Advice for getting an author assistant

I get asked all the time to refer people to a good author assistant/PA/VA. Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic list of service providers. I wish I did! I’ve tried in the past! But these folks book up fast (and usually permanently) or move on to other professions. So no magic list here.

So here is my advice for finding your author assistant (or personal assistant, PA, or virtual assistant, VA). Join Facebook author groups, like Marie Force’s Author Support Network or Alessandra Torres Inkers. Use the group search feature to search previous posts for “assistant” or “VA,” etc. Set your search results to the current year for the best chance of finding results with people still taking clients. Reading the comments in those posts should help you make a nice little list of service providers you can contact.

And my best advice to you for finding an assistant is treat it as if you were searching for a therapist or a doctor or anyone else who is going to be handling your personal and precious stuff. Do trial runs and see if you like they way they communicate with you and do business. Instead of hiring them as your permanent assistant right away, hire them for a one month trial run, or one book launch. You can tell them there is the potential for it to go longer, but if they know from the start that it’s a short-term gig then you can walk away free and clear, without the messy situation of having to “fire” someone if you find you don’t like the way they run things.

Once you do decide to hire someone permanently, let them know that you’re just getting started using an assistant, and that as things progress you’ll get a better idea of what you need from them. For example, some of my clients like to preview and approve everything before I post them, but some of my clients don’t care and just want something up there without needing to spend extra time to review it. You’ll figure out your boss style as you go, and if you manage to find someone you like and trust it will make it all much easier for you in the long run!!

One thing that will make the process easier on both of you is if YOU have a pretty clear idea of what you need before you get started searching.

  • social media posts (drafting content, creating graphics, scheduling)
  • replying to readers (on social media, either as the author or as the author’s assistant)
  • website updates (such as adding new books and events)
  • blog posts (drafting and posting)
  • sending newsletters

Some more in-depth tasks include:

  • Running Facebook and Amazon (AMS) ads
  • Newsletters swaps (finding them and setting them up for you)
  • Engaging beta readers and reviewers
  • Setting up virtual book tours (blogs and influencers)
  • Beta reading your book for “final eyes” editing) and pulling teaser quotes for social media
  • Book formatting
  • Attending events with you and providing on-site assistance