Thursday, January 31, 2013

Agents Earning Commission

Chances are that, if you’ve never been in a commission job, you think of paying commission as a rip off. You don’t get that the commission is the only pay they get for dealing with you. That the service profession is investing their time, risking future income, on the possibility that working with you will pay off. It’s in their best interest to represent you fully because if you’re not happy, you’ll go elsewhere. A commission earner doesn’t get paid if there is no sale – so they work their butt off to make it happen.

I hear the most awful stories of clients taking up hours and hours of agent time and resources, only to casually call a number on a sign and make that sale happen outside the scope of the person representing them. The client thinks they got a better deal, but don’t realize they’re just paying someone else’s commission instead of the person who earned it. I’ve seen this sort of thing happen in retail and insurance, but my primary source of my frustration here is in real estate.

I hear so many horror stories about an agent investing their time with a client, even finding the property that the client wants, only for that client to then go organize the deal through someone else so a friend gets the commission. Or they start the deal, back out, then go back for it with someone else. Is it because they were unhappy with the service from their agent? No, it’s usually because they think they’re getting a better deal. My faith in humanity makes me think that the clients just must not realize the impact, or down-right dickishness, of their behavior – but occasionally it happens on purpose and then my rage is unquenchable. I don’t know how my husband deals with it.

I’ve seen agents get treated like this by friends and family who just don’t understand the process. Law suits are always an option, but frequently not worth the time or bad blood they create. I could never work in a job like that, where you waste your time and effort over and over again only to be screwed by the people you were trying to help and, in some cases, had developed a real rapport.

Maybe this is why I see a literary agent as an integral part of the publishing process. Yes, you pay them, but in return they’re representing your interests. They’re not successful if you’re not successful. There has to be trust that the agent is going to put the work in, but the agent is also trusting that their client is going to follow through with their promises/potential. It goes both ways. You wouldn’t hire an agent you didn’t think could do the job; they won’t take on a client that may be a waste of time.

In a world where self-publishing opportunities are overwhelmingly abundant, having an agent is proof of a quality product. Yes, many of the self-published books are less expensive, but my experience with them has been spotty at best. I’m much more likely to buy an unknown author from a well known publishing house because that is a guarantee of quality control. There may be options to circumvent paying an agent, but I would rather have the peace of mind in knowing I had an industry professional on my side. The commissions exist because people are willing to pay for the service.

Long story short (too late): I still want an agent.
If you are in a position where commission is involved, understand you’re paying for a service. Don’t be a dick.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Courtship is Dead

On the radio this morning the host was talking about modern courtship. He pointed out that, for the new generation of dating teens, a boy no longer has to man up and ask a girl on a date. There is no going out to dinner. There is no chivalry. Instead, they 'hang out' and arrange everything through faceless texts, tweets, and Facebook.

Now I"m not saying the dating model is perfect, but it is romantic. A woman wants to be wooed, to know she's important. In the hang out scenario, she's not. What's worse, the young women I know don't seem to expect attention. There is almost a desperation and they take what they can get. They don't seem to realize that, in the give and take of sexual favors, the woman holds the power. She can withhold sex and the guy will do whatever he has to in order to get it (thank you, Lysistrata).

For a while I thought the problem was with the boys. Where did the gentlemen go? Why did they think they could dress like thugs and treat women so poorly? I now think the problem may lie more with the women. They don't value themselves enough. And for every girl with the confidence to wait for a man that deserves her, there are ten girls out there with the self-esteem of mud that are willing to pass out blow jobs willy-nilly.

For all the talk that chivalry is archaic and plays to a double standard, the hang-out date and drunk, back-seat sex without commitment brings women back even farther. Low standards for men mean that women become reduced to the sum of their orifices. Girl demand to be treated better than a micro-waved cantaloupe.

This blog post was inspired by witnessing a date, of sorts. The couple came in to the restaurant where I was having lunch. They were shown to a table. He looked at the menu and complained about the food offered. When the waitress came to take the order, the girl ordered politely, and the boy asked if they could just make him a hamburger or something other than the "crap" on the menu. They were both playing with their phones the whole meal, then she paid and they left. It was sad.  The young man would have fit right in with one of the guys pictured here, only had ear gauges and sagged long shorts. The young woman was clean, groomed, dressed in a coordinated outfit.  I wanted to go talk to her, to tell her to expect better for herself, to demand better for herself. As long as women lower their standards, the boys will never learned to step up.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Year in Review

Well, I did not finish Possessing Karma by my self imposed deadline of 12/31/2012. I am 96% done -- so, so close. I really have about 2 1/2 chapters left, but time was not on my side. Stupid Christmas got in the way. Bah-humbug. (Yes, it did get in the way, but no bah-humbug. I love Christmas).

Today is the last day to submit to the Golden Heart contest through Romance Writer's of America. Yesterday I submitted both Courtly Scandals and Courtly Abandon. I wanted to get Karma in, but even if I'd finished the first draft, it wouldn't have been ready for judging.

2012 is over. I did not get an agent, though I did get some positive agent connections. I did not get published, but I did (almost) finish two books. I broke completely out of my Elizabethan comfort zone in writing and have found a new niche for myself. I did not lose weight, but I didn't gain weight either. I broke the heck out of my foot, then healed. I attended the RWA 2012 conference in Anaheim and resolved to attend the 2013 in Georgia.
Just for fun, here is my past year in random pics I took on my phone.

We saw this dog at the mall, fresh from the groomers. She still stood tall and proud, a Great Dane in spite of her pink-ness. Even her nails were painted.

In case you ever wondered what hope, dreams, and love smelled like, I can tell you. It's has a soft floral with a hint of vanilla. Quite nice, actually. Now you know.

Everytime I park next to this car, I wonder how many of those cats are still living. Sort of creepy. Reminds me of the dogs from Coraline....

This movie made my children cry and afraid to sleep in their own beds. They are 8 and 6 1/2. Never trust the movie recommendation of a 34 year old, single, childless, entomologist.

This pic was taken for a blog I didn't end up writing. This is a laundry detergent scoop from Arm and Hammer. Line one indicates the amount of detergent needed for a regular load. Line two is for extra soiled. Line three is for nothing, but is more prominent than one and two. Of course, I bet most people just fill the scoop without reading the directions, then wonder why they didn't actually get 125 loads from their box of soap.

I don't know why this was on my phone, but it was, so here you go.

I must have deleted the picture of the guy in a pumpkin costume riding his motor cycle down the freeway.

I hope you had a great 2012 and are optimistic about what 2013 may bring your way.
Happy New Year.

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