11 Ways a Virtual Assistant Can Help INDIE Authors Be More Efficient


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If you’re like me you probably wish there was two of you. Wouldn’t that be great? One of you could write and the other could handle all the other stuff–accounting, promo, formatting, launching, blog posting, etc.

What if you could hire someone to be the other you, someone who knew the ins and outs of publishing, knew how to build spreadsheets and share them with you at Google Docs? Would you?

I just hired Danielle, a VA. HERE‘s her website. I’m only going to pay her for ten hours a month so we’ll see how that goes, but an additional ten hours of writing would really please me.

What Can a VA Do For You?

1. Enter your books into contests. If you want to be an award-winning author it pays to enter your books into contests. When you win it gives your books another boost in sales! But it takes time to load the information into all the different sites.

2. Handle your MailChimp or AWeber newsletters. I’m a bit of a Tech Tard so learning MailChimp is a challenge for me. It makes total sense for me to let Danielle handle this part of my job. I write the newsletters, but she manages the emails and the behind-the-scenes work.

3. Find bloggers who want to interview you. I’ve spent hours looking for bloggers who feature stories that are central to my books’ themes. Danielle talks to bloggers often because she’s connected. Yay!

4. Handle the promotional deals when your book goes “On Sale,” and share them on an excel spread sheet. Books die. It’s up to authors to give them CPR by creating promos every now and then to give them a fresh life and increase their ranking.  I learned Excel in college a long time ago. I don’t want to take time to figure it all out again because I want to write more books. Danielle has a system in place for authors. She knows all the hot spots that feature books and will take the time to place them at different sites.

5. Edit your blog posts or newsletters. Why is it that I can look at my work and miss mistakes? Danielle is able to read my work with fresh eyes and tell me when something doesn’t make sense, or when I’ve omitted a word.

6. Share all my documents at Google Docs. This way I can see my files at a glance without loading them into an email attachment. I can make changes and she gets notifications right away. (Matthew will be teaching this soon. Check back.)

7. Build spreadsheets of speaking engagements. If I give Danielle a list of the places I’ll be she can contact conferences and arrange speaking opportunities. By using Google Docs we’ll be able to share these calendars at a glance.

8. Find book reviewers. Many of the sites Danielle visits are open to doing book reviews. Since she’ll have all the book files, she’ll be able to load them at the sites for reviews.

9. Conduct FB parties, promotional tours, and RAFFLECOPTER giveaways. These are other convenient tasks for your VA to do. The additional exposure of your books will help pay for her services.

10. Handle affiliate marketing. This idea is new to me, but I’m hoping Danielle will teach me how it all works, when to use it, and when it’s viewed as spam.

11. Set up Google Alerts. Part of authorship is having relationships with people, getting involved with the dialogue on subjects that you’re passionate about. I have GOOGLE ALERTS set up so each time my books are mentioned or the words, GEOCACHING, or RAD (reactive attachment disorder), or GRANDFAMILIES I get an email. In that email it tells me where the article is that mentioned these words so I can get involved in discussions. It’s fascinating.

What She WON’T Do For Me

1. Social Media – I believe that I’m the only “me” when it comes to forming relationships with others on FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I don’t like the idea of someone else pretending to be me. I actually LOVE this part of what I do because it gets me out of my writing zone and connects me with real people.

2. Write blog posts. I’m sure Danielle could handle writing articles for my blog, and I might have here here soon, but I want to be the one to share my experiences in the Indie Jungle World.

3. Write books. Obviously I’m the only one who can write my books with my voice. But that’s okay because writing is the best part of my job.

What would you hire a VA to do?

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  1. That’s an impressive and well-thought out list & well-worth 10 more hours of writing time.
    Well-done and full speed ahead!

  2. I would love to have a VA! I didn’t realize what all one could do. Might have to check into that. Thanks for the great information,

    • Hi Pat – I don’t know how you do it all over there, especially with releasing two more books soon! I’ll let you know how it goes with the VA. So far so good.

  3. WOW! Thanks Michelle. I could certainly use a VA as I’ve done ALL the work myself for my six books. I’m now building programs based on my last two and have two more in the works for 2015. I need a holiday 🙂 I would be interested in hearing how Danielle works out for you.

    • Hi Cali- Yes, you do need a holiday! I’ve only published three books and find it overwhelming. I can’t imagine six of them. What kind of programs did you build? Spreadsheets to track promos or sales? That stuff puzzles me. Well done!

      • For my 5th book, It’s Simply Serendipity I’m working on speaking engagements and a membership group. For my 6th book, It’s Simply Publishing I’m creating an online home study program and one day workshop. Craziness but exciting. I love to create. I also work with other writers in helping them become published authors – http://www.SerendipityPublishingHouse. I could probably use THREE of me instead of just two 🙂

        • Wow! I love your creative ideas and that you’re helping other authors. I’ve had several ask me to mentor them and help them become published authors. I want to know how you did this. I’ll check out your site. Thanks for sharing! Also, I already went to Amazon and noticed your books. I see that you love to sail–something I only did once when I was 16. We got becalmed and our motor died. It was damn scary. Lol. Glad you stopped by. Let’s keep in touch!

          • Thanks Michelle. That should be http://www.SerendipityPublishingHouse.com. I actually published two of my books while I was homeless, including the #1 International Bestseller, It’s Simply Serendipity. It’s been quite the journey but I feel very blessed to have found my calling and now able to share what I have learned with others. I sent you a request to connect via FB. 🙂

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