Producing a Book, with VA Help

1. Producing Your Book Costs Time and Money

Writing a ‘serious’ book takes a really long time. Producing a book takes, in some cases, even longer. In one case, it took 72 hours to proofread, layout, produce, administrate and convert the eBook for a self-published client book. 

If you want a copy editor to do a ‘quick run-through’, remember that she or he must take it to a publishable standard. Editing a book properly takes quite some time, but this depends on whether your book needs structural editing help, developmental suggestions (a manuscript review)–or simply a copy edit. It is not just your budget that constrains this editing; it’s also the skill level of your editor. 

So, a 30,000-word non-fiction book may take between 22 hours and 30 hours for me to line edit in one pass. I’m good at spotting things that don’t sound right. So, a client-focussed editing project might cost between AU$1,400 and $2,000 for a 30,000-word book, for a rough idea. Overseas editors might charge less, but you might not know if they are up to standard.

Author VA to help produce book

Producing and Marketing a Book with Virtual Assistance

Self-publishing processes and book marketing takes much time to learn. Many novices Google to find a solution and end up with a basic author services package that costs $2,000 – $3,000. This normally doesn’t cover the marketing angle! There are a few good Australian self-publishing companies whom I recommend, e.g. Publicious (small, Gold Coast) and Fontaine (large). Under no circumstances should you just choose a company you clicked on the Google ad of, without further research. 

So, perhaps spend 2-3 hours researching and interviewing a local freelance book editor, marketing VA, and book designer. It’s worth it. A Virtual Author Assistant will free up your time. There is a small group of Australian virtual author assistants on FB and although it’s a closed group, you can apply and say you’re a client. 

You can also try to find an author VA on the global VA Directory. The worst place to find an Author VA would be Upwork or similar; I think you know why. 

The best thing an author can do is to focus on benchmarks that they want to achieve.

Book Production or Marketing Tasks  to Outsource

Some of the fiddly and time-consuming things an awesome Author VA can do:

* Fill out all the ISBN details at Thorpe, once collated. 

* Ensure the book’s Search Inside (Amazon) is working and upload PDF preview or widget to website. 

* Communicate with your book designer on some matters, like the PDF and upload problems you don’t want to handle!

* Fill out meta data at your Printer/POD, and send your final PDFs

* Advise on and/or create a website book sales page, if they have this skill

* Set up your Amazon author page at Amazon Central.

* Set up your Goodreads author profile and claim any books you’ve written

* Set up a BookLife, Scribd and BookBub profile and book title (optional)

* Integrate book promotion images and ideas into your social media postings

* Update your social media profile headers to include the book and author image.

Keep Focussed on your Outcomes, Not Production

What do you want to do with your book? There are lots of ideas for utilising it: 

  • Sell it at training and speaking events? 
  • Give it away as a prospect offering (ensuring to capture contact details)? 
  • Send it out to referrers?  
  • Keep it low-priced for new subscriber offers on emails? 

If the multitude of things in the ‘Tasks to Outsource’ list above sounds like it is worth it to outsource (your hourly rate being at least twice theirs), then offloading means you can focus on strategy and relationships.

Building relationships with similar others and educational portals in your niche is a wonderful thing. Focussing on your Linkedin and blog content can pay off too; not forgetting trade magazine articles, Women’s Network articles, etc.

Preparing a 1-sentence pitch about your book’s thesis can also come in handy, when someone asks for your expertise.

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