By Kyle Perkins and Virginia Johnson.
When I see something wrong happening in our community, I call it out. Now, some may hate me for that, but my hope is that far more people appreciate it. I feel that authors should all have a fair shot at success and have the tools and right people in their corner to do so. That being said…
There are a few shady authors out there, and I have highlighted them in detail in my catfishing article, which was promptly ignored by a vast majority of folks that still follow authors like this. You can’t help everyone, right? However, there are still some of us that believe in the integrity of this industry and want to warn people away from situations that could severely hurt their business. You can only lead a horse to water, though.
But this isn’t about authors, this is about a reader-turned-PA who has no qualms about churning and burning authors at any perceived slight, damaging their reputations and careers that they are working so hard to build from the ground-up. This is a repeating pattern, so I wanted to highlight the situation involving this PA to set the record straight and hopefully prevent this from happening to others.
We will refer to her as “PA,” since I have been urged not to name her, but for those of you that know these authors, you can probably gather who I’m talking about.
You see, she started work with my coauthor, Lila Vale, earlier this year and was a decent PA at first. She was helpful and encouraging, took initiative and even went above and beyond with purchasing swag for giveaways that she was never asked or expected to get. Nothing in life is free, as the saying goes, and unfortunately the authors who this PA took on have learned this, one-by-one.
Fast forward a few months, and the PA takes on new clients. One is short-lived, and the PA trashes that author for deciding to go with another PA, claiming shifty tactics were used to poach her new client. Lila just believed her, thinking that if she was trashing someone, it was probably with good reason – someone that screwed her over, you know? She didn’t see the red flag and she got burned.
I’m sure this quote by Maya Angelou will be familiar to many of you: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
What happened? Well, the PA takes on more authors, Steve Evans being one of them. After that, she completely disregarded Lila to the point where Lila had to solicit help from other people to get the word out on her new releases. Lila took it as maybe the PA had found better opportunities and she didn’t hold it against her. The PA took Lila asking for help as a personal slight and trashed her for it. Lila went directly to her and tried to talk out the situation… the PA pretended like everything was okay, then proceeded to trash her to anyone that would listen, again.
Life goes on, right? We all moved ahead and the drama was quickly forgotten as it usually is in the indie world. However, after talking to Steven today, I’ve learned that she was trashing Lila from the start. Not only Lila, but Virginia and myself, as well(Keep in mind that I never said a single unkind word to, or about her, and tried to help her on many occasions to be a more effective PA). Why? For simply being on good terms and working closely with Lila – an author whose grievous error was to have the audacity to give this PA her space so she could pursue new opportunities that came her way. This PA even went as far as to try to get Steven to block everyone that she had a problem with. Steven, of course, didn’t. He can think for himself and wasn’t swayed.
Fast forward again, and, without a word, the PA dumped Steven and another author… for another author. Then proceeded to blame her kids’ lack of Christmas presents on Steven, as if it was his doing. This is after signing Steven up for takeovers and then not sending the prizes to recipients, creating a bad name for Steven in the process.
I need to reiterate here that this is someone who is going out of her way to offer her services as a free PA to any author she sees who is seeking help, even when her current clients are being neglected and privately slammed. On the surface, it seems like a good deed… but then she uses her good deeds as leverage against the authors when she decides to drop them on a whim.
Within the Indie community there’s a necessity for trust and respect. PA’s are struggling to do their jobs with minimal resources needed to be successful because members of the community are ruining it for others. The PA not only bad mouthed authors and PA’s, but readers as well. When she was confronted during a pity party she was trying to throw for herself, she was met with a person(Virginia) that was willing to give the party attendees the truth. This resulted in blocking, banning and deactivating to create more drama to only fuel her “poor me” mentality.
For Lila, the entire way she handles her career is different, now, due to being burned. I am sure Steven feels the same. When you get burned like that it makes you want to reject help from anyone because it feels like a trap. Lila is afraid to hire a PA. She just plans to write and then try to do it all herself when the time comes. Fortunately she has Virginia and I for co-authored books, but feels bad for the solo authors that the PA dumped.
“As a partner PA to this person I had declined the job to work as Lila’s PA prior to her coming on. As everyone in this community knows I have solely worked for Kyle since I started. When their most recent book released there was an event planned and Lila’s PA did not show, resulting in me asking if she still worked for her. Come to find out that she had deserted Lila to help other authors while claiming she was still Lila’s PA. While Lila was in desperate need of somebody to help her, I took it upon myself to offer assistance and rebuild the street team, which was this PA’s job, and continue to grow a fan base for an author that needed it. This act of kindness led to a conspiracy theory about how I plotted and planned to take her job as a PA. Now, I know to many of you this sounds ridiculous, but I assure you this was the rumor that was told. When I solicited help from friends and fans, this PA in question chose to publicly post on her wall that we had plotted against her to take her job. Did she drop names? No. But when I challenged her to start telling the truth and admit who she was talking about so they could defend themselves, she deleted her post, blocked me, and all of my friends. Then threw herself a pity party so that only the people that could see her post would get her side of the story instead of the facts and the truth. If this is the side of the truth that you chose to listen to I can assure you it was wrong. I had no intention of taking her position nor have I ever had any intentions of driving her out of her position. If anything I needed her help when it came down to crunch time and Lila’s book was finally being released, in which I had to do alone also assuming the position for the author that she had already abandoned.” -From Virginia.
So, what’s the takeaway from this? When you start working with a PA, get references from past authors they have worked for. Take a look at their previous work, and if they have none, put them on a trial period. Look for signs of drama. Look for signs of deceit. Most importantly, don’t be too trusting. You may think that the job of a PA isn’t that important, but they represent you when you’re not around. They speak and act for you, and if they are doing it in a way that doesn’t represent your brand, they are costing you money, time, and exposure. Things they should be helping with. Also, I would offer the same advice to PA’s and the authors they choose to represent. If the author you’re representing is a shady scammer, or creating fake backstories about themselves to sell books, it doesn’t only make them look dishonest, it makes you look dishonest for pushing it.
In closing, be careful out there, folks.