By Beth K. Vogt
I’ve had a virtual assistant (VA) for almost four years now, and I have no intention of going back to the days when I fended for myself as a writer.
I could easily answer the question “What can a virtual assistant do for you?” in five words: A VA keeps you sane.
But that makes for a ridiculously short blog post, even if it’s true.
So here’s a bit more in-depth explanation of what a VA is and what a VA does for a writer:
A VA is an administrative assistant, usually self-employed, and they’re “virtual” because they work remotely, i.e. my VA doesn’t work with me. She works from her home. I work from my home. And she probably likes it that way.
In the past four years, my VA and I developed an established system of what she does and doesn’t do. For example, she manages my social media. She doesn’t answer my personal emails.
Here are some tips for how to utilize a VA:
- Brainstorm what you’d like a VA to do for you before you start talking to a one. Consider things like:
- Loading your daily tweets into Buffer or Hootsuite
- Managing your influencers or street team for your book releases
- Setting up and managing your contests
- Mailing your Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) and books
- Coordinating your schedule
- Being your liaison (between readers, people requesting endorsements)
- Helping with your newsletter
- Before you hire a VA, you’ll also need to determine other specifics, such as:
- How many hours a week/month your VA will work for you
- How you’ll pay your VA (I pay my VA via PayPal and she adds a small amount to the monthly invoice for their processing fee.)
- If you will provide your VA with a separate credit card or just reimburse for any costs. (My VA shipped books for me, purchased contest prizes, etc.)
- How your VA will have access to your various accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Buffer, etc.)
If you’re wondering how to find a VA, I’d suggest asking other writers for recommendations. Of course, I’ve always said I had exclusive rights to my VA. (Waving at you, Casey Herringshaw!) Yes—the same Casey Herringshaw who coordinated the ACFW Carol Contest for so many years. And now she’s stepping away from the job because she’s getting married this June. I’m celebrating with her, even as I know she’ll be hard to replace. Congratulations, Casey!
Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A Christy Award winner, as well as an ACFW Carol Award winner, Beth is the author of nine contemporary romance novels and novellas. Her first women’s fiction novel, Things I Never Told You, releases May 2018 from Tyndale House Publishers.