As a self-published author, your life can be pretty hectic.
If you're not starting a new project, you're probably already working on one (or several). Maybe you're editing your latest creation, researching a fact that you need to reference, proofreading your work, sending out ARC copies to bloggers and reviewers, arranging interviews, updating your blog to keep your readers up to date on what's coming next, answering emails from your readers, dealing with press enquiries, submitting your finished manuscript for publishing and then you have to move onto marketing which can include signings, book tours, email newsletters, social media, more blog updates etc.
With all of this going on and the characters buzzing around your head, who's stories just want to be told, it can be hard to focus on the one thing you love doing most, writing.
Writing is your gift, it's what you should be focusing on without having to worry too much about all the admin jobs that coincide with being a self-published author.
That's where a virtual assistant can step in. A VA can take the weight off your shoulders, freeing up your mind to focus on your writing whilst they handle the admin jobs that you just don't have time for.
Think of them as your secret weapon, someone to rely on, who can make life easier for you. Most virtual assistants can help you with a wide variety of tasks including:
The beauty of working with a virtual assistant is that there's no one under your feet, sharing your office or interrupting your day with meetings. A virtual assistant works from home, giving you the freedom to email over tasks that you need completing.
The number one reason for any self-publishing author to work with a virtual assistant is to save you time. Just because you can complete a task, doesn't always mean that you should, not if your time can be better spent working on your books.
VA's can also be great motivators. After all, your virtual assistant will want you to succeed. They're on your team and working towards your goals. They can be the difference between a bad day and a fantastic day, where you meet your deadlines and can just relax without having to worry.
Things to Consider when Hiring an Assistant
If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed and burnt out with how much work you have to do before you can even think about getting back to writing your book, now might be the best time for you to consider working with a virtual assistant to help get you back on track.
There are a few things to consider before hiring a virtual assistant and I would recommend that you look at several before you choose the person you'd like to work with:
1.) Cost - VA prices do Vary, with the UK average being in the region of £20 - £30 per hour. However, as with any service or product, the cost does not determine the quality, you might find an excellent Virtual Assistant for £10-£15 per hour but a terrible one for £35-£40. So, do your research and be sure to check testimonials and references before going ahead with your chosen VA.
When working with a virtual assistant you only pay for the time you use. You're not paying your VA to sit around all day waiting for your tasks and they should only bill you for the time it takes to complete your tasks which helps if you're working on a budget.
2.) Skill Set - Does your VA have the skills you need? Can they proofread? Can they edit? Do they communicate well? Do they complete deadlines on time? Most of this information can be found by simply asking and checking what other customers have to say about the service.
Alternatively, you could try handing over 1-2 small pieces of work to see if they are completed to your standard.
TOP TIP: Never be afraid to give your virtual assistant constructive feedback.
3.) Personality - Do you get along well with your virtual assistant? Since you'll be working with them regularly on something as important as your writing, you need to make sure that you gel well together. If you don't communicate well, the partnership won't work.
4.) Attention to Detail - It can't hurt to take a look at your VA's website, blog and social media channels to see how they write. Are there a lot of spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes? Is the formatting consistent? If you're trusting someone to take care of your work, a good starting point is to see if they've done a good job of their own. Look out for virtual assistants who pay attention to detail.
Finding a Virtual Assistant
The best way to find a reliable, friendly and professional virtual assistant is word-of-mouth. If other authors say good things about an assistant, you can usually rest assured that they're good at what they do. So, ask your fellow authors or post the question on a writers group or forum. You'll get plenty of recommendations.
You can also find author assistants on various freelance websites such as PeoplePerHour where you'll be able to view feedback from their other clients.
Finally, you can always take to Google and search for virtual assistants to find one who meets your requirements.
However you find your VA, be sure to thoroughly vet them first. Talk to them, check out their testimonials and feedback, you can even ask for examples of past work.
TOP TIP: It's not always possible for VA's to provide examples of past work as most VA's sign a non-disclosure to protect their clients work. I strongly recommend that you do this with any VA you choose to work with.
If you're looking for a virtual assistant or you have any questions relating to VA's feel free to get in touch.