Writers are often accused of being unable to do math. Writers propagate this belief with claims of ‘I’m a writer and therefore I can’t do math.’
It usually irritates me, but there are days when I think it’s true.
Today is one of them.
A friend sent me a link to Writer Beware:
So what's the answer, for agents and others who think the current system should change? A commission hike is the most obvious solution. During the 1980s and 1990s, US agents raised their commissions from 10% to 15%; it seems to me that an increase to 20% could be undertaken with relatively minimal pain on all sides. This would acknowledge the ways in which agenting has changed and expanded, but wouldn't unfairly burden writers.
Should the agent commission increase to 20%, the author pays the agent 5% more.
But an agent who’s getting 20% commission from all her/his clients is getting 33 1/3 % more overall compared to an agent who gets 15%.
This is the math:
20/15 = 1 1/3
It’s true that agents probably have to do more these days. But that holds for authors as well, and I don’t think we are getting paid any more.
As for the billable-hours suggestion, I do think I’d rather hire an entertainment lawyer to deal with contracts and such. With the deal in hand, it means that I will definitely be getting some money at some point.
Paying your agent by the hour simply does not incentivise your agent to sell your book quickly, or even at all. I suspect, though I cannot say for the sure, that the number of fraudsters will up and quickly should there be such a switch as well.
PS This is cross-posted to all four of my blogs. Feel free to comment anywhere you come across this post.