Friday, June 5, 2015

Ana welcomes Jess McQuaid

Misadventures in Social Media and Other Reasons Why You Need a Virtual Marketing Assistant

I’ve been living a double life.

There I said it.

I always wanted to be a writer, and in 2013, that dream became a reality. But with that realized dream came all of the obstacles for which I luckily was prepared.  I say luckily, because early on in my writing endeavors I got a great piece of advice from a great writer: go to business school or be prepared to hire a business manager.

At the time I received this advice, I was a history/English undergrad with all intentions of avoiding becoming a teacher, and these words scared the snot right out of me. I was going to be a writer.  Period.  But I went along with it, earning my MBA with a focus in marketing and spending nearly ten years in various marketing roles at companies that ranged from venture capitalist start ups to international multi-channel retailers until that lucky day when my manuscript became a book that other people could read.

I began meeting and chatting (and sometimes commiserating) with other authors in earnest, and I happily floated along on my cloud of euphoria as I released the next book and the next and the next.  All along this euphoric highway, I revisited the business plan I had created before launching my writing career.  This included realigning goals to changing market conditions or new technology and redrafting marketing plans according to new available media outlets.  I did all of this in a near haze at it was virtually the same thing I did 40 hours a week for almost ten years.

At some point, I realized I continually received what were, to me, odd questions.

Do you design your own book covers?  How did you do them?

What is that thing at the top of your Facebook page that shows the cover of your book?

How did you get so many people to retweet you?

What is Goodreads?

You can just contact blog hosts for a guest spot? I paid someone $200 to get me five guests spots, and I saw no return on it!

This is where I admit I am a complete and total nerd living a double life.  Even though I was adamant in my early years about only wanting to be a writer, it turns out life had other plans.  While my fellow authors struggled with creating a Facebook page, I was exploring Tsu and Ello with a keen eye toward possible expansion of my social media reach.  While friends asked me what was the difference between Weebly and Blogger, I was tinkering with changing the HTML structure behind WordPress templates just to see if I could do it without breaking the whole darn thing.   And I’m still too embarrassed to discuss my excitement at the release of Periscope.

It was then that someone said to me the phrase I needed to wake up: I would pay someone like you to do those things for me.

I gathered up all the advice of my fellow writers, all the questions I had been asked, all of the scratched heads bent in my direction, and I formed a plan to offer those services that were most needed by my fellow authors. 

Let me share another great piece of advice I once received: there comes a time when you need to decide what it is most deserves your time and what doesn’t.

I took this to mean that it was time to hire someone else to scrub my toilets (possibly the most exciting day of my life!), but for you, it may mean hiring a virtual marketing assistant.

What does a virtual marketing assistant do?

It can be something as simple as managing your Facebook page to something as complex as building a WordPress website and setting up an e-newsletter with sign-up apps plugged into your website and social media outlets.  A virtual marketing assistant tackles those marketing thingies you always said you would do but either a.) never understood what you were told to do or b.) never knew you had to do.

You hire a virtual marketing assistant to do those things that help your book gain exposure while you are doing the most important thing for your writing career: writing the next book.

Visit for more on how I can help you.  Have a crazy idea you want to try but don’t know how?  I like those, too!  Shoot me an email to

And seriously, hire someone else to scrub your toilets.  It’s worth every penny!

About Jess McQuaid

Jess McQuaid always wanted to be a writer.

Then she found out you had to market your books.

While she went on to write Regency romance as Jessie Clever, Jess McQuaid kept to the practical course and earned her MBA with a focus in marketing, gaining hands on experience in companies ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to multi-channel international retailers. She now uses her knowledge and experience to help authors expand their readership and deepen the loyalty of their readers. Learn more at


  1. Hi Jess, nice to meet you! Happy to have you at HWH. I'm in awe of your having so much time to do both, and to do both well. How do you balance both sides of your life?

  2. The idea of having someone do marketing is appealing to me. Very appealing.

  3. I'd be interest to know how you would define your 'success' as a marketing assistant. Most of us try various types of promotion/marketing, but often cannot tell which has been the most effective (or non-effective)

  4. Thanks for the great post, Jess. One of my summer projects is to tackle some social media marketing, so your post is very timely.

    At this point, I don't think I can afford someone to do the marketing for me, but I did break down this past year and now have someone scrubbing my toilets every other week, which allows me to spend more of my free time enjoying pursuits of my choosing and delight.

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