Do You Ever Wonder Why ... ?

This one goes out to my fellow real estate brokers.

Do you ever wonder why we're not allowed to talk rate and other industries are?

Or why it's commonplace for us to eat our expenses as a part of doing business and other industries bill for each and every little thing on top of their hourly or per-job rate?

I do.

I accept it, but I still wonder about it.

Recently I took advantage of a reduction in force at my day-job workplace. Yeeeeha! Now I'm full-time pursuing both real estate and fiction writing.

As I learn more about what I can expect during the process of becoming a published author, I'm noting the differences in the two agent industries.


  • Real Estate == cannot discuss rate outside own brokerage unless with a prospective or current client.
  • Literary == accepted standard is 15%, and if international rights are involved it could involve two agents at 15% each.


  • Real Estate == we're expected to absorb any outgoing expenses as a part of doing business, thus reducing our actual income from each transaction.
  • Literary == accepted standard is to bill for expenses, including such tiny things as stamps, envelopes, and printing. A wise author gets a contractual cap put on the expenses when hiring an agent.

Transaction Dollar Amounts

  • Real Estate == anywhere from under $100,000 to over $1,000,000.
  • Literary == anywhere from under $1,000 to over $1,000,000.

Income Frequency

  • Real Estate == once, at the closing of a given transaction.
  • Literary == with each advance and royalty payment from publisher to author over the life of the publishing contract. In fact, it is all too common for the publisher to pay the agent the full amount due, and then the agent cuts a check to the author. I personally plan to push for the publisher to cut two checks, should I ever be fortunate enough to be in that situation. :0)

Relationship Length

  • Real Estate == varies, but typically per transaction with repeat business not guaranteed.
  • Literary == varies, but (for published authors) typically for the life of the author's contract with the publishing company. Plus, potentially, an option on the author's next book depending on the wording of the contract. 

Term of Duties

  • Real Estate == length of the contract with the buyer or seller client.
  • Literary == length of the contract with the author, or the length of the author's contract with the publisher but interactivity typically drops markedly once the author is working with the publisher. 

I don't have any grand point to this post, just ruminating on the differences.