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Kobo Writing Life Podcast


The Kobo Writing Life Podcast brings you insights and inspiration for growing your self-publishing business. We feature interviews with bestselling authors and industry experts, who share practical advice you can use to improve your writing and sell more books. Hosted by KWL's very own Chrissy Munroe and Stephanie McGrath, you'll also get the latest news and updates about Kobo and the KWL platform. Self-publish today at www.kobo.com/writinglife

Jan 18, 2016

Is your work managing the business side of your publishing taking away from your time writing your next book? Are you feeling overwhelmed? It might be time to hire an Author Assistant. In this episode of the KWL Podcast, US Manager Christine Munroe interviews Kate Tilton, founder of Kate Tilton Author Services, LLC. Christine and Kate talk about:

  • What do author assistants do, exactly? Kate says, “I give authors more time to write and spend with their family, by doing tasks that they may be able to do themselves, but they don’t have time for.”
  • Kate started as an author assistant in December 2010 – it was her first job, while she was still a high school student.
  • A typical day for Kate might include these tasks: organize email inboxes, send review copies, run to the post office to mail out prizes, scheduling their blog posts and social media, beta reading, matching audiobooks to the written text. It’s a diverse job; every day is different.
  • Why should an author hire an author assistant? Every one could use help in some capacity. If you feel overwhelmed and work is piling up. Willing to delegate. Have the finances to afford the help.
  • What projects can be outsourced? Anything, really, that is taking up time that you wish you could be using to write. You can also consider hiring a personal assistant instead, who will help with non-publishing daily chores (picking up dry cleaning, grocery shopping) to make your life more manageable.
  • The job is really flexible – you make your own schedule and choose your author clients.
  • It’s great to work with multiple clients, because authors are not in competition with one another. Kate can bring them together for joint efforts like prize giveaways, and each is helping the other find new readers.
  • How much should authors expect to pay for an assistant? Rates vary greatly, depending on the assistant’s experience. For example, you can get a college-level intern and pay very little, but you’ll need to take the time to teach them how to do what you need. With an experienced assistant, you’ll pay around $40/hour, but it may be more efficient because they’ll draw on their expertise to get the job done quickly. It’s a decision to make based on your budget, time, and needs.
  • For someone hoping to become an author assistant, check out Kate’s resources on her website: http://katetilton.com/author-assistants/
  • For an author looking for an assistant, start with word of mouth – ask your author friends who they work with. There are many resources online, for example http://www.authorsatlas.com/
  • Kate recently contributed two sections to The Self-Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide, edited by Joel Friedlander and Betty Sargent, which is available for pre-order on Kobo.
  • Her biggest advice for tackling social media and marketing: figure out who the #1 die-hard fan of your book is going to be, and market to that kind of person. This thought process will help you really appeal to your ideal market.
  • Kate also teaches by doing; she works on her own social media and branding to exemplify what she thinks authors should do. Her brand: Books. Cats. Tea. Nerdy stuff. Food.
  • One great resource for learning more about marketing is CopyBlogger.
  • You need to build a group of people who “know, like, and trust you,” because those are the people who are going to help you grow (and buy your books).
  • #K8Chat is Kate’s weekly Twitter chat, with the goal of connecting authors and readers. Every Thursday 9-10PM EST.