Meet Kate Tilton
Kate Tilton has been in love with books for as long as she can remember. A relatively new voice in publishing, Kate has been serving authors behind the scenes since 2010. Founder of Kate Tilton’s Author Services, LLC, Kate works as an author assistant and speaker with the mission of connecting authors and readers. Kate is the creator and host of #K8chat (Thursdays at 9pm Eastern on Twitter) and has appeared on popular media such as Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, RT Book Reviews, The Book Designer, Kobo Writing Life and Rafflecopter. A cat-lover and fan of many geeky things, Kate can likely be found curled up with the latest Doctor Who episode, plotting world takeover, or connecting authors and readers in any way she can. You can find Kate on katetilton.com.
Now onto the interview!
First off… Tell us about yourself.
Hi! I’m Kate Tilton. I love books, tea, and cats. I’ve been serving authors behind the scenes since 2010 as an author assistant. I am the owner of Kate Tilton’s Author Services, LLC and the creator and host of #K8chat (Thursdays at 9pm Eastern on Twitter). My goal is to connect authors & readers in any way I can. You can find me on katetilton.com.
The oh so typical and probably annoyingly repetitive question… How did you become an author assistant? Spill all the juicy or not so juicy details.
One year during high school, I was in the car on my way home for Christmas and browsing Twitter. One of my all-time favorite authors posted that she was looking for an assistant. I’d never had a job before but it sounded like the best one ever (and it was) so I responded, asking if the assistant could be virtual. I got the job and I’m blessed to still being working for authors today.
What is an average work day like for you? Is it the usual 9-5 M-F job?
I wrote a post about this a while back (http://katetilton.com/day-life-author-assistant/). But even now it’s changed. I tend to work 9-5 Monday through Friday on client work but not always. The benefit of working for yourself is the flexibility to change up your hours when needed. If one day I need to go to my yearly physical, instead of having to request time off and wait for it to be approved, I organize my hours around the appointment and I’m all set to go.
Currently my average work day is something like this:
Wake up at 7:30am and get ready for the day
Start work at 9am and work till 5pm.
Work on my blog, emails, social media, etc. from 5pm till I’m done (or too tired) and then enjoy the rest of my evening.
The main reason I work 9-5 instead of starting work whenever I want to is so I have some daylight left at the end of the day. It can be too easy to not get the work done if you don’t set up some sort of schedule that works for you.
What does an author assistant essentially do either remotely or in person?
The simplest explanation is an author assistant provides authors with more hours in their day so they can do the things only they can do, like write. One thing I’ve learned is that every author assistant is different. We each have different strengths and offer different services, but what makes us alike and different from other professionals is that we take tasks off the authors’ to-do lists so they have more time to write. For me personally a lot of what I do falls under one of two categories: administration and marketing. On the administration side: sending information about the authors/books to those who request it, updating websites, organizing spreadsheets, mailing out prizes, and pulling sales reports. On the marketing side: reaching out to reviewers, creating book jacket copy, running launch teams, and creating newsletters.
Do you recommend trying one of the seemingly numerous sites offering virtual assistant certification?
I don’t personally recommend virtual assistant certification programs mainly because I wonder where the backing for the certification comes from. A hopeful assistant can certainly benefit from training like learning how to use email marketing services like MailChimp, and learning how to upload books to different retailers, etc. So if you find an online course that will help you learn skills you can use as an assistant, awesome! But I’d still be cautious of sites that offer certification unless they have an official accreditation. This is something you’ll find while looking at colleges too; not every private school that charges money and offers a degree has the accreditation needed. That is a personal warning sign to me. I would stick with online courses that clearly tell you what skills you will learn. You’ll need that more than a degree or certification in this field.
How often do you get the chance to read for pleasure vs. reading for work?
Right now I’d say about half and half. I often read a lot of text for the authors I work for to polish things and check for any last minute typos, and sometimes that means I even review manuscripts for feedback and proofing. On the personal side, I’m making more time for reading now than I have earlier this year. In part I’m finding that saying no to doing professional reviews on my site has opened me up to reading more since I don’t have to wait to write the review before starting the next book. So while I’m not posting reviews on my site I’m still spreading the word about books more than before and I’m really loving that change.
Thank you Kate for the interview!
Don’t forget to visit Kate at the links above and join her on Twitter for her K8chat!