Welcome to the Virtual Author’s Assistant Training and Certification program

We are glad you found your way to the Virtual Author’s Assistants Online Headquarters, the place where you will find everything you need for the training program and for your work with authors long after you complete the course.

Instructions for the Training Program

Everything you need from printable content to video slidecasts is available right here on this web site.

You can go through the training program by selecting the next module to step from the sidebar menu.

Course Participant Materials

Step by Step Instructions

Although we work hard to give you the background you will need to understand book publishing in general, this course is all about the practical aspects of the day to day work of the virtual author’s assistant. To help you do that, we’ve selected the services authors ask for most and created step by step instructions for each service. You can read the Course information right on the screen or print it out if you would rather read it off line. You can print the information (and many separate worksheets and checklists) from a PRINT button at the top of each numbered training page.

Video Slidecasts

In addition to on-screen and downloadable reading material with step by step instructions, each section of the course has video slidecasts that help you relate to the topics in a different way. The slidecasts are movies of about 5 to 15 minutes, depending on topic, with examples and screen shots so you get a more visual representation of the work you will be doing. While there is some duplication, the slidecasts do contain additional information beyond the written material, so please take time to view them. It will really help you prepare for actual work with clients to see forms and online tools in action.

Within each topic, you will see that you can download and print copies of the individual slides from the video slidecasts in a 3-slide per page form.

Build a Resource Notebook

You can print the materials for the course subject by subject and keep them to keep in your own reference notebook.

  1. We suggest you find/buy a 1 1/2″ view binder (Avery View Binder 1 1/2′ EZ D-Rings) for this purpose. You may also wish to find/buy:
  2. a 5-tab set of colored tabbed dividers (AVE 11667 – Avery Ready Index Multi-color 5-tab)
    for the main 4 topic areas: Manuscript Creation, Book and eBook Publishing, Book Marketing and Marketing to Authors.
  3. 2 sets AVE11668 (white 1-8), 1 set AVE11670 (white 1-10), 1 set AVE11674 (white 1-15)
    to use as the subtabs under the main 4 sections. Use the contents dividers to set up the notebook and keep the information handy in the same order as you see on the VAA Course page.
  4. You can find all of these things at Staples.com or Shoplet.com and they can be sent to you by mail.
  5. Here is the file for a slide-in notebook cover insert and spine insert that will fit a view binder. This will give your notebook a professional look. The best way to print it is on 11′ x 17″ paper.
    VAA Notebook Cover and Spine for View Binder
  6. Here is a file for the Table of Contents for the Notebook – VAA Notebook Table of Contents

Practice Working with Authors and Final Exam

Challenge Author Services Exercises

At the end of each module you will find the practice assignments (Challenge Exercises) to give you real experience in various author services. These are optional but we highly recommend you take time for some or all of them, which include drafting and sending client emails. When you do the exercises, we will ask you to email them to us at Info@Instructionsmith.com and we will send you feedback on your work so you can learn from the actual process of doing it.

Certification Final Exam

When you complete the course, you will be able to take a multiple-choice and fill-in final exam to complete your certification. You can take it as many times as you need to and it is open-book. You can do it!

Important Course Information

International Aspects of the Course

The course was written for countries in the English-speaking publishing world, but you will notice that we use American English and currency. However, publishing is very standard worldwide and where it isn’t, we give specific instructions and links. Many virtual author’s assistants around the world want to help their authors market in the US, and you will find that information in this course. The special links and instructions are throughout the course, but if you want to get a quick reminder about links in your country, put your cursor over the “Links” tab on the top navigation bar and click on your country.

Nonfiction Examples

All the examples you will see in the course are for nonfiction books because (as you will see in Section 4 on Marketing to Authors) we expect most of your clients will be writing nonfiction books. There is nothing in this course that can’t be used for fiction authors as well. However, the process for publishing a fiction book is different. For instance, fiction books are almost never self published successfully and fiction books must generally be represented by an agent to find a publisher (nonfiction authors can easily go to publisher directly). Subject matter experts writing nonfiction books that will help them get clients for their businesses or professional practices are the most likely authors who will need virtual author’s assistants. If you are interested in more about the future of book publishing, especially the differences between fiction and nonfiction publishing, please read this blog entry here.

Copyright and Permissions

We would like to ask one thing of you as you take this course: Please respect our copyrighted material. Everything on this web site, including everything you download is intended for the use of course participants and certified Professional Virtual Author’s Assistants who have paid for that privilege. While we encourage you to share your expertise with authors and other assistants, we ask your help in not sharing the documents. Please instead encourage assistants to take the class themselves. To read more about our copyright and permissions policy, please click here.

Are you a Natural Proofreader?

We welcome any feedback about the course and particularly appreciate your letting us know if you discover typos, broken links or anything else about the course that didn’t work for you. We do our best to proofread and check links constantly, but we are also updating information so often (even on a daily basis) that typos can sneak in. Our apologies for any you find, but we appreciate it when you let us know.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Janica Smith and Michelle Scappace, Professional Virtual Author’s Assistants Program Directors

Enjoy it!