Category : Meet the Team

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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Meet the Team

Tellwell designer Von on what makes a great book cover

Tellwell Book Cover Designer Von Langoyan

A really great book cover is one that captures the book inside it in some fundamental and, perhaps, unforeseen way.

Von Langoyan, Tellwell book cover designer

What do you enjoy most about designing book covers?

I enjoy the creative process of capturing and evoking the essence of a story through visuals. The cover needs to both intrigue a reader and give them a sense of the book’s genre and content. I enjoy staying up to date on design trends and using them in my process so our covers look fresh and contemporary.

Our authors sometimes have a vision for how they would like their covers to look, and I work with their input to create something they would love, and that is also captivating and current.

Where do you get your design inspiration?

Social media and the Internet, in general, are great for inspiration. I follow artists and designers who I admire to see what they are working on.

What have been some of your favourite covers that you’ve created for Tellwell? Tell us why.

I’ve had the pleasure of working on several book covers for the talented fiction author Monique Gliozzi, who lives in Australia. Monique’s books Foresight, Vestige and Diversity are paranormal thriller/mysteries and we wanted the covers to evoke a sense of supernatural spookiness.

Monique had a clear idea of what type of cover she wanted and provided us with really great, detailed instructions. I used a number of design elements to create a sense of haunting and mystique, such as the illusion of depth, partially hidden titles and objects, and surrealism.

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Meet the Team

Tellwell’s lead editor Simon Ogden on what makes a good editor

We aim to take the piece of art they have shed blood and tears for and polish it into its most beautiful form, and we do this by being the author’s greatest champion.

Simon Ogden, Tellwell Publishing’s lead editor

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a recent Toronto transplant after a two-year residence on Prince Edward Island (Canada’s cuddliest province), but I was born and cultivated throughout British Columbia, mostly Vancouver and Victoria, the latter being where I joined forces with Tellwell in 2017. In Vancouver, I spent many years wearing the various hats one does in pursuit of a theatre career, mostly as a playwright and director, and I ran various hospitality establishments, from ridiculous night clubs to nerdy classicist-cocktail lounges, finally accepting my birthright and inevitable career as a book editor (I’m the youngest son of a pedantic linguist, who passed on to me his deep love of the English language and its best literature). 

You’ve been an editor with Tellwell for several years now. Tell us about your role.

I began with Tellwell as a contract editor and soon assumed the post of head editor, or assistant to our beloved managing editor, Alison Strumberger. I have recently moved into the position of in-house editor, which delightfully allows me to interact more with my colleagues populating the other departments in our little publishing mothership, and it lets me keep a more structured schedule than is typical for freelance editing, which I refer to amongst the team as “the craft that never sleeps.” 

The bulk of my duties still entail working with our authors to strengthen their manuscripts before we put them to print, but I’m also a handy resource for the rest of the team to make sure processes are on track, and the often esoteric world of the editing department is approachable and clear when needed.

What approach do you take when editing a manuscript? 

Working with an editor is a very trusting and intimate relationship, so my first and abiding goal is to get in sync with the author’s style, intent, and rhythm. One of the glorious aspects of the job of the professional editor is the opportunity to work with many unique and personal voices, and it’s our main job to support them. All authors need support in unique ways, so we begin by identifying each manuscript’s overarching strengths and weaknesses, and then decide where best to apply our resources. 

For example, a manuscript may present a truly original and fascinating approach to its plot, but its sentence-level syntax isn’t making the plotting as clear as it could be—that becomes the area we would prioritize toward bringing all the elements into alignment. Or the author’s sentence styling might be nuanced and gorgeous but various plot points are in conflict—we would then be looking to smooth them out a bit while maintaining the sentences’ natural euphony … each book has its own needs, and a great editor has to be able to tweak all the dials as necessary.

Tellwell Publishing Editing Services

What is the end goal when you are editing a manuscript?

It’s always the same: to help the author produce absolutely the best final version of their book, one that they can for the rest of their lives be proud to offer to the world in exchange for the cover price. We aim to take the piece of art they have shed blood and tears for and polish it into its most beautiful form, and we do this by being the author’s greatest champion.

Some authors worry an editor may change their words too much, and the book may no longer feel like it’s theirs. What would you say to those authors?

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Meet the Team

Why marketing your book is just as important as writing it – advice from Tellwell’s marketing consultant Colleen Hay

At the end of the day, book marketing is really all about connecting with people and enjoying the process.

Colleen Hay, Tellwell Book Marketing Consultant

What does a typical week look like for you as a marketing consultant?

A typical work week as a book marketing consultant is never very typical! What I love most about the role is how varied it is day-to-day. Some days, I’m busy consulting with authors on various marketing activities they can do to help promote their books, and other days I’m designing websites, promotional materials, and social media campaigns to help get them started on their marketing journey. 

What do you enjoy most about working with authors? 

I am inspired daily by each author I work with. I’m amazed by their bravery in making that first move to get their words and thoughts down on paper. It’s such a pleasure to be able to meet authors of all ages, every walk of life, and from so many different countries! I love to hear why they wrote their book and to watch their level of enthusiasm surge once they’ve received some guidance on when and where to start marketing their book.

What do you tell authors who aren’t interested in marketing their book?

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Meet the Team

Tellwell project manager Joy Comendador offers advice to first-time authors

We’re passionate about books so it’s no surprise that some of us at Tellwell not only love helping authors through their publishing journey but are going through our own! Project manager Joy is currently writing her novel. Learn more about Joy, her role as a Tellwell project manager, and what her book is about!

What puts a smile on your face every day? 

Learning something new, helping others in small ways, and showing appreciation. When I push my limits and accomplish things that I once thought were very difficult, that puts a wide smile on my face. 

What do you enjoy most about working with authors?

“Meeting” a lot of interesting people, knowing their stories and how they came up with their books is delightful. My absolute favourite feeling is when my authors tell me I’ve helped them fulfill their dreams.

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

My advice is to ask a lot of questions, especially for first-time authors. Having patience throughout the process is really important too. I understand the excitement in wanting to be published quickly, but I advise authors to not rush through approving drafts— take the time to carefully review them:)

What advice do you have for authors who are considering publishing their manuscript?

I’m trying to write a book myself as well so I would say, don’t hesitate and take a leap of faith because it will be your legacy.

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Meet the Team Tellwell News

Turning the page to 2021 – Tellwell team members share their New Year’s resolutions!

Home workouts, new reading lists, and words of inspiration are among the Tellwell team’s New Year’s resolutions. Take a look!

JH, Subject Matter Expert/Publishing Consultant

New Year’s Resolution is to burn those quarantine gains and get back in shape!

Charlyne, Project Manager

My new year’s resolution is to be committed to my personal growth; physically, mentally & spiritually. This year, I want to focus on quitting toxic habits that are not good for my body. I’ll start to be more active and live a healthier lifestyle. I also aim to be more kind to me and allow myself to be vulnerable enough to accept my flaws. And, keep in mind that not everything is in my control and that it’s okay to screw up sometimes because that’s what makes us human. Lastly, I want to always look at the bright side of things, be more grateful and celebrate life everyday.

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Meet the Team

The one question you should always ask any self-publishing company – advice from Tellwell publishing consultant JH (John Hendrick) Abella

1. Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

If Tellwell was a clinic, a publishing consultant would be the doctor. First, we ‘assess’ your needs as an author and the requirements of your book project. Second, we ‘diagnose’ and match your project to a set of services that we offer. Thirdly, we ‘prescribe’ and recommend the most fitting set of services that would help accomplish your publishing goals and provide solutions to your author needs. And lastly, we ‘educate’ and impart our knowledge to you as experts in the field of self-publishing, all for the ultimate goal of giving you a positive and pleasant journey towards becoming a published author. 

2. What do you enjoy most about working with authors?

Apart from the sense of triumph, I feel after seeing my authors achieve their life-long dream of publishing their book, it would be the process itself – the consultation. Every conversation is both a surprise and a learning experience. You never know who you’re talking to next and their story. You can go from smiling ear-to-ear after hearing a sweet coming-of-age novel to getting your mind blown by a Chinese government-taking-over-the-world conspiracy story. Either way, it is never a bore!

3. What advice do you have for authors considering self-publishing their book?

Nothing beats the sense of relief as a result of an informed decision. That’s why I always tell my authors to spend time gathering information about the self-publishing industry. Ask questions, read literature and never hesitate to reach out to a publishing consultant. Above all, I always tell my authors to believe and have faith in themselves and in what they have written. 

4. What is one question you encourage authors to ask any assisted self-publishing company they are considering working with? 

I encourage authors to ask the company what their royalty structure looks and to break it down in detail. Ask, dissect and scrutinize even the smallest details of a company’s royalty structure. This will help you understand and realize what the company has to offer you in terms of returns in the long run.

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Meet the Team

Meet Tellwell project manager Rhea Inot and learn more about her role helping authors

1. Describe your role as a project manager. 

As a project manager, I help authors through every step of the publication process, from submitting the manuscript until the book gets published.

I serve as a liaison between the author and the designer, editor, and/or illustrator. I also guide authors on their choices in terms of design, layout or the book’s specifications.

2. What does a normal day look like for you? 

A normal day for me would be a combination of team meetings, phone calls with authors, preparing and reviewing various documents and communicating with editors, illustrators, and designers.

3. What do you enjoy most about working with authors?

What I enjoy most about working with authors is hearing their personal stories, and inspiration behind writing their book. It’s very satisfying and fulfilling helping authors achieve their goals and guiding them through the process to achieve the best possible outcome. It makes my day when I hear how happy authors are with the final product!

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Meet the Team

Meet Tellwell Book Designer Ian De Guzman and read his favourite cover design trends

1. Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

My role is to create the visual expression of our authors’ concepts and ideas using graphic tools and elements.

2. What do you enjoy most about being a book designer?

I enjoy creative exploration, thinking through ideas and coming up with solutions on how to best represent them visually.

3. What styles and genres do you enjoy working on the most?

Fantasy and adventure.

Here is a small sample of Ian’s cover designs for Tellwell.

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Meet the Team

Tellwell marketing consultant Chelsea Rutherford on the biggest mistake authors make when it comes to book marketing

1. Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

As a book marketing consultant, I work with authors to show them how they can connect with their audience through various marketing activities. It’s my goal to give authors a better understanding of all the tools they have available to them when it comes to marketing their book, and teach them how to effectively use those tools.

2. What does a typical day or week look like?

A typical day includes a mix of meetings and consultations, creating marketing strategies, designing social media graphics and promotional materials, and pitching to bloggers, media outlets or bookstores. I love that my work week always contains a mix of writing, strategizing, phone calls with unique authors, and creative work.

3. What did you do before joining Tellwell?

I was the marketing manager for a California based start-up. I worked remotely from Victoria with a lean-team based in Ottawa, Oakland, and Los Angeles. We all came together to launch our company in early 2017. What a whirlwind that was! I wouldn’t trade that time for anything though. Not only did I hone my time management and communication skills, and learn just how adaptable I really can be, but I was also able to experiment with all kinds of marketing activities. My responsibilities included social media management, blogging, B2B and B2C email marketing, media outreach, partnership marketing with California-based event planners, as well as managing and executing brand awareness campaigns, mostly through influencer marketing on Instagram.    

4. How would you describe your personality? What inspires you?

I thrive when I’m able to socialize with others – friends, family, even strangers at events or concerts. I love getting into good conversations with people. Learning through sharing ideas with others charges me up like nothing else. With events and social gatherings on hold though, I’ve been turning to other sources of inspiration. I consume books, blogs and podcasts on the regular, but my consumption rate has increased tenfold since social distancing came into effect. I’m still getting outside and spending time near the ocean or on a remote trail – there’s nothing like nature to keep me feeling whole. 

5. What do you enjoy most about working with authors?

I love hearing why authors wrote their book, why they want to share this particular message with the world. Starting with why is a driving force behind just about everything I do when it comes to business and marketing – thank you, Simon Sinek.

Understanding an author’s why helps me better understand who we’re trying to reach, which determines my recommendations and strategies for how to connect with them.

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