Tag Archives: author tips

Tips & Tricks

Why authors should have a media kit

Whether you’re looking to gain some media attention, attract book reviewers, pique the interest of bookstores, or develop relationships with key figures and organizations from your niche market, having professional materials to outline your project will be an essential asset to your pitch.

These materials can take many forms, depending on how best to showcase your work, but in the publishing industry, the package you put together will commonly be referred to as a media kit. At Tellwell, we call this package a Book Backgrounder, because it can and should be used to pitch your project to more than just media contacts. In fact, these promotive materials should be attached to every email you send out to inform someone about your book, and you should have copies printed and ready to bring with you for any in-person networking.

What makes up a media kit?

Think of a media kit as a 2-5-page portfolio that outlines your project and what sets it apart from the rest. Much like a resume, the most important information should be featured up front, and in many cases, the kit can be kept to 2 pages in length.

Here are some components to consider adding when putting together your media kit:

  • A fact sheet which would include the book synopsis and cover image, your author bio and headshot, and other details about the book, including ISBN’s, the genre, your publisher and retail information.

Why it’s useful: This component is crucial if you plan to use this kit to get your book into physical bookstores. The store managers will benefit from having both the product details and a description of the book, to determine if they think it will sell well in their store. These elements are also commonly requested from book reviewers when considering review requests from authors and publishers.

Tellwell Tip: Even though the fact sheet will display the contents of the front and back cover of your book, it still helps to bring in a sample copy of the book for the store manager to review.

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Author of the Month

Celebrating Canada 150: Heather Pattullo’s passion for her country drives book’s success

heather-bioLike many first-time authors, Heather Pattullo didn’t realize the journey she was getting herself into when she decided to self-publish. On a steep learning curve, she encountered many hurdles along the way, including a 4-month waiting period to gain permission to use the images in her book.

But, her ‘cross-Canada guidebook’ Positively Canadian: A fun guide to Canadian language, culture and history, couldn’t have been released at a better time.

On the cusp of Canada’s 150th birthday, Pattullo has been taking advantage of any opportunity to feature her book, and it’s certainly paying off.

“The end was worth the means to get there. My fingernails are growing again” she said.

positivelycanadian

Not only has it been extremely rewarding to finally hold the book in hand, but also Pattullo said she’s been overwhelmed with the response from those she’s connected with so far.

Taking advantage of the waiting period to develop some good working relationships with those in her local community, Pattullo has already had book signings at Albany Books in Tsawwassen and Black Bond Books in Delta. Both bookstores are now carrying her book on consignment.

She was featured in her local paper, the Delta Optimist (read the article here,) and was also invited to sell her book at the national and provincial conventions for the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE) in Vancouver at the end of May.

Her calendar is already filled up with events throughout July, including book readings and signings at three Fraser Valley Regional libraries in the Delta area, and a signing at the Granville Chapters in Vancouver on July 9.

Pattullo has approached private schools and the Vancouver Community College, to add copies of her book to their libraries for students to read and learn about Canada. She’s already sold the first 150 copies of the book, and a second order has arrived for her upcoming events.

“I haven’t even tapped into the all the ESL schools in Vancouver,” said Pattullo. “I still have lots of places to go, I’ll probably be busy until Christmas!” she laughed.

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Author of the Month

An educator, an illustrator and a puppeteer walk into a bar…

lindaanddariapreview

…While that could be the beginning of a corny joke, it’s also, save for the bar, the beginning of Linda Briden’s story as an author.

Long before holding her new book, Know Me, in her hands, before retiring, before hosting her first workshop for children, Linda spent her days as a child and youth worker and a special education teacher.

“I’ve always worked with kids that didn’t quite fit the system,” she says. “The system wasn’t designed for these kids. These kids that had some challenges, that had different stories and, perhaps, had strengths and gifts that weren’t quite mainstream.”

After retiring and finally having some time on her hands, Linda felt compelled to find a way to keep helping the kinds of kids she’d spent years working with. This led to two very important things happening — a meeting about pictures and a meeting about puppets.

“It was kind of a perfect storm,” she says of Know Me’s early days. “I connected with this young woman who did the illustrating (Daria Pekh), and she was really keen to do something a little different from what she had been doing. I then developed a business partnership with a woman who’s a puppeteer, and we’ve created a workshop that incorporates the book and a performance piece which uses the text from the book.”

Linda and her Puppeteria workshop partner, Shelley King, wanted to create something to address the bigger ideas of inclusiveness, tolerance, and acknowledging individual stories. The idea of the Know Me workshops and book were born together as chicken and egg, creating completely cohesive and complementary companion pieces to one another.

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Tips & Tricks

Picking a perfect cover image

There are only ever a few reasons as to why we are compelled to pick up a new book from Amazon or our local bookstore:

  • It’s one of those must-read titles.
  • One of our friends or family members mentioned it.
  • It’s mandatory to pass our upcoming high school test.
  • Our favorite author finally finished another book. Like maybe the sixth book, George?
  • Or…we liked the look of the cover.

I can easily think of a few books that I picked up for one of those reasons, and I bet you can too!

The importance of a cover

Your book cover is the first thing a reader will see, it will determine if they look past it on a shelf, or if they keep scrolling down while shopping online. Your cover is important, I can’t stress this enough; it is also one of the biggest contributors of creating a successful book as a self-published author.

Let’s break the cover down to its elements: a cover is essentially a title and an image. While the title is usually a few words or a phrase that describe the content or the story of the book, an image is a bit more than that. The image is a picture that introduces readers to the story. It can be used to convey themes, plot points, characters, and it can even foreshadow events to come.

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Tellwell News

IngramSpark changes Print on Demand book pricing structure

Effective June 5, 2017, IngramSpark will be adjusting their print rates and no longer offering the bulk order discounts that were previously available (10% per 100 books). The adjusted print rates can be found here. If you have any questions about the new pricing structure, please feel free to reach out to IngramSpark’s customer support team: 1-855-99SPARK.

For all of our published authors, please take some time to check the new print rates and adjust your suggested retail price if necessary. IngramSpark provides information on how to adjust your retail price here.

Most books with a black and white interior will decrease in print costs. In some cases, colour interior print costs have increased.

About IngramSpark and POD

The book distribution process within the book publishing industry, which refers to the process of making your book available to the public, has changed dramatically over the past 20 years; it is now possible to make your book available to over 30,000 booksellers (Amazon.com, Chapters.ca etc.) through IngramSpark, our central Print on Demand distributor. POD is an effective avenue for self-published authors because you can print one book at a time at economical prices.

 

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Tips & Tricks

The picture really is worth a thousand words, so make it count!

“No one knows or cares who I am from a hole in the wall, so why do they need to know about me, the author?”

This is a common thought among many self-published authors, and a fair point, especially if this is your first book. But remember, your name is on that book, and readers do care about that. Just as we can’t help but judge a book by its cover, as readers, we can’t help but judge whether we want to invest in you by your author photo.

You’ve put a lot of thought into the content, editing, and design of your book, and that same careful calculation should go into taking the perfect author photo for your platform. While it may be tempting to boycott the author photo altogether, having a professional photo can go a long way.

If you look at Amazon’s top 10 bestselling authors on any given day, you’ll find they all have headshots that accompany their author bios. So, if you ever aspire to be the next Stephen King, or Margaret Atwood, get yourself camera ready!

The most important reasons to have an author photo taken right from the start are to give readers a sense of what kind of book they can expect from you, and to reinforce your credibility as a published writer. There’s a lot you can convey about your writing persona and style by the way your photograph is taken. Not only that, this photo is your key to being taken seriously in the literary industry.

While the central purpose of an author photo is to accompany a bio on the back cover of your book, they can also add professionalism and transparency to your website, promotional materials, and be quite handy during press opportunities.

So, here are some Tellwell tips for getting that perfect picture:

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Author of the Month

How Tellwell author Angela Campagnoni is using social media to gain exposure and publicity

angela-campagnoni-2017-head-shotAfter losing her beloved father at a young age, Angela Campagnoni set out to write a book that helps children going through similar devastating losses.  In March, she published I Want to See My Papa, a touching, illustrated book to help children understand loss, bereavement and healing through love and acceptance.

Writing was a self-healing process for Campagnoni, but the real journey had just begun. “It’s a lot of work, once you hit marketing,” she admitted.

Campagnoni was fortunate to already have a strong social media following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, from her work in the fashion industry. Even with her pre-established networks, she still considers the online marketing to be a fulltime job.

“If you don’t have a social media presence already, start it early, early, early,” she said. “Even with my amount of social media, I still felt like I was late. It’s hard when it’s your first time because you don’t know what you should share, and what you can share.”

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Tips & Tricks

Affordable online advertising for authors

More than 2.34 billion people are using social networking, and there are more than 3.6 billion internet users worldwide. Online marketing is integral to building your author platform to reach your target markets and promote your book. One of the best ways to boost your online presence is advertising.

As an independent author, you may not have the budget to invest thousands of dollars into online advertising, but don’t rule it out just yet. Here are some affordable online advertising options to consider:

 

Facebook Advertising

facebook

Facebook advertising is open to anyone who has created a Facebook Page, to promote their business, product, or brand. Facebook ads are broken down into three parts: the campaign, the ad set and the ad itself.

When setting up an ad on Facebook, the first step is to identify the objective or goal of the campaign. Authors can use Facebook advertising to promote their Facebook page or their website, boost a post from their Facebook page, or promote an event. Facebook ads are most effective for driving traffic to you page or website, to boost your subscribers. They can be a great tool to develop your online following.

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Guest Post

Help Us Help You by Tellwell editor Rachel Peterson

Whenever I receive a submission to edit, I can say with some aplomb that no two are alike. While each manuscript varies in its editing needs, the editing approach hardly deviates. There is but one goal in the mind of every editor: make the book better. As an editor at Tellwell, I’d like to provide some insight regarding the role of the editor, what editors look for from authors, and how you can prepare your submission. If you’ve completed your book or haven’t yet started, read on. Tellwell editors are ready to help you when you are, akin to that quotable from the Jerry McGuire movie, “Help me help you.” To know that, you need to know what we do.

 

What is the role of the editor at Tellwell?

Generally, Tellwell editors look for the same things that other editors do, but it’s probably easier to start with what Tellwell editors are not. We are not acquisitions editors and we don’t hear from literary agents. So, what do Tellwell editors do exactly?

We make mark-ups and comments: suggestions to reach clarity and total readability of a book, so the book does its job of reaching its readership.

That’s editing in short, and we do that in four ways.

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Author of the Month

Tellwell author Deborah Kane shares her inspiration behind writing the Fifth Dragon series

deborah-kane-headshotWhat started as a creative outlet after long days of high-pressure financial work for the government soon morphed into the beginning of the Fifth Dragon series.

Deborah Kane never intended to embark on writing a fantasy series, nor did she expect the ideas to translate to three books, or more. Kane wrote the first book, Fifth Dragon – Cumulos Capers, to revive the humorous aspects of fantasy.

“Most of what’s out there is really dark,” she said. “This is just light humour with some magic.”

There was no plan in mind, no concerns of pleasing anybody and no restrictions. “This one just kind of came out of nowhere,” she said.  “I wrote it just for fun, the writing just came and came, and then I realized ‘Oh my gosh, these are books.’”

By the time she started writing the second book, Kane got more serious about the project. “Only as I went along, I realized, ‘Okay, I need a direction,’” she explained.

First, she set herself a schedule, writing in five hour increments, mostly over weekends. Though Kane stressed the importance of being passionate about the subject matter, she also recognized the value of sticking to time goals.

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