From Elle Casey’s assistant, Noelle Gaussens:
How I met Elle
Readers often ask how I met Elle, and the answer is that it all started with a mutual love of books. Although we come from the same hometown in Western New York, Elle and I landed in small, neighboring villages in the South of France and didn’t meet until we were living here. Elle started an English-language book club, and I began attending the monthly meetings two years ago. The book club’s members have very different backgrounds, and come from several different countries—the United States, Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, South Africa, Wales—but what we all have in common is that we speak and read in English and we’re all bookworms. This is a group of dedicated, committed readers with strong opinions and very unique worldviews who come together once a month to talk about books they might not otherwise pick up off the shelf, were it not for the club.
Discussing books with a published author
When one of the other bookclubbers casually mentioned that our founding member is a New York Times andUSA Today bestselling author, I almost dropped out. I’ve always been a huge reader, but I’d never met an author before. The idea of chatting about books with a widely-published and successful writer was instantly intimidating. I decided right then and there that as tempting as it was, I wouldn’t google Elle. I didn’t want to know anything about her career because I was sure that learning about her success would make me act star-struck and feel awkward at our meetings. I just wanted to get to know her as a fellow reader and book-lover, and as an American living in France. Elle never, ever mentioned her “day job” at our meetings, and I found out later it was because she didn’t want to feel awkward herself! Talk about great minds thinking alike.
Over time, Elle and I got to know each other, and sometimes attended events outside the club with other English speakers. It was during one of those group dinners that I mentioned that my job was part time and I was looking for other work. Elle sent me an email after, asking me if I might be interested in working for her. It turns out that publishing a book a month is a huge undertaking, and she’d realized that she simply didn’t have enough time to keep up with all the non-writing tasks her job as a self-published novelist requires. She’d thought about hiring a VA (virtual assistant), but it was important to her that she be able to train her assistant in person, and have regular face-to-face meetings with someone she could completely trust.
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Interaction with readers, or why I wrote this post
Since Elle introduced me to her readers, I’ve been getting questions via email and Facebook about how I got the job, what it entails, and how to find one. I’ve also met (virtually!) many other author assistants, and I’ve learned it’s a real up-and-coming career. Authors are publishing more frequently and there are more of them out there, and the amount of work they have to do in addition to writing the next book is mind-boggling. Authors need organized, reader-oriented people on their support teams to help them handle all of their publishing tasks. To manage the details of their careers and author brands, they’re on the lookout for people who “get” them and their genre (or genres), who understand their brands, who are able to work independently and are self-motivated, and who are passionate about reading and connecting with readers.
Link to the rest at Elle Casey