Tim Lindsay has two decades of experience in media and publishing. He founded Tellwell after realizing the book industry was broken. Writing a book is a labor of love for authors, and his mission is to make the publishing process enjoyable, informative and easy. Tellwell brings together a creative and talented team on each book, adding a personal approach so authors feel supported every step of the way. He founded Tellwell on the values of passion, teamwork, talent, honesty, and entrepreneurial spirit.
We are creators, bringing dreams to life
Every day we are inspired by the authors who have thoughtfully selected Tellwell to guide them along the path to publishing their fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, and children's books. We are a team of passionate and talented publishing consultants, project managers, editors, illustrators, cover designers, and book marketers who offer a consultative approach to your unique publishing journey. Founded in 2015, we have worked alongside thousands of talented authors to publish over 4,000 books throughout Canada, the US, Australia, and Europe. We believe that each person an author reaches with their work is a success worth celebrating. We tirelessly strive to evolve our processes, services, and technologies to ensure our authors have the level of support they need to share their stories with the world. You have a story that deserves to be heard. We are here to help you tell it, and tell it well.
Jason Farris has worked with creative and technical talent throughout his career, leading and growing organizations in a range of industries: software, online banking, sports and entertainment, and marine/electric vehicles. His passion for hockey led him to serve as the executive vice-president and chief operating officer for the Dallas Stars, as well as on the board of directors for the NHL team's foundation and alumni association. A creator at heart, Jason has produced seven books about the history, people, and process of building great hockey teams. He has been recognized for his self-publishing work with a lifetime achievement award from the Society for International Hockey Research. He serves on the board of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Pamela started in the indie publishing industry in 2004 and worked her way up from customer service to leading an operations department. Pamela's mandate includes attracting and developing talent while fostering a fun and collaborative team environment with a focus on quality and customer care. Pamela supports functions as diverse as software development, client feedback analyses, quality control, customer service and visual arts. She leads the operations at Tellwell's international talent center in Cebu, Philippines, with a mandate to seamlessly support, enhance and improve the quality of services performed by talent centers in North America, Australia and Europe.
Pamela PascoGeneral Manager
I get to be creative at work and it’s something that I intend to maintain, which keeps me engaged and excited, but at the same time I love that my job enables me to love and enjoy my other passions in life.
If I feel that I have inspired my authors (as they have certainly inspired me) and given them the hope to finish their narrative, then I have done my job well.
A really great book cover is one that captures the book inside it in some fundamental and, perhaps, unforeseen way.
It’s rewarding working with such a great group of people and collaborating on projects for the blog and newsletter, certain marketing activities that require a team effort, and one-on-one work with our talented authors.
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!
My absolute favourite feeling is when my authors tell me I’ve helped them fulfill their dreams.
What I enjoy most about my job as a Software Developer at Tellwell is that I get to work on challenging issues and new features, and have the opportunity of working together with a great team.
Never be afraid to share your stories with the world. You may inspire others to do the same.
Our locations and markets
We are an international company with headquarters in Victoria, British Columbia. Proudly established in Canada, our team is made up of talented publishing and book-marketing consultants, editors, designers, and many others who are passionate about helping authors bring their dreams to life.
In 2018, we expanded our global presence to Cebu in the Republic of the Philippines. Cebu has deep connections with the global publishing industry. Our international team offers unparalleled service and quality, and strengthens our diverse and dynamic company culture.
With team members across Australia, we connect with Oceanic authors to best support their needs. Our publishing consultants, project managers, and book-marketing consultants work closely with you to ensure your project is produced with the utmost care. There is nothing we enjoy more than helping authors turn their visions into reality.
We're making waves in the American book publishing scene! Having proudly published NFL superstar Lamar Jackson's uplifting children's book I Dream, You Dream, Let Us Dream, and the inspirational The Goddess of Go-Getting by Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award winner Rita Kakati-Shah, we're excited to bring more American stories to life. We partner with Ingram, an American family-owned book distribution giant that serves thousands of booksellers across the USA and globally.
At Tellwell, we offer comprehensive publishing services with an emphasis on transparency and quality, supporting UK authors to reach their goals. Our partnership with Ingram leverages their print-on-demand and distribution facilities in Milton Keynes, UK, ensuring your book is available to a wide readership in a seamless, globally-connected publishing experience.
Our core values
There is something about publishing that attracts passionate people. It takes devotion and purpose to write a book. We recruit professionals who have a fascination for books and publishing; love working with writers, designers, editors and marketers; and find joy in helping people achieve a lifelong goal.
We want people who raise the bar, who are constantly learning and growing. We strive to discover and support amazing publishing talent. While the author is always the star, we celebrate the whole publishing team.
Publishing is a team occupation. Teamwork means treating co-workers with respect, contributing ideas, listening, helping each other and working towards common goals.
We believe in constructive and encouraging communication that is honest and direct. With our clients, we strive to be supportive and uplifting as they take on the daunting task of publishing. However, we also acknowledge the risks involved and the limitations of what we can do. We provide candid feedback, even if it's critical, with kindness and empathy, so that we can create he best possible product together.
Like our clients, we take risks! We believe in making bold choices and learning from our mistakes rather than being held back by indecision. We dream big, take initiative, experiment, and innovate. We embrace challenges and overcome them with determination. We launch our ideas into the world, even if it means they're not yet perfect, then tirelessly reexamine and improve them until our company is the best in the industry.
What we celebrate
- We respect authors as entrepreneurs — taking a risk, pursuing a passion, creating something from nothing.
- The publishing team
- Writers are great, but so are editors, illustrators, designers, and other publishing professionals. We honor the team effort.
- Holistic approach
- We are great at tying all the pieces together into a holistic experience.
Frequently asked questions
All of our printing partners undergo a rigorous vetting process to ensure high-quality output. The location of printing for a specific order depends on various factors, including volume, book specifications, shipping location, and cost considerations.
Tellwell partners with carefully selected printing companies in Canada, the United States, England, Australia, and Asia. For print-on-demand orders fulfilled through sales channels, we offer the option to work with Amazon's international operations, as well as Ingram and their print-on-demand operation, Lightning Source, with printing facilities in LaVergne, Tennessee; Breinigsville, Pennsylvania; Fairfield, Ohio; Fresno, California; Milton Keynes, England; and Melbourne, Australia. Certain types of books, such as board books or large high-quality colour books, are by default printed in Asia to keep costs reasonable.
For authors who want the most control possible, Tellwell provides the option to include print-ready files as part of our services, allowing authors to print locally or internationally at their discretion. It is worth noting that many companies do not allow authors to access print files, either for a defined period or as long as the book is published with them, leading to a captive pricing situation.
Tellwell has published over 4,000 books. We have worked with authors across Canada, the United States, and around the world.
We have worked with over 4,000 authors. Many of them have gone on to win prestigious publishing awards, have been featured on major media outlets, and have received rave reviews. Take a look at our author success stories to see highlights from our authors who have hit big wins!
We offer authors the options of 85% or 100% net royalties. Some companies not only charge you for their services, but they take a substantial portion of your royalties, often obfuscating the true nature of their royalty model. You are taking the risk, so you should receive the rewards. When you are speaking to various assisted self-publishing companies, it’s important to have a clear understanding of their royalty structure.Flexible printing and distribution
Our flexible printing options mean you can print with us, or work with a local or online printer of your choice. We can include print-ready PDF files in your services so you can source the best printer for your needs. We do not lock authors into printing and distribution contracts as some companies do as part of a captive pricing model, forcing authors to price their book too high and eliminating the ability to seek a more competitive printing option.
We can also provide you with the electronic version of your book, such as epub and PDF, which is an important part of marketing your book online. You can use the files to submit for awards and reviews, and for publicity purposes. Some of the big companies will not release these files to authors, forcing them to use their highly marked-up marketing services in order to submit to awards and editorial reviews.
Finally, authors have the option to publish under their own imprint, with their own ISBN, and may choose to contract directly with distribution channel partners, if this is what is best for them. In practice, many authors do not need or want this much direct management of their distribution, but we provide the option in the spirit of maximizing flexibility and empowerment for our clients.Reputation and trust
We have published 4,000+ books, have an A+ rating and 4.97/5 customer review rating from the BBB and a 4.5 Google reviews rating. In 2022 we were a finalist for the BBB’s Torch Awards for ethics in business under the category of professional services. We have rigorous customer-feedback systems in place to spur continuous improvement. We encourage you to look at the reviews for the various assisted self-publishing companies, check out their social media presence, and look through their blogs to find author success stories, testimonials, and information about their team members.World-class quality
Tellwell offers a full-service team approach. We are a friendly team of experienced and talented editors, designers, illustrators, marketers, and project managers with exceptionally high standards of excellence.Guidance and support
Our dedicated publishing team is here to guide you through each step of the publishing process. We take author empowerment seriously and have created numerous resources to educate you along the way.Transparency
The assisted-self-publishing model that Tellwell offers is transparent—we’re open with you about our process, pricing, and royalties, and what is included in the scope of services, with clear terms and conditions that are fair. We leave you in the driver’s seat, retaining your copyright with your royalties in your pocket.
Our staff and contractors are located across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Our editors are native English speakers who all go through a rigorous selection process and are supervised by an experienced managing editor. Our editors are located in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Authors can select which country and standards of English they want their book to conform to. Our illustrators are located across the world, including many longtime contributors from across Canada, and an office of highly talented visual artists at our Cebu talent centre.
Our international team collaborates closely to deliver an exceptional publishing experience to authors, with a focus on high levels of service, support, and quality control at competitive prices. Tellwell works to create a cohesive culture where employees can thrive, grow, and contribute their skills to the author experience, and to making continuous improvements to our services and process. We pride ourselves on our ability to attract and retain the top tier of publishing talent, and are very proud of the team and company culture we have created!
We take author empowerment and education seriously. We have created numerous resources for each step of the process, including videos, webinars, and informative articles. Whether it’s knowing which trim size to choose, if you should go for a glossy or matte cover, how to price your book, or which keywords to choose on your Amazon listing, we have you covered with our detailed articles, webinars, and videos.
In addition, your project manager, along with your dedicated publishing team, will be there to guide you through each step of the publishing process with trusted publishing advice, assistance, and management suited to your needs and skills.
Tellwell has built a proprietary and easy-to-use author portal called Octavo, so authors know the status of their project at all times.
We take our role in setting and managing expectations seriously. We’ve developed a proven process, depicted in the image below, to guide you through the daunting but rewarding process of publishing a book.
Since the advent of print-on-demand, ebooks, and online retail, it has been theoretically possible to publish a book for free. Great! Or is it? While that might sound nice, it could also be a recipe for a disaster: low-quality books are upsetting to readers and book buyers. Traditional publishers could publish books for free too, but they never would. Producing a quality book requires investment. Otherwise, readers might buy a book only to find it riddled with spelling errors, consequently harming sales with bad reviews and ruining the brand of the publisher. The cover might look so amateurish that nobody would consider buying it in the first place. Some commentators believe that everyone ought to take an absolutely DIY approach to every aspect of publishing. This is questionable advice for most people, and certainly not best practice.
As success stories started to emerge amongst self-published authors, the common interview question, “What advice do you have for authors who self-publish?” started to yield predictable answers: “Never skimp on editing,” and, “Be sure to invest in a professional cover design.” In short, don’t do everything yourself! A hardcore DIY approach to self-publishing might be right for some people, especially those with no budget, but it is not for people who care about quality and want to avoid the headaches and hassles of doing everything themselves.
Choosing to self-publish doesn’t mean your book can’t rival or surpass the quality of many traditionally published books, but quality always comes with costs. The real questions become whether that cost is fair and the services worth the investment—questions that each person might answer differently—and whether the service provider is reputable and delivers on what they promise.
Self-publishing gained credibility when the publishing industry changed dramatically in recent decades due to three technological innovations: print-on-demand, e-commerce, and ebooks. These changes eliminated many of the old pitfalls of self-publishing, such as the requirement of printing large quantities of books without access to sales channels.
When compared to the traditional publishing model, the advantages of self-publishing include:
- Quicker access to market
- High royalty rates
- Creative control
- Rights retention
- No large upfront printing costs required
- The option to publish for free, or—for authors caring about quality—to pay for as much or as little support as needed
The result was predictable: a surge in authors opting to go with this new version of self-publishing, many not even bothering to consider the old way.
In the traditional publishing model, a writer signs with an agent, who acquires a publishing deal for the writer’s work. This usually involves the publisher giving the writer an advance payment against future royalties. In exchange, the author signs over publishing rights to their book. The publisher then produces the book and offers it on the market.
Is there anything inherently wrong with this model? Not at all. It’s great for some authors, especially if they get a substantial and fair advance in a timely manner. But as with every option, it has drawbacks.
When writers offer criticisms of the traditional publishing model, they are usually concerned with one or more of these ten perceived shortcomings:
- Small royalty advances—or none at all—and low royalty rates
- Lengthy publishing timelines—often one to three years
- Loss of creative control
- Loss of copyright and ancillary and subsidiary rights
- High printing costs for author copies, with no option to print elsewhere
- The author is occasionally asked to rewrite significant portions of their work, or finance their own editing, prior to manuscript consideration
- An interest only in profits from the publisher, who is unwilling to consider niche audiences or take risks on unknown authors
- Limited or nonexistent marketing efforts, with the publisher refocusing quickly on their next book or more popular titles, leaving the lion’s share of the long-term marketing efforts to the author, even though most sales revenue goes to the publisher
- The lengthy sales process writers must go through to get an agent
- The myriad boilerplate rejection letters typical of the process of soliciting agents and publishers, and associated wait times—often three to six months each.
None of the above should diminish the amazing work done by many traditional publishers and the great service and experiences they provide to writers and readers. It simply highlights that every model has its downsides and its critics. Not every author is given the celebrity treatment when going the traditional publishing route. Sometimes the grass looks greener than it is.
Whether a book is worth publishing requires an understanding of the reasons people write and publish books, and—spoiler alert—it’s not solely about profit or ego. Of all the ways people can spend their time in this world, writing and publishing a book can be one of the most meaningful and creative pursuits.
For entrepreneurs and businesses, publishing can be worth it—not from a narrow focus on royalties, but for how a book can be used as a marketing tool to generate leads, establish authority, and grow a business.
For some people, it is the social impact or message their book carries that has tremendous value even if it is on a smaller number of people; for example, helping people understand a mental health issue or helping people cope with cancer. The value of helping even a small number of people can be very rewarding and have a dramatic impact on people’s lives, making it “worth it” from a perspective that transcends mere royalties or profit. Finally, some people, such as those writing memoirs, may be most concerned about passing down stories, a legacy, or a set of values they lived by to the next generation. Writing a book may be the best format for doing this, and investing in quality through editing and publishing support is well worth it.
Self-publishing is now widely celebrated for its advantages, especially for the control it gives to authors. An assisted or team-approach to self-publishing is the best option for people who care about quality and don’t want the hassles of a total DIY approach.
Self-publishing as a whole is legitimate, and the assisted self-publishing model has unique advantages. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean every service provider is equally reputable. Historically, some companies have done a poor job of delivering on their promises. That’s still the case today. Moreover, many companies have set up shop, delivered shoddy service, then quickly gone out of business. Worse still, there are outright scams out there. (To be clear, it is obviously not a scam to charge fair market rates for editing, illustrations, or other valuable services—people who argue this should be readily dismissed.)
While investigating self-publishing companies, do your due diligence. Be on the lookout for signs that they might be taking you for a ride. These include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- Promising high book sales. If they can do that, they should put their money where their mouths are and pay an advance.
- Making you feel insecure, or as though you have no options.
- Aggressive sales tactics before, during, or after publication.
- Requiring you to purchase physical copies.
- Having limited online visibility, such as few or no public reviews.
- Having no established social media presence.
- No terms and conditions with a clear scope of services.
- Lack of transparent pricing.
- Hidden costs.
- Insisting that they keep the copyright, without paying an advance.
- Not offering an option for you to retain 100% of your net royalties, or lacking transparency in how they calculate royalties.
- No clear complaints process, so they can correct course if something goes wrong.
- No evidence of good communication with clients, or of giving positive support and guidance to authors.
- Poor value for your money.