Tellwell's
Publishing Guide
Learn the five steps to publishing a book, the pros and cons of self-publishing, and how distribution and royalties work.
Learn how to publish.
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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Author of the Month Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Self-publishing advice and author affirmations from Tellwell author Chantel Riley

Our Tellwell February Author of the Month, Chantel Riley, on how social media has helped her promote her children’s book.

Social media has been a great help connecting me to an audience I could never have reached on my own.

Chantel Riley, author of I AM: Precious Affirmations

Chantel Riley has an impressive résumé as a television and Broadway actress. The talented on-screen star is also a singer/songwriter, she owns and operates a children’s clothing boutique, and is now adding “children’s author” to her accolades. Her positive-affirmations book for children has landed her on Canada’s national entertainment show, eTalk. She has also received glowing reviews for I AM: Precious Affirmations, and uses her social media platforms of tens of thousands of followers to promote her book.

The Toronto-based actress speaks about the heartfelt inspiration behind her children’s book and how social media has helped her reach a much wider audience, and shares her top three affirmations for authors!

You have an impressive résumé as a Broadway and television actor and owner of a children’s clothing boutique. Tell us more about yourself. 

I was born in Toronto to my Jamaican parents, Joan and Errol Riley, and come from a big family. I have four siblings. Before I got into show business, I grew up taking dance lessons and singing in my church.

What inspired you to write I AM and become an author? 

We had reached the one-year mark of the pandemic and I noticed I was seeing more and more reports of the decline of mental health in our youth and young children, along with the unfortunate and heartbreaking increase of suicide rates. Having two nephews of my own—one is 11 years old and the other 19 months old—I worried for their mental wellbeing and any effect this pandemic may have on them.

I am a strong believer in affirmations and the power of positive thoughts. Speaking to myself with positive words of power and love has helped me overcome some of the darkest moments of my life. Children are the future and I wanted to make sure I can leave something behind to help guide them down a road filled will love and positivity.

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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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Book Giveaways Tellwell Books

January book giveaways!

Do you love free books? Us too!

For the month of January you can get your hands on two Tellwell authors’ books for free, plus a number from other talented authors!

Whether you are looking for a non-fiction business book to start your new year off with some learning, or if you are into growing your fiction detective and crime book collection, our January book giveaways have you covered!

Tellwell’s January Author of the Month, Serena Holmes, has her book The Accidental Entrepreneur available for free download until January 31st 2022! Claim your free copy.

4/5 star IndieReader Review

“THE ACCIDENTAL ENTREPRENEUR: Turning Tragedy into Triumph to Embrace my Destiny in Entrepreneurship by Serena Holmes is an introspective, hopeful self-help tome offering detailed facts and figures regarding one woman’s journey towards creating a self-sufficient, self-actualized life.

“Encouraging readers who may also be embarking upon some form of self-employed adventure, the author pays close attention to mistakes made, outlining valuable lessons learned by trial and error along the way.” – C.S. Holmes for IndieReader

Also on offer is Edward Avanessy’s crime detective story, Kiki Coto! Claim your free copy before January 31st 2022.

ABOUT KIKI COTO

Richard (Kiki Coto) is destined to fight corruption, and criminal organizations whose members include politicians, judges, district attorneys, police, and others, to exonerate an innocent young lady wrongfully accused of murder. He is fighting an impossible battle. The criminals are very organized and interconnected, and conspire with each other methodically. Struggling to defeat the evil, Richard seeks help from all sources, including ayahuasca and divine intervention.

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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Tellwell author celebrations: reviews, publicity and events

From book signings to rave reviews and exclusive interviews, our authors had a busy end to 2021! Congratulations on your terrific accomplishments, everyone! We’re thrilled to highlight your successes.

REVIEWS

Blake “Crash” Priddle’s insightful memoir, Good Morning, Blake: Growing Up Autistic and Being Okay, received a 4.5/5 star review from IndieReader!

“A clear, thoughtful memoir with an upbeat tone, GOOD MORNING, BLAKE is both a delightful read and a valuable perspective on growing up autistic in a neurotypical world.” – Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader.

You can read the full review here.

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Author of the Month

Self-Publishing lessons for 2022 with Author of the Month Serena Holmes

For me, just getting the book published was a success. Would I love to sell a million copies, too? Of course! But that wasn’t my goal going into it. I wanted to help as many people as possible.

Serena Holmes, author, The Accidental Entrepreneur

2022, here we are! How are you all doing? Rested and energized for a new year, we hope. However, if you’re more so in the mind state of, What? A new year! Where do I begin? What do I focus on? know that you aren’t alone. Take a breath. You’re doing your best.

One of the best ways to get out of a funk is to take a page of advice from someone who’s been in a similar situation and managed to work their way out of it. Take Serena Holmes, for example. Serena is the author of The Accidental Entrepreneur: Turning Tragedy into Triumph to Embrace my Destiny in Entrepreneurship. Serena doesn’t just offer advice and inspiration for growing entrepreneurs based on her success and accomplishments, she gives readers a look at what it took to get there, including the hardships she faced growing up.

In a 4/5 star review from IndieReader, C. S. Holmes said, “THE ACCIDENTAL ENTREPRENEUR by Serena Holmes is an introspective, hopeful self-help tome offering detailed facts and figures regarding one woman’s journey towards creating a self-sufficient, self-actualized life.” If you’re looking for a book to inspire and motivate you, this is it! Moreover, when we asked Serena if we could feature her as Tellwell’s January Author of the Month, she agreed to not only answer our questions, but to share the lessons she learned from self-publishing, so that other authors could benefit. Find out about her self-publishing tips and how she’s used media mentions and online marketing to build a following of over 14 thousand on social media!

Serena, tell us a bit about yourself.

Where do I begin? I just celebrated my fortieth birthday. I am a proud mama to a gorgeous two-year-old girl named Sienna, and a happy wife. I became a mom pretty late in life, since I was focused on my career throughout most of my twenties and thirties.

I have had my own brand-experience agency called Tigris Events for the past eighteen years, and also obtained my real estate license this past year. Before COVID, I loved to travel but am fortunate to have a family cottage to get away to when I have some downtime.

Get your copy of The Accidental Entrepreneur on Amazon, Indigo, or Barnes and Noble!

What inspired you to write The Accidental Entrepreneur?

Running your own business can be a lot like riding a roller coaster. There are plenty of ups, downs, and learning curves, especially since you have to figure out most things for yourself. I had a lot of crazy things happen throughout my childhood that I believe helped give me the foundation to be successful as an entrepreneur. Between those experiences and those I gained during my time as a business owner, I felt compelled to write and publish a book about it to help others on the same path.

What was it like opening up about the vulnerable parts of your journey as an entrepreneur, and why did you feel they were important to include in your book?

Opening up in this way was extremely nerve-wracking. I was worried about upsetting some people, but in no way was I trying to do that. The experiences were what they were, and for those that I included in the book, I felt it was important to add context for readers and detail the kinds of lessons that were learned along the way.

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Book Giveaways

FREE SCI-FI BOOK GIVEAWAY

Sci-Fi fans rejoice! Looking to add some sci-fi books to your shelf? You are in luck! Bookspry.com is offering some great sci-fi freebies. Whether you are interested in dystopian fiction or time travel, there will be a book for you!

HOW TO ENTER

NEXT STEPS

  • Find the cover of XNOR
  • Select your choice of digital review copy
  • BookFunnel will send you your free download right away!

Don’t miss your chance to get a free copy of XNOR!

This offer ends January 15, 2022.
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Connect with Anand Purohit at xnorbooks.com

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Author of the Month Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews Book Marketing

Award-winning author Vali Benson on how she generated buzz, reviews, and awards!

Our December Author of the Month, Vali Benson, has been sweeping up the book awards this season. Her young-adult fiction book, Blood and Silver, won a gold medal in two categories at the San Francisco Book Festival, took first place at the New York Book Festival in the young adult category, and won the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for best first chapter book! She has generated over 100 reader reviews, and offers up her book-promotion insights to authors on how to generate buzz for your book, reviews and awards.

Published in 2020, Vali Benson was faced with marketing her book during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving online, she began the process of gaining visibility for her book by submitting for book reviews. What came next can be accredited to Vali’s hard work, consistency, and dedication to making Blood and Silver a book on every family’s bookshelf.

Read on to hear about her award and review success, plus her advice for new authors!

Tell us a bit about yourself & your book.

I have been a writer all my life. I can also now call myself a published author. It still seems like a dream, but it’s true. However, it would take some time to develop. My parents never encouraged my creative interests, so I studied retail in college. After I graduated from the University of Illinois, my husband and I moved west. We started and operated a couple of successful businesses. When we sold them, I decided to retire early to pursue my dream of writing. I currently live in Tucson, Arizona, with my husband, two sons, and grandchildren.    

Ever since I can remember, I have had a book in my hand. As a lifelong reader, I often thought, “I could do better than that.” So, I decided to finally do something about it. Blood and Silver is my first book. It is a young-adult historical fiction novel about a twelve-year-old girl in 1880’s Tombstone, AZ, who runs into all kinds of trouble trying to save her mother’s life. I like to think it has an entertaining combination of history and heart. The inspiration for Blood and Silver was formed from family outings. When our boys were little, we used to take them to Tombstone for the Wild West show. I was amazed when I learned that this little town of just over thirteen hundred residents had once been a boomtown of fifteen thousand. I couldn’t imagine it, but I knew there had to be a great story there.    

What were some of the more significant lessons you learned writing and publishing a book? This could be about the process itself, or about you.

The process of publishing a book is extremely personal and I’m sure it is different for everybody. For me, I was not quite prepared to hear other people’s reactions to my work, either positive or critical. Blood and Silver had only been a story in my head. When other people had access to my words and ideas, I felt that they were no longer mine. Those feelings gradually dissipate with each positive review received or award won.    

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

Honestly, I don’t do anything earth-shattering. From day one, my project managers and consultants at Tellwell have guided me in the right direction and I have tried to follow their suggestions as close as possible. A major marketing strategy that was stressed to me was to establish a digital footprint. Simple steps include creating author profiles on selected social media platforms such as Facebook and Goodreads. An author website is not a necessity, but I would strongly recommend it. I try to regularly update my success on these forums thus consistently cultivating fresh interest for my book. The key is to generate constant buzz.     

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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Tellwell Authors Share Their Success Stories

From editorial reviews to features in the news, these authors have a lot to celebrate! Congratulations, everyone. We love to see your success.

Grandfather’s Key by Amanda Dauvin

In a recent interview, Amanda Dauvin offers a look at her life before she became a published author, public speaker, teacher, and mother. Much like in her children’s book, Grandfather’s Key, she shows us that the smallest things often have the power to make the biggest impact.

Click below to watch the 4 minute interview.

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Tellwell Books

HOLIDAY BOOK ROUND-UP: Tellwell’s Favourite Family Reads for Christmas🎁🎄

Ho ho ho! Just in time for the holidays, we here at Tellwell are excited to share some of our favourite yuletide tales that are perfect for the whole family. With these festive reads, you can keep the holiday magic alive all year round!

Christmas Treasure Hunt by Leslie & Tyler Hoolaeff

A new Christmas tradition to bring the whole family together! Christmas Treasure Hunt tells a charming and delightful story of Santa preparing to deliver a game on Christmas Day.

Beyond the fun of the story, the heart of this book can help create a better, more memorable Christmas that is accessible to anyone.

Get your copy of Christmas Treasure Hunt on Amazon.

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