How Working With an Author Assistant Helps Writers by Guest @TheRuralVA

By Rachel Thompson | #NaNoProMo

May 16
How Working With An Author Assistant Helps Writers by Guest @TheRuralVA via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #Assistant #author

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.

Identifying Tasks for Your Assistant

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.

How Working With An Author Assistant Helps Writers by Guest @TheRuralVA via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #Assistant #author

Communication Is Key

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

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.

Can I Afford an Assistant?

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.

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THE GIVEAWAY

Two free hours to one person; one free hour to two people; a 1-month free author book promo on Indie Book Promo!

How Working With An Author Assistant Helps Writers by Guest @TheRuralVA via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #Assistant #author
How Working With An Author Assistant Helps Writers by Guest @TheRuralVA via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #Assistant #author
How Working With An Author Assistant Helps Writers by Guest @TheRuralVA via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #Assistant #author

Want to win this giveaway? Simply leave a comment WHY below!

All comments must be left prior to midnight on Monday, May 20th, 2019 in order to be eligible to win. Winners for the week announced on Tuesday, May 21st.

Good luck!

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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About the Author

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.

Leave a Comment:

(32) comments

Sarah Krewis May 16, 2019

I’ve never heard of an author assistant until now. What a great idea but even $100/ 2 hrs is a stretch for me right now. Maybe once I get another book out.

I’d love to win the free promo prize because it’s been hard for me to get my work out there. I’m currently giving my book a makeover (new cover, updating it, and giving it another copy edit sweep) but once that’s done I’ll be marketing. .

Great post! I’ll look into an assistant down the line.

Always,
Sarah

Reply
    Emilie Rabitoy May 16, 2019

    Congrats on the book makeover Sarah! If you have any questions on what I do, reach out any time!

    Reply
McKenna May 16, 2019

This is one area I’ve been looking at and deciding I don’t have enough work to justify hiring someone–while simultaneously realizing my time is at a premium, and my skill set doesn’t include making graphics or searching sites for the best places to promote my works. I’ve also probably spent too much money on ads I didn’t know how to utilize properly. Your point about being able to hire someone for smaller jobs makes a ton of sense. It’s something I’m going to have to reevaluate now!

Reply
    Emilie Rabitoy May 16, 2019

    I can be difficult to determine when it’s time to hire help, I like to tell people, if admin tasks are taking up so much of your time that you can’t pursue your passion, then it’s time to pass those admin tasks off to someone else!

    Reply

I’ve considered hiring an author assistant in the past, but there were a couple of factors that kept me from moving forward. The cost was one, the other issue was, I hadn’t identified the area(s) where I thought an assistant could help most.

With two books out now, another to be published this year, and audiobook production in the works, I’ve realized my weakest points are marketing and social media. Not surprising there. I think most indie authors fall short in these areas. This contest gives authors a great way to be able to try out the process of working with an assistant.

Thanks for the opportunity to put my name in the hat!

Anne Francis Scott

Reply
    Emilie Rabitoy May 16, 2019

    Wow, Anne, it sounds like you have awesome things in the works! Are there specific tasks you know need to get accomplished but put off since they aren’t fun? Those are perfect things to hand off to an assistant!

    Reply
D.B. Moone May 16, 2019

Emilie,

Great post with useful info. I don’t know how any author can go it alone. I push my way in with some authors I’ve become friendly with, and I offer to help do what I can. I don’t care about the money, and I can hear it now, “what the hell is wrong with her?” If I can do something to lighten the load for a writer friend, I’m going to do it because my reward is the author’s success. My day will come, and in the meantime, I am picking up information that will benefit me one day. Besides, I am a giver.

Now, speaking about Dr. J. No, I’m kidding. She’s fantastic, and while not my genre, I am going to review her new anthology. I don’t know of any reason I shouldn’t read and review the book other than being a little scared. LOL!

Sincerely,
Donna

Reply
    Mischa Eliot May 16, 2019

    Why are you scared to read the anthology?

    All the stories are positive and fun and sexy. And we will be the first ones to say if a story isn’t your cup of tea, go to the next one. ❤

    Reply
      D,B, Moone May 17, 2019

      When you told me you commented, this is your comment? This is public harassment. You know, like sexual harassment!

      Go away, Mischa with an S! I told you to send my book ASAP, didn’t I? Stop picking on me online, in front of everyone. This is a professional campaign. Now, get on board, or get in your cage!

      Reply
    Emilie Rabitoy May 16, 2019

    What a kind heart you have Donna! It’s always nice to talk to you!

    Reply
      D.B, Moone May 17, 2019

      Thank you, Emilie! Would you kindly share the kind words you had for me with at Mischa with an S? She needs to hear, from someone other than myself, about my kind heart. ❣️Maybe she should be disqualified. LOL!

      Reply
Dr. J. May 16, 2019

Wow. Thank you, Emiie. I can attest to your wonderful work. Fast, efficient and provided me time for other things. And the bonus is she is upbeat and positive! I’m so happy to have her on my team!

And thank you, D.B. Moone, for your kind words. I hope to see you soon!!!

Dr. J.

Reply
    Emilie Rabitoy May 16, 2019

    It’s always such a pleasure to work with you Dr. J, you always put a smile on my face! I hope we can continue to work together for years!

    Reply
    D.B. Moone May 17, 2019

    Thank you, Dr. J,

    If I say it, I mean it. You are fantastic! Now, would you kindly tame your wild girl? Please, and thank you! ❣️

    Donna

    Reply
Mischa Eliot May 16, 2019

Quick Questions:

What is the number one thing you’re tasked with doing?

What’s the one thing authors tell you they hate doing?

Reply
    Emilie Rabitoy May 16, 2019

    Hey Mischa!

    Those two questions have the same exact answer: social media.

    I take care of social media management most, simply because so many authors don’t have the time or energy to keep up with social media platforms and their rules constantly changing, so no one wants to take care of social media management, except me, I love it!

    Reply
Mariyam Hasnain May 16, 2019

I think I desperately need to hire a VA. Yes, it’s an investment in yourself, and it sounds scary but it’s the need of an hour. But, I’m not sure what kind of work a VA does. I design my own teasers and graphics for social media but it consumes a lot of my writing time. Besides, I don’t know much about book marketing strategies like contacting the bloggers, book promotion sites, FB ads and boosts. I think a VA can help me with these things. I think I need this giveaway to get a detailed insight about how a VA works and how working with a VA can reduce the burden of designing and marketing from my head, so that I can concentrate more on writing and less on marketing 🙂

Reply
    Emilie Rabitoy May 16, 2019

    Oh, the possibilities Mariyam! I love to create social media graphics (it gives me a chance to be a bit more creative than my day to day tasks do) which frees up quite a bit of time for my clients to spend writing! If you have any questions or want to know more about what I do feel free to reach out through my site, or social media. I’d love to talk!

    Reply
Raiscara Avalon May 16, 2019

I’ve thought about using a VA I don’t even know how many times. I just don’t really know what to give the VA for tasks, so this article was helpful. So far though, I don’t really have any tasks I don’t enjoy! Would love to win. 🙂

Reply
    Emilie Rabitoy May 16, 2019

    I don’t know that I’ve ever met someone who loves it all, so that’s huge! It must be pretty awesome! Have a great day!

    Reply
Lexi May 16, 2019

I tried using the VA who helps with my corporate businesses but it was too different so I love the idea of an author VA!

Reply
Justin Bienvenue May 16, 2019

*Here’s to hoping my comment goes through! Great article. We’ve had this as a topic on Book Marketing Chat and I know my big issue is and will be money. However, it is certainly enlightening to see what an author assistant can do. Whether it’s a simple task or a challenging one an assistant can certainly help. Again I myself cannot afford one as I don’t have weekly income but I know I could definitely use the help!

Reply
    Rachel Thompson May 16, 2019

    Received. Thanks for replying, Justin. 🙂

    Reply
Dana Lemaster May 16, 2019

Emilie,

I had only the vaguest idea of the job description for an author’s assistant, but now feel that I have a much better understanding of the job and its importance to writers. This gives me a way to assess when my writing business has reached the point where it would benefit from having an author assistant. It will also help me make the best possible use of the author assistant’s time. Thanks so much for this extremely informative article.

Sincerely,
Dana Lemaster

Reply
Nanette May 16, 2019

Great tips! I’ve long considered a VA but could never figure out which tasks were best. You’ve got me thinking…

Reply
    Emilie Rabitoy May 17, 2019

    It’s always best to give your VA the most time-consuming tasks, or the ones you can’t stand doing. Both of those scenarios are essentially guaranteed to free up a huge chunk of time for you.

    Reply
Anne Goodwin May 17, 2019

I haven’t come across an author assistant before but I’m intrigued and would love to win one of the giveaways. While it can be scary handing over control, I’m sure I’d find it useful, perhaps for finding places to pitch guest posts relating to my books brand and bloggers open to review requests.

Reply
Emilie Rabitoy May 17, 2019

I couldn’t imagine how hard that would be, it’s definitely a good idea to have someone who specializes in things like book marketing, I think it makes things easier on both parties!

Reply
Jennifer Denslow May 18, 2019

This is the first time I’ve seen advice that didn’t make me feel as though I have to do it all myself!

Reply
Monica-Marie Vincent May 18, 2019

I need to start putting aside a fund for an assistant. I could really use the help. People with ADHD like me really need someone to keep them on track. 🙂

Reply
Iola May 19, 2019

I’m impressed that you were able to trawl through 350+ blogs in just two hours! I guess that’s one of those jobs that authors put off and put off, but if they’d just get started (or outsource it), then the job would be done and they wouldn’t have to stress about it. That’s good ROI for any writer!

Reply
Michael Melville May 20, 2019

There have been so many times where I almost hired one, or at least seriously looked into hiring VA. I’ve never pulled the trigger on it though because either i didn’t think it was something I could afford and would be an extravagance or that I’m not…I guess big time enough to use one.

I always kind of figured that the people who do this are the ones making at least some consistent money from writing, if not a lot and I am not that. After reading this it makes me wonder if i should look into it more seriously. I didn’t realize a VA could get so much done in a relatively short time span.

Reply
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