Last year, I briefly mentioned the subject of hiring an assistant to deal with the promotional aspects of publishing and was stunned by the ignorance. Many authors figure only the rich can afford such luxuries, while others are control freaks and couldn’t imagine handing over any aspect of their business to someone else. However that’s total BS, if you are finding yourself overwhelmed by social media, email lists, and blogging then an assistant is exactly what you need! I’ll admit, it took me a long time to become comfortable with farming out work to someone else. I mean what if they screw up? Worse yet, what if they walk out on a project? But what if they do an amazing job and save you time while preserving your sanity? I hate to break it to you but the latter usually happens.
The Money Excuse
It’s no secret that most indie authors are flat broke even after publishing multiple books. But we can all afford something and that’s where we’re going to start. If you value your time as a business owner then there are many things an assistant can do for you:
1. They can handle your social media accounts.
2. Pitch the media for interviews/reviews.
3. They can deal with technical issues on your website, or ebooks.
4. They can research markets and databases to help you find more places to sell your books.
Author Assistants are a Growing Business
Many vanity presses are notorious for over billing self-published authors for services like press releases and file conversion but a virtual assistant is way more cheaper. In fact, they’re sometimes thousands of dollars cheaper than what a vanity press charges. Here are just a few sites to investigate if you’re considering making the leap.
If you’re publishing on a shoestring budget, you might want to consider hiring a college intern. The only caveat here is that you must offer them real world experience. Also there are laws governing how businesses utilize free labor, such as, how many hours they can work before they’re considered an employee. So be sure to research the labor laws in your part of the world.
Here are some places to get you started:
I hope I gave you something to think about in the future when you begin to find yourself overwhelmed and over burdened by things non-writing related. There’s no shame in needing help. Most businesses, even the Fortune 500’s are hiring interns and freelancers to help with redundant tasks like accounting and social media management. That way they can keep the main thing, the main thing. Believe it or not, we indie authors need to have the same philosophy.