Tellwell's 2019/2020
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Author of the Month Tellwell Books

Indigenous History Month: Honouring First Nations, Inuit and Métis authors

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada. It’s a time to reflect upon and learn the history, contributions, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada and their role in shaping the country. First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples have their distinct histories, and within each group, their unique stories.

Tellwell is celebrating Indigenous History Month by showcasing our talented and courageous Indigenous authors whose stories strengthen our social fabric, enrich our culture and understanding of history. Thank you for telling your stories and sharing it with the world. 


Karen Chaboyer

They Called Me 33: Reclaiming Ingo-Waabigwan

Karen Chaboyer is an Ojibwa mother and grandmother from Rainy River First Nations, a community in northwestern Ontario. She is proudly admired by her children, who have witnessed her transformation as she worked through layers of shame and learned to embrace her identity. A second-generation survivor of residential school, Karen now shares her experiences with audiences throughout the Toronto area, where she now resides. Karen’s goal is to educate people on the extent to which the tragedies of the residential school system have impacted individuals, families, communities, and entire cultures to this day.

Grieving is the way to work through our losses and past traumas; compassion for ourselves and each other is how we move forward. Only then can we be victorious.

Watch Karen’s story on the CBC here. Learn more about They Called Me 33: Reclaiming Ingo-Waabigwan.


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Author of the Month

Children’s author and illustrator Fred Smith on creating cool animated videos of his book highlighting the unique father and son bond

Calgary-based children’s author, Fred Smith, is originally from Santa Maria, California, where he served in the United States Marine Corps, rising to the rank of sergeant. As his military career was winding down, he met his wife and moved to Canada to start a family. He retrained as a graphic designer and photographer. His adventures in fatherhood inspired him to write and illustrate his first children’s book, My Daddy’s Legs. Fred Smith is using his artistic talents to create animated videos of his book on his YouTube Channel, Uncle Freddie’s Courtyard.

1. What inspired you to write My Daddy’s Legs?

I was inspired by playing games with my son and it reminded me how I used to play with my grandpa and uncles.

2. Did you have a number of ideas for a children’s book? How did you decide on this one? 

I had one book idea before this; however, it was too ambitious for my skill level because it would have required its own app to be produced.

3. What are you most proud of in your book?

I am most proud of the rhymes and the fact that I illustrated the book myself.

4. How did you learn to illustrate and animate videos?

I got a diploma in graphic design in 2015, so I mastered Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Premiere Pro. All of those tools talk to each other and allow me the opportunity to do something different.

5. It’s nice to see more books highlighting the unique relationship between father and son, especially with Father’s Day this month. What was your son’s reaction to the book? Does he love reading the story at bedtime?  

My son was excited to see the book but I don’t think he understands that every kid isn’t featured in a book. He knows that he is the lead character of the story and points out what he’s doing on every page.

6. What do you enjoy most about being a dad?

What I enjoy most about being a dad is seeing the world through the kids’ eyes when they experience something new.

7. What have you been doing to market and promote your book?

To market the book, I created a website as well as a YouTube channel called Uncle Freddie’s Courtyard, and I actively post new and original content on Instagram and my Facebook author page.

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Meet the Team

Meet publishing consultant Philip Grey and hear the most common misconception he encounters in the self-publishing industry

1.    Tell us about your role at Tellwell. 

As the first point of contact, I am building a strong working relationship with new and existing authors in order to understand, manage and successfully deliver their publishing objectives.

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

My absolute favourite part of the job is when somebody tells me I’ve helped them fulfill their dreams of becoming a published author. I love the idea of bringing a smile to someone’s face.

3.  What is your work experience outside of Tellwell? 

Before joining Tellwell, I worked with a couple of self-publishing, client service and technical support companies. In total, I have around 10 years of sales experience in multiple publishing companies, two years in technical support and about five years in client service.

4.    How would you describe your personality?

I am a problem-solver by nature and my immediate goal when I speak to my authors is to resolve their questions and concerns as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

5.    What is the biggest misconception authors interested in self-publishing have about the industry? 

Self-publishing is still shrouded in misconception despite being an established industry. One of the biggest misconceptions is that “a self-published book is harder to market.” The challenges of marketing any book, self-published or traditionally published, are mostly limited to the author’s time and budgetary constraints as well as their marketing savviness. Social media and reader-focused platforms such as Goodreads make it easier to get the word out directly to your niche market. Tellwell’s marketing team will work with authors to fill in their knowledge gaps, and empower them with an understanding of the best marketing practises for their book. We execute a number of elements in their marketing plan to help generate new readers, reviews, publicity, and a social media presence. 

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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Congratulations to our authors whose books have won major literary awards!

On Loving

by Lili Naghdi

Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold

Best Adult Fiction E-Book

eLit Book Awards Silver

Romance Category

In 1972, Dr. Rose Hemmings has just finished her general surgery residency when a haunted stranger is shot in front of her in a New York City bar, and their lives become forever intertwined. And when, having been given the blessing of her adoptive father on his deathbed, Rose travels to prerevolutionary Iran to discover the past her American family kept secret from her, she finds a true Pandora’s box.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

The Independent Publishing Book Awards is the longest-running and one of the largest book awards open exclusively for independent authors.


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Book Marketing

How Tellwell authors are marketing their books during the coronavirus pandemic

Jennifer Chapin

The Poet & The Angel 

1. Describe your book in one sentence.

It is an elegy of love and redemption and tells the story of a little girl who sees the wounded spirit of a slain poet huddled near a fountain in Granada, Spain. She befriends him to give him his voice back.

2. How were you planning to promote and market your book before the COVID-19 crisis?

I had been approved by Indigo for a signing on April 18th in Victoria and had Tellwell create my promotional materials for that event.  I also had a reading set up at the Vancouver Public Library on April 19th and an event set up with the Victoria Public Library in May, as part of the emerging local author program.  All of these events have been cancelled.  Fortunately, I had an interview with Citizen’s Forum on YouTube before we were all told to self-isolate so I gained some traction there.  After many months of building online interest, the book was finally starting to take off; however, all of the events mentioned above are still available to me, when life resumes once more.

3. What are you doing now?

I’m still in the thinking stages of what to do next, but plan to set up my own YouTube channel to do readings and talks to post online, through my website and Facebook author page.  I am also planning to set up a series of podcasts.  Finally, I am building a community of authors around me whereby we read and review each other’s books and post them on Amazon by way of support.

4. Do you have any advice for authors?

My advice is to never give up.  If there is an obstacle in the river, float around it as there are always creative solutions available.  Also, form communities with like-minded artists to exchange ideas.  View this time as an opportunity for growth.  We are all in this together, globally.  If this crisis has taught us anything, it is that we need each other.

Read how Charlene Doak-Gebauer, Markus Matthews and Monique Gliozzi are adapting their book marketing strategies in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

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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 at their disposal 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, writing marketing strategies, designing websites, creating 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 beforehand?

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 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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Author of the Month

Psychologist, professor and author Ronna Jevne on how to cultivate and find hope during the Covid crisis

TELLWELL APRIL AUTHOR OF THE MONTH RONNA JEVNE

Hope is a fascinating phenomenon. A day with it guarantees nothing; a day without it is very difficult. It can’t be injected. It can’t be x-rayed and yet we know when our hope is down.

Ronna Jevne has been a psychologist, researcher, university professor and leading authority on hope. She is a founding member of the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology and the Hope Foundation of Alberta, a research centre associate with the University of Alberta whose mission is to explore and apply the phenomena of hope. She is the author of several books, including the recently published Finding Hope: Ways of seeing life in a brighter light. Jevne, and her co-author, James Miller, invite new understandings about hope, how to foster hope in our own lives and offer strategies for finding and practicing hope.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I laugh a lot, love deeply, and have a thirst for adventure. I believe life is not a problem; it is an experience to be lived. My pen and my camera are constant companions. I am passionate about photography, and I manage to stay fit while wishing it didn’t require exercise.

I loved every day of my life as a psychologist and professor.  I have had the privilege of working in education, health care, corrections, and academia. Over the years, I have seen extraordinary courage in the midst of life’s most serious challenges. 

I stepped back from the mainstream of professional life to be with my husband in the last chapter of his life.

I live now on eight acres of heaven, share my life with my husband, Hal Martin. Hal and I are lifelong friends who had amazing partners. In a brief window, we both lost our spouses. We now share our lives.

Life has given me new opportunities on all fronts. In this new chapter of my professional life, writing is central. My role in the Prairie Wind Writing Center, a partnership with my present husband Hal, is to take the lead in designing workshops/retreats, writing books, and promoting therapeutic writing with clients and professionals.

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2. Can you summarize what your book is about in a few sentences?

Finding Hope: Ways of Seeing Life in a Brighter Light (2nd edition)

Finding Hope: Ways to see life in a brighter light is a shortcut to hope. After an introduction to the value and qualities of hope authors Jevne & Miller offer time tested strategies to enhancing your hope. Each strategy is a one-page explanation and illustration of a “how to”. Written in a personal style and accented with quotations and photographs, Finding Hope is not only about hope, it is an experience of hope. 

3. You are a leading authority on hope through your work as a researcher, university professor and psychologist. What is it about hope that fascinates you?

Hope is a fascinating phenomenon. A day with it guarantees nothing; a day without it is very difficult. It can’t be injected. It can’t be x-rayed and yet we know when our hope is down. It is different than faith, coping, or resilience. People who have hope approach challenges differently than those who feel less hope. They achieve more, handle uncertainty with more confidence and have better health and well-being, Yet, hope was until the last couple of decades was virtually ignored by the scientific community.

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Book Marketing Tips & Tricks

How to choose a good domain name for your author website – 3 tips

By Cassie Smith


Having an author website is a bit like a business card – it establishes credibility, a point of contact, and an opportunity to showcase your work. 

It can be well-agreed that in 2020, having an online presence as an author is essential, and an author website no exception. 

As an author, you might have even envisioned what you want to put on your website – maybe a blog; an annotated gallery; links to events etc. What you might not have considered, however, is your domain name. 

What is a Domain Name? 
A domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website.

In simple terms, if your website was a house, then your domain name will be its address.

An example of a domain name is:  www.google.com

Now that we have an understanding of what a domain name is, let’s move on to determining what the right one is for you!

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Book Marketing

How Tellwell authors are marketing their book during covid

Stargazer

By David Scott

1. Describe your book in one sentence.

My story is an honest account of having lived every moment to the fullest and never letting negatives stop my drive to be happy.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

2. How were you planning to promote and market your book before the COVID crisis?⠀

In much the same way, except I had presentations arranged at book stores, libraries, historical societies, and organizations like Apex and Rotary. 

Maintaining contact with all the sources that were postponed (not cancelled), making sure they retain all the posters and flyers for when I return immediately after the virus is contained.⠀⠀⠀

3. What are you doing now?

My greatest wish is that I die writing, as a day without having written something creative is time wasted. I am currently writing a fantasy trilogy set 69 million years ago. At the same time I am writing an article, a novela, about my road-trip south and my Paul Revere-like race home to avoid the Queensland border shut down because of the virus. 

That journey started at 8.30 p.m. at the Victorian border, a 2,000 kilometre journey through the night, dodging kangaroos and wallabies. Only when the greyness of trees edging the road became like canyon walls in my mind did I realize fatigue was setting in. I pulled over for a nap, Raven curled up in the passenger seat and me in a slightly reclined driver’s seat: the car was too packed to sleep in the back. It ended up being only a 20 minute sleep as my dog had a dream and kicked me in the backside as she slept. It was enough, however, to revive me for the rest of the journey. I would not recommend it to anyone else to try. Upon reaching the Queensland border town of Goodniwindi at 9.30 a.m., I sighed with relief, even though I still had over four hours driving ahead of me to arrive home.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

4. Do you have any advice for authors or is there anything else on your mind?

My advice to authors is not to be complacent. Writing is what they may be used to but, like all things in the world, you have to get out there and sell. Use every contact and source available, often one leads to another. Almost 40 years in the film industry, with the big companies like Village as my opposition, taught me to be clever with promotions – it was the only way to survive against the national theatre chains.

As for the road-trip, I’ll do it again, just as soon as the blasted virus is kicked to the curb. And my faithful dobermann will be by my side.

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