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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.