market and publish your bookDear Fellow Writer,

I’ve had some emails from authors about when to use a virtual assistant … and whether it’s even a good idea.

My answer is a resounding YES! It’s a good idea provided you have the means and the workload to support one (which you might already have without even realizing it).

Virtual assistants provide a crazy amount of services these days. For an author, the smartest use of a VA is to either relieve you of administrative tasks or marketing tasks. Both are things you can learn and handle yourself, but if a virtual assistant can share the workload to free up your time for more writing … then it could be the best investment you ever make.

Below, I’ve listed some specific things an assistant can do for you, as well as different situations that explain why authors need virtual assistants at all.

5 Reasons Authors Need Virtual Assistants

To help you grow your writing career, a virtual assistant can …

1) Do research. If you’re writing historical fiction, or any kind of non-fiction book, or even trying to figure out your ideal reader demographic … a virtual assistant can do that research for you. Often, they’ll charge an hourly fee — typically between $30 and $75. If you can use that time to get quality writing in, it’s possibly worth five times what they charge for research. In other words, well-worth the investment.

2) Set up interviews. If you’re trying to build buzz for your book, it’s a brilliant move to connect with bloggers and industry experts who conduct interviews. The only problem with setting up interviews is that it can mean a ton of back-and-forth emails trying to schedule a time and prioritize questions. If a virtual assistant can take this off your plate, it benefits you in two major ways. One, it frees you up to write more. Two, it saves you from being a slave to your email and feeling like you have to check it regularly.

3) Proofread and edit your book. If you find a virtual assistant who is well-versed in your genre and skilled at copy-editing, then by all means — hire him or her to comb through your book and look for errors. Even if you’ve hired a professional editor, it’s worth having more pairs of eyes take a look.

4) Format your book. If you opt to self-publish, you’ll be tasked with detailed formatting requirements. As a matter of fact, if you submit your manuscript to agents and editors, you’ll have formatting requirements there, too. Whether you think formatting is mundane work or the stuff goblin dreams are made of, either way a virtual assistant can save you the headache.

5) Reply to social media posts. When readers and fans take the time to post on your wall, write reviews, or share comments, the smartest thing you can do as an author is respond with a thoughtful reply or even a simple thank you. But as your marketing efforts build, so too will your social media follower numbers. It’ll become a challenge to respond to everyone in a timely manner. And even then, that’s time away from writing, not to mention the potential stress you’ll feel from the constant need to respond. Instead, have a virtual assistant do it for you. If it’s someone you trust innately, the VA can respond using your profile. Or, you can introduce them to your followers as your representative. Either way, your fans will be grateful to be heard.

It All Really Comes Back to That One Priceless Thing: TIME

The bottom-line reason for any author to use a virtual assistant is so you can maximize efforts toward your book-writing goals. Remember, your marketing platform needs to be a top priority. But beyond that, your time is best spent perfecting your craft and writing your books. (Although on that note, there are ways a virtual assistant can help you get published … )

To success finding the help you need,

mindy mchorse, author and copywriter