Seven Reasons You Need To Hire an Author Assistant Right Now by guest @TheRuralVA

Seven Reasons You Need To Hire an Author Assistant Right Now by guest @TheRuralVA via @BadRedheadMedia

Please welcome my fabulous author assistant, Emilie Rabitoy, aka TheRuralVA. I decided to hire an author assistant a few years ago when the reality of writing books, marketing my work, being a single mom, and running my business became overwhelming. I drove myself crazy and couldn’t accomplish any of my goals. A female mentor sat me down and said, “Honey, you can’t afford not to hire some help. Get out of your own way and allow yourself to succeed.”

I realize not everyone is juggling as much, yet I do realize how hard it is to market one’s books while writing. 

This is where having an author assistant can make a world of difference. Most writers immediately object: I can’t afford it. How do you know? Have you researched the cost? What is the benefit versus cost? If you truly cannot afford it (and Emilie breaks it down for you below), maybe consider trading services. 

Maybe a little help is all you need to help you focus. Sometimes, we are standing in our own way. I know I was. 

What is an author assistant?

An author assistant is someone who helps an author take care of both tasks they either need to complete regularly or bigger projects they cannot handle on their own. An assistant may help an author stick to deadlines by handling admin tasks as well.

What does an assistant do for authors?

Many assistants help authors with tasks like:

  • Building and sending newsletters, and website maintenance in addition to helping authors do things like finding reviewers or beta readers.
  • Social media management, including finding articles and other content to share on the author’s social media account, scheduling them to post using one of the various scheduling services like Buffer or Hootsuite, and creating graphics to share.
  • Building a subscriber list and newsletter. This is beneficial for an author because they won’t be spending precious time learning how to do things they could delegate to someone else.
  • Book travel accommodations or events. Some authors may need to travel for events, and it helps to have someone who has the time to investigate the most cost-efficient travel accommodations.
  • Entering writing contests for their author
  • Creating contests and giveaways
  • Mailing out books on their behalf
  • Answering emails and other administrative tasks
  • Ordering swag (bookmarks, postcards, magnets, and other giveaways)
  • Ensure an author is up to date on all the social media platforms (if they aren’t taking care of social media for the author themselves). With so many platforms constantly changing their algorithms and rules, it can be hard to keep up, so having someone on your team who is knowledgeable about them can be important.

Seven Reasons You Need To Hire an Author Assistant Right Now by guest @TheRuralVA via @BadRedheadMedia

The screenshot shown above is a great example of what assistants can do to help authors with social media scheduling. Due to strict guidelines on social media platforms like Twitter, it can be very important that images be scheduled regularly to ensure an account does not get locked due to an excessive link-sharing.

How does an assistant maintain an author’s voice when posting on their behalf?

Though it may be difficult in the beginning, many assistants don’t find it difficult to maintain their client’s voice when posting on their behalf, due to the simple fact that they know both their clients, and their client’s audience well. A great way to make sure your assistant is maintaining your voice if they post on your behalf is to have a set of keywords or phrases that you’d like your content centered around. Doing so also makes it easier for your assistant to find content.

Why would an author want an assistant?

Having an assistant is a wise investment for any author due to the time an author saves by having an assistant do everything mentioned above. In addition to saving an author time, having an assistant may also help an author make more money by allowing them to focus more on their writing rather than other tasks. Another bonus of having an assistant is the stress that it can relieve for an author; sharing the workload helps take some stress off an author.

How can an assistant save an author money?

Having an assistant can help save an author money in many ways, like taking care of necessary tasks that an author doesn’t have time to do. For example, if an assistant spends four hours a week doing social media scheduling for an author, multiplied by four weeks in a month, that is a minimum of sixteen hours a month that an author could potentially spend writing or editing books.

This could potentially help an author make even more money a year, due to the ability to write more books. An assistant could also help an author save money by finding the most cost-efficient ways to do things.

Is it expensive for an author to have an assistant?

Absolutely not. Most authors would be shocked to find out just how affordable having an assistant is. A less experienced assistant starts out at $25/hour, while more experienced assistants may be more expensive at $30-$40/hr or more depending on their expertise and tasks.

{Even as little as four hours/month can help you increase your writing productivity as well as social media presence. Most people spend that on Starbucks. — tough love from Rachel} 

If an author feels comfortable helping an inexperienced assistant gain some credibility, they should absolutely go for it. I will forever be grateful for the clients who took a chance on me, even though I was brand new. Many of those clients are still working with me today. Though it can be easier to break down the work by paying hourly, some assistants who are very efficient, prefer to put together monthly packages.

Most of these packages will either include a group of preset tasks that the assistant does regularly or a package that an author can build themselves and tailor to the specifics tasks they need to be taken care of.

Where can an author find an assistant?

A great way an author can find an assistant is to talk to their communities, a friend or fellow writer may have a recommendation on assistants. If you’ve tried talking to people you know, and still haven’t had success in finding an assistant, Facebook is the best place to look.

There are so many Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ groups for writers, so asking in those groups if anyone knows of an assistant looking for clients could be a good shot. If not, ask if there are any assistants in the groups; many times assistants will advertise their services within writing groups, hoping to find clients.

Got questions? Ask below!

Emilie Rabitoy is a retired dairy farmer who has found a way to use her work ethic to help authors achieve their dreams. She briefly worked as a subcontractor for another author assistant before starting her own virtual assistant business. Emilie quickly learned how to effectively promote authors and their books, and the importance of a strong work ethic and love for the job.
Emilie currently resides in Western Wisconsin with her fiancé and two cats. She loves romance novels and coffee.
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