When it comes to hiring an author assistant, it can be difficult to know where to start. The possibilities are sometimes limitless, so it’s hard for an author to know which tasks they should hand off to their assistant or which they should continue to do on their own.
One of the first things I ask my clients is if there is any task just they cannot stand, or feel is necessary but don’t have the time or skills to do. These are absolutely the most important tasks to give to your assistant, because either they currently aren’t getting done at all, or aren’t getting done very well.
The most important part of the relationship between an author and their assistant is communication, so finding a style that works for both parties is crucial. Though many writers don’t feel they can afford an assistant, they’d be surprised by how reasonable the cost is.
When it comes to identifying tasks for your assistant, think about problems your assistant can help fix or getting the wheels turning on those ideas you have been dreaming about but haven’t been able to get into motion. In addition to those, ensure that you’re giving your author assistant those tasks that you cannot stand or don’t have the skills to do. Doing so is the best way to ensure that those tasks are getting done in the best way possible with as little frustration on your part, as possible.
A great task to hand off to your assistant is book promotion. Have them look into sites like Bargain Booksy, Reading Deals when it’s reduced in price, or Indie Book Promo when it’s not. An assistant can also help create graphics to be used in book marketing, and make social media posts for book marketing.
When it comes to hiring an author assistant, one of the most important parts is communication. It is crucial to set up a communication system that works for both yourself and your assistant. This will help ensure that the correct items are getting done properly and on time. Having good communication also helps forge a more positive relationship between an author and their assistant.
One of my favorite ways to communicate with my clients is Slack. It’s so easy to use, and when it comes to finding messages, their search option is so easy. Slack also has a ton of extra features! Another great way to communicate with clients is through email, though it isn’t as user-friendly as Slack is, it still makes things pretty easy, and if you’re anything like me, you check your email almost constantly throughout the day.
Another way to communicate you may find useful is Facebook Messenger, though with all the difficulties lately with Facebook and privacy, Rachel and I have moved away from it completely. For quick ‘heads-up’ messages, it’s fine. For any kind of sensitive information, however, I definitely recommend avoiding Facebook.
Google Drive is also super convenient for sharing documents, spreadsheets, and calendars. Because it’s password protected, it’s a great option when working on group projects and manuscripts, too.
Skype, text, email, and phone are, of course, also tools of choice for many of us as well. With the fast-paced nature of our digital existence, Slack is quick and easy.
When I poll my audience and ask what their number one hesitation about hiring an assistant is, the most common answer I get is money. I wish more authors knew that hiring an assistant doesn’t have to be an insanely expensive cost.
It only costs $100 for two hours of work a month, and you cannot imagine the things that can be accomplished in two hours. Here’s a great example: I did a two-hour long job for Doctor J: in those two hours I was able to page through 350+ blogs and find out whether they were accepting review requests in addition to compiling a resource sheet with the bloggers who fit the criteria we were looking for.
When it comes to business, investing in yourself is both scary and necessary.
I personally didn’t invest in myself until I’d been in business a while, but I wish I had started doing it sooner. Having better tools to utilize has helped my business grow very well. Hiring an assistant works much like that; it gives your business a chance to grow and thrive.
Having an assistant can allow you to reach more ground, utilize more strategies, and put more ideas into motion.
There’s an adjustment period when it comes to starting out. It may take some time to find a communication style that works for both parties, and it may be difficult to determine which tasks you should handle and which your author assistant should handle. It can be a phenomenal relationship that helps your writing reach more potential readers, and help your business grow because your writing really is a business.
Two free hours to one person; one free hour to two people; a 1-month free author book promo on Indie Book Promo!
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Emilie Rabitoy is an author assistant who loves doing things like social media, newsletter and blog management. She currently resides in western Wisconsin with her two cats, and her soon to be husband. She’s fully addicted to both reading and coffee!
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Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
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