10 Things PA’s need to stop doing, NOW!
By Julia Clare and Virginia Johnson
We’ve told you before what an actual PA does.
Now there are rules each PA should follow.
Rule #1 – There is no poaching anything but eggs. PA’s can have a tight circle of trust, but it’s easily broken when one goes for another’s job. It is never ok to go behind another’s PA’s back and offer your services. Regardless of if you want to make them teasers, set up takeovers or just be there to toss ideas back and forth; that is not ok. If you want to help them, you approach their PA, you ask them if you can help with something. Show their PA the same respect you would like to receive. Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the soup.
Rule #2 – The grass isn’t always greener… There are various reasons an author and PA come together. The good matches come from fans of authors, those PA’s that read and enjoy the author’s work and those that truly want to help share their work with everyone. Then there are those that take it because they see it as a stepping stone to a better job. They are the ones that as soon as another job becomes available they jump on it, leaving their previous author hanging because they weren’t the first choice. Unfortunately, karma is a bitch and it won’t take long before that new author figures out your reputation and finds the next great thing.
Rule #3 – Rise up and attack the day, not other people. No one wants to be attacked. No one likes a bully. Just because you are a PA, does not give you the right to attack readers. No one likes hearing someone isn’t a fan of your author. No one wants to hear drama closing in on your author. There are ways to handle this. Take it to the source. Send them a private message; talk it out. What not to do? Go on a rampage and yell, rant and shame readers. Just because they weren’t a fan of something they wrote or the opinions and actions they take, doesn’t mean they won’t like the next thing. If a PA attacks the reader, they just wrote that author off for good. So, while you think you are standing up for your author, you really just alienated a fan forever.
Rule #4 – Sloth– One of the Seven deadly sins – You don’t get to be lazy and a PA. Not only with takeovers and pimping but also in street teams. This is where fans gather to hear from the author, keep up to date on what they are working on and to have fun. You have to keep the group active. The author, unfortunately, writes and can’t play all the time but you can jump in and entertain fans. Whether it is a silly or sexy picture, a quote, anything to keep participation. It’s not ok to simply say, well it’s not active so why bother. Those people will leave and your author hurts because you couldn’t bother to do your job.
Rule #5 – Seek respect, not attention – We work online, however this does not make it ok to do whatever you please. The way to get noticed is by promoting your author; by giving readers something to be excited about. You want to have people coming to you asking when that next book is coming out, or would your author be interested in a spotlight or takeover. What you don’t want to be known for is your ‘woe is me’ post. “I try but I can’t help her.” The message saying, “I just don’t know how to help her, what am I doing wrong?” Then, there is silly questions when people stop paying attention to you. “Don’t you love me most, but I’m your biggest fan, me, me, me, I, I, I.” You aren’t the focus – the author is. Remember your job, if you don’t like not being the center of attention, this may not be the job for you.
Rule #6 – If you have nothing nice to say, Shut up! – Never, under any circumstance, is it ok to talk shit about your author. A PA is the other half of an author empire. There should be a partnership and trust. The amount of bad mouthing is ridiculous! You aren’t doing yourself any favors when you complain about your boss. I can assure you, when someone approaches me and asks for my help finding a PA, you ensured that your name was quickly removed from the list of potential candidates. Also, if your friends have stupid things to say, it is your job as a PA to remove them from the situation. Some of your best friends and family will not share your opinion of your author, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to allow the behavior of some to occur. Support is support! As soon as you can no longer support your author against your best-friend, you are ready to hand over your 2 weeks’ notice. Don’t be fake as hell – you know you are wrong when allowing this to happen.
Rule #7 – Over ‘authoring’ – “How many authors do you PA for?” Plain and simple… If it takes you 5 minutes to list them, that’s way too many. If you PA for 1 author – you are exclusive to them and their success. 100% of your resources are dedicated to your author. Add another author and they just lost 50% of their PA. Oh… Just wait… Now, add ANOTHER author, another 17% invested in someone else. Mathematically speaking, you may be having fun but you just screwed over 3 authors. 33.3% of the job they need is done. And, don’t get me started on picking your favorite.
Rule #8 – Dick Chasers – *takes deep breath* STOP DICK CHASING! Ok… Now that I have that out of the way… You are a PA. You signed up for this job and committed yourself to it by saying, “I’ll do it!” Just because a male author, with no idea where to start and a pseudo good looking profile pic, doesn’t mean that it’s an invitation to offer up your services as a PA. Think about who you have committed to. Your author counts on you to be loyal and trustworthy. Most don’t express their feelings about only having 33% of your help, but they feel it and they struggle with how to say something without being selfish or offensive. You, as a PA, agreed to work for them… It’s not their fault that a cuter profile pic showed up out of nowhere.
Rule #9 – First Last PA and this is a 9-5 job– This one is irritating as fuck to those of us that bust our asses off day in and day out. LOL – Who told you this job was easy? 9-5? You kill me when I see this; real tears from laughing so hard. I couldn’t imagine only being a PA from 9-5. This is an #EpicFail for an ambitious author and a reader that needs you. A PA doesn’t get a set schedule unless you want to be replaced. Oh, and yes… you are replaceable if you are limiting your availability. Pimping and promoting doesn’t get a time stamp, it is done during the morning, afternoon and night.
The PA title is a great looking name, isn’t it? The first thing we want to do is change our name to say PA when we are hired by an author. If you are trying to be a PA because it will make you look cool, you are not a PA. A real PA could care less about the title attached to our facebook name.
Rule #10 – Be professional – Every PA in the indie community has a long list of things they have to do. There is never an excuse to miss important events – release parties, spotlights, interviews or cover reveals. This is expected of you by EVERYONE! Show some support.
If you leave an author hanging with a moment’s notice, you deserve to be fired. Actually, you are probably already accepting your inevitable fate, being you can’t even support your author when they need you the most. SMH