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Kathie M. Thomas is an Author, Blogger, Speaker and Virtual Assistant Coach & Trainer. She began her business ‘A Clayton's Secretary‘ in 1994 to be home fulltime for her 5 daughters.
Today Kathie runs a global business via the internet from her home office in Melbourne, Australia and her blogging efforts has placed her in the Top 100 Australian Blogs list. She also contributes to printed and online publications and has published several books.
Her passion is about helping women return home to work, using skills they developed in the workforce, so they can be home fulltime for their families. It was because of these community efforts that she was nominated for Australian of the Year in 2008.
Her book “Worth More Than Rubies: The Value of a Work At Home Mom” was recently made available at Amazon.com where it achieved #23 in the Top 100 Hot New Releases for her genre during the launch. She has also published “It Happened By Design”.
Kathie's speaking topics include but are not limited to: Are You Working For Your Family or Because of Your Family?, Networking For Business, Social & Business Networking, Blogging For Success, The Proverbs 31 Woman
Please can you give a brief introduction about you and your books.
I began working at home 15 years ago so I could be here for my 5 daughters. This was pre-internet and I really had no-one to find out things from – it was trial by error mainly. But I must have some intuition there too as somehow I made my business succeed and grew it internationally once I got online. Today I lead thousands of women online through the Virtual Assistant industry and through several blogs I write. I've loved writing since I was a child so it's the perfect outlet for me. Two of those blogs are now published books. I've just received my second “Australian of the Year” nomination for my contribution to the community.
Your book “Worth More than Rubies” is based on Proverbs 31 from the Bible. Is there a specific Christian book market? i.e. if authors are also believers, is there a network they can tap into and what is that market interested in?
Yes, there are quite a few networks online for Christian authors and for authors in general. www.faithwriters.com is a good one and then there is www.godlinked.com to name just two. Then there are heaps of regular authors networks online too. We're about encouraging each other, helping each other find resources for printing, PR, and so on.
Are you self-published and do you use print-on-demand? If yes, why did you choose this route and what have you learnt from the process?
What is the difference? I really thought they were both the same to some extent. I use both. I self-publish here in Australia and sell from my office and website. I also use print-on-demand in the US to supply Amazon.com. I found I have more control rather than having to wait for a publisher to accept my latest book and fit in with their timing. If I get an idea I want to get it happening now.
You are selling your books at a number of online sites. What is your most effective sales channel? E.g. Amazon, Cafe Press, your own site?
Amazon is good to get my name out there but my own websites and blogs are probably more pro-active. I sell via both methods and other bookstores online too. I also have one of my books in major bookstores in Australia currently as well. The other is very new and still being reviewed.
You have a number of blogs. Can you explain the benefit of having a blog for an author, and also why you have several?
Great way to test content and get audience reaction. I have a blog for several different topics. Also a great way to get your name out there on the web as well. Have you tried Googling my name? 🙂
Many self-published authors do not make much money from just their books. You also sell products relating to your books on CafePress as well as being a speaker with ebooks and programs . In what ways do you suggest that other authors make money in other ways than just their books?
Yes, the idea actually came from my husband's best mate. He jokingly said I should get aprons with “Worth More Than Rubies” on them and when I thought about it, I thought it wasn't such a silly idea. I found cafepress and organised teddies (my best seller), mugs, tshirts, bibs, cards and so on. I bulk buy these and sell them when I'm speaking publicly which helps boost my income from book sales. Mothers Day is a good time for these items too.
You also have a company for Virtual Assistants. Can you explain what they are and how authors in particular can use VAs to speed up or outsource some of their work?
A Virtual Assistant is like a Personal Assistant or personal secretary, only instead of being in your office, they work virtually from their own. There are Authors Assistants too and many VAs have elected to specialise in this area. They can assist with formatting and production of the book, liasing with printers, organising graphic designers, setting up the website, monitoring online sales, assist with promotions, blogs, press releases and so on. This doesn't mean they can do all of this stuff but they can certainly help organise it and take much of the planning time and preparation from the author's hands.
Kathie's contact details are:
Kathie M. Thomas, AFAIOP, MVA, ASO, Author, Speaker, VA Coach
Award-winning Virtual Assistant Services and Network
Australian of the Year 2009 Awards nominee