Community Member Q&A: The Authors’ Assistant

 

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 The Authors’ Assistant provides editing, publishing, and promotional services to writers of almost every genre. Based in Austin for almost two decades, the Authors’ Assistant’s tagline: “Do you want to be read?” has been a resounding yes for scores of authors who have seen their publishing aspirations become a reality.

In addition to being a successful business devoted to the success of authors, The Authors’ Assistant is a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read the interview below with Danielle Hartman Acee to find out more about them.

2015-2Scribe: Danielle, the Authors’ Assistant is, to quote your website, “a one-stop shop for writers.” What motivated you and Mindy Reed to create The Authors’ Assistant and describe the value in offering a “one-stop-shop” to a writer?

Danielle Hartman Acee: I must give all the credit to Mindy for The Author’s Assistant business model. She had the foresight back in 1996 of offering aspiring authors a chance to have their work professionally content and copy edited so they could submit immaculate, well-crafted manuscripts to agents, publishers, and provide publishing house caliber editing services for those who decided to indie publish when the term was still very taboo.

I joined The Authors’ Assistant in 2009 when Mindy realized the indie authors she worked with required a system to help them upload their print and ebooks to Amazon. She also noticed new prospects of connecting authors with readers through social media. Mindy and I are passionate about educating ourselves on the latest editing, publishing, and promotional gold standards in the rapidly changing publishing industry. The value in a one-stop shop is that our clients are guided by professionals through every aspect of publishing, while steering them away from predators who too often want to capitalize on aspiring writers’ dreams.

Scribe: The Authors’ Assistant offers half-hour consultations for free. What can a writer expect from a consultation with you and what’s the best way to schedule one?

DHA: During a consultation with Mindy and/or myself, an author can expect to receive a brief overview of the services we offer, how we work together, and how our services might be customized to their specific needs. The sessions allow us to obtain the information necessary to prepare a list of recommended services and an estimate.

Scribe: Your bio states that you believe in “building readership by targeting an audience via organic social media use.” Can you elaborate on this?

DHA: It has become common practice for marketers to recommend authors purchase “likes and followers” in order to look attractive to agents, publishers, and potential readers. The Authors’ Assistant realized the majority of these pay for follow strategies aren’t marketing to the authors’ readership, and sometimes not even to real people! What The Authors’ Assistant strives to do is teach and assist authors in how to build a social media platform that will attract actual potential readers and also how to use the latest tools and techniques offered by each social media platform in order to connect and grow a genuine audience.

Scribe: What do you see are the one or two biggest challenges facing writers who are just getting started?

DHA: Developing an entrepreneurial and networking spirit, and balancing a writing and marketing life.

Scribe: What’s your biggest piece of advice for meeting these challenges?

DHA: BEFORE you publish, use your writing to develop your readership. If you look at any current authors’ success stories you see three commonalities: 1. The author typically starts out indie. 2. The author built a huge social media community that begged the author to publish the work the author previously and willingly gave out for free through blogging and social media networking before. 3. The author was discovered by agents and publishers because of their huge indie presence and strong following.

Scribe: Pick one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down.

Mindy Reed: Those Bones at Goliad: a Texas Revolution novel by Judith Austin Mills.

DHA: Too often, Texas history is focused on events surrounding the Alamo. This novel follows settlers from Georgia and Mississippi who find themselves drawn into the turmoil of the Texas Revolution. The author’s ability to put fictional characters into the historically accurate telling of Goliad makes for informative and riveting reading. This is a must read for anyone interested in Texas history.

DHA: The Monkey House by Boyd Taylor. The story is the third in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series, which follows a young Austinite from UT graduate school, up to the Panhandle to practice law, and then back to Austin to help old Austinites fight new development in Austin. Taylor’s satirical writing style makes me laugh aloud at the self-deprecating and lovable characters. I am a native Austinite who loves to reflect on the changes happening to the city and I know I’m not alone.

Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?

DHA: The Authors’ Assistant’s underlying mission is to not only ensure well crafted writing, but educate authors on current publishing trends. The Writers’ League of Texas offers invaluable courses in writing technique and development, which helps Texas produce some of the best writers in the world. How could we not support such an integral program that mirrors our own?
Thanks, Danielle!

Click here to visit The Authors’ Assistant’s website.

Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?

Community Membership is a great way to connect with the Writers’ League’s membership base and share news and information about writing-related services and events. For more information on Community Membership click here or call our office at (512) 499-8914.

 

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