Are You Ready to Have an Author’s Assistant?

Ms. Barrett-Authors Assistant


Authors are ALWAYS busy.

Whether it’s conducting research to complete a manuscript, studying industry trends to stay ahead of the curve or looking for new markets for their books, there is always something to do. This is especially true for self-published authors who do not have a traditional publishing company’s staff on hand to assist them…or so they think.

Meet Cheryl Callighan-Barrett, MVA Owner of The Author’s Assistant.

Cheryl assists authors by being their project manager who oversees the publishing process from producing the manuscript, to publishing your book and throughout your ongoing promotion process. She works with a team of freelance professionals with every expertise, from editing, to book designers to marketing professionals, and she makes sure the job gets done.

After brainstorming possible resources for my authors, I came up with the clever idea for a “virtual author assistant” who could help authors manage the various tasks they had ahead of them. To make sure I was the first to think of it, I googled the term to find more hits than I’d like to admit. One of them listed the graduates of an international virtual author assistant program…and Ms.  Callighan-Barrett was one of the first. So I naturally decided to contact her and interview her.


What process would an author go through to start working with you and your team?
Authors are in various stages of book completion, some are just writing the manuscript, others have had their manuscripts reviewed and edited and need the book files for the printer. It varies greatly.

I prefer to speak with the author personally for a 30 minute interview. I want to get to know their vision and mission for the book. From there I can gauge just what they need to finalize the book.

What are the terms and conditions of your contracts?
I have a 3 page contract for authors to sign that explain the nature of our agreement. I charge $50/hour and I have net 10 day terms. I bill on the first day of each month.

Could authors hire you to work with them for a few hours or do you require longer terms?
The time frame doesn’t matter. Whatever the author needs.

What are some of the most common unrealistic expectations authors come to you with? 
The most unrealistic thing is for a new author to expect his/her book to be a bestseller without any author platform for support.

The Take Away

  • Even self-published authors don’t have to work alone!
  • You can hire a professional to step in and help you navigate the process for a couple of hours or even for several months.
  • Even with a great book and the support of experienced professionals, your book’s success depends on the support of your platform.

So…what is a platform and how do you get one?  Listen to my review of what former Thomas Nelson CEO, Michael Hyatt, has to say about it in his book “Platform: Get Noticed in A Noisy World” to find out.

Please note that this article is not a direct endorsement for the services described above and is for informational purposes. But if you are interested in learning more about Cheryl’s services, visit her website at

Click here to  find a complete listing of professional Virtual Author’s Assistants.

What do you think about hiring a virtual assistant? Are you ready for one?

Danielle Fetherson

Danielle helps aspiring authors become published authors. She believes that everyone has at least one book on the inside of them that can make a positive impact on someone else's life. If you have been thinking about writing a book, learn how to start your book today with the free resources at