PA’s are being ridiculous with their pricing. STOP IT!

By Julia Clare and Virginia Johnson

*Edited following a PA training group protested the article – I am sure they wouldn’t want the truth out there.* See Pics 😉

Julia and I couldn’t keep quiet any longer and that tends to lead to trouble. So, let’s just jump right in, shall we?

For all that is good and holy – some PA’s are the most self-absorbed, self-deserving human beings in this industry. I have been a PA for almost 2 years. I am not PAID. I work 24/7 and the job is not that freaking hard! Julia is a PAID PA and has been for longer than I. We have seen some shit over the last 5 hours that made the hair on the back of our necks stand up. Even my blood pressure made an appearance as we researched PA’s and their inability to accept the fact they are not the center of the indie world. Guess what? You are the right hand to the author that you work for, not the financial inconvenience on an indie writer.

You as a PA, should be ashamed of yourself for some of the prices that you are willing to charge. I don’t give a shit what minimum wage is, you sit in front of a screen and run an event. Maybe post every hour and set up a few graphics that are all the same because – well, it is fkn easy.  And YOU want to make $200 an event? What? Am I in the twilight zone? Is this what we in the indie community have boiled down to? Scamming an indie author out of their hard-earned money, for what? For you to make a small fortune doing what I do for free?!

  1. PA’s can make or break an author – Especially, debut authors.

Over and over it has been said, a pimper does not equal a PA. You cannot offer your services as a PA when you do not know what the position requires. You quit your job and now you’re bored? Naturally, Monday morning you wake up and say, “Hey, today I think I’ll run a magazine.” Most are laughing or thinking, ‘Do what?’ This is my point. You can’t wake up and decide, ‘Hey, I’m now a PA, where’s the money?” (Don’t worry that topic is coming.) Authors depend on you, they need to rely on the fact you know how to help make them successful. When they put their career in someone else’s hands and that pretend PA has no idea what a PA does, the author suffers – not you.


  1. Followers and Friends SELLS BOOKS! I call BULLSHIT!

You have 7,000 followers, maybe you have 100, or 20,000? Guess what? More than 3/4 of those followers have never bought a recommended book, or your author’s book. Some may have won a copy, but more than half of those never actually opened the book. <– Shocking, right? No, not shocking to those of us PA’s that live and breathe this thing called, “reality.” Followers don’t equal sales. Followers equal an increased potential of dick/boob/vagina pictures or people stalking you to talk bad about you. In some cases – maybe even try to help you fail.


  1. Pay. Pay. Pay. STOP WITH THE PAY Conversations!

$14 an hour as a PA? HAHAHA – It is a myth, sent from the delusional PA fairy, covered in unicorn dust and a wizard cloak. Get real, No PA is worth $14 an hour, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. In that case, A PA needs to sell a minimum of 6 books a day, at $2.99 per book, 5 days a week, to even begin making profit for your author.  That shit is im-fucking-possible – even for the best PA’s. AND, any indie PA that says it is possible – is a bullshit liar. Quote me

9 times out of 10 you don’t get paid. Just starting, feel special when your author sends you signed copies of their books, when they surprise you with a gift card, or maybe even more so when they brag about what an amazing PA they have. Can you make teasers, trailers, covers, set up events and organize them alone? Have you helped your author reach a goal they thought unattainable? What about blog tours, running street teams, or beta groups? But you want to be paid? Not only paid but paid 2-300 HUNDRED DOLLARS to run an event? Paid double minimum wage, while the author is putting every spare dime into their dream? Ha!


  1. Closing a giveaway and being PAID to do so. What a joke!

It’s not brain surgery or rocket science. It is finding a post and typing “CLOSED” on said post. Then… you make a form and post it in said giveaway, finally, addressing the winner; ten minutes tops. You save the giveaways your author posted, maybe five minutes, depending on how many giveaways posted. The next day you pick a winner, comment their name and tell them to fill out the form.

Giveaways closed. *psst – not worth $60 of your time. If this is that complicated – contact the website, we will be happy to show you how to do this in under 15 minutes*


  1. Bloggers. *Yes, we blog as well* — Stop making promises that you don’t intend to keep.

If you sign up to post a promo, do it. If you run a giveaway, close it and send the prize. You agree to review and to do it by a certain date? Do it. Just like anything else you do in life, you are accountable for your actions, or lack thereof. Life happens, we as adults know and understand that, so, work with us here…

What do you do if your aunt’s second cousin twice removed, on her ex-husbands side, had a dog that birthed puppies and you are the god parent? Of course, this made you unable to do what you signed up for, right? Shoot that author or promo company an email and let them know. Boom done. Don’t ‘forget’ or collect mobis from authors that count on you to give honest feedback for their work. This is more important than paying a underperforming/over-paid PA, I guarantee it.


PA’s – Stop being greedy as fuck.

Authors – Stop letting them be greedy as fuck.



*Following the posting of this article – one of the groups that were charging these prices and encouraging other PA’s to step up their prices to match theirs for a better competitive marketplace, was quick to request a deletion of the article and kick and block those of us that were members. I will say, other PA groups did not argue or become defensive to the nature of this article. Hmmm…. Opinions are not well received with this one, apparently. *

14 thoughts on “PA’s are being ridiculous with their pricing. STOP IT!”

  1. I do all of the above as well and always work with my authors as to what they can afford. I couldn’t charge those outrageous prices either
    Glad I’m not alone on feeling how ridiculous PA prices are sometimes. Well said ladies

    1. Alicia Freeman, one of the greatest women, and PAs I know as an indie author turned traditional author. As a new author, I trust her with my books, my stories, and even my real life. She’s there for me every moment of every single day. In the last 14 months of being my PA, she’s done nothing to disappoint me. We have trust between us. She even had my back when someone was making fun of the characters in my books. I trust her, and I hope her business prospers more than it is now. This isn’t about making money as a PA and if that’s your goal, you’ll be out of luck fast. There are PAs out there who work tirelessly for free every day of the year. There are PAs who charge $100 a week for doing nothing but posting the same thing on several groups once a week. The choice in PAs is up to what an author wants. I suggest doing your homework and make sure the PA you want, as an author, is someone who can help you accomplish your goals. Alicia helped my books hit nominations in awards, helped me become a better author, and even helped me learn things I didn’t know about writing. The PA job is a team effort working alongside an author. it’s not about getting money. If you’re in the PA job for money, you’re out of luck. And not every person who puts “PA” after their username or online handle can fit the criteria. Do your homework and find someone who can work with you, author, not against you.

    2. Jocqueline Protho

      Hi Alicia. You are a part of this group and you are able to go back and read the full context of what was said. The request was asked what’s a good rate. I because I’m comfortable with what I said, put this is an example of what the rates are if you do a salary search per work type and state. Always negotiate prices with your client. These were examples as shown in my original posting. Because this article was put in a group where we like to focus on positivity the post was removed. I stand by that decision and would not go into a full on mean girl, back and fourth with someone. If you want to know more, please ask. And to the writer of the blog, I’m all for opinions and things of that nature, and only one person was blocked and removed from the group b/c the post was not listed with good intentions, especially name calling. That is not ok. I hope you share this comment with social media. I am totally ok with that as well. Keep the opinions coming. I take them all into consideration with dignity and professionalism.

      1. Virginia Johnson

        Thank you for commenting – I can assure you that the group that you are referring to was one of many that we spent days and hours researching. This is not my first post, nor will it be my last, on this subject. The fact that there are PA’s supporting the ‘minimum wags’ laws as a way to promote and encourage PA’s to help an indie author is shocking and inconceivable. Now, do I think there is anything wrong with being paid as a PA? Not at all. Do I think that some authors are capable of paying a PA? Absolutely. Do I think that our job is hard as hell at times and we work for nothing? Yes. But – the proof of what we are doing to the indie community is all over my author page. Authors are afraid to even enlist the help of a PA because they are convinced that the going rate IS $14 an hour. That is ridiculous. So, where you do your business as a PA at $5 more than minimum wage in most states, authors are suffering. I can respect that you are worth that paycheck, I can. What I can’t respect are the growing number of PA’s that have been doing this job for a week, a month even 6 months and think they have it all figured out. They are charging a ridiculous amount and they are under performing. If you are worth it – good on you. If a PA has no idea what the job functions are, why would we, as PA’s, be encouraging a paid role? We shouldn’t be. We should be encouraging them to start for books and swag, reach out to a PA to learn the ropes – then talk actual PAY.
        As for kicking and banning – she didn’t even get a chance to comment on it before she was removed so there was no opportunity to be ‘mean girl’. I can understand if there was a sore spot hit with this post, but I can assure you this was posted in other groups without conflict. With that said, if you have any questions,I encourage them and will take them in to consideration as well.

        1. I’m not a PA, so please, don’t think I’m on a “Pay me all the monies” bandwagon. However, if someone who doesn’t know their rear-end from a hole in the ground claims to be a PA and wants to over-charge an author and the author is willing to pay it, what does that matter to you? If the author walks away dissatisfied, it’s on them for not properly researching and vetting their EMPLOYEE. Personally, I don’t think a PA should work for free, ever. Like an editor shouldn’t work for free, EVER. It’s a service rendered. If they suck, they suck and they’ll eventually stop making money because no one will want to work with them. Their authors won’t give word of mouth for them. On the flip side, I also don’t believe that a new, untested PA should be paid as much as a very experienced and well-established one either. But to indicate that they should work for free or for books and swag is also ridiculous. That should be determined by the author and the person wishing to become a PA. I work in this industry. I expect to be compensated and I also expect to compensate others for performing services for me. If I’m unwilling to pay their price, I go on to someone else. It’s really that simple.

          1. Virginia Johnson

            I respect your comment and I do agree that there are PA/Author relationships that are doomed from the beginning from not doing homework. I’ve address this in earlier blog posts. What this clearly addresses is that PA services damaging the indie community based on affordability and expectations. Authors are defeated and struggling to fulfill their dream because PAs are, not only, charging an arm and a leg but convincing other PAs that they shouldn’t be doing it for books and swag. How is your opinion any different from mine?
            You stated that an established PA should be paid more, for what? For doing exactly the same job a ‘swag’ PA willing to do it for? They are still employees and still work. Many times ‘swag’ PAs work harder out of love for the writing and dedication to the author.
            Julia is a cash paid PA. I am not. We do the same work and the same tasks, so this isn’t about us – this is about the 10 authors, that you know are out there, that don’t have PAs because they have been told they are expensive. That’s the fail in the indie community. $100 a month? Not unreasonable. $14 minimum wage? Ridiculous in this community. That’s what this is about.

          2. I don’t believe in the exchange for a service for “swag”. I work on both sides of the fence. I’m an editor and I value my work and my time. If there is the expectation of a certain level of performance, then I should be compensated. If I’m doing it simply because I’m OCD, I don’t expect compensation because the author does NOT place that expectation on me. You choose to not be paid then that’s on you. Just as any PA that chooses to work for only swag, that’s fine. Ultimately the price negotiated is between the author and the PA. Also, an established editor/PA is in demand, thus they can and are expected to charge more than the one who’s building their portfolio/clientele. THUS they get paid more. I am also a writer. I am willing to pay my editor more because she has best-sellers under her belt. Granted, the work is the author. But the polish is the editor. It’s the same with the PA. An established PA has a rapport built with tour companies, and others in the industry (I won’t pretend to know PA lingo and duties as I’ve NEVER been a PA), that can better help his/her authors. One that’s building those lists doesn’t have it. BTW, I never implied that anyone should charge an arm or a leg for anything. ONLY that if there are expectations of work, then payment should be expected in return. I wouldn’t walk into a store and EXPECT to receive merchandise simply because I walked in and provided them some business. That’s not how businesses are run. Those are called charities. If an author cannot afford a PA, they shouldn’t have one. It’s really simple. I think the expectation of getting something for nothing is hurting this industry more than people placing value on their goods and services. (This is much larger than PAs, it’s industry-wide.)

          3. Virginia Johnson

            Again… I agree with what you’re saying. So, as an editor, do you join group of other editors and discuss building the “market value” of new editors so you can charge more? Do you intentionally go out of your way to make sure authors don’t have affordable editors in the market? Do you recommend bad ones to make yourself better? Because this is what PAs are doing. They are ensuring the services so costly that it’s impossible and disheartening for a debut to survive. If you want to charge 500, go for it. If you’re worth 800… I could care less. But… Don’t tell other editors that they should charge more for the purpose of you justifying your rates and using to screw people over.
            Now… I’m not saying that’s what you do, but it’s happening in the indie world with PAs and I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and watch it happen. Someone might read this, someone won’t. Either way, it’s this side of extortion and we are allowing it. Plain and simple.

          4. I actually feel the pay by swag and paperbacks for new PA’s is a fair trade. Most new PA’s, scratch that, all new PA’s are inexperienced and need training. Training that the authors typically have to give them. And as authors, I’d like to think that the thousands we spend on producing our paperbacks and buying high quality swag, is worth it in exchange for not so great quality PA service. I used to PA myself. One author sent me paperbacks, one nothing, another paid me in gift cards. But you know what, I was a new PA and was happy to get what I could because I was building experience.
            Now, as an author, I pay my PAs in paperbacks and swag and if they come with me to a signing, they get in for free and are welcomed to room with me if they’re staying. I may even cover the cost of food. But I only ask for help when they’re local to that event.
            This works for me for now because my PAs might do work for me once per month. If ever they want to do more and open up the possibility of payments, then I’d definitely consider it on a commission basis.

          5. Jocqueline Protho

            Hi Virginia-
            If you would like to read the entire post about the pay including why it was posted, please let me know. Someone asked for an example of how to price projects. My post never said this is the rate you should charge. It never said go ask for $14/hr. It didn’t say new PA’s should request to be paid. What was discussed was whatever you discuss with your author is your business and work with your agreement I clearly stated not don’t price gouge especially if you have no experience. The post was removed because of the way the article was written as an attack to PA’s without merit. And the fact that it was posted after I responded to the member’s comment. It was an attack. And unfortunately, though other groups may not have responded, it doesn’t mean that they were ok with the hateful words spewed against PA’s.

  2. I don’t have a PA just yet although I did pay for a PA to run an event for me once. I was fairly priced, I believe, and reasonably happy with services rendered. I can’t imagine people thinking an Author could afford a high priced PA & still make any money in this industry. I am very appreciative of the Indie Community and all the team work we show in sharing each others’ work and supporting one another. That is what a communtiy is all about, not price gouging an already struggling Author, just because you can… Thank you to those fair minded PA’s and Indie creatives for being a part of the solution and not the problem <3

  3. I don’t have a PA, because I’ve always felt guilty that I couldn’t ‘compensate’ someone monetarily to do the work. I’m at the point that I need a PA, BUT… I just don’t have the $$ to do that. So, I’ve put it off and sucked it up and do things on my own – with the occasional assistance from readers/friends.

    Props for having lady balls of steel with this post. 🙂

  4. Everything you posted here, is absolutely true. As an indie author, I’ve been struggling for three and a half years just for the reasons you pointed out above. When I first started and our household had some income, I sank money into PA’s that promised to get the job done. Sadly, that was money that never really paid off. All I got was a couple of mentions in groups I was already posting in for myself. By the time I looked back into the matter, all the PA’s I knew were charging rates that were far more then I can manage. Now, when there’s no income in our household and I’m struggling to maintain my writing career, the idea of a PA or a publicist is so out of my reach, that I sit here and trudge daily. It’s disconcerting, watching PA’s post for other authors, spread the word of other people’s books and know they can afford that kind of representation. More than a few times I have considered giving up on writing because I just can’t afford what people are charging for services that are supposed to help me. I know other authors who have and are walking away for the exact same reason.

  5. I really wish I had read this article a long time ago. I feel like a great big weight just got lifted off of my chest. Thank you for being brave enough to speak up, I know that this was a touchy subject and not a lot of people want to stand up and say anything. We authors get all kinds of guilt and shame on the PA thing, now I feel like I can heal and move on.

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