August 9th, 2013 | by Beth Barany
Thank you for joining me in the conclusion of this interview with our experienced author assistants. If you are just now joining us, you can go here to find The Value of an Author Assistant Part 1.
How many authors do you work for?
Valued Assistant No. 1: I work for 1 author, a publicity company that handles a couple dozen authors, run 2 street teams for 2 authors, just left an Author Liason position where I worked with hundreds authors, and handle blog tours for 2 more authors. (I stay busy.)
Valued Assistant No. 2: One. Again, working for more than one would be, in my opinion, a conflict of interest.
How important is social media in the services you provide for the author?
Valued Assistant No. 1: Social media is how we let fans know what’s new, what’s coming, and all important info/changes. Keeping my clients social media up-to-date is one of the most frequent tasks I handle.
Valued Assistant No. 2: At this point, I don’t do any social media for her. Again, that’s something she feels strongly she should handle that herself. It’s an ongoing discussion. I’m perfectly willing to take on more promotional aspects.
When she graduated from college, she worked temp jobs for executives where they expected her to “get so-and-so on the phone for me” and pick up dry cleaning and crap like that. She hated it, and always felt if the guy wasn’t competent enough to dial his own phone, he probably shouldn’t have that corner office! Now that she has an assistant, she doesn’t want to turn into that guy!
And last, but not least, how are you paid?
Valued Assistant No. 1: I get paid by check, as I am not a fan of PayPal. My services vary from job to job depending on the amount/type of service each client needs. Blog tours start at about $100, assistant services start at $500 a month for basic email answering/website maintenance/social media and go up from there.
Valued Assistant No. 2: I’m under market rate, at $20 an hour. This is a part-time job for me, and my author and I have a lot of flexibility at certain points of the year when she needs me fewer hours. I have stretches of nights and weekends off. If a class starts on a Monday, I’ll work through the weekend, but otherwise, I check in to the account regularly to handle what comes up during business hours. We don’t use an automated email system. Some people don’t get that (even though it’s clearly stated on the website). It always amuses me how the people who are the most lax about meeting deadlines are the ones who pitch a tantrum if they don’t get a response within 15 minutes of sending an email.
If I counted on this for my living, I’d structure it differently. I’d need a set minimum of hours per week at a set rate, so I could budget. It couldn’t fluctuate the way it does now.
A friend of mine is a full-time personal assistant for an author and makes anywhere from $35 to $55 and hour. $35/hour for regular business hours on weekdays, $55/hour for non-business hours and weekends, etc. She travels with her author, and the author pays all expenses plus per diem. If she goes on appearances with her author, even though she’s in the background, there’s a clothing allowance. She’s on a non-disclosure agreement. That’s her career — she likes organizing this individual’s life, and if and when they part ways, she’ll move on to someone else. She runs the schedule completely, handles all the appointments, the fan mail, the phone calls, bill paying, banking, personal errands, all of it. Has an office next to her author’s, a separate cell phone just for the work she does with that person, etc. Handling all that allows her author to meet very tight deadlines, and still feel relaxed enough to enjoy the promotional events.
I would like to thank these lovely ladies for their candid answers! Now you will be armed with a little more information on author assistants and if one could be of value to you.
As always, Happy Writing!
Melinda B. Pierce is an author hobbyist, mother of two, and Membership Director for Savvy Authors. When she has time she writes in almost every sub-genre of romance and refuses to follow the path of most resistance. Connect with her on twitter @MelindaBPierce