Tag Archives: meet the team

Meet the Team

From the NHL to Tellwell, President Jason Farris shares why indie authors should consider Tellwell

Meet Tellwell’s new president, Jason Farris! A jack of all trades, Jason has worked in the marine world, the banking industry, the software industry, and the NHL before joining us here at Tellwell. Read on to learn about what attracted Jason to the self-publishing industry, and what he wants authors to know about publishing with Tellwell.

Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

I am the president of Tellwell, working closely with our founder to take the wonderful things that have already been built and find ways to take those capabilities and services to new authors. We’re just starting to expand outside of North America, and there’s a whole world out there of authors we can connect with to continue to support creativity and contribute to a broader cultural enrichment, helping to grow the opportunities for new authors, and providing top-notch arts-based jobs.

What did you do beforehand?

Before this, I was in the electric marine world, helping bring to market a 50-horsepower electric outboard motor. We developed a world-leading product, began delivering to our large list of pre-order customers and brought in General Motors as a 25% partner in the business.

Prior to that, I was chief operating officer of the Dallas Stars hockey club, helping bring them out of bankruptcy as part of the management team that rebuilt the franchise in an important market in the US for the National Hockey League. 

I’ve had the benefit of working in a variety of industries before that as well, including banking and software. So, coupled with being a self-published author myself, I’ve had a range of experiences that give me the ability to connect with our authors about what they do and want to accomplish, but also enable me to share my company-building experiences with our employees to help them grow and develop as Tellwell grows.

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Meet the Team

MEET THE TEAM: Tellwell Designer, Michael!

Meet Tellwell’s interior book designer and quality assurance specialist, Michael! Read on to learn about the importance of a good book interior and how you can best prepare for this crucial step in your publishing journey.

What inspired you to work in publishing?
My passion in design inspired me to pursue a career in publishing. I am really happy to be able to get to continue to challenge myself in designing more interesting books.

How do you define your role at Tellwell?
Being a QA (quality assurance specialist) is a huge responsibility to carry on your shoulders. One mistake can potentially affect our relationship with the author or can affect our company’s reputation. I am very keen on details to make sure we can deliver the best results. At the end of the day, it is fun, challenging, and fulfilling at the same time.

Where do you draw creative inspiration from?
Internet and social media. I also check other designers’ work whom I admire the most.

Why is it important for an author to take their time to consider and review the interior of their book?
A successful book is more than just a manuscript thrown between a cover. One of the key elements to success is a professional interior design that adheres to industry standards, and to mimic what readers, retailers, and reviewers expect. So, it’s really important for the author to take the time to consider and review the book and for us to generate an aesthetically pleasing interior.

Everyone thinks design is just about the cover but it’s so much more. How does interior design help elevate a book?
Interior design helps elevate the book through these key elements; space, line, forms, light, color, texture, and pattern; creative-interesting design and keeping them balanced is the key to creating an aesthetically pleasing interior.

Also, a well laid out interior plays a crucial role in the overall reading experience, and can even impact your ability to get a bookseller’s attention.

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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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Meet the Team

The one question you should always ask any self-publishing company – advice from Tellwell publishing consultant JH (John Hendrick) Abella

1. Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

If Tellwell was a clinic, a publishing consultant would be the doctor. First, we ‘assess’ your needs as an author and the requirements of your book project. Second, we ‘diagnose’ and match your project to a set of services that we offer. Thirdly, we ‘prescribe’ and recommend the most fitting set of services that would help accomplish your publishing goals and provide solutions to your author needs. And lastly, we ‘educate’ and impart our knowledge to you as experts in the field of self-publishing, all for the ultimate goal of giving you a positive and pleasant journey towards becoming a published author. 

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

Apart from the sense of triumph, I feel after seeing my authors achieve their life-long dream of publishing their book, it would be the process itself – the consultation. Every conversation is both a surprise and a learning experience. You never know who you’re talking to next and their story. You can go from smiling ear-to-ear after hearing a sweet coming-of-age novel to getting your mind blown by a Chinese government-taking-over-the-world conspiracy story. Either way, it is never a bore!

3. What advice do you have for authors considering self-publishing their book?

Nothing beats the sense of relief as a result of an informed decision. That’s why I always tell my authors to spend time gathering information about the self-publishing industry. Ask questions, read literature and never hesitate to reach out to a publishing consultant. Above all, I always tell my authors to believe and have faith in themselves and in what they have written. 

4. What is one question you encourage authors to ask any assisted self-publishing company they are considering working with? 

I encourage authors to ask the company what their royalty structure looks and to break it down in detail. Ask, dissect and scrutinize even the smallest details of a company’s royalty structure. This will help you understand and realize what the company has to offer you in terms of returns in the long run.

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Meet the Team

Meet Tellwell Book Designer Ian De Guzman and read his favourite cover design trends

1. Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

My role is to create the visual expression of our authors’ concepts and ideas using graphic tools and elements.

2. What do you enjoy most about being a book designer?

I enjoy creative exploration, thinking through ideas and coming up with solutions on how to best represent them visually.

3. What styles and genres do you enjoy working on the most?

Fantasy and adventure.

Here is a small sample of Ian’s cover designs for Tellwell.

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Meet the Team

Tellwell marketing consultant Chelsea Rutherford on the biggest mistake authors make when it comes to book marketing

1. Tell us about your role at Tellwell.

As a book marketing consultant, I work with authors to show them how they can connect with their audience through various marketing activities. It’s my goal to give authors a better understanding of all the tools they have available to them when it comes to marketing their book, and teach them how to effectively use those tools.

2. What does a typical day or week look like?

A typical day includes a mix of meetings and consultations, creating marketing strategies, designing social media graphics and promotional materials, and pitching to bloggers, media outlets or bookstores. I love that my work week always contains a mix of writing, strategizing, phone calls with unique authors, and creative work.

3. What did you do before joining Tellwell?

I was the marketing manager for a California based start-up. I worked remotely from Victoria with a lean-team based in Ottawa, Oakland, and Los Angeles. We all came together to launch our company in early 2017. What a whirlwind that was! I wouldn’t trade that time for anything though. Not only did I hone my time management and communication skills, and learn just how adaptable I really can be, but I was also able to experiment with all kinds of marketing activities. My responsibilities included social media management, blogging, B2B and B2C email marketing, media outreach, partnership marketing with California-based event planners, as well as managing and executing brand awareness campaigns, mostly through influencer marketing on Instagram.    

4. How would you describe your personality? What inspires you?

I thrive when I’m able to socialize with others – friends, family, even strangers at events or concerts. I love getting into good conversations with people. Learning through sharing ideas with others charges me up like nothing else. With events and social gatherings on hold though, I’ve been turning to other sources of inspiration. I consume books, blogs and podcasts on the regular, but my consumption rate has increased tenfold since social distancing came into effect. I’m still getting outside and spending time near the ocean or on a remote trail – there’s nothing like nature to keep me feeling whole. 

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

I love hearing why authors wrote their book, why they want to share this particular message with the world. Starting with why is a driving force behind just about everything I do when it comes to business and marketing – thank you, Simon Sinek.

Understanding an author’s why helps me better understand who we’re trying to reach, which determines my recommendations and strategies for how to connect with them.

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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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Meet the Team

Meet Project Manager Alison Strumberger

alison-1How would you describe your role at Tellwell?

Multifaceted. As a project manager it is my job to educate and support authors through their self-publishing journey, assisting with everything from manuscript formatting and submission, to illustrations and editing and design, and finally to book distribution. In addition to working closely with authors to bring their books into the world, I manage the editing department here at Tellwell. In this part of my role I draw on a decade of editorial experience to focus on refining our services, recruiting the best talent around, maintaining quality assurance, and supporting a team of thirteen dedicated editors who are passionate about helping authors tell their stories well.

What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

My days almost always begin in my inbox as I make my way through emails, answering questions from my authors and acting as a liaison between them and our designers, illustrators and editors. Quite a bit of my time here is spent collaborating with the rest of the in-house team about ways to improve on our processes. Invariably in the afternoon, I will find myself embroiled in an intense game of foosball in the break room. I prefer to play defence.

What is the most common misconception when it comes to editing, in particular in the self-publishing industry?

There are a number of misconceptions about editing, I think because the results of professional editing are often intangible. I would say the biggest of these is “I don’t need editing.” Every author has an editor; it is an essential stage in the publishing process. David Foster Wallace had an editor. Michael Ondaatje has an editor. Editing is so much more than adding missing periods and removing comma splices. Editing is also about style and nuance, it’s about the big picture of a narrative, it’s about character and logic and removing embarrassing unintentional puns, it’s about a fresh set of eyes reading your work as a reader would: critically, looking for the meaning, and really working to draw it out.

It is true when self-publishing that deciding to have your book edited can add substantially to your initial costs, but the investment will increase the quality of your final product exponentially, thereby setting your book apart from the rest. As Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying, “The difference between the nearly right word and the right word is the same as the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

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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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Guest Post Meet the Team

Guest Post: Stefanie shares what motivated her to illustrate for Tellwell’s authors

stef-photoI’ve always loved art, in all forms; whether it’s sketching, colouring, singing, baking, dancing or playing an instrument…I love it all.

I come from an artistic family with an entrepreneurial spirit.  My older sister, sitting at the top of our talent pool, creates made-to-order portraits and awe-inspiring fine pencil sketches comparable to the likes of Robert Bateman.

My Dad is a very talented sketch artist as well, (though very few people know that about him).  Seeking a channel to exhaust some of my own creative energy as a young teen, I started a small business making custom designed chocolates. I was creating colourful candies and suckers in any style or character you can think of. As the client base grew, I realized that the business needed a brand presence – a challenge I gladly accepted.  Putting forth my very first branding effort, I developed a logo and fell in love with the idea of graphic design; it was an idea that launched my career.

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