From the monks who laboriously hand-copied medieval manuscripts to anyone who ever fetched fresh ink for Elizabethan-era playwrights, the world’s authors have always relied on helpful, timely assistance. Today’s writers have more resources at their disposal, thanks to lightning-fast printers and laptops that never run out of ink, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from the help of an author’s virtual assistant.
Whether you already have a publisher or are planning to self-publish, your to-do list likely grows by the day. Simply put, there isn’t enough time to handle all your administrative and professional duties – not to mention, time to make sure your manuscript is in tip-top shape!
That’s where a professional-grade virtual assistant can step in, to complete the legwork you’d otherwise have to do yourself – or, being realistic, that you’d have to prioritize, postpone, and finally rush through, after having fulfilled all your other writer tasks. A business-class virtual assistant can handle the spillover, so there are precious few [read: only the absolutely necessary] tasks standing between you and your writing.
Here are just a few of the author duties you can safely hand off to your writer’s virtual assistant:
1. Note-Taking & Transcription
Prefer not to type yourself? Your ‘fast-typing’ virtual assistant can take notes while you enter the ‘zone’ and bring forth your best ideas. If you prefer to work alone, your assistant can transcribe your recordings or tidy up the output of your speech recognition software.
Remember all those half-scribbled notes and highlighted quotes that pepper your book? Once you finish writing, there’s a lot left to do, like fact-checking, obtaining legal permissions for quotes, and double-checking your research. Your virtual assistant can do that.
3. Find A Qualified Editor or Proofreader
If you’ve finished your manuscript (or are on the home stretch), you need outside help from industry professionals: a book coach, an editor, a proofreader, or even a ghostwriter to lend a hand. Your virtual assistant will present you with the best in your niche.
4. Coordinate With A Professional Book Designer
Every good book needs good design. Let your virtual assistant contact, interview and narrow down the short list of book designers, so you can plan sidebars, strategize layout, and imagine up beautiful interior and cover art for your masterpiece.
5. Apply for ISBN, Licenses, etc.
Sometimes, being an author involves drudgery in the form of paperwork and acronyms. Handoff the task of getting your ISBN (International Standard Book Number), securing a business license, snagging a bar code, and other tedious but oh-so-necessary publishing tasks.
6. Research Publishers
If you’re going the traditional book route, you need a publisher. Have your virtual assistant research publishers large and small to find the ones that best suit you and your genre.
7. Research Self-Publishers & Print-On-Demand (POD) Services
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of online resources for publishing your own book – but which are legitimate businesses that will give you the best product for the best price? Let your virtual assistant handle the research: she’ll look into all the options, check the reviews, and present you with a comprehensive list of the pros, cons and differences between the best choices in self-publishing.
8. Format Your eBook
The work doesn’t end when you type “The End.” If you’re self-publishing an eBook, you’ll need to adhere to each platform’s format: that’s one style for Kindle, another for Nook, yet a different format for Smashwords… and the list goes on. There’s a learning curve – and it’s steep. Don’t crest it on your own.
9. Secure Testimonials
Your VA can send out advanced copies of your book, follow up with their recipients, and request testimonials, all in time to meet your publication date.
And once your book finally makes it to print, it’s time to get on the promotion train. Most authors will tell you that there’s more work in promotion than in writing if you can believe it! But it’s true: writing an incredible book doesn’t equal success. You have to get it into bookworms’ hands.
Your virtual assistant can help with:
- Setting up your book’s website, complete with a shopping cart for book sales
- Organizing a virtual book tour
- Managing your book’s listing on Amazon.com (Kindle), Smashwords, Barnes & Noble (Nook), and other online bookstores
- Locating brick-and-mortar bookstores, coffee shops, and other sites to coordinate readings & book signings
- Finding speaking engagements
- Coordinating guest blog posts, your appearance on podcasts, collaboration on teleseminars, and other public events to promote your book
- Creating book trailers, taping author interviews, and other multimedia content
- Promoting your book on social media
- Directing press release distribution
An expert author’s virtual assistant is worth his or her weight in gold. Consider hiring your writer’s virtual assistant through a professional-class virtual assistant company.
The best companies vet their VAs for experience and professionalism and recommend only those who are ideally suited to your needs. The companies with the best quality assistants offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
May 2022 Update: Times have changed, and Virtual Assistants with this level of expertise are now typically called Remote Executive Assistants.
Topic: Remote Executive Assistant