To start, tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Tellwell.
My name is Scott Friesen and I am big into almost all sports, as well as travelling. My current sports pursuits include padel tennis and disc golf, but I am pretty much down for any sport. I have travelled to over 50 countries in the past ten years, and have worked abroad in countries like France, Spain, Mexico, and Colombia.
I have been a digital marketer for the last eight years and am going on two years working with Tellwell. At Tellwell I manage and assist with all things digital marketing, from online advertising and automation to sales funnels and our newly launched referral program.
Unlike some of our other Meet the Team features, your role is predominantly behind the scenes. Can you tell us what a typical day looks like for you?
The cool thing about Tellwell is that no day is typical. We are always testing and working on new projects to improve our online presence. Most days I will be reviewing our current online initiatives, analyzing the results of current campaigns and optimizing their performance. We are also constantly running new online campaigns. Operating in multiple countries and having so many different services in the self-publishing space truly gives us a large range of possibilities. I also generally spend time helping improve our automation, tracking, and analytics and helping out members of our team with the various software we use to make their jobs easier.
At Tellwell Publishing, we’re extremely proud of our team of experts who work tirelessly to help our authors succeed. One of these experts is our resident book-publishing consultant, Nelson Ty.
In this Meet the Team, we’ll be taking a closer look at Nelson’s role at Tellwell and learn more about the valuable contributions he makes to our team. So let’s dive in and get to know Nelson Ty a little better!
Tell us your background and how you came to work in book publishing.
I’ve mostly worked in sales all my life. I originally used to sell business and first-class airline tickets and due to the pandemic I had no choice but to switch options. Luckily book publishing is one of the better options here in Cebu to work with, so here I am 😀
What does a typical day working as a book-publishing consultant look like?
Mostly prospecting and keeping constant communication with authors. Making sure you I always have a healthy pipeline of clients.
How do you approach building and maintaining relationships with authors?
I present them with my natural personality in a strategic way. With every author I get a chance to talk with I always approach them with a process that I’ve developed toward closing a deal.
What changes have you seen in the book-publishing industry over the past years, and how are you able to adapt to these changes?
The publishing industry experiences business seasonality. Some months of the year will be tougher because some authors aren’t really in the publishing mindset yet, and some months will be extra rewarding. You just have to keep an open mind about these things and do what you do best everyday.
Can you share any advice or tips for authors who are looking to work with a publishing consultant?
Make sure they have a proven track record as a publisher and that you trust them. Just start your book project, because it can end in only two ways. Best-case scenario you’ll be a published author, and worst-case scenario you put everything on the back burner, and all those hours, days, months, or years of effort in creating the manuscript will be gone.
How do you and your team collaborate with other departments, such as editorial and marketing, to ensure the success of a book?
Book publishing is always a team effort, and that’s why I always make it a point to explain everything in full detail and set the right expectations to make sure everything is smooth sailing. And I always go the extra mile to help my authors transition to the production stage of their book.
What’s something about your role or your team that people might be surprised to learn?
I’m a very simple guy and I like to keep complicated things plain and to the point.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work, and how do you balance your personal and professional life?
I like everything fun. I’m basically a jack of all trades when it comes to my leisure in life.
Get pro tips from a Tellwell book editor on perfecting your manuscript & improving your writing.
Everyone should read, read, and then read more. It exercises the brain and improves mental health, but it is also great fun to lose yourself in another world for a few hours.
Kim Martins – Editor
If you’re an aspiring author, you know how crucial it is to have your manuscript polished to perfection before submitting it to publishers. That’s where manuscript editor Kim Martins comes in. With years of experience under her belt, Kim has edited a wide range of genres and helped numerous authors refine their writing. In this exclusive interview, Kim, an Australian editor based in New Zealand, opens up about her inspiration for becoming an editor and her all-time favourite books, and shares valuable tips and advice on how authors can improve their writing and increase their chances of success.
Can you tell us about your role as a book editor at the publishing company? What are your responsibilities, and what does your typical workday look like?
I edit everything from poetry collections to memoirs and novels in most genres, and it is a joy to work with authors. My typical workday begins around 8.00 a.m., and it might include a manuscript evaluation, paying close attention to story structure and character arc. Or it might be a substantive edit of a novel, which means I look at the manuscript broadly and help the author with things like pacing, clarifying plot points or possibly ambiguous sentences, whether the narrative is being lost due to unnecessary inclusion of too much information, and so on.
Because the editing process is thorough, I might also work on manuscripts that have been through a substantive editing round and have now moved to the copy and line edit. With copy editing, grammar, spelling and punctuation are looked at as well as fact-checking, while line editing involves tightening up sentence structure so the language is sharp.
Welcome to the world of Zar, one of Tellwell’s gifted in-house illustrators. As one of our newest team members, Zar has quickly become a top choice among authors looking to bring their stories to life. From his unique approach to working with authors to his expert insights on what to look for when selecting an illustrator for your book, this post is your chance to get to know Zar and discover how his talents can elevate your storytelling.
Tell us about yourself.
Hi, I am Eleazar Daligdig, also known as Zar and @zaroncanvas on IG, Twitter & Facebook. I am a visual artist & illustrator, the CEO of Zar on Canvas, an art director/illustrator of Dungeon Diaries, and a former art teacher at Artissimo Arthouse.
‘Tis the season to be jolly indeed! Meet Tellwell design-team member Gerardo Basilio. Read on to hear about his approach to book-cover and interior designs and how he adds whimsical or colourful touches to them!
Tell us about yourself.
I am Gerardo Basilio “GB” Faelnar. I have lived in Zamboanga City for almost 20 years and decided to become independent by going to Cebu after working in a startup in Zamboanga for a year. I graduated from Ateneo de Zamboanga University, where I was given a basic introduction to InDesign. The IT courses were more about web design and computer animation, so I put my feet in deep water when I applied and got hired by Tellwell.
I am really thankful to the design team for giving useful tips on solving certain obstacles I encountered since day one. Also, just throwing this out here, I have a twin!
What did you do before joining the Tellwell team?
I was an in-house web designer for a US-based company before joining Tellwell. Every design my employer needed was done by me, but no books. My first book-designing experience was with Tellwell, and I still find it fascinating to read the unique ideas that authors want to incorporate into their designs. I look forward to reading more creative briefs with out-of-this-world ideas.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy creating cover designs and hitting the right expectations as requested by the author. I also enjoy creating creatures or characters for illustrations that are not common (putting life into something that is not yet discovered, imaginatively speaking).
I enjoy the times when an author asks me to if they can put my name on the book cover or interior. But most importantly, I enjoy making authors happy.
Where do you draw creative inspiration from?
When I go out on errands or buy groceries, I try to find time to go to bookstores and look at the trending books. I browse through the internet to look for inspirations, too. I visit Pinterest, Dribbble, and Canva, and search for the top cover designs of a specific year/style. Also, re-reading the book description and author biography gives me outside-of-the-box ideas.
What type of book covers do you absolutely love doing?
I am still looking for a genre to focus on, but I keep in mind that using only one specific hat will hinder me from growing. By adapting to other genres I am able to create a variety of covers, which is a must-have skill for any designer. This skill can be applied to other mediums as well.
So, to answer the question specifically, I like doing photo-manipulated covers, as it helps sharpen my Photoshop skills.
Why is it important for an author to take their time to consider and review the interior of their book?
Even though the interior may look perfect now, there will always be a tiny error (it may be an extra period or space, or a missing comma) that the designer or editor might have missed. Taking your time at every step of the process will definitely be worthwhile, as you learn new things about book publishing and in return help Tellwell staff better understand the story behind your book.
What advice do you have for authors working with a book designer?
Keep instructions/description short and concise
Expect colours to be different from your original file submission
If you have a detailed costume for a character on your cover with a specific pose, a creature that no one has seen yet and so on, then its an illustrated cover
Properly plot corrections/instructions on revision PDFs
How does interior design help elevate a book?
A well laid out interior can help readers understand the content of a book better. Even small details when added on plain text, like an image or icon, will greatly help readers visualize an object or character better. Using different font sizes and styles will give hierarchy and help with flow for the readers. The striking effect that the author wants to exhibit will still be there even if there are no pictures.
What are some of the favourite projects you have worked on?
Premium covers: I can create my own designs while honouring the author’s requests, so hopefully they’ll like my idea better than the original concept.
Illustrations projects, especially my first illustrated book, entitled Cheeky Dog Duke.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.