Tag Archives: self publishing tips

Meet the Team

Tellwell Publishing Consultant Apple Bertulfo shares the value of creative control and trusting your publishing team

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.

What attracted you to the indie publishing industry?

I love that the indie publishing industry gives authors creative control over their books. Creative authors don’t have to worry about sacrificing their creative visions because they retain full control over their books. For people who want to have complete autonomy in their writing career, I think a self-publishing path is an attractive option.

What do you enjoy most about working with new authors?

I love paying attention to the creative ideas that authors have when writing their books and their inspiration to write the book. Our authors come to us with a different base of ideas and I love that I can take great knowledge from it.

What advice do you have for new authors who are considering self-publishing?

I think if authors want to stay true to their vision of the book, then they should consider self-publishing it. One of the best reasons to self-publish a book is having the opportunity to express your creative side and, at the same time, you are able to keep the proceeds of each book sale. Lastly, don’t procrastinate. If your dream is to become a published author, then make it happen. As a published author, you are able to share your story and have the opportunity to influence others.

What is something that you’d like all authors to know about self-publishing? 

The first thing I would like aspiring authors to know when self-publishing a book is that taking shortcuts is not a wise idea.  Set specific goals and have a clear understanding of the work required to reach them. I think as a publishing consultant, it is my goal to guide them through that process.

Describe your approach to working with authors!

My goal is always to understand the author’s purpose and intention in writing the book. Having said that, I start by asking relevant questions that would be my basis for the insights I built my advice on. Also, I put value in building strong relationships with them. I make sure that there is trust and confidence before we even move forward towards publishing their books.

What is one of your most memorable moments with Tellwell? Have any authors really stuck with you?

As for Tellwell, I think one of the most memorable moments is meeting all the lovely people in the company. We have a talented team that brings ideas to life.

As for my interaction with authors, I have many in mind. One author that really stuck in my mind was a woman who, despite the odds, managed to publish her book and make a wonderful story out of her hardships.

2021 is nearly over – what has been your favourite read so far this year?

This year, I finished Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. This book talks about the choices we make in the blink of an eye and how rapid cognitions results can be a lot better than those with long detailed analyses of situations. It is a very interesting book that talks about snap judgments and the existence of our unconscious mind that makes those decisions. I think it is greatly suitable for those people who want to understand the complexities and involvements of the human mind and our ability to use it in making countless decisions.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy traveling to different places. The feeling I get when I make my first step on a new journey to another place or country is indescribable. Also, the experience I gain from traveling gives me personal benefits like revealing pieces of myself I never knew existed before. Just recently before the pandemic, I was lucky because I was able to visit England and Scotland. The rolling countryside, cities, icy mountain peaks, and charismatic towns all combine to provide an exceptional holiday destination. I also had so much fun in Center Parcs.


We hope you enjoyed learning all about Apple Betulfo! For more Tellwell team features click here.

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Meet the Team Tips & Tricks

What to ask before you begin your self-publishing journey – advice from Tellwell publishing consultant Ejay Co

Ejay, tell us about your role at Tellwell.

My role in a nutshell is to introduce authors to the world of self-publishing. I help with the process of identifying an approach to move forward, selecting processes and services that would fit their needs, and setting the foundation for their expectations about the process. I see myself as a pilot helping authors navigate their way to the destination they have selected. 

What do you enjoy most about working with authors?

As a bookworm, hearing about an author’s writing process is always fascinating. It amazes me how much work goes into each book an author writes. Hearing stories from authors who wrote their book over several decades, and others that have been completed over a couple of weeks is a manifestation that there is no “standard” process for writing a book. These conversations are always the best part of the job.

What advice do you have for authors who are considering self-publishing a book?

I understand just how much work and love is poured on to every page an author writes and I think, ultimately, authors would expect the same amount of dedication from the team in charge of developing their books.

I assume it’s a relief for authors to know that they can get all the professional help they need while still keeping a level of creative control over their book, and keeping their full copyright ownership is just the cherry on top. 

If you decide to take the route of assisted self-publishing, where you partner with a self-publishing company, ask about their company culture. It’s essential. You’ll be working with the team for a significant period of time and it’s important to consider the dynamics of the team you’re working with. This helps ensure that you’ll feel comfortable throughout the process which makes completing your book a lot more fulfilling in the end. 

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Author of the Month

March Author of the Month: Pearl Gregor shows us how to embrace our Divine Feminine for Women’s History Month

Allow me to introduce you to Pearl Gregor, Tellwell’s March author of the month. She is a Dream Worker, three time self-published author, and absolute force of a woman. The Tellwell team had the pleasure of working with Pearl on her three books: Authoring Self, Cauldron of the Feminine, and I, The Woman, Planted the Tree. Each book is a pillar in the Dreams Along the Way series, where Pearl helps readers sift through their dreams in order to find freedom as an individual and wholeness in body, mind and soul.

We caught up with Pearl to see what wisdom she can offer from publishing three books – she has a lot to share! And, to learn more about her work in empowering women. It’s Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating women all month.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born at the end of the war in 1945 and raised with my six brothers in homestead country, northern Alberta. My mom was very fond of saying, “Educate a woman, educate the world.” I became an educator, administrator, provincial government education consultant and along the way, a radical feminist. In 2008, I completed my doctorate “The Apple and the Talking Snake: Feminist Dream Reading and the Subjunctive Curriculum.”

I am mother to three and have six grandsons and one granddaughter.

I live on my farm with 22 head of cattle and my Australian Shepherd, Buddy.

What inspires you as an author?

I continue to be inspired by the faces of women who carry on, despite abuse, centuries of being ignored, left out, and refused acceptance as equal partners in the world. Women lead, inspire, teach and mother. During the Covid crisis, it is the women who continue to provide cheap labour for essential services like food. The janitorial staff in hospitals, the aides, the grocery clerks and so many other low-paying jobs that keep a patriarchal culture intact! And when they retire, the poverty continues. CPP eligibility relies on being employed and receiving a salary.

There are dozens and dozens of reasons for women to feel rage. To be angry. It’s the subtle yet constant drip, drip, drip of daily sexism that both wears me out and inspires me. And let me just say, the continuous belittlement of our fears and our tears? How cunning! How intimidating! And so, just recently, I blew my teapot! The steam rises. I speak out more now than ever. To quote Maya Angelou, “And still I rise.”

Women of the world, until we dig up the cultural roots of our own repression and our own complicity in silence, change will continue at the same pace as continental drift.

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Author of the Month

February’s author of the month – Poetry author Utanu Maa’s lessons in resilience

For February’s author of the month we are celebrating Utanu Maa! Utanu came into Tellwell without any prior publishing experience, and with little knowledge on how she could market her book. Over the last 6 months, Utanu has embraced her new role of authorpreneur and has successfully been featured on a number of blogs, received a beautiful review from IndieReader and is connecting with poets and readers all over the world through her social media.

“Utanu Maa’s RISE AND FALL OF MY BELOVED is a short biographical poetry collection, focused heavily on the themes of grief, mourning, recovery and resilience. The story is deeply personal, it speaks for countless individuals who are voiceless and marginalized. Nevertheless, the writing never seethes with anger at the injustice and unfairness. Instead, it is full of empathy, understanding and acceptance, and may be a cathartic experience for some readers, especially those trying to heal from trauma.” – Archita Mittra for IndieReader

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Utanu Maa, also known as Utanu Adele Mafandala, my birth name. I published my debut book of poetry last year using a pen name, Utanu Maa, just to keep it short on the book. I live in Toronto, Ontario and worked as a public servant within the Ontario Court of Justice. I had previously lived many years in Montreal where I migrated from the Democractic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1991. I was born and raised in DRC where I studied French Literature and Civil Law, and pursued education in Paralegal studies and Fashion Management after moving to Canada. I am a proud mother of a young man who is building his career as a Fine Art artist after graduating from the Memorial University of Newfoundland Fine Art/Visual and Technology last year.

2. What inspired you to write your book?

I needed to heal from the profound grief and loss I carried after the death of  my only sibling and brother from my mother. I lost my brother to HIV/AIDS. He suffered a lot, and it was painful to him, and to me as a sister to witness my loved one going through a myriad of pains and health complications until he died. I cared for him for the last two months of his life. I was deeply sad and devastated. 

I grieved from April 2019 until April 2020; I felt weary and burdened, I desperately needed to talk to someone to share and ease my pain. But Covid-19 had forced the entirety of humanity into confinement. My anxiety, along with everyone elses, increased and I felt so lonely inside and out.  

My son was away for studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In solitude, the only voice you can hear is yours inside of you or your own murmure, and the only person you talk to is your own double. So, my only rescue was to write and pour all my grief onto a paper to start a journey to resilience, gratitude, and healing.

3. How have your personal experiences influenced your book?

In my book, I expose not only the pain and suffering caused by the HIV virus but also the shame, stigmas, discrimination, rejection, and isolation that our society inflicts to people living with HIV. So, I write about a virus that is still active, still very infectious, and deadly to bring awareness for protection, inspiration for resilience in hard times, aspiration for a healthy and compassionate society, a testimony and reflection about the voiceless and vulnerable people in our society. 

Each poem of my book depicts a true story and personal experiences.  I am the witness of the events happening throughout the journey that my readers embark in my book. I wrote about what happened to my brother, from his childhood as a vulnerable orphan infant, marginalized but resilient to survive and grow, to his rise as an accomplished and successful engineer, and to his fall and death as a HIV/AIDS patient. 

My writing is also a journey into learning to express gratitude despite challenges because life is a blessing.  Our life is filled with many blessings, big or small, but we tend to forget to count them when facing hardship, struggles. One morning as I was weeping, thinking of my brother’s struggles in childhood as a vulnerable and neglected six months old orphan infant when my mother died, recalling the bullies he endured because he did not speak earlier like other kids and was labelled mentality retarded and incapable of succeeding at school, and counting the pain, sufferings, shame and rejection he faced and how he beat all odds and became an accomplished Master in Structure and Building Engineer, a still small voice stormed me inside and spoke to me in this way: “count instead the blessings of his life and heal from that because death is not a punishment”. 

From that moment, my brother’s death became the beginning of a new life in everlasting peace.  My grief taught me to express gratitude, and with gratitude, I found resilience to overcome and heal. These are the two main lessons in my book: resilience and gratitude to overcome grief, and heal.

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Author of the Month

Award winning author Kathleen Boucher’s practical advice for new authors! – Tellwell’s January author of the month

Our January author of the month, Kathleen Boucher, is an award winning author, certified lifestyle coach, a certified neurocoach, a certified stress and wellness consultant, and a registered nurse! Kathleen’s book 9 Ways to Empower Tweens #Lifeskills is a self help book for tweens, teens and adults alike! The book focuses on practical life skills. These life skills include how to have more confidence when presenting in class, the importance of work ethic, a simple writing technique to help deal with anger, and more. There are exercises at the end of each chapter that tweens can use to integrate what they’ve learned. Kathleen has been featured in many articles and blogs, on top of receiving high praise from industry professionals like IndieReader!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a registered nurse working in an Intensive Care Unit full time, an award-winning children’s author, lifestyle coach, neurocoach and stress & wellness consultant. Want to learn more about Kathleen, click here! 

In 2014, I wondered if there was something else I could do to help people. I prayed for guidance. Two weeks later, I remember sitting bolt upright at 0300 am in the morning.  The voice inside my head indicated that I should write children’s books. So I did.

2. What inspired you to write your book?

I want to help parents and teachers with techniques that helped me raise my children.  I am told that adults find these strategies useful as well. Bonus!

3. How have your personal experiences influenced your book?

My son was very active and had a hard time focusing on homework when he was in elementary school. I did some research that showed that with intense focus, one could bend time and get more done. For example, have you ever crammed for an exam and have gotten a lot of studying done? 

Before we started his homework I made sure my son was rested. The idea was for him to do his least favorite subject first, and get it out of the way. I put a timer at the end of the table and made it fun by seeing how much he could get done in five minutes. Once he finished what he disliked doing, the rest of the homework flowed because he was focusing on subjects he loved. 

4. What were some of the more significant lessons you learned writing and publishing a book?

  • Write what inspires you. 
  • The first draft is only the beginning. Don’t be afraid of rewrites. In fact, expect to do more than one rewrite. 
  • Writing an outline really helped organize my thoughts. Figure out what works for you.
  • Take the time to create a rapport with an illustrator so that he or she understands your vision. Then allow them the creative freedom to be fabulous. 
  • Accept constructive criticism with grace. Step back and look at your work from a different perspective. The new angle may make your work better.
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