Tellwell's 2019/2020
Publishing Guide
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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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Meet the Team Uncategorized

Meet Tellwell project manager Redjell Arcillas and hear his advice to authors going through the publishing process

It’s exciting to finally get to see the author’s book live and published, and to share in that joy, knowing you had a part in making their vision a reality. 

Redjell Arcillas works as a project manager at Tellwell. He guides and assists authors throughout the publishing process – from their book submission to distribution. Redjell liaises with designers, editors, illustrators on behalf of the author and then, once the book is ready, distributes it so it can be purchased on various online platforms.

As a project manager, Redjell is part of every author’s publishing journey. His role is to bring to life the author’s work by making sure the cover is even better than the author envisioned, and the content of the book is ready for publication. Redjell considers the authors goals and works within their budget to produce a top-quality product. 

Prior to Tellwell, Redjell worked at a large indie publishing company as a project manager. 

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

Working with authors is a great privilege. I enjoy being able to access their personal anecdotes during the writing process as well as seeing the progress of their work, especially after a series of recommendations. It’s exciting to finally get to see the author’s book live and published, and to share in that joy, knowing you had a part in making their vision a reality. 

2. How would you describe your personality? What are your strengths? 

I value success, achievement, and quality. This drives me in life and helps me push forward to keep improving myself. I believe the key to success is persistence. I don’t allow obstacles to stand in the way of my goals. I’m proud of my achievements and I’m grateful to be able to pass those opportunities on to my children. 

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

First, trust the process, and know that no matter what, your book will be published. Second, know that your project manager will always be there for you. Third, always aim for a quality product rather than rush the publication of your book. 

4. What is the most common misconception authors have about the self-publishing process? 

I find many authors focus on marketing their book and pay less attention to the editing. When you do this, you miss out on improving your manuscript. You have to keep in mind that reviews will definitely affect the ability to successfully market your book. Neglecting editing before publishing your book is like offering readers something that is not worth reading at all. The professional publishing standard is to have very few spelling errors or grammatical mistakes. Reviewers can be brutal if they see too many of these errors. But they are also savvy enough to comment on plot lines, character arcs, pacing and the writing. 

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Tips & Tricks

How to market your book during the COVID-19 pandemic

Physical distancing, self-isolation and quarantines during the coronavirus pandemic have completely altered our lives. We’ve all had to reimagine the ways we connect and engage with each other. With so much fear and uncertainty circulating during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a great need for breaks from the news cycle. We are also spending more time at home now than, perhaps, ever in our lifetime. Indulging in a good story is one of the oldest and most enjoyable forms of escapism. Hopeful, cheerful, funny or just straight-up weird and quirky content can lighten our mood and make us feel so much better.

For authors, it’s a great time to promote and market your book. While holding book launches, book tours, book signings and school visits are not possible in a physical setting, you can take these activities online. Authors are using social media, and platforms like Zoom, to hold live events, digital book tours, and Q&As. They are partnering with other authors, book bloggers, booktubers and influencers in their space to share their stories and engage with their audiences.

Here are some ideas and strategies to consider on how to market and promote your book during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Book launch Digital book launch

Considering using Facebook live to launch your book. It’s free and relatively easy to setup. Almost everyone has a Facebook account together and it’s likely the people you would invite to a physical book launch event will already be your Facebook friend. Facebook Live can also accommodate another person which is great if you would like a co-host, emcee or someone to introduce you.

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Meet the Team

Marketing consultant Cassie Smith shares her advice to authors marketing their book during the COVID pandemic

1. Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

As a book marketing consultant, my role is to support authors in the marketing and promotional aspect of the publication process. We develop strategies for authors to develop their book marketing plan, and fulfil marketing services to take some of the load off their plate.

2. What did you do beforehand?

I worked in community engagement and development within educational institutions from preschool to university! My tasks ranged from directing international field studies with university students in Europe, to being the person who got to drop the eggs from a school roof for a science fair ‘egg drop’ challenge!

3. How would you describe your personality?

I’m a big infophile – learning is what motivates me more than anything! I also find it really tough to sit still and read a book – so audiobooks are a great way to circumnavigate that.

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

I thrive on having a varied workload which is why working with authors is so great. They each present unique perspectives, skills, and stories. Getting to adapt to those individualities is really amazing. 

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Author of the Month Uncategorized

Toronto-area doctor and author Lili Naghdi on adapting her family practice and author work in the face of COVID-19

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I am a family physician and researcher practicing in Vaughan, Ontario and I published my debut novel, On Loving, last year. I was born and raised in Iran and continued my medical education and research after moving to Canada with my husband and daughter in 1996. My particular interests are women’s and mental health.

2. What inspired you to write On Loving?

I’ve been a huge fan of literature for as long as I can remember, and one of my dreams as a young girl growing up in Iran was to become an author one day! Persian poetry has always been intriguing for me, and Forugh Farrokhzad, the late contemporary Iranian poet, who was also a women’s rights activist, remained a great inspiration to me since the day I first started reading her works. “On Loving” is the title of one of her famous poems written in Farsi. 

My occupation has been another source of inspiration for writing “On Loving.” Working throughout the years as a family physician enabled me to explore the effects of different basic emotions on people’s physical and mental health and to assess the role these feelings play in controlling people’s interpersonal relationships. I finally decided to share my experiences in both fields by creating “On Loving” and focusing on a young woman’s complicated life journey, a turbulent journey full of twists and turns, which ultimately helped this strong yet fragile accomplished woman achieve self-awareness. 

I trust that literature can act as a sturdy bridge connecting different cultures, so by using this bridge and the pages of “On Loving,” I introduced my readers to the rich Iranian culture and heritage, its ancient history, and, more importantly, real Iranian people through the eyes of On Loving’s main protagonist, an adopted Iranian-American physician. 

3. What is the main message you share in your book? 

I’ve always been amazed by how we, as human beings, react in our unique and different ways in similar situations or circumstances in life. Many of us never know who we really are and what we really stand for until it is too late. In other words, we may never get to know ourselves, our strengths, our weaknesses, our true potentials until the last day we live! Understanding the importance of achieving self-awareness – most possibly the hardest task to succeed in life- through working on our pure feelings and emotions, was one my main messages to reflect upon and share with my readers. 

You may remember Ayn Rand’s famous quote from The Fountainhead: “To say ‘I love you’ one must know first how to say the ‘I.'” In fact, for many of us, most “emotions,” such as love, hatred, jealousy, joy, trust, sadness, … are so difficult to process and act upon in proper ways. It is essential to understand where they originate from and how they can morbidly affect our behavior, mental, and physical health.

To say ‘I love you’ one must know first how to say the ‘I’.

Ayn Rand

4. How has your work as a physician impacted the story in On Loving

As a family physician with a keen interest in women’s and mental health,  I tried to draw more attention to the issues that I’ve found more prevalent and profoundly disturbing for most people. Common conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, suicide, homicide, bereavement, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), kidney failure/transplant, breech delivery, breast cancer, domestic violence, …  were among the topics discussed in this novel.

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Author of the Month

How an anxiety attack turned into inspiration for Jennifer Renieris’ first children’s book, Hawk Eyes

It can be in moments of darkness and fear that we find the inspiration to turn our life around. An instance that shifts our perspective in such a profound way urges us to forge a new path. It was while struggling with debilitating anxiety that author Jennifer Renieris experienced such an ‘aha’ moment. A hawk landed in her yard, and the symbolism of this simple moment shifted her perspective on life, providing the inspiration for her first children’s book, Hawk Eyes. Read about Jennifer’s inspiring journey and insight into the world of children’s publishing in our February author of the month feature.

The hawk’s ability to fly high, and keen eyesight, allows it to see the bigger picture, a new point of view, and a different perspective.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I grew up and still live in Southern Ontario.

Since high school, I have only ever been self-employed in various avenues, from agriculture to green energy. 

I had never viewed myself as a creative person. From my first ideas, to writing, to taking the leap to publish, each phase was a baby step up to the completion of book one, Hawk Eyes. Books two and three have unfolded with the ease of a new found love in the creative and productive process. 

I enjoy living with my blended family which includes three children, two cats, and a puppy. The puppy, Daisy, was an impulse buy while riding the high of my first book being finished and romanticizing my character of Aunt B, the Westie. 

Our home is supportive and, besides the critters, very peaceful. This supportive, stress-free environment has allowed me to open up to this new path and self-discovery. I have a house full of like-minded people to bounce ideas off. 

I love to travel. It is a great way to learn about other people and cultures.  Life has so much to share and to savour. 

2. What inspired you to become a children’s author? What was the inspiration behind Hawk Eyes?

I have worn many hats over the years. From managing my family to managing multiple businesses. Most of my time has been spent just getting &#$! done. Being stretched too thin paired with an unhealthy relationship can have its repercussions, and it did. I began having debilitating anxiety. I had no choice but to finally pay attention to my self-care. To feed and settle my spirit, I began journalling.

It was during one of our usually long winters, as I sat journaling, trying to abate an anxiety attack and praying for a reality shift from a particular situation, that a hawk landed in my yard right in front of me, then left. I had never seen a hawk in my yard before this. My curiosity was triggered, I needed to know more about hawks. Mainly I wanted to know if they were known to fly away with household pets. One of the fascinating articles that popped up was about hawk symbolism. I came to learn that hawk symbolism, among many other aspects, included perspective. This was a huge ‘aha’ moment for me. The hawk’s ability to fly high, and keen eyesight, allows it to see the bigger picture, a new point of view, and a different perspective. “Look at the BIG picture and remember why you are doing what you are doing,” I heard loud and clear. This was a huge ‘AHA’ moment for me; I felt incredible relief. 

How amazing would this be if I could share this experience, translate it into something children could relate to, I thought.

If you change the way you look at something, it can change what you see and can change how you feel about it.

I used this experience to challenge myself to tackle something creative. My intention was to take this ‘aha’ moment, using animal symbolism, and translate it into a story that children could relate to.

3. What message are you sharing in each of your three books? What do you hope children will walk away with?

In book one, Hawk Eyes, I use the symbolism of a hawk flying high, seeing a different point of view, a bigger picture, to share the message of perspective. If we change the way we look at something, it can change what we see and can change the way we feel about it. 

In book two, A Buck and a Puck, I use the symbolism of a buck, a male deer. He is very strong, yet he is gentle and graceful. His grace and kindness are his strengths. I wanted the reader to see that showing kindness to others, especially when we are frustrated, shows how strong we are on the inside. 

Book three, My Fine Feathers, is about embracing our uniqueness that shines from within. I use the Scarlet Macaw as my feature creature. Her bright primary colours scream at us to be unapologetically bold and beautiful just as we are. 

The main message I hope resonates with people sharing my stories, is that we always have a choice. We have a choice in how we look at any situation, a choice in how we treat others and a choice to celebrate our uniqueness, and that of others. This is empowering.

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Meet the Team

The most common misconceptions authors have about self-publishing – Q&A with publishing consultant Maria Brown

You don’t just want to self-publish. You want to self-publish well. Make sure your self-published book stands out from the crowd.

1. Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

As a publishing consultant, I am the author’s first point of contact with the company. It is my role to help authors understand the publishing industry, the publishing process, and help them make smart decisions to achieve their publishing goals.

2. How would you describe your personality?

I’m a problem-solver by nature, and I would like to describe myself as a positive person. I bounce back quickly from negative thoughts and always look for the silver lining in situations.

3. Describe your approach to working with authors.

I keep it simple. My approach is personal. I consider myself a guide to authors navigating the world of publishing.

4. What publishing advice do you have for authors considering self-publishing?

You don’t just want to self-publish. You want to self-publish well. Make sure your self-published book stands out from the crowd.

Get your book edited. Hire a professional editor. You don’t have to accept every single change. At the end of the day, it’s your book but at least consider the feedback.

Have a book cover that converts! A high-quality book cover is the most important element to get readers’ attention. It is what readers first see and will immediately determine whether they want to pick up your book or not.

Be realistic. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes dedication and patience.

5. What is one of the most common misconceptions authors have about the self-publishing process? 

That it is just for vanity. All I can say is self-publishing can be tough, but a necessary alternative to traditional publishing as it gives small voices a chance to grow loud. Many of the big names that float around now got their start with self-publishing. They are proof that going this route now can lead to greater things down the line. Self-publishing costs money upfront, but if writing truly is your passion, then this venture is worth every penny. Hobbies cost money. Startup businesses cost money. Writing is both a hobby and a business. Tellwell makes sure that every penny an author spends is a penny invested in a legacy they can be proud of.

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Author of the Month

Montreal media icon Tommy Schnurmacher’s touching tribute to his mother receives high praise and acclaim

Montreal broadcaster and author Tommy Schnurmacher is receiving major publicity for his new memoir Makeup Tips from Auschwitz: How Vanity Saved my Mother’s Life. He’s been featured in Canadian Jewish News, The Suburban, Global News and the Montreal Gazette.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

His book has sold out in all the Montreal bookstores carrying it. It’s the #1 consignment book at Paragraphe Books, and all 104 copies at Chapters sold out in 90 minutes during a book signing. Way to go, Tommy!

We recently sat down with Tommy to ask him about all the attention his book has been getting since its release.

Q: What inspired you to write this book? 

A: The inspiration for the book came from veteran Canadian broadcaster Gord Sinclair, who was the news director at radio station CJAD in Montreal where I was the mid-morning talk show host. During commercial breaks, I would tell him stories of my childhood and my family dynamic when we first came to Canada from Hungary as immigrants. I remember him saying, “One of these days, Tommy, you are going to have to write a book.” I had often told the stories and I would write notes just for the fun of it, but the day Gord was talking about finally came and I finally sat down and wrote the book.

Your book has received high praise and acclaim. You’ve been featured in the Montreal Gazette, The Suburban, Global News and the Canadian Jewish News. How does it feel to receive so much positive attention for your book? 

A: It is very gratifying, of course, to see that people are enjoying the book. Many people can relate to having a special relationship with their mother. They can also relate to the immigrant experience and to taking care of parents who once took care of them.

Q: How are you promoting your book? 

A: Publicity does not happen on its own and books don’t just fly off the shelf. I use the “five in five” method. I do five things a day, five days a week to promote the book. It could mean writing a press release, sending an email, making a phone call or flipping through a book blogger directory. Every bit counts. Every bit helps. Some will pan out, some will not, but you just have to keep at it. 

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