Kobo Writing Life Podcast
KWL EP 049 - Kate Tilton, Author Assistant

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.
Direct download: Kate_TIlton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13am PDT

Kobo recently held a special event in downtown Toronto for some of its best customers, avid readers and fans of Michael Connelly. Special guests had a chance to meet one another for cocktails and snacks, mingle, get books signed, and listen to an on-stage interview with Michael Connelly, who was interviewed by by Johanna Schneller.

Some of the fascinating things you'll find out in this entertaining interview with Michael Connelly include:

  • How Michael's mother gave him his first book to read, how, as a child he was introverted and loved to read and earned the nickname "the book addict"
  • The perspective that a writer's job is often being "the observer"
  • Michael's role as a journalism and crime reporter, including the months he spent interviewing survivors of the Delta 191 Crash (131 people died and 29 people survived) and the quote from one of the survivors that still sticks with Michael today
  • The first two books that Michael wrote, which he considered part of the learning process before crafting his third novel, which was the one he knew was good enough and was sent off to be published (and which ended up winning the Edgar Award for best first novel
  • The advice from Michael's agent and editor to keep his head down and write his next novel, which allowed him to have his second novel already turned in by the time the first novel (The Black Echo) came out
  • How Michael waited until several novels had been published before quitting his day job
  • Michael's thoughts on the 150 newspapers that ran stories on then president Bill Clinton walking out of a bookstore carrying his novel The Concrete Blonde
  • Having an iconic actor like Clint Eastwood involved in the creation of the movie Blood Work, based on one of Michael's novels
  • The "fourth wall" mention in The Crossing of the movie version of The Lincoln Lawyer
  • Reflections on being one of the guest authors (along with Stephen J. Cannell, James Patterson, and Dennis Lehane) who makes semi-regular appearances on the ABC television series Castle as one of Richard Castle's poker buddies
  • The mosaic by which Michael's most popular character, Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch is, in many ways, similar to the complex and multi-compositional paintings by the famous painter of the same name
  • Michael's approach towards writing every single day, particularly when he is going through the process of a first draft
  • The casting of Titus Welliver in the lead role as Harry Bosch in the Bosch series, Michael's role in suggesting him, and the manner by which Welliver may not "look" like the outer Harry Bosch Connelly has written about, but how he definitely looks like the "inner" Harry Bosch and how he very effectively displays the angst and internal turmoil that makes Bosch who he is
  • Collaborative writing and Michael's reflections on having done that in the past (both in text writing as well as in working on the Bosch series)
  • Where Michael writes most often and the answer to the question of whether he prefers a typewriter or a computer when writing a novel
  • How Michael knows the beginning and has a really good sense of the end when he sits down to write the first draft of a novel, and the intriguing discovery process that the writing becomes for him
  • The fact that Michael is a major re-writer, who usually writes three drafts of a novel
  • How he knows whether a novel will be a "Haller" or a "Bosch" novel
  • The aural inspirational process that Michael uses to write.
  • How Michael has aged Harry in real time, leading to natural progressions, such as his recent retirement
  • The reason why Harry Bosch continues to remain alone and single, despite many highs and lows of relationships over the years

Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre then talks about Michael's mention of one of his sources of inspiration by connecting with lawyers and police officers. He reflects on how a writer who is open to connecting with and listening to professionals not only has the resources to create better writing, but also brings a sense of community to the overall writing and overall proces

Link to Michael Connelly's books on Kobo

Michael Connelly's Website

Direct download: KWL_EP048_MichaelConnelly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:37am PDT

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