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.
Authors rely on publishing consultants to advise, inform, and set expectations through the production process. Josephine Cataluña has dedicated herself to ensuring authors access the right services to achieve their goals and bring their dreams to life. In addition to her passion for literary projects, Josephine also finds inspiration from music and nature.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a peaceful person who wants to enjoy life with my favourite people. I love animals and nature, especially white sand beaches. Summer is my favourite season. I do yoga and sing a lot. I was a bit of an introvert, especially during my younger years. I just hang out and open to a couple of friends. People who have high self-confidence who get to speak or perform in front of a huge crowd amazed me, maybe because I was not as confident then as I am now. I also enjoy learning about different cultures, cuisines, and fashion styles. I am a fan of romantic-comedy novels and movies.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
What I enjoy most about my role is being able to talk with different people from different walks of life and hearing about their life experiences and inspirations for writing their books. I get to understand things from their perspective, and I gain wisdom with each encounter, because more often than not I resonate with the stories they share. And when the book project is already done, it gives me a different fulfillment knowing I have helped an author figure their way forward in terms of publishing.
What does a typical week look like for you at Tellwell?
It gets quite busy at the start of the week with all the booked appointments and inquiries (by phone or email), talking with different authors, all at a different stage on their publishing journeys. Then I spend the middle part of the week towards Friday negotiating contracts while keeping in mind their service needs and what solution I could bring to each author.
What is a question you get asked the most by authors? How do you answer it?
The question I get asked the most is “How much does it cost to publish?” and I answer it with full transparency, making sure that they understand the value of each service they will be paying for.
Do you have an achievement that you are most proud of? What inspires you to succeed?
I am proud of my Sales Rookie 2022 award, because it means a lot of authors trust me and my consulting. I might be a neophyte at book publishing, but I am very passionate at delivering quality service and genuine advice. I understand the value that each author brings to the world.
If you authored a book, what would it be about?
If I were to publish a book, it would probably be about love in general and how it impacts a person’s transformation in becoming the best version of themselves.
What do you enjoy doing most outside work?
Singing and spending quality time with the people I love.
Do you have any good books or content to recommend?
I do have a short list of romance novels that I would love to get a hold of by the end of the year. A couple of them would be the latest releases by Nicholas Sparks.
What inspires you?
Ambition, happiness, and doing new things. Seeing someone achieve their dreams, seeing someone’s smile, doing adventures and thinking about happy moments with my daughter, family and friends—these are what inspire me. The beauty of nature, too!
Advice from Tellwell’s in-house illustrator Veronika Hipolito
Veronika Hipolito is Tellwell’s in-house illustrator. She is known for creating whimsical children’s book illustrations and beautiful cover designs. Her illustration style is magical, expressive, and free-flowing. Read on to hear her approach to working with authors as well as what authors should look for when choosing an illustrator for their children’s book.
Tell us about yourself. I’m an illustrator and a painter. My concoction of surreal, detailed elements, dominantly on a blue colour palette accentuated with gold foils and ink, make the imagery stand out. This is also how I express my passion for merging culture and nature in every possible way.
What did you do before joining the Tellwell team? I was a graphic artist and illustrator at a local newspaper. I’m also an art-event organizer who caters to both local and international creatives. I’m an active artist in the arts community participating in exhibits, art and literary conventions, and competitions.
Tellwell book-cover designer Benjam Mosquera has been a valued member of the Tellwell team since 2018. He has ten years of book-design experience and is passionate about creating covers that draw people in at first glance. Read on to learn Benjam’s favourite book cover-design trends and hear his advice to authors working with book designers for the first time.
What inspired you to become a book-cover designer?
I began my book-design career working as an interior book designer. I was really inspired seeing beautifully created cover designs by my teammates, in bookstores and online. It led me to learn how to artfully create book covers. I have been enjoying creating book covers for a decade now.
Where do you draw creative inspiration from?
I am often inspired by film posters. I’ll search for the designer’s name and look through their work for more inspiration.
What advice do you have for authors working with a book designer?
Clear instruction is really key. If an author has a specific vision for their book, then it’s important for the author to relay detailed instructions for the cover designer. That allows the designer to more easily visually interpret the instructions.
We are also creative individuals who love taking a concept and running with it. So if authors don’t have a clear vision for their book cover, that’s OK. That’s why we are here, to put in our professional touch and create magic. Showing covers that you love and want to emulate also go a long way.
Tellwell illustrator and cover design consultant Jamie Jamandre spends her days illustrating beautiful images for Tellwell’s children’s authors and consulting with authors about their cover design. Get to know Jamie, learn what illustration styles she’s most drawn to, and what she believes makes for a really good illustration.
I think the key to a good working relationship is communication and understanding.
Jamie Jamandre, Tellwell Publishing Illustrator
What inspired you to become an illustrator?
Like many illustrators, I’m largely inspired by cartoons, comic books, animated films and Japanese anime. Sci-fi and fantasy genres inspire me the most.
What do you love about illustrating children’s books?
I like being able to peer into the lives of the authors, and hear their stories. Stories from people of all walks of life, their families, their values, or the places they are from – I like getting a glimpse into their world through the power of their words.
What design/illustration styles are you most drawn to?
Although I appreciate all sorts of design styles, I find myself most drawn to soft watercolors and painterly styles, as well as pen and ink drawings. I like playing around with gradients and textures and experimenting when I can with my artwork.
What do you think makes for a really good book illustration?
Tellwell project manager Gezel Zorobrado has been working at Tellwell for about three years. In her role, she helps navigate authors throughout the various stages of their book project, from manuscript to distribution. She is a ray of sunshine, with big smiles and lots of laughs to share. Gezel is about to welcome her first child this fall:)
Never be afraid to share your stories with the world. You may inspire others to do the same.
What do you enjoy most about working with authors?
It is very fulfilling to play a small role in helping authors achieve their dreams and complete their goals. It brings me much joy! I like forming friendly and strong relationships with authors so they know they can rely on me to be their ally.
How would you describe your personality? What motivates you?
I am an introvert. I prefer having a quiet environment to think, reflect, and focus. I’m motivated to achieve my full potential and continue growing individually and professionally. I appreciate it when people recognize my efforts.
What is the most common misconception when it comes to the self-publishing industry?
Authors, at times, confuse the self-publishing model with the traditional publishing model. There is a common misconception that once the author submits their manuscript, we will do all the legwork to bring their book to market.
While Tellwell certainly takes many of the pain points away during this process by creating the cover, laying out the interior, editing and distribution (depending on the author’s package), it still requires the author to submit input, approve changes and be involved in the process.
The authors who are most engaged during the production process tend to carry the same enthusiasm in marketing their book, which is crucial to success.
We’re passionate about books so it’s no surprise that some of us at Tellwell not only love helping authors through their publishing journey but are going through our own! Project manager Joy is currently writing her novel. Learn more about Joy, her role as a Tellwell project manager, and what her book is about!
What puts a smile on your face every day?
Learning something new, helping others in small ways, and showing appreciation. When I push my limits and accomplish things that I once thought were very difficult, that puts a wide smile on my face.
What do you enjoy most about working with authors?
“Meeting” a lot of interesting people, knowing their stories and how they came up with their books is delightful. My absolute favourite feeling is when my authors tell me I’ve helped them fulfill their dreams.
What advice do you have for authors going through the publishing process?
My advice is to ask a lot of questions, especially for first-time authors. Having patience throughout the process is really important too. I understand the excitement in wanting to be published quickly, but I advise authors to not rush through approving drafts— take the time to carefully review them:)
What advice do you have for authors who are considering publishing their manuscript?
I’m trying to write a book myself as well so I would say, don’t hesitate and take a leap of faith because it will be your legacy.
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 project manager, I help authors through every step of the publication process, from submitting the manuscript until the book gets published.
I serve as a liaison between the author and the designer, editor, and/or illustrator. I also guide authors on their choices in terms of design, layout or the book’s specifications.
2. What does a normal day look like for you?
A normal day for me would be a combination of team meetings, phone calls with authors, preparing and reviewing various documents and communicating with editors, illustrators, and designers.
3. What do you enjoy most about working with authors?
What I enjoy most about working with authors is hearing their personal stories, and inspiration behind writing their book. It’s very satisfying and fulfilling helping authors achieve their goals and guiding them through the process to achieve the best possible outcome. It makes my day when I hear how happy authors are with the final product!
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.