UPDATE: THIS POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED. (Thanks so much to everyone who applied!)
I’m hiring again! I last posted this job in 2014 and have been lucky enough to have the same great person with me for the past four years. In fact, Allison is still working with me, but her career has grown wildly and impressively during that time (I can take no credit for that, she’s just that good) so she’s been promoted over here at Virginia Headquarters to podcast producer (I guess I can take a little credit for that part).
So the time has come to send up the flare once again! I need a (very part-time, freelance) assistant who can manage some of my logistics, help with details for my upcoming book launch, do story research, and so on. Here’s the deal.
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
I kept meaning to write a post for the Freelance Life series about how to be a great editorial assistant (since that’s how most of us get our start), but never got around to it, so here is a related post by Emily Henderson about how to be a great design assistant; obviously the specific job responsibilities are different but pretty much everything else applies. So start by giving that a read. In addition to having the attitude and work ethic that she describes, my perfect writer’s assistant will be:
- A college graduate with a passion for writing and journalism, who is looking to learn the ropes of the industry from a freelance writer’s perspective.
- Highly organized and ruthlessly detail-oriented, with excellent phone and email manners.
- A persevering and creative problem-solver (a lot of reporting involves hitting dead ends and figuring out how to regroup and restart).
- Experienced with Word, Google Docs, WordPress, and generally comfortable with your computer being an extension of your brain in all ways.
- Confident with social media.
- Super efficient and not afraid of a wee bit of multi-tasking.
My weeks can vary wildly, which means the scope of my assistant’s job will be ever-changing as well — and I fully expect it to grow along with the person’s talents and abilities. But this is not a full-time job (no benefits, sorry), nor is it a writing-heavy position. This position will have a mix of admin and editorial responsibilities, much like a good editorial assistant gig would be at a magazine. Here’s the kind of thing I know I need help with, right now:
- Managing command central for my book launch — updating the advance copy mailing list and staying on top of event details, tracking and promoting media appearances, etc.
- Tracking down story sources and scheduling phone interviews
- Idea research and development for articles and podcast episodes
- Website maintenance (mostly uploading new article PDFs)
- Social media love (marketing new stories I publish, updating my professional Facebook page, promoting the podcast, etc)
- General virtual admin (travel arrangements, PR correspondence, expense reports, and all sorts of other random unglamorous tasks — but nothing demeaning or related to my personal life, promise.)
In general, we’ll touch base each Monday and I’ll rattle off a few tasks that I need help with, you’ll go to town, and get back to me by the end of the week with your results. That means you can work virtually (though I may give an edge to NY-based candidates, since having the option of meeting in person could be nice from time to time and may be particularly helpful in the next few months). And it’s a 1099 gig, so you can also set your own hours. A lot of this job will be done via email and therefore can happen any time, but I choose to work very set hours myself and reserve the right to occasionally request your participation in a work-related activity during a specific daylight hour — so full-fledged vampires need not apply.
This job will be competitively paid, and as such, I will cap your time at five hours per week to start. (Obviously that means you will not be doing everything on the above list every week; we’ll prioritize to make the best use of your time. And of course, the hours may evolve as my needs and budget change.)
HOW TO APPLY
Email your resume and cover letter to virginiasolesmith (at) gmail (dot) com, subject line: Writer’s Assistant. Show that you’ve read my work, that you read in general, and that you’re excited to work on the types of projects I do — keeping in mind that a professional freelance writer’s life is not all wearing mermaid tails. Let me know why you want to work for a writer (seriously, have you met us?) and what you hope to gain from the experience, but also be sure to let me know why I want you to work for me. If you have published clips, a blog, a strong Twitter, whatever, please include so I can get a sense of your personality, passion and voice.
The bottom line: Give me five hours a week, and I’ll give you… a competitive paycheck, plus the opportunity to shadow a professional writer through a book launch, and learn how to develop a story from pitch to publication.
*I will try my best, but may not be able to respond to all applicants. I plan to fill the position as soon as possible, so if you don’t hear from me by September 15, you can assume it was not a fit.