Friday, March 13, 2009

Special Guest: Harlequin Author Kay Stockham

When Timing Is Everything

I asked Tracy for blog suggestions and her request was to blog about craft or publishing, maybe something career oriented?

Well, that I can do. Because I have a dilemma maybe you can help me with. You see, it’s release week for me. HER BEST FRIEND’S BROTHER officially hit the shelves on Wednesday, which means I’m a busy gal this month. Why? Publishing is a numbers game, we all know that. And during release week you want the sales figures for your book to be as HIGH as they can be. Which means blogging, promoting, chatting, whatever you can do to get those numbers up.

I’ve been so busy here lately though that I feel like I’ve dropped the ball this time around. I’m blogging, but not as much. I’m chatting, but not as much. I’m promoting, but not as much. Why? Because that’s just the way it is. I feel I’m at a very strange stage in my career right now. I’m busy, busy, busy as a still fairly new author, but I could also use the help of an assistant.

That brings up a whole ‘nuther round of questions, the least of which is money. Even after 9 stories in print, I’m a new author, meaning new author money. Can I afford to hire an assistant in an economy such as this? Gotta tell you, it’s iffy.

Then again, if I don’t, I see my writing suffering because I’m doing so much of the busy-work involved in promoting myself as an author that my output is being compromised. And we all know you can’t promote what you don’t have to sell. Timing is everything in this business, so you need to make the right moves at the right times. But is this it?

It’s such a hard decision to make. Can I justify an assistant? Yes. Oh, my yes. I sat down one day and made a list of things the assistant could do that would free up my time. Believe me, it was a long list. But just to play devil’s advocate—we all know how writers are. If I actually have that free time, would I write or would I play?

Ahhh, see?

Before I take such a step I have to make sure I’m committed 100 percent. Not to writing, I am committed to writing, 9 books proves it. But I have to be 100 percent committed to myself and know for a fact that this is a wise decision for me. I’m not the type to jump first and look later. Anytime I’ve ever done that, I’ve paid for the bad decisions. Usually in horrible and embarrassing ways. sigh

Beyond actually paying an assistant, there’s the whole act of actually finding an assistant. I wouldn’t need someone full time, just a few hours a week at first.

Then there’s the whole privacy/trust issue. I have a home, a family. In this day and age, who do you trust? Having been burned in the past with personal relationships of various sorts, I have trust issues. (LOL Yeah, I know. Who DOESN’T?)

So, any suggestions? Most of you here are authors and/or business professionals and I’d love your take on when you think the time is right. I’ll even offer up a copy of HER BEST FRIEND’S BROTHER to one lucky poster who comments.


KayKay Stockham’s latest release is titled HER BEST FRIEND’S BROTHER and is book three of the Tulanes of Tennessee series. HER BEST FRIEND’S BROTHER received 4.5 stars from Romantic Times and was chosen as an RT Top Pick! Kay has also been a RITA Award, HOLT Medallion and Book Buyers’ Best finalist. For more information on Kay’s series, backlist, contest, blog or to read excerpts or check out her book videos, go to

The Tulanes of Tennessee Series

Available NOW!


housemouse88 said...

Hello Kay,

I understand your trust issues, could you perhaps hire a family member for the time being. What about a family friend that would do it for a discounted price or maybe a fan. Just a thought, I hope it helps.

Have a great day blogging.

Kay Stockham said...

Hey, housemouse, thanks for posting. That's a very good idea. The problem with that is also finding someone somewhat tech savvy to do what needs done. Most of my family and my dh's are anything but and have no desire to learn.

Hmmm...will have to think on that more.

A friend has an older teenage daughter. I might have to check with her.

Thanks for posting!


Anonymous said...

Kay - I don't know where you live, but a college student or high school student would do what you wanted. Personally, I stay away from friends and family because you want a WORK relationship, not a FRIEND relationship with this person. You might hesitate to ask a friend or child of a friend to do something but an employee is something different.

Good Luck!

Emma Lai said...

What a dilemma, Kay! An assistant would definitely help, but who to trust? You might also consider a college student who is interested in publishing. They would be less likely to do something that could hinder their future career.

Future Mrs. Ashley Rose said...

I'm a college student and I completely agree with Cyndi. Many students would gladly be your assistant. In return, you could write recognitions and all the time spent could turn into service credits. Also, keep family with family, and work with work.

Good luck!

Mary Ricksen said...

I agree with the student idea. You have a lot to teach them, but It would cost less and you can have her doing things your way.
I think if you can do it, that would be great. Good luck!

Jennifer Madden said...

Kay, You may open up the pool a bit if the person can work exclusively on-line from their home. Would that be possible? You're more likely to get more experienced Stay-at-home moms that would not be as potentially unreliable as a college student. I would maybe look for somebody writing oriented, not published. I know there are even office assistants that you can hire to do all your scheduling, correspondence, etc completely online, that have already been vetted by the company that keeps them in a pool to be hired. As for promotion, I've been doing my part for you!

Kay Stockham said...

Hi, gals!

Thanks so much for all the ideas. You've given me a lot to think about. I've been all over the board with this, trying to figure out the best angle to take.

Thanks so much for the kind words--and the support! I really appreciate it.

Kay - off to go see Jennifer's promo ;)

Tracy Preston - Romance Writer said...


I completely understand your state of mind here. There are NEVER enough hours in the day, and an extra pair of hands could work wonders.

I'm going to have to go along with some of the other girls and just say an aspiring writer looking to learn the ropes would probably be a good bet. Not sure about a college student, I suppose it would depend on their maturity, situation, and workload.

Maybe you could take on an apprentice type of assistant, someone who can learn from you while they lighten your load. And personally, I would NOT recommend family or friends for this, it never seems to work out well...just my opinion.


P.S. Thanks again for blogging with us today! :o)

Sloan Seymour said...

Hi Kay!

I think another writer - one who wants to learn the ropes of the writing world would be a great prospect. They want to learn and will have open ears. Or perhaps an ex-author who wants to stay in the industry but isn't actively writing anymore.

Anonymous said...

I've heard celebrities having their assistants sign confidentiality agreements. Wonder if that would work?

Kay Stockham said...

Hi, gals! Thanks so much for all the wonderful feedback. Much appreciated. I have an appointment with my accountant soon and if all goes well I'm going to get to work on the whole assistant thing. You've definitely made some wonderful points. Which is why the winner of HER BEST FRIEND'S BROTHER is:

Emma Lai!! Emma Lai, please email me privately at with your shipping information (please post your name in header)

Thanks for letting me come play today,


Kytaira said...

I think either a college student of a stay at home mom. The college student is probably more tech savvy. A college romance reader going into a related field would be best. They'd love reading so could be more persuasive and aware of the reading community. And they'd also be willing to give a little pay to get the wonderful job recommendation that an author is capable of.

A Stay at home mom would have more time and probably be willing to give up in the pay department to have flexability with the work hours. I know as I was looking at going back to work after years of being a stay at home mom, I realized there was an unattractive gap in my resume. I found a job at a used book store that allowed me flexability to work around erratic school hours.

I'd suggest looking for someone at your local writers group, local readers group, library, and college. Maybe the local home schoolers group.

I'd also suggest the local used book store. A UBS owner has the same client base as you. Most of the customers at the UBS I worked at would chat with the owner. She knew alot about what their jobs and hobbies were. If there was a computer savy, romance reading student or mom, she'd know.

I agree with someone earlier. you can have an employee that mainly works from their own home. She (or maybe he) can work with you at your house only when you are there. That way you can control their access to your personal life.

Elaine Cantrell said...

I hired my grandaughter, but that didn't work out too well. She was too busy with her own concerns. I think a stay at home mom is the best idea.

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