WG: Welcome and thanks for stepping into my spotlight this month. To start off, please tell us a bit about yourself.
KT: Hello! I'm Kate Tilton, founder of Kate Tilton's Author Services where I have been serving authors for over five years. My mission is to connect authors & readers and to that end I have started Kate Tilton's Book Bloggers (a group of bloggers looking to connect with authors, free to join) and #K8chat (a weekly Twitter chat Thursdays at 9pm Eastern for authors & readers). I love cats, tea, and all things geeky.
WG: Can you tell us why you decided to pursue a career as an author assistant and what steps you took to get you where you are today?
KT: I fell into my job as an assistant while I was in college. I wasn't sure I wanted to pursue assistant work as a career; after all, being an assistant means you run your own business instead of working for a company. But I found that as my business grew and I started working with more and more authors, I couldn't see myself doing anything but this. I love helping people and being able to do that daily (and with authors who are the best people on the planet) is a dream come true.
It took a lot of hard work to get to where I am today (full time assistant with enough income to have my own apartment), but I wouldn't have made it so far without the help and support of authors who spread the word about what I do. For that I'm forever grateful.
WG: What exactly does an author assistant do?
KT: I give you more time to write! There are many different things I do so that you don't have to and can spend that time writing or with your family. Some of my favorites are beta reading, website work, sales data, and social media training.
WG: Is there anything an assistant doesn't do?
KT: Sure! But that will always depend on the assistant. Each author assistant you meet will have different skill sets and comfort levels. There are things I do another assistant won't do and vice versa.
WG: What services do you provide?
KT: It's a pretty long list but here are my services in a nutshell: Kate Tilton's Book Blogger reach-out, consulting, social media training for authors, admin support (Amazon Author Central pages, ebook and print distribution, newsletter, social media profile updating, website), contest/book release assistance, craft support (audiobook pickups, beta reading, plotting assistance), email management, marketing (free promotions, sale promotions, street teams, launch teams, and more), promotional mailing, and social media management (for companies only).
WG: What does your typical day look like?
KT: I wrote about this in a recent article of mine (http://katetilton.com/want-know-author-assistants/). Typically I get up and ready in the morning and spend about 7-10 hours working for clients and on my business as a whole and then the rest of my day is spent enjoying my two kittens, reading, and watching TV. Oh! And dinner, dinner is also good.
WG: Are you actively seeking new clients?
KT: This fluctuates from month to month. In general I always encourage authors to check with me even if I seem busy because even if I can't take someone on as a client presently I may be able to soon or be able to help them find another great candidate.
WG: What is your favorite part of your job?
KT: Being able to help people. It's the best feeling in the world to know each day for at least one person I am making things better for them.
WG: Your least favorite?
KT: The uncertainty that comes from running your own company. But on the flip side, running my own business helps me understand the challenges self-published authors face.
WG: Do you have any tools or resources that you use on a regular basis?
KT: Oh yes! Buffer (social media scheduler), Rainmaker Platform (website platform), and email are everyday tools.
WG: If you weren't an assistant, what would you be?
KT: When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut (thanks, Star Trek!) but more likely if I wasn't an assistant I'd either be working for a new start up (something like Buffer would be a blast) or I'd be working somewhere in publishing.
WG: What do you see as the main strength you personally bring to the table as an assistant?
KT: I'm a perfectionist with an eye for detail that makes me ideal for tasks that require great attention to detail. I also have a great passion for bringing people together that has lead to many great things.
WG: What sets you apart from other assistants?
KT: Having an eye for detail and my knack for marketing has set me apart from other assistants though there are many talented assistants out there.
WG: What type of author do you generally work with?
KT: I mainly work with self-published authors who know that publishing is a business and are willing to work towards their goals. Best sellers don't happen overnight, so I love clients who are willing to partner up with me to reach their dreams.
WG: Is there an author that you adore and would love to work for? A dream client?
KT: My dream client is an author who is business minded and willing to put in the work to expand their platform and author business. I'm very lucky to work with a few authors like that; they keep me busy and I love it!
WG: How much should an author expect to pay for a good assistant?
KT: This will all depend on what you are looking for. If you are in need of simple data entry tasks and list organization you might find having a student intern works best (lower cost but requires more management on your side). You may need an assistant with greater experience to help you with marketing that would cost more than a student intern. Generally I'd say anywhere in the $25-$60 per hour range is fair for an assistant. For a publicist or marketer you could pay $100 per hour or more easily which makes a good assistant priceless.
WG: How does an author know if they need an assistant?
KT: If you are feeling overwhelmed, can't get the tasks you need to accomplish for your author business done without losing sleep, family time, or writing time, and are willing to outsource some of your work and pay for it, then it's time to hire an assistant.
WG: What advice would you give an author who is considering hiring an assistant?
KT: Make sure the assistant offers the services you need; as I mentioned earlier, each assistant is different and has different skills and abilities. Make sure you get along with the assistant; this will be a partnership between you and the assistant. Make sure the assistant is professional, check their experience, references, and ask other authors you know.
WG: What sort of misconceptions/ unrealistic expectations have you encountered from authors about what an author assistant does?
KT: The biggest and most frustrating one I've come across is authors who think after they write the book they can hand it to an assistant and have them make the book sell. There is so much more that goes in to a book than the writing. Authors need to be willing to work with their assistant in order to achieve success.
WG: I love to collect quotes, all kinds of quotes - inspirational, quirky, motivational, profound, etc. Do you have a personal favorite you'd like to share? (Feel free to expound (or not) on what it means to you and/or why you selected this particular quote)
KT: I love quotes! I have lots of favorites but here is the one that first comes to mind:
"Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort"
I consider this a personal motto, especially when times are hard. The things worth having in this world may take effort but the results are always worth it.
WG: What do you do to relax and have fun?
KT: I love reading with a hot cup of tea and a cat on my lap. I'm also a huge fan of board games, card games, theater, fine art, and hitting up the local crepe shop (Café Crepes Square) for a latte and delicious crepe.
WG: If you were a genre, what would you be and why?
KT: I'd love to say adventure as I love traveling the world and trying new things, but I have a feeling on most days I'd probably be shelved with the non-fiction.
WG: What do you enjoy reading?
KT: I love fantasy, sci-fi, action, and adventure! I adore reading things I can't experience in this world. I tend to favor young adult and new adult literature but I've been known to enjoy picture books and adult books as well.
WG: What are your favorite movies and/or TV shows? Why?
KT: There are so many! I'm a huge geek and many of my favorite movies and TV shows involve space or super heroes. Currently I'm loving Agent Carter, The Flash, Reign, and Legends of Tomorrow. I've also picked up on my anime and Kdrama watching which has added lots of fun titles to my watch list, like Blue Exorcist, Attack on Titan, Flowerboy Ramen Shop, Dream High…okay I'll stop now.
WG: Before we close, is there anything else you'd like to mention about yourself?
KT: I love connecting with authors and readers! If you are a Twitter fan I'd love to chat with you on the weekly #K8chat (http://katetilton.com/k8chat/). If you are a blogger looking to connect with more authors I'd love to have you as part of the Kate Tilton's Book Bloggers (http://katetilton.com/kate-tiltons-book-bloggers/). You can find me on most social media sites and I'm always happy to chat about books, cats, tea, or anything geeky!
WG: Is there a website you can point us to where folks can go to learn more about you?
KT: My website is katetilton.com where you can find more about me, my services, learn more about publishing, marketing, and social media, and drop me a line!
WG: And finally, thanks again for taking some time to 'stop by' this month!