Do you need an Author’s Assistant?

I had no idea there was such a thing as an Author’s Assistant until I ran across Kimberly Werntz. She was organizing a Newsletter Rodeo for the fabulous Lane Stone (our newest Miss Demeanor). After that, Kimberly invited me to participate in the Mystery Review Crew Countdown to Christmas, which wound up netting me more than 600 new newsletter subscribers. Which is a lot! So I am Kimberly’s number one fan, and I’m also intrigued by what she does. She kindly agreed to answer some of my questions.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

What sorts of things do you do for authors?

I do different things for every author I get the pleasure of working with. Everyone has time for some things and sometimes they just DON’T want to do other things. That’s where I come in. I try to help authors with everything I can, and that manifests in a lot of different ways:

  • By putting together events featuring similar genre authors (such as the MRC Countdown to Christmas)
  • The ins and outs of setting up and then building a community within your newsletter
  • Teaching people how to use different social media platforms
  • Creating and implementing ads through Facebook & IG (Meta), Goodreads, Bookbub, Google, Pinterest and Amazon.
  • Designing Graphics, Illustrating Characters (character art), Creating maps, Book covers, and Coloring books
  • Book formatting/layout
  • Connecting authors with others who have similar interests
  • Building websites that are SEO friendly, that google speed checker likes, and most importantly ones that are easy for authors to update themselves if need be.
  • And anything else authors need help with 🙂

I truly love helping people and watching them grow.

What advice do you have for writers? What do we do right? And wrong?

If there was one piece of advice I could encourage writers with it would be, do not try to do everything.

For social media, you do NOT have to be on every social media platform out there. Find your social channel and get good at it. I have authors who are only on Pinterest, some use Twitter, others are very active on Facebook, others are great at TikTok. If you stretch yourself trying to be everywhere you will just get frustrated and overwhelmed.

For your newsletter, try not to send one only when you have a book coming out. Newsletters can be amazing ways for sparking engagement with your readers and creating a community who is truly there for you and genuinely excited to read your next story.

Book specific, If you are an Author, you’ve probably heard this before, but please spend money on your cover. We may joke around about not judging a book by its cover but in reality, 90% of people do judge books by their covers.

I don’t know if authors do anything wrong. What doesn’t work for one author could work very well for a different one. It all depends on who YOU are trying to reach.

What is the Mystery Review Crew Countdown to Christmas?

The Mystery Review Crew (MRC) Countdown was the brainchild of several talented authors (Anita Dickason, Cindy McDonald, JC Gatlin, Kari Bovee, Lauren Carr, and Shelley Blanton-Stroud). They are the founders of the MRC and one of their main purposes is to showcase other talented writers in the mystery/thriller/cozy/true crime society of writers. I took their idea and developed it into a viable event and helped find all the participating authors.

The Mystery Review Crew Countdown to Christmas was an event that happened on the MRC Facebook page from December 1-24, 2022. That featured 24 different authors (plus a few pop up guests!) that all write under the mystery genre. The idea was to showcase the diverse offerings of the mystery genre and help readers find some new authors and help authors bridge the gap between themselves and readers. We highlighted the authors and their books on all our social channels each day and had a corresponding giveaway that ended up doing phenomenal. We had over 20K entries (600+ people) participate to win each author’s featured ebook & a kindle fire (ONE Winner).

Can you tell us something about you? Including contact info 🙂

I honestly didn’t grow up reading (hello very bad eyesight!). Not until the age of 12, and I can distinctly remember finishing my first book in front of a bowling alley after asking my mom for just five more minutes to finish it. The book was The Witch Of Black Bird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, and I was left with an overarching sadness that it was over. And it sparked a wave of reading that has never stopped. Now you can rarely find me without a book in my hands.

I’m now a nomadic traveler with my husband as we build buildings all across the United States. If I’m in your area I’d love to meet you! I blog about author tips and I rave about all things books on my site

Or you can find me:

Here is a link to my portfolio:

I look forward to meeting you!

Susan Breen is the author of the Maggie Dove mystery series. Her stories have been published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. The MWA anthology, Crime Hits Home, in which she has a story, just won an Anthony Award. She teaches novel-writing at Gotham Writers and is on the staff of the New York Write to Pitch Conference.


  1. These are very good points, especially about the newsletter (note to self, DO THE NEWSLETTER). I want to know what “build buildings all across the United States” entails?

  2. I was heartened to hear your advice about not doing all social media sites. I do FB andTwitter and that’s all I’m prepared to do as it takes time away from writing, but I do understand the need to have a presence and have my name out there…

    You have created a great job you can do as you travel around your very interesting job. And The Witch of Blackbird Pond was a favorite of mine, too!

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