and keeping them happy and motivated.  

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Aside from family time, I enjoy challenging myself with physical activities like trekking, rock climbing, and running. They help me think clearly and make me feel much more alive. 

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Meet the Team

Meet Tellwell publishing consultant Ben Belding, who shares his advice for authors considering self-publishing

There is no substitute for a professional editor, designer, marketer, etc.

Ben Belding, Tellwell Publishing Consultant

Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

My role as a publishing consultant is to support prospective authors during the first steps toward self-publishing. My first priority is to present them with all necessary resources, so that they may make an informed decision that suits their projects, families, and budgets. By taking the time to understand their needs and assess their intentions, I do my very best to ensure that the services they choose are appropriate for their book project(s) and, when required, recommend options that may be more suited to their project. I am always excited for the first chat with a new author. It’s a great opportunity to meet interesting, creative minds and develop relationships with people from all different backgrounds! It’s pretty neat to work in an industry where the young, the elderly, and everyone in between are on a level playing field. It’s especially rewarding to see their work go from an idea to fruition.

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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? 

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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.

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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.

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Meet the Team

Tellwell Publishing Consultant Apple Bertulfo shares the value of creative control and trusting your publishing team

Lastly, don’t procrastinate. If your dream is to become a published author, then make it happen.

– Apple Bertulfo, Tellwell Publishing Consultant

Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

As a publishing consultant, my role is to provide intuitive guidance and support to all authors who want to publish their books. I cover all the details necessary to turn their manuscript into a professional book. I help authors identify their publishing goals, know what they want for their books and then discuss together the steps toward reaching those goals.

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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?

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Meet the Team

Tellwell project manager Gezel answers a common misconception about the self-publishing industry

Tellwell project manager Gezel Zorobrado has been working at Tellwell for about three years. In her role, she helps navigate authors throughout the various stages of their book project, from manuscript to distribution. She is a ray of sunshine, with big smiles and lots of laughs to share. Gezel is about to welcome her first child this fall:)

Tellwell Project Manager Gezel Zorobrado

Never be afraid to share your stories with the world. You may inspire others to do the same.

Gezel Zorobrado, Tellwell Publishing Project Manager

What do you enjoy most about working with authors?

It is very fulfilling to play a small role in helping authors achieve their dreams and complete their goals. It brings me much joy! I like forming friendly and strong relationships with authors so they know they can rely on me to be their ally.

How would you describe your personality? What motivates you?

I am an introvert. I prefer having a quiet environment to think, reflect, and focus. I’m motivated to achieve my full potential and continue growing individually and professionally. I appreciate it when people recognize my efforts.

What is the most common misconception when it comes to the self-publishing industry? 

Authors, at times, confuse the self-publishing model with the traditional publishing model. There is a common misconception that once the author submits their manuscript, we will do all the legwork to bring their book to market.

While Tellwell certainly takes many of the pain points away during this process by creating the cover, laying out the interior, editing and distribution (depending on the author’s package), it still requires the author to submit input, approve changes and be involved in the process.

The authors who are most engaged during the production process tend to carry the same enthusiasm in marketing their book, which is crucial to success.

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