Tag Archives: canadian authors

Tellwell News

Manuscript Assessment: Giving Your Manuscript the Best Possible Start

Good books matter. They inform and inspire. They spark joy. They nurture imagination. They mould our minds and beliefs. In the current climate of near peak content saturation, shaping written works from final drafts into polished, quality products is more necessary than ever. In the end, the more care and attention you put into your book, the more you will get out of it.

At Tellwell we care about quality, and we take pride helping our authors along the publishing journey to reach their goals of creating the best possible outcomes for their projects. This is why we now include a complimentary Manuscript Assessment service in all of our publishing packages. This week-long assessment period begins as soon as you submit your manuscript to your Project Manager. During this time, our talented team will take a close look at your manuscript to make sure it is ready to move on to the next stage of production.

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Tips & Tricks

Editing Process: Traditional vs. Assisted Self-Publishing

Completing the writing process of your book is a huge and exciting feat! Now you can carry on to the editing stage, which is extremely important as you will receive valuable insight from an unbiased professional. Some writers may feel like they want to opt out of editing; however, we highly recommend that everyone invest in the editing process. This process is crucial, as it can turn a good book into a GREAT book! Having someone else’s eyes on your writing allows you to receive feedback that you may have overlooked.

As a self-published author, when considering editing services it is important to understand the differences in the process between traditional and assisted self-publishing.

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Author of the Month

Sally Walls shares her ‘nightfall to daybreak’ in emotionally raw book on losing her son

sally-birthday_1-copyPrior to becoming a published author, Walls admits that she was always in love with writing. “I’ve grown up always being a writer of some sort,” she says. “I like people. And therefore, when you put the two together I like storytelling because they kind of go together. I like to write about people, what I hear, and what I see.”

Although Walls had written two manuscripts about the tragic event, she never felt that it was the right time to publish her work. About five years ago, Walls attended a writer’s conference in New Mexico and had her work critiqued.

“I met some American publishing groups and they were all sort of giving me the green light, ‘Go ahead. This is good,’” she explains. “And yet I came back and really felt I had to sit on it. I really felt like it was not my time to tell the story yet.” With 2017 marking the 10-year anniversary of her son’s death, the author admits she “found her voice” and felt that it was ultimately time to share her experience.

After her other son left for Berlin following New Year’s Day, Walls immersed herself in writing this book. From January to May, the difficult writing process forced her to recall the heartbreaking memories.

“I didn’t think it was possible to have so many tears,” she says. “After ten years of letting go of my son, I was actually amazed at how much emotion it evoked. There would be some days that I would be going deep into my memories to craft a story because I had written the book in a series of snapshot stories to tell his life. There were days where I would really have to lay my head on my desk and just sob until I let go of some of that pain that had found me.”

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Tips & Tricks

How to use Christmas to bring your book sales back to life!

It’s that time of year again where Christmas decorations are going up and people are getting in the holiday spirit. Malls are packed as people are shopping for their loved ones. As an author, you may think that this will be a profitable time for book sales, however, it can be challenging.

There are so many promotions on various items and books that are being marketed, therefore, your book may go unnoticed in the storm. Although difficult, there is the potential to make the most of the Christmas season and be extremely successful. You could even bring your book sales back to life! You may find the perfect holiday niche market, network, and/or promoting outlet that becomes a great source to boost your book. You know that it would make an amazing gift, so why not persuade others of that too!

Giant Christmas tree in shopping mall

Use these tips to crush your Christmas sales:

  • Use your network to push your book sales. Your friends and family are your biggest supporting base, therefore, why not get them to help you? If your friends have events that they are going to ask if you can attend to promote your book. If silent auctions are going on, ask to place your book in it. Of course, you don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or be that person that “only talks about their book.”
  • Offer holiday promotions to increase sales traction. Take a look at these tips to see how to effectively launch an online book giveaway. Consider investing in some online advertising as well, to increase your book’s visibility as people are shopping for gifts. For more on advertising options, check out these Tellwell tips.
  • Social media is your friend! Use it as much as you can to get your book out there. Find hashtags that gain followers and likes. Once you have found these, keep using them on every post. It also helps to tie your book into the Christmas season, by posting about how it makes a great holiday read, or adding visuals that tie your book into a Christmas setting.
  • Take advantage of events! Christmas is a time where people are constantly socializing and going to events. Try to go to as many events as you can to increase your networking opportunities. You never know who you are going to meet. Consider craft fairs and other community-related opportunities to optimize in-person sales.
  • Start early! Don’t wait until mid-December to promote your book. Start as early as you can. Keep in mind, bookstores finalize their events and inventory as early as September, so while it may seem ridiculous, consider developing an initial plan late summer, and begin liaising with literary contacts early fall. Proper planning will help you execute great promotion and marketing tactics.
  • Be easy on yourself! If you don’t reach your goals for Christmas sales, just remember that it is a really tough time and competition is high. Everything will settle down in the New Year and you will be able to get back to longer term marketing strategies.

Christmas is a wonderful season to reconnect with old friends and family, therefore, you may find the holiday season to be a better time to revise your plans, focus on writing, and get ready to pursue more marketing tactics in January. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your holidays and take some time to revitalize and cultivate new relationships that can carry forward into the new year.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Tellwell!

 

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Guest Post

Getting your novel on Amazon is just the beginning by Philip Wilson

Guest post – by Tellwell author Philip Wilson

I had The Librarian on my hard drive for many years, and never got around to doing anything with it. Although I learned you can self-publish directly on Amazon, it seemed to require a fair amount of effort – special formatting, cover design, etc., that I wasn’t inclined to do. Then I discovered Tellwell. Their website said they’d handle all of the detail required to make The Librarian available on Amazon, Chapters and Barnes & Noble – both in hardcopy and e-book version for a set fee – and I’d keep 100% of the royalties. (I didn’t expect the royalties to amount to much – but I liked the gesture.)

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The fact that Tellwell was a small start-up company based in Victoria, BC, caused me some concern, but I decided to give them a shot; and they’ve been absolutely fantastic. The Librarian is now available on Amazon, Chapters and Barnes & Noble. Not only did Tellwell make the process easy, they actually made it fun. They’ve got great people and really took an interest. Like all first time self-publishing authors I’m sure, I had a lot of questions, but they patiently walked me through the process.

When I started out, I assumed that once the novel was available on Amazon, I was finished. With the millions of people on the site everyday, I assumed at least a small percentage would see it, like the plot and decide to spend at least a buck for the e-version. All wrong. Initial sales were negligible. I’ve now learned that if you really want people to buy your book, getting it on Amazon is just the first step. You have to market it, which means getting reviews, doing giveaways, getting into bookstores and so on. I’ve now been working with Tellwell on marketing for eight months since my novel was first on Amazon. Sales figures are starting to show some growth, but more importantly the entire process has been fun, educational and rewarding.

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I don’t look at marketing as an investment for a single book but rather an investment in writing. Writing is completely different than the career I had (finance and math) but I’m having a lot of fun with it. I’d like to sell more books, but as long as I’m enjoying it – both the writing itself and the marketing process – I intend to keep at it.  I’ve now written a second novel, Songs for Lucy, and I believe that the more sales momentum and recognition I can win for The Librarian, the easier it will be to launch Songs for Lucy.

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Author of the Month

Edgerton R. Nicholson shares his recipe for concocting the spine-chilling scenes in Nightmare Pie

It can certainly be quite scary to write and self-publish your first book. But, writing captivating content can be even more challenging when you’re trying to send shivers up the spines of your readers. Tellwell author Edgerton R. Nicholson shares the spooky details that inspired his collection of short stories titled Nightmare Pie. The novel offers a glimpse into the netherworld

and the frailty of the human mind. Served on a cold plate of the surreal and macabre, it is a must read…Especially in the middle of the night.

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Nicholson talks with me about writing horrific plots, believable character arcs, and bloodcurdling climaxes. Read on if you dare…

 

FJ: What motivated you to write a horrific/paranormal book?

EN: As a young boy I was enamored with books such as Tom Corbett Space Cadet and his intergalactic exploits, and the Hardy Boys with their adventures into local mysterious happenings.  My Mom took me to the movies to see Conquest in Outer Space, The Angry Red Planet and the original Blob, which scared the daylights out of me.  So as a youngster I developed a penchant for the mysterious, the surreal, and the macabre.  As a young adult I savoured Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, and Hitchcock’s movies such as The Birds and who can forget Psycho?  I moved on to Stephen King and studied the film adaptations of his stories.  I was hooked.  I knew I wanted to write something, probably not a novel initially so I just started writing short stories about my own experiences, or offbeat and unusual items I had seen in the news.

Working in the film and television industry in special make-up effects on shows such as Supernatural, The Dead Zone, and Final Destination further stoked my interest in the surreal and netherworld.  I showed a few friends some early stories and received a very positive response.  I accumulated eleven stories and with the expertise and help of Tellwell Publishing created an anthology which became Nightmare Pie.  I think there is a market for this kind of book, a collection of short stories all different, to be enjoyed when one has fifteen or thirty minutes freedom to read from start to finish during a commute, or in bed before falling asleep.  Not everyone wants to take on an 800-page novel, either in reading or writing.

 

FJ: When and where did you come up for the ideas for this book?

EN: The common thread in Nightmare Pie is that something weird, bad, unexplainable, surreal, and yes in some cases, horrific is going to happen to somebody in each story.  Much like life itself. When and where I came up with the ideas for the stories I sometimes wonder and I think the only answer I can give is based upon my own personal experiences.

For example, two stories, ‘The Man with the Green Nose’ and ‘Red Roadster Revelation’ are based on my experiences in working at a funeral home part time while I attended chiropractic college.  ‘Animal Avengers’ is a reflection of my love for animals and a fitting end for those who abuse them.  ‘Garcia’s Revenge’ reports on the plight of Mexicans working in the fields of American farms and a case of severe injustice and retribution.  ‘Death in the Forest’ is a new take on the Bigfoot phenomenon and ‘Lowes Descent’ is a story of one man’s paranoid downward spiral caused by the in your face incessant news cycle.  The stories focus on the seemingly endless human foible of making assumptions, not recognizing the law of unintended consequences, or finally simply encountering evil head on in one form or another. ‘Teratoid’ was written in response to the terrible Japanese earthquake, tsunami and ultimate nuclear plant meltdown and its effects on the Pacific Ocean and one unfortunate young couple travelling in Japan two years later.  ‘Mr. Nocebo Points the Bone’ is a disturbing look at what happens when those in need place their faith in wrong people with ulterior motives.

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Guest Post Meet the Team

Guest Post: Publishing Consultant Mitchel Anderson celebrates two years at Tellwell

img-20171024-wa0006What brought me to Tellwell at first was my determination to have a career in books and literature. As soon as I could reliably make my way through a novel at a young age, I would be asking for a new book every week until I had amassed what is a small library. The value of a good book was never lost on me which can be heard in stories my family would tell about how particular I was about the condition of my books. This carried me through my English Literature degree from York University in Toronto where I had the pleasure of arguing about the meaning of books with people much smarter than myself.

What drew me to Tellwell specifically was the different perspective we take to publishing in general. While authors I have known would lament about the difficulties of finding a publisher I would always ask why they didn’t self-publish, but the logistics never seemed to make sense for them. When I first arrived here at Tellwell and spoke to our founder Tim Lindsay, I realized the rare opportunity we had to put the freedom and control back in an author’s hands and help contribute to the global body of literature.

Coming in at the ground floor I had rare opportunities to be heard in the development of our company and I have always made it my responsibility to listen to the feedback we receive from our authors about their experiences here and elsewhere and use that to help shape our direction going forward. My favourite parts of my job are listening to our authors discuss their projects and being able to step in with my expertise to show them that what was previously an intimidating venture is actually very approachable as long as you have clear information and the right team.

At the end of the day, I firmly believe that creator-owned fiction and nonfiction is the only way to guarantee a diverse and lively discussion in literature. If every author listened to rejection and never took a chance on their vision, we would never have seen the likes of Dr. Seuss nor would we have the influential The Joy of Cooking, which was originally self-published during the Depression and used as a proof of concept for further consideration with traditional publishers. This is a route many of our authors take here at Tellwell and we do everything in our power to make sure they are situated in the best possible way to do so.

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Tips & Tricks

10 Steps to Write an Effective Author Bio

Writing your biography can be an intimidating task. Sometimes, it may seem even more daunting than writing your book! However, it is a crucial part of your book that can engage readers and increase sales. This being said, many author bios are too long as they provide extensive and unimportant information which loses the reader’s interest. Use these 10 quick tips to help write your author bio or edit your current one.

  1.  Write in third person. To avoid constantly using pronouns, use your name interchangeably.
  2.  Only include pertinent information that the reader will actually find interesting. It may seem easy to write about all your achievements and experiences however, others may find this dull.
  3.  Include relevant credentials such as previous published pieces, degrees, and awards.
  4.  Keep the writing as concise as possible. Remember, less is more!
  5.  Try to have multiple versions of biographies that are different lengths and geared towards different platforms. For example, an author bio you might send to a bookstore to arrange an event might be longer and more detailed than the author bio found on the back cover of your book.
  6.  Update your bio frequently, especially when you have newly published books and/or awards.
  7.  Try to write for a target audience. Remember, this is a marketing component that will contribute to target readers deciding whether or not to buy your book. Keep them in mind, and think about what they would want to know about you.
  8.  Read your bio out loud. This will help gauge if there is flow and if the information is succinct.
  9.   Have a professional headshot taken to include with your bio. For more tips on the author headshot, check out these tips.
  10.  Have someone else look over your final bio. Feedback will go a long way to create your ideal piece!

Have fun writing your bio! Writing in third person might feel strange at the beginning, and it may feel like bragging, but that’s okay! Someone is reading it because they are interested in your writing, so give them something worth reading!

 

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Author of the Month

Giving Back: Father Son Duo Pen Book for Burn Fund

All it took was an act of kindness for the idea of “Santa and his Super Hero” to come to life.

COQUITLAM,BC:NOVEMBER 29, 2016 -- Nathan McTaggart poses for a photo with the book and members of the Austin Heights Fire Station in Coquitlam, BC, November, 29, 2016. Nathan wrote about Santa getting stuck in the chimney and firefighters had to rescue him. (Richard Lam/PNG) (For Tracy Sherlock) 00046527A [PNG Merlin Archive]

A few years ago, three-year-old Nathan McTaggart was making a donation to a local food bank when a firetruck pulled into the area. The fire truck captivated Nathan and later on he asked his dad, Keven McTaggart, what would happen if Santa got stuck in a chimney and couldn’t get out. The fire truck and pertinent question formed the beginnings of what would become the book “Santa and his Super Hero”; a story about Santa getting stuck in a chimney while a firefighter named Nathan comes to his rescue.

The initial stages of the book were a challenge for Keven and Nathan, particularly the illustrations.

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“After a couple years of looking for someone to illustrate it, Nathan’s grade 4 teacher had her class do some illustrations as a preparation for a project that they were going to do.  She showed me the images and I was totally amazed,” says Keven.  The illustrations from the book were hand-drawn by the students in Mrs. Shinkewski’s Grade 4 class at Harbour View Elementary School.

But as the two started to put a draft of their book together they realized they wanted to give back to the community by donating some of the proceeds to a charity.

“The biggest take away from the book is that the net proceeds from the sale of Santa and his Super Hero will be donated to the Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund,” says Keven.

As part of promoting the book, Nathan and Keven have visited fire halls all over the world, “We’ve done about 40 fire hall visits in and around the Lower Mainland of BC, three in Washington State, one in Mexico, four in Manhattan, and more recently, we returned from a 16 day, 18 fire hall tour of Southern Ontario and Montreal,” says Keven.

posterOn October 13, Nathan and Keven will be launching Santa and his Super Hero at the Coquitlam Express hockey game. Nathan and Santa will be dropping the puck at the opening face-off at 7 p.m. and they will both be available for book signings afterwards. Members of the B.C. Burn Fund, the Coquitlam Fire Department and some Coquitlam City Counsellors will be in attendance.

 

 

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Tips & Tricks

Tellwell’s Tips for Launching your Book

After months of preparation, you’ve reached the end of the self-publishing journey. You do a quick Google search and there it is – your book listing on Amazon, Chapters, and Barnes and Noble. Excitement turns to panic as you wonder, “What do I do now?! How am I going to launch my book?”

Launching your book doesn’t have to be a grand event, and it doesn’t have to happen the second your book is released. Many authors wait months to line up events or signings, and focus instead on spreading the word via social media. Others plan a book tour, involving readings and book signings at multiple venues over the course of several weeks.

Remember, the purpose of launching your book is getting the word out, whether that be online, over the phone, or through in-person engagements. Regardless of which approach you take, here are Tellwell’s top 10 tips to launch your book when it becomes available:

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  1. Have promotional materials prepared: While your book is being designed, you’ll want to start thinking about materials you can put together to give to people who ask about your book. Examples include a bookmark or business card to hand out in person, an email signature with links to your author website or social media profiles, or a poster of the book cover to take to in-person events.
  2. Build an email/mailing list: When your book is available, you’ll want to have people to tell. So, while you’re working through the production process, start building a contacts list complete with names and email addresses. That way when the book is available, you can send out an email blast to all interested contacts with links to where they can buy the book.
  3. Know your target market inside and out: While it may be tempting to say anyone would take interest in your book, it can be a lot easier to promote your book to smaller, niche markets. Ask yourself – “Who is the type of person most likely to buy my book?” Once you’ve figured that out, determine where you might find them, where they buy their books, and what they look for when adding a new book to their collection so you can tailor your content and keywords to their interests.
  4. Get social: In a digital age, it’s nearly impossible to avoid social media when trying to get the word out. Whether you’re a social media guru, or you’re just getting started, try to engage with readers on at least one social media platform.
  5. Keep your audience engaged as your book is nearing completion: Use your social media platforms, or your mailing list, to share updates with your audience before the book comes out. This creates some pre-launch buzz that will kickstart your promotion efforts.
  6. Network, network network! As a one-person operation, it’s extremely difficult to generate buzz around your book. That’s why it’s critical to build valuable relationships with individuals and organizations who can help you get the word out about your book. Whether it be a local business who is willing to host you for events, or a charity you partner with and donate a portion of your book proceeds to, get networking!
  7. Get Reviews: We know you feel passionately about your book, but having others praise it will help to attract new readers. Like any product, getting customer feedback will help others to decide whether they should buy your book.
  8. Invest in book giveaways: Whether it be organized directly through your website, or through another source like Amazon or Goodreads, give away some free copies of your book to build momentum. Incentivize your audience to keep your book on their mind.
  9. Use clear call to actions: When approaching people about the book, be very clear about what you want from them. Are you requesting a review for your book? Do you want people to subscribe to the blog on your website? Keep your prompts clear, concise and genuine.
  10. Take it one step at a time: Marketing takes time and consistent engagement, so be sure to break down your goals into tangible steps, and don’t forget to celebrate all the small victories!

 

 

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