“I’m not tech savvy, and I don’t want to be…”
“I have no idea how to hire a good marketing assistant…”
“My previous assistant didn’t understand book marketing…”
Can you relate to any of these comments? If so, you’ve experienced a frustration that is common to many authors – hiring marketing help.
To be candid, I don’t recommend adding people to your staff unless you absolutely need it. The loss of control over your marketing message and the extra expenses involved can create a huge waste of time and money.
However, a good marketing assistant can multiply your ability to sell books and help complete important promotional tasks a lot faster. For instance, some authors can benefit from hiring a marketing assistant for these reasons:
- You’re still working a full-time job with limited hours left for book marketing.
- You’d rather get a root canal than update your website or social media page.
- You weren’t born with a technological bone in your body.
- You need someone to keep a constant eye on maximizing your ad campaigns.
- You’re attempting to write and launch several new books during the same year.
After coaching over 1,000 authors, I’ve heard numerous horror stories of marketing assistants being unproductive or going AWOL. On the other hand, I’ve trained some good marketing assistants who worked on staff for my author clients. I wrote this article to help you identify the right type of candidate.
Whenever you consider hiring a marketing assistant, always start with this question:
If I pay this person, how will I make MORE MONEY in the long run?
Anyone you decide to hire should bring a positive benefit to your bottom line. Otherwise, he or she is wasting your time and money.
If you’re an author who wants to sell more books, how can a marketing assistant help you achieve that goal? The answer lies in understanding how books are sold, such as the following techniques:
- Build a big email list and send persuasive email campaigns
- Research podcast interview opportunities and secure guest appearances
- Write short blog posts or articles that capture reader attention
- Attract social media followers and create engaging posts
- Create compelling book ads on Amazon, Facebook, and Bookbub
- Build a book launch team that generates word of mouth
If you want to sell more books, then you must be good at the skills listed above. Likewise, if you want a marketing assistant to be worth the money you pay, then he or she must be good at the skills listed above.
How do you know if a potential candidate is a good hire or blowing smoke in your face?
Make a candidate PROVE that he or she can execute the skills that I listed above. Never hire a marketing assistant simply because she says, “I’m creative,” “I have a marketing degree,” or “I love social media.” That’s how you get burned.
Instead, ask a candidate to create a sample of what you would ask him or her do on a regular basis. For example, use the following aptitude test…
How to Test a Marketing Candidate Before You Hire:
Give a candidate two chapters from one of your books (or new manuscript) and ask that person to create these five items from the content:
- Develop two articles or excerpts (500 – 1,000 words each) that readers would enjoy
- Create an attention-grabbing title for each article
- Turn a small sample from each article into an interesting Facebook post
- Find 3 quotes from each article and turn them into engaging Twitter posts
- Create an email newsletter using one of the articles as the focal point
If a prospective candidate cannot complete these tasks within 24 hours to your satisfaction, then that person isn’t a good marketer. Politely respond, “Thanks – but no thanks,” and look for someone else who can do it right.
Here’s an additional list of skills that an author’s marketing assistant should possess:
- Proficiency to create and manage Facebook, Amazon, and Bookbub ads
- Ability to quickly add new content to an author’s website or blog
- Competence working with any social media platform
- Adept at creating landing pages for email signups, paid webinars, courses, etc.
- Talent for finding appropriate podcasts for booking author interviews
- Experience creating and sending email newsletters on a regular basis
- Knack for developing clever marketing hooks, titles, and product descriptions
Don’t limit your interviews to just asking candidates bland questions about their work history or background. Be proactive. Give applicants actual exercises to test their marketing acumen. If someone refuses to participate or cannot pass the tests that I’ve described, continue your search for someone else.
Where can you find potential candidates who have experience working with authors? Try these options:
- Ask other authors you know for referrals
- Upwork.com (Searchable freelancer database)
- Fiverr.com (Searchable freelance database)
If you want an effective marketing assistant, then select someone who exhibits the skills that an author really needs. A good hire can make your marketing life a lot easier. A bad hire can make your life miserable and actually ruin your book sales.
Tread carefully and test thoroughly.
M. Simone Boyd says
This is helpful. Thank you, Rob. In the midst of building a new website, raising a toddler and freelancing, I am also reading the “E-Myth Revisited.” The hiring advice you give here seems to match: hire for your vision–not for things you simply want to offload. With Gratitude, Simone