Tag Archives: indie authors

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.)

andrew-neel-308138

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.

nik-macmillan-280300

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.

nightmarepie

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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Tellwell News

IngramSpark Welcomes Landscape Print Option!

We are very excited to announce that our print-on-demand partner IngramSpark has just introduced their first ever Landscape print option! This is very exciting for us as it opens up a new option for books like photo books, children’s books, and the like. The newly introduced print option is 11×8.5. It is available in premium colour, and comes in both paperback (Perfect Bound) and hardcover (Case Laminate) options.

Ingram Spark is one of the world’s largest print and distribution networks with Print-On-Demand (POD) printers located in 4 countries around the world and distribution to over 39,000 retailers. For more information, visit their website: http://www.ingramspark.com.

 

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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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Tellwell News

70 Years of American Captivity wins Book Excellence Award for Social/Political Change

This month, Tellwell author Chris Meier received a Book Excellence Award in the Social/Political Change category for her progressive and thought-provoking book – 70 Years of American Captivity: The Polity of God, The Birth of a Nation and The Betrayal of Government.

chrismeier

The Book Excellence Awards celebrate effort, dedication and creativity among traditional and self-published authors. In winning the award for the Social/Political Change category, 70 Years in American Captivity has been recognized for its high quality design and writing, and its overall market appeal.

Meier’s book explores how America’s diverse nation got along and continued to work out its differences while making it a birthplace of liberty and ingenuity. It’s a look at historic, scientific and documentary evidence that indicate the Federal government has broken its covenant to the citizens it swore to protect.

Chris Meier is an ordained minister, pastor, author and guest speaker with 30 years of experience sharing the unexplained of the Bible with those who desire it explained– even to those who wish it would go away. For more information on the author, visit her website: http://70yrsamericancaptivity.com/

70 Years of American Captivity is available on Amazon, Chapters and Barnes and Noble.

To see the full list of 2017 Book Excellence Award winners, click here.

 

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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.

santa

“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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Authors in the Media

Authors in the Media

Antoine Rahil

www.antoinerahil.com

Author Antoine Rahil spoke with the Oakville Beaver about his journey as an exile from Jerusalem, to the prosperity he found in Canada. Read the story here.

 

Don Levers

www.lootforthetaking.com

Levers recounts the 1977 Vancouver heist that inspired his book Loot for the Taking with The Early Edition’s host Rick Cluff. Listen to the interview here.

 

Charles Louis de Bourbon

Charles Louis de Bourbon tells the host of Global Morning, Jeff McArthur, about his ties to Louis XVII and how DNA can prove the king’s son survived prison. Watch the interview here.

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Tellwell News Tips & Tricks

Take a Number: Understanding Tellwell’s Production Queues

Unlike the majority of New Yorkers, your Average Andy doesn’t love waiting in line. Rarely does a person wake up, stretch, rollover and think, “I know, I’m going to wait in line for something today.”

Waiting in line — or “queueing” as our tea loving friends across the pond so fondly refer to it as — is no one’s favourite part of their day, and yet we do it. Constantly. Every day.

And while we know you’re not always thrilled about it, it’s an integral part of our process here at Tellwell. It’s how we keep ourselves organized, manage workloads and make sure our services are provided to authors in a fair and timely manner.

The queue system is applied to services from illustrations and editing through to design and distribution.

Nearly every member of our production team has a queue that project managers use to assign projects and it’s important that we have every element in place before we add authors to a queue. If a project manager throws an author into design before they have all their images selected or haven’t completed their design questionnaire, it adds a lot of unnecessary time to the designers’ workload. One missed piece of the puzzle can hold up the whole process, and the more often this happens, the more likely our turnaround times are to be negatively affected.

It might seem like we’re being nit-picky, but we do it to every authors, so please don’t feel like you’re being singled out. Each project manager goes over their authors’ project assets to makes sure everything is accounted for. Things like editor and design questionnaires give our team insight into you as an author, what your goals are, and how we can best help you produce an amazing finished product.

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