Lastly, don’t procrastinate. If your dream is to become a published author, then make it happen.
– Apple Bertulfo, Tellwell Publishing Consultant
Tell us about your role at Tellwell.
As a publishing consultant, my role is to
provide intuitive guidance and support to all authors who want to publish their
books. I cover all the details necessary to turn their manuscript into a professional
book. I help authors identify their publishing goals, know what they want for
their books and then discuss together the steps toward reaching those goals.
I am a book marketing consultant with Tellwell! This means that I help authors build awareness for their book and credibility for themselves as an author through a variety of activities. This could include a consultation and strategy, where I would instruct authors on ways to promote themselves effectively, or I could actively promote the book on their behalf through services such as media outreach, creating an author website and social platforms, or promotional materials!
2. What did you do beforehand?
Before I started my role at Tellwell, I was a marketing & development associate with a theatre company called Drayton Entertainment. I was in charge of their social media channels, as well as publicity. This would include coming up with content for our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platforms, as well as scheduling interviews with our artistic director, actors, and creative teams for upcoming shows.
3. What does a typical day or week look like?
The best part about my job at Tellwell is that every day is different! Some days/weeks, I have a heavy focus on consultations, where I get to meet with authors from across the world to chat about their book(s) and goals, and get the marketing process started. Other days/weeks, I have a heavy focus on design, where I get to create websites, social media graphics, and book backgrounders. With a variety of services, and a variety of clients, it’s something new every day, which I love!
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.
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 at their disposal 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, writing marketing strategies, designing websites, creating 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 beforehand?
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 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.
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.
As a book marketing consultant, my role is to support authors in the marketing and promotional aspect of the publication process. We develop strategies for authors to develop their book marketing plan, and fulfil marketing services to take some of the load off their plate.
2. What did you do beforehand?
I worked in community engagement and development within educational institutions from preschool to university! My tasks ranged from directing international field studies with university students in Europe, to being the person who got to drop the eggs from a school roof for a science fair ‘egg drop’ challenge!
3. How would you describe your personality?
I’m a big infophile – learning is what motivates me more than anything! I also find it really tough to sit still and read a book – so audiobooks are a great way to circumnavigate that.
4. What do you enjoy most about working with authors?
I thrive on having a varied workload which is why working with authors is so great. They each present unique perspectives, skills, and stories. Getting to adapt to those individualities is really amazing.
If your role at Tellwell were to be summarized into a book title, what would it be?
Word InDesigns Out: Translating Word files to InDesign files.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
When I’ve created a cover and book block that represent the book perfectly and the author is ecstatic with the results.
What do you think is the most important aspect of an author’s cover design?
Balancing text and imagery to capture the story or the essence of the book. This creates a powerful emotional reaction inviting the reader to take a closer look.
What is your favourite type of book to design and why?
Fiction. Yes, it is as broad a genre as it is open to the imagination. With a good book synopsis the cover has so many design possibilities. There are certain design principles that make the interior of the book readable, however, there is no limit to how the title pages, headers, footers, chapter starts and sections can be styled. I find it the best genre for pushing the limits of design and doing something unique.
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.”
In January 2017, my family made the decision to move from Toronto to Victoria, BC (if you’ve ever spent a January in either location you’ll understand why.) I was right at the end of my maternity leave — my baby daughter had just turned one — and, in and amongst the chaos of selling our house, buying a new one, packing our boxes and changing our contact information everywhere, I was looking for flexible work in book publishing, specifically in children’s book publishing, which is where I have worked since graduating from Queen’s University in 2007 and the book publishing program at Centennial College in 2008.
By May, when we redeemed our one-way tickets to Victoria, I had been off work for nearly two years. (Though, believe me, I had read a lot of books in that time.) I had used the final few months of my pregnancy to complete a Masters in Education at the University of Toronto, which I had been chipping away at for a number of years while working full-time as the Marketing Manager at Owlkids Books (publisher of Chirp, chickaDEE and OWL magazines,) and my daughter was now nearly one and a half. In those two years, while I was home reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear for the umpteenth time, Tellwell had sprung into existence and I imagine I found this talented group of people much in the same way that you did — kudos to the individual who handles our SEO.
I didn’t have to spend very long on Tellwell’s website to realize that this was the place I wanted to work once we got settled in our new province. Even though no jobs were being advertised, I got the impression that Tellwell was the kind of company that would always find a way to make room for hard-working, enthusiastic, experienced people. Their commitment to helping authors create the best books possible means building a big team — so that every book will be matched with the ideal project manager, editor, designer and publicist. My first impression was not wrong and I was able to join Tellwell’s marketing team part-time in September, where I work on children’s books exclusively.