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How to create your Author “Pit Crew” Part 3: Author’s Assistant– #Author #TipsandTricks

by on August 9, 2017

Most people think of authors as solitary creatures who hide out in a dimly lit office pecking away at their keyboard and tearing their hair out in fat chunks while they slave over their newest book.

Okay, so that’s a fairly accurate description, but in my world, the office is replaced by my living room, and instead of pulling out my hair—I chew my fingernails. However, I don’t do it alone.

No, I have a whole TEAM of people who help me get my books released. For the next couple of weeks I’m going to break down what to look for in your “Pit Crew” and how to find them.

Back up and read

Part 1: Beta Readers http://wp.me/p2vGi2-1×1  

Part 2: Editors goo.gl/umHiJt 

 

Author’s/Personal/Marketing Assistant

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Contrary to some author’s beliefs, an assistant is not someone you just ask to “do you a favor” or “do all the crap you don’t want to.”  Ideally, your assistant is the person who helps keep the team rolling on schedule so that things don’t get missed.

I’ve worked with one of my assistant’s for two years, and the other for about a year now, and believe me when I say, there’s a learning curve when you first start working together.  Here are a few tips for selecting and hiring your assistant.

How much are you worth?

Not in a figurative way either. I mean, spend a week clocking and tracking yourself. How much time do you spend on setting up promotion? How much time is spent editing? Writing? Facebooking? Believe it or not, all of those things are WORK when it comes to being and author, but they take up a lot of time. If you break down your work week and figure out what percentage of time you actually spend writing, you can place a value on it–like and hourly wage. If you can make $200 and hour writing your book, it’s worth hiring someone for $20 and hour to cover some of the smaller things, freeing up your writing time.

 

Create a job description

First and foremost, you need to figure out what it is you really need help with. IE: What are you really comfortable letting someone else handle for you? While I’m happy to turn over scheduling guest authors and newsletters to my PA; I retain complete control over my Facebook timeline because I enjoy interacting with readers personally. I don’t want them to question whether they’re talking to me or my PA. Here are a few specifics you might consider…

*Creating and building an Author Page

*Creating and building a Newsletter List

*Creating and maintaining a Review Team

*Scheduling ads and marketing blasts

*Creating or purchasing swag for events

*Traveling with you as a PA for a book signing

*Scheduling blog tours, takeovers, and any other type of event

*Sending information out to bloggers and reviewers

*Creating graphics for your book marketing (more on this in another post)

As you can see, there are a lot of ways someone could step in to assist you, but they can’t read your mind. You have to not only tell them what you need, but what your expectations are. If you tell someone to “share your book teaser” and they only do so once, they’ve fulfilled their obligation. No matter how much you’re paying them. However, if you set the expectation that “sharing a book teaser” means in a minimum of six places per day, they have a target to shoot for.

 

How much can you afford?

This is completely personal. There’s no way for me to give you even a ball park figure for how much you can hire a PA for. I’ve seen them work for free ebooks, and I’ve seen them charge upwards of $50 an hour. You can determine if you want to pay them by the hour for the work they do, or if you prefer to just pay them a flat amount each month. Remember, you’ll need their tax information if you’re in the US because you have to send them a 1099 or pay payroll taxes depending on how your business is set up.

 

Maintain a constant line of communication

Maybe you talk via private messaging, or text, or even have daily phone calls, whatever you like, you must be in constant conversation with your PA. Not only to ensure they’re doing what they’re being paid for, but to make sure they understand your expectations if you aren’t happy. It’s quite possible, if you think they’ve dropped the ball, that they think they’re doing great and you two have a communication issue.

 

Write a contract

I don’t care if it’s your best-friend since kindergarten. This is business. There’s no excuse not to put it in writing. Protect yourself and your new employee.

 

Non-Disclosure Agreement

This is a priority for me personally, because I’ve heard way too many horror stories of author’s assistants leaking information or books ahead of time to their “close” friends. Again, it’s not about trust, it’s about common sense. They’re dealing with confidential information — and in some cases your real name/address/and financial info –you shouldn’t just expect honesty.

 

What makes a good Assistant?

I don’t think there’s anything specific that every assistant has to have. Fortunately, a lot of it just depends on if your personalities and work ethics “click.” That being said, I believe there are two things that make a great assistant:

1. Honesty – You don’t want someone who just smiles and nods when you ask their opinion. You want someone willing to be honest with you and hopefully help you build your brand.

2. Professionalism – Again, this comes back to branding. You’re a CEO now, and you need to take this seriously. You need professional marketing, editing, and writing, then your PA had better not be out on social media stirring up a shit storm – even if it’s on their personal platform. They’re now your employee and their actions WILL reflect on you.

 

I hope my tips help you out as you build your brand and grow your career!

Good luck, and watch for Part 4 – Social Media Manager

 

 

 

 

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