Virtual Assistants: A Must for Authors Who Want to Focus on the Writing

Virtual Assistants: A Must for Authors Who Want to Focus on the Writing

Penning The Manuscript takes a lot of writers’ time and requires focus, dedication and discipline. They have to be “in the zone” to weave a narrative out of their vision, composing their thoughts and musings and putting them into words. All this while resisting the ever-present specter of writer’s block. An author, self-published or otherwise, cannot be sidetracked by major or minor distractions, which can potentially delay the process. And this is where Virtual Assistants can prove indispensable, for like entrepreneurs authors can delegate vital non-writing tasks to them and remain focused on the writing.  

Important Roles VAs Handle as Authors Focus on Their Masterpieces

Once finished, the author’s opus will take the center stage, whether it’s a novel, children’s book, autobiography. But as any creative knows all too well, the process towards completion can be fraught with perils. And the reality is that the market is full of aspiring authors, each with a story to tell. So to succeed, both book and wordsmith have to stand out even before the cover has been opened. And this involves tasks that a writer may not necessarily excel in, but Virtual Assistants are adept at handling, such as:  

Creating an Eye-Catching and Immersive Website

Like an attention-grabbing headline or engaging synopsis on the back cover, a website is key in drawing readers and customers. A poorly-made site resembling something from the 90s, or a generic looking one, will be passed over. But one that’s slickly and functionally designed by a skilled VA, with an ergonomic interface, layout and appearance that highlights aspects of the book? That will definitely make more than a good impression and get people interested in the author and their masterpiece!   So authors with websites in dire need of updates and edits, or blogs in need of more content, optimization or proper plans and schedules for posting, Virtual Assistants are just what the doctor ordered.  

Managing Social Media Presence

Nowadays the book is more than just what’s in its pages – it’s way bigger than that! A book can be a brand, with the author being an indispensable part of it. In fact, the person behind narrative can be a major draw for new readers. If he or she can gain a following, they’ll naturally look into the author’s works. Cultivating this brand identity, of the book and the author, is crucial for attaining success and maintaining its inertia. And social media is key to doing this. J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, G.R.R. Martin, Cory Doctorow, William Gibson, they’re prolific in social media. Rowling is the undisputed Queen of Twitter. They use it to connect with their audience, keep their finger on the pulse of culture and society, network with fellow authors and promote each other’s works, and more. They are inseparable from their works, their prominence furthers their books’ successes – and vice versa. Yet, of course, an aspiring author chugging away at that manuscript might not have time for curating an ideal Instagram account or engaging in in-depth discussions in comment threads. For this, a Virtual Assistant is practically a lifesaver who can manage an author’s social media presence, boost his or her profile, engage with the audience, and in doing so promote the book. This is why social media marketing is important for authors, just as it is for SMEs!  

Secretarial Tasks

  • Scheduling Meetings
  • Organizing Inboxes
  • Calendars
  • Making Itineraries
  • Project Planning
These aren’t the usual fortes of an author. Getting a deal entails meetings with the publisher. Making the physical or digital book itself involves correspondences with editors, cover designers, copywriters, illustrators, even translators. Promoting it requires marketing specialists, researchers, and creating promotional materials like ads, press releases, video and audio content. There are book tours and fairs, speaking engagements, presentations – which will require travel and lodging planning. Even the writing itself requires someone to check in on the authors, see how they’re doing, and poke ‘em with a stick to keep them on-schedule (an issue with even established names in the industry). All that will take much planning, preparation, effort and time. Some self-published authors can go solo and rough it out all by themselves (or with their very supportive partners). But not everyone has the capacity to do so or the patience for it. Most have to focus on their work, have families to be with, and have better things to do with their time. So, Virtual Assistants can be delegated with these necessary yet tedious tasks. They’re pros at it and can get authors’ affairs in order, saving them from potential mixups and a whole lot of stress.  

Research

What’s the geography of the exotic locale featured in the author’s spy thriller? The ingredients and preparation for Brazilian feijoada? Or the effects on space-time around a black hole? The extended family tree and genealogy of a bloodline, going back several centuries?   How about the order of battle of an obscure skirmish in medieval France? Some stories require accurate details depending on where or when they’re set, especially if the author or the audience require authenticity. Other tales need entirely made up characteristics, like non-human languages, sci-fi technobabble, or fantastic elements. These require research, to determine if the author is getting the facts right or isn’t too similar to something another writer envisioned. For this, Virtual Assistants can handle the necessary deep-diving and fact checking. Lest the authors lose untold hours binging on Wikipedia, TVTropes or Youtube documentaries of dubious veracity. Now the entire research process can be optimized, going faster than the weeks… months… maybe even years it can sometimes take to get the data right.  

Virtual Assistants for Virtuoso Authors

To do justice to their works and ensure the best possible final draft, authors working on their opus deserve minimal disruption of their work and arrangements as conducive to writing as can be. Virtual Assistants allow them to stay laser-focused on their writing and minimize disruptions that can delay or even derail their flow. VAs can have the same utility for other creatives out there, from visual artists to musicians and designers. Weaving words, like composing songs, painting or sketching an image, is an act of creation – it is beautiful but it can also be difficult. Besides talent, there’s also a lifetime of practice and hard work behind every gifted individual. So the adage of “working smarter, not harder” still rings true: optimization, boosting efficiency and convenience. With a VA, finishing that novel will be made easier, then it can be published before the winds of winter set in!   -John Li