Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why I hired a PA and how I found her

When people found out I had a personal assistant (whom I adored), I started getting questions about how I found her, and she started getting propositions from other authors who wanted her.

So, I thought I should explain a little bit more about our relationship and how after only two months, I know I've found the perfect PA.

Let me start out by saying I've been writing and publishing since 2011 and have had assistants and PR people before. All I have parted ways with.

They either weren't doing the job right, didn't have time for it, or I just plain couldn't afford them.

A lot of things also changed from 2011 to now.

I started doing my own formatting and uploading.
I had a second child.
I moved across the country TWICE.
I quit my full-time job.

I would have loved to go back with a PR company but at close to $400 a month (and over), I couldn't afford it.

I've had previous PA's who I paid in books and swag and I asked for help with promotion. But then their lives got busy and I started wanting more and more that they couldn't handle.

So I was without a PA.

Then, in July, we moved across the country AGAIN.

I wanted to release two books in a series within a week of each other. I knew that I needed help.

So I started evaluating, what DO I need help with? What was taking me away from writing (the ultimate money maker)?

Formatting paperbacks - Yes, I do this myself and, yes, it can take me about two hours to do, even without fancy formatting.

Uploading books to all sites - Again, PITA

Keeping Street Team, Facebook groups, all active. - I can post once a day, but sometimes I needed to spend days away from social media when moving (or when the internet is effed up).

Organization - Just remembering that I have ads, takeovers, etc.

Finding new places to advertise that were free or cheap and submitting.

Finding new reviewers.

Once I looked at this, I also thought about what I wanted in a PA and who I trusted to do these things.

I met Alissa a year or two ago. We actually met in an online group and found out we were both from the same small town and her husband took me trick or treating with my cousin when I was younger (he dressed as a woman).

She had been interesting in writing and publishing but life got in the way (two active kids, writers block, etc).

I'd been using bloggers in the past, who do help, but the business side of things was something I had to teach them, something they weren't that interested in.

So, I approached Alissa to do this as an intern/assistant. She immediately jumped at the chance.

Now we're going on our two month anniversary.

My advice for finding your own PA.

Write down what YOU want a PA to do (specifically). Interview applicants. Ask other people what their PA's do. And the biggest one: PAY THEM. They work a lot harder for pay.

Now we have an NDA and contract in place so she has to stay with me for a certain amount of time, but she is free to use this knowledge if she eventually PA's for other people or publishes her own book. As far as pay goes, she makes 10 percent of what I make a month. The more she helps and I get books out, the more she makes. We have a cap at a certain amount, but otherwise that's what she gets. You don't have to shell out a ton of money, if a PA is willing to work for this, but just books and swag doesn't always cut it.

This process may not work for everyone, but this is what I did to find my assistant and I couldn't be happier.

1 comment:

  1. This was very helpful! You are right, there has to be an in between. PR companies are expensive, and readers working for swag aren't committed like you are. It's hard to find a balance, and having fixed 'duties' you need done before hiring someone is smart. Thanks for sharing!


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