Why every author needs a virtual assistant (how to outsource your book marketing)

Recently I wrote a post about how it doesn’t make sense for me to market your books for you (or even hire virtual assistants to help you do it). But that doesn’t mean VA’s aren’t crazy useful, if you hire your own.

Authors always complain about book marketing because they just want to focus on their writing; and it’s true, most of what counts as “book marketing” is actually low level, repetitive (but time-consuming) stuff that you can teach anybody to do.

Today I’m talking with Kayla Curry, who learned first hand about successful publishing and book marketing by working with an author to manage her platform (and has since used all she learned on her own books).

We’re going to discuss strategies of working with a virtual assistant.
My questions:
1. Introduce yourself, your backstory, how you became an author assistant.
2. What kind of things did you do? What kind of things do you think should be outsourced?
3. Are there things that authors think they need to do that don’t actually help sell books; and are there things they don’t know about that really do help?
4. Difficulties working with an author, frustrations.
5. Now that you’re on the other side of it, looking to hire a VA of your own, do you see things differently?

What to use your VA for?

Recently I wrote a long post about cutting edge book marketing strategies: a lot of that stuff can be outsourced; in fact I’m going to focus on building a step-by-step todo list you can use, just give to your VA and let them take care of everything (I may, eventually, set up some kind of service where you hire a VA from us to do everything, that way I can train them myself to know exactly what to do… but that’s a long way off, because honestly I’d rather just focus on writing my own books).

The difference between a VA and a book publicist

Mainly, the difference is knowledge; if you hire a VA you need to tell them what to do (which means, learning everything about publishing). But luckily, most book promotional publicists charge way too much and don’t know how to actually sell books these days (so I wouldn’t hire one), and you can hire a much cheaper VA from the Philippines who can provide more value – as long as you know exactly what to ask them to do.

I made a checklist of the things I’d want a VA to do… you can read it here.


  • Mariane Lacaba Posted

    Hi Derek! Working as a VA for Elitework, this kind of article boosts up my confidence towards my quakity of work in this industry. Building and maintaining loyalty, trust and basically a good working relationship with your employer will always be a priority.

  • EL Seltz Posted

    Derek, I can’t wait to see that to-do list!

    • Derek Murphy Posted

      Thanks for reminding me! I did publish some stuff recently, I’ll add it in now.

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