4-1 Attract Authors with your Web Presence

For success as a virtual author’s assistant over the long term, you will need to create a system to attract authors to you. Building trust and starting relationships with future clients means helping them think of you as the go-to person in your area of expertise. An important start is to create a presence on the Internet on both your own web site and other important places on the web.

Focus on Client Education and Service

The focus of everything you create as web content is to show that you are an amazing resource for authors. Authors don’t know what they don’t know and they don’t know where to turn for advice they can believe in. The more you can educate them to become good consumers of author-related services, the more likely they will want to work with you.

Never hoard important information. Although it may seem counterintuitive, giving away important information is the best way to prove you know what you are doing. Creating content-rich web sites is a great way to attract authors to you.

Your Profile on the Author’s Assistant Directory (www.InstructionSmith.com)

As soon as you complete and pass the Virtual Author’s Assistant Training Program final exam, you become certified as a Professional Virtual Author’s Assistant. This gives you an opportunity to be listed on the Author’s Assistant Directory, a place many authors visit to find author’s assistants.

You will receive an invitation to place your profile on the site. Once you accept the invitation and log in, you will be asked to provide this information, which will become the profile. We suggest you draft the information in a Word document and then cut and paste your answers into the online profile form. Here is the information that is part of your profile:

  • Location (city, state or province)
  • Professional Designations or Certifications (be sure to list your PVAA)
  • Web URL
  • Contact Email
  • Contact Telephone
  • Manuscript Preparation Specialties (choose from a list)
  • Self Publishing Specialties (choose from a list)
  • Book Marketing Specialties (choose from a list)
  • About Me (1,000 word limit)
  • Other Specialties Not Mentioned Above (or Other Than Working With Authors)

Instructions to Prepare Your Directory Listing (PVAA Directory Submission Form):

Author’s Assistant (Your) Name

Business Name

Business Location

Business Description

Business Web Site

Business Contact Email

Business Phone Number

Business Address (optional)

Professional Certifications/Designations

Author Assistant Specialties

SELECT: from all or some on list

Manuscript Creation Services

Inventory and Organize the Author’s Source Documents
Research the Target Reader
Fact Check Information in a Book
Get Permission to Use the Work of Others, Including Quotes and Interviews
Coordinate Professional Peer and Target Reader Reviews
Research Potential Publishers and Submit a Book Proposal
Do a Competitive Analysis for a Book Proposal
Prepare the Manuscript to Submit to the Publisher

Book and eBook Publishing Services
Coordinate the entire Self Publishing Process
Coordinate Testimonial Requests
Organize the Information for the Book Cover
Get the ISBN for a Book
Get a Bar Code for a Book
Prepare the Information to Create the Book Interior
Get the Library Cataloging Information for a Book
Prepare an eBook
Get a Book Printed
Work with Lightning Source
Work with a POD Publisher
Review the Printer’s Proof
Get Retail Distribution and Sell to Bookstores
Get the Copyright Registered

Book Marketing Services

Coordinate Book Marketing Activities

Get Industry Book Reviews
Coordinate Development of the Author Web Site

Coordinate the Author’s Media Presence

Get Listed and Maximize the Book’s Amazon Web Page
Create a Virtual Book Tour
Organize a Live Book Event Launch an Amazon Best Seller Campaign
Enter Book Awards Competitions

Social Networking




Blog URL

Your Author Assistant Profile in Available Specialty Directories

There are a number of other places to list your author-related services, including:
1. www.virtualassistantforums.com/directory/Virtual_Assistants_By_Specialty/Publishing_Industry – free
2. www.published.com/join1.aspx – Author’s Assistants who have been through the PVAA training get a free listing for one year ($59 value). Make sure and find “resources/virtual author assistant” in the pull down menu and use the promo code VAA2009 to get the free listing.

Your Author’s Assistant Web Site

Many author’s assistants already have a personal or business web site, but if you do not, this might be your chance to purchase a domain name and get an Internet address (the www.GreatName.com, is called the URL) that will make you easier to find and remember for authors. Consider including the words, “book”, “publishing”, “author” or “author’s assistant” in your business name and/or web site URL.

Another important element of your web site will be to add the Professional Virtual Author’s Assistant insignia to a prominent location as soon as you pass the final exam and become a certified PVAA.

Add this flyer for authors to  your website or print it and take it to meetings or events.

Information about You

Your potential clients are not only judging you by your expertise, but what kind of relationship they think they would have with you. Will it be productive or not give them enough value for their money? Easy or difficult? Formal or informal? You communicate all of these things with the words, format and graphics that appear on your web site. Make sure to send the message you want to send!

Here is the information you will want to include about you:

  • A short personal (not too personal) biography of your background
  • Your photo
  • The services you offer
  • Your education and certifications
  • Testimonials from clients (even non-author clients)
  • Articles or other information to showcase your expertise
  • How to contact you (phone, email and at least your city and state)

When you have the opportunity to do radio, newspaper, magazine or web interviews about the advantages of working with author’s assistants, you will want to capture these for your own web site.

You can both link to them on the radio station (or publication) web site and put actual copies as PDF or audio downloads on your web site in a special section. In addition, we have a slidecast video available for you to imbed into your site or link to that shows potential authors what they can expect in working with an author’s assistant.

Email Sign Up

Most web sites now have a place right on the home page where readers can sign up for a free gift or ongoing newsletter or other information updates.

Give away a free download (generally an article, report or audio of interest to your target audience) that is automatically sent when an individual enters his or her email. Many email marketing services will provide you with the tools to do this on your own web site. This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and to entice people to give you their names and emails to build your database.

You are starting a conversation with your audience of potential clients that you might want to continue by using additional timed emails (autoresponders) to give potential clients more information about a subject they care about, as well as further introducing them to how you can help them.

Search Engine Optimization

A web site is unlikely to bring you new clients just because it exists. The web site is a resource for the people who come to your site, but it is up to you to drive traffic to your site.One way to get people who need you to your site is to make sure that search engines, those places people enter keywords on the Internet to get a list of web sites that are likely to get them the information they are looking for. The three major search engines are Google, Yahoo and MSN. Be sure to submit your site URL to those sites so they can send people who need you your way.

Search engines work by keywords, so the more good quality content you can put on your site, particularly with words that potential clients might search, the closer you may get to the top of the list. Use words and phrases such as self-publishing, publishing a book or book publishing and book marketing and sales often on your site.

Another way to drive traffic is by giving potential clients your business cards or flyers, by sending emails with a link to your site, by submitting articles with a link to your email and more.

Tracking Web Success

Once you create a web site, you will want to track how many people have visited your site and how many of these visitors become clients. You will also want to know what pages they visited and how long they visited the site. These web statistics will help you discover what is working about your site and what is not so you can make changes over time.

An easy and free way to keep track of these statistics is to have your web developer add Google Analytics, a tracking system, to your web site. It is also important to set up a Google Alert for your name and your business name so you will be notified when others mention you or link to you on the web.

Social Networking Sites

While having your own site is essential, you can also harness the power of the Internet to your advantage by adding your business profile to social networking and other business sites.

Consider adding your profile and photo to some of these sites:

To be an effective way to drive traffic to your web site, adding your profile is just the start. You will need to take an active role and add new content at least once a week. Sites like LinkedIn and Twitter allow you to interact with visitors by allowing you to ask them a question, or by allowing you to answer the questions of others where you can highlight your expertise.

Status updates are widely used on most sites where you can tell your readers what you are up to. You will want to keep them abreast of what you are doing with clients, with the publishing industry, exciting happenings and the fact that you are a focused insider who is having a lot of fun making things happen.

You can also post your own events on sites like Facebook when you schedule a teleclass or webinar or let authors know of important author events that you will be attending, live or virtually.

Particularly if you were attending Book Expo America or a local book fair, it would be fun to talk about your preparation for the event for the month or more ahead of time.

Being a VAA is even more spectacular on certain Book Related “Holidays”

March 5, 2015 – World Book Day (http://www.worldbookday.com) – UK, IR

April 23, 2015 – World Book and Copyright Day (http://www.un.org/en/events/bookday/) and Shakespeare’s Birthday

May 16, 2015 – International Virtual Assistant Day

August 9 – Book Lover’s Day

September 8 – International Literacy Day

Responding to Inquiries

The purpose of driving traffic to your site is to allow you space and time to highlight who you are and what you offer and to excite people about working with you. We hope they will be excited enough to email or telephone you right away and start a conversation that will result in a working relationship.

However, too many professionals do all of this work to attract potential clients and then do not respond to inquiries in a timely or professional manner.

It is important to set up standards for when you will respond to inquiries you get by phone or email, for instance, that you commit to answer all inquiries within two business days.

We also suggest that you set up a standard response so that if you are too busy to send completely personal responses, you will be able to adequately get questions answered with boilerplate emails or by directing individuals to information already on your web site so you allow yourself some time to set up an appointment to talk by phone.

Success Mindset

I am excited about taking on new skills that will give me new options for my work and career. I know that doing anything new is scary, so I will take it easy on myself and give myself the time I need to absorb the new information. But I will do the things I plan to do and not let things get in the way of this commitment I have made to my success. I will follow the plan I have made anyway, even if I am not always feeling courageous.

Next Steps

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