OCTOBER 2016: There are two critical hurdles that I think indie authors face – one is growing their business from part-time to full-time; the second is growing from a full-time business-of-one to the point where you need (and can support) an assistant to grow your business even further. Both are serious challenges – I know many authors who struggle with that first transition – it can be years in the making. I was fortunate enough to pass that barrier pretty quickly in the first year. But I know many, many successful indies who have a hard time going to the next level – not just in making the money to support an assistant, but in finding someone they can trust their business with (and who’s a net-benefit and doesn’t require more time in training than benefit in time saved).
With the help of my new author assistant, Noelle Gaussens, I’ve finally made that second transition.
It’s been over a year that I’ve been actively searching/wishing to make this jump – with two pennames and a growing catalog, I had more titles than some small presses. And I was working far more than full-time to keep it all running. Even then, many marketing opportunities and writing opportunities were falling by the wayside. I needed help, but each time I got desperate enough to try to find an assistant, I was flummoxed by the need to hire someone who was smart and capable and savvy about the business and who wouldn’t need a ton of training to even get started. I didn’t have that kind of time! And I didn’t need a part-time person to outsource my social media to – I want to interface with my readers myself! What I really needed was someone who would partner with me in growing my business. Someone I could trust and rely on.
Finally, I got smart and asked around – many of my successful indie author friends were having the same dilemma. Most hadn’t found a solution. But a few had – and I lucked into one of my friends (Elle Casey) having an Author Assistant who was not only brilliant and experienced, but she was looking to take on a new author!
I’ve been working with Noelle for two months now, and I can’t even describe how happy this partnership makes me. She’s smart and savvy and enthusiastic. She learns fast and is eager to help the business grow. She works for both pennames, and she’s an all-around Marketing Manager for both businesses. Her work includes things like:
*crafting the first draft of newsletters
*buying and managing advertising
*uploading and maintaining the catalog of books
*updating the websites
*organizing ARC distribution and new releases
And a lot more.
In our recent “Guiding Business Practices” skype-meeting, this is how we described our roles:
SKQ: Create content (get ahead), Interface with readers, Set Guiding Practices
NG: Coordinate, Manage, Organize publishing and marketing
Our partnership is still evolving, but we’re out of the “ramp up” phase and into the “let’s kick ass with this” phase. I’m super excited because having her on the team allows me to dream bigger, get more writing done, and do the things I’d really like to do with both Penname and SKQ.
So please welcome Noelle to the group! (She’d be happy to answer any questions you have about being an Author Assistant, but she’s not taking on new clients at this time.)