Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Selling houses or manuscripts?

Last night we had a visit from a real estate agent. She said many interesting and good things but one of the things she said was that there was nothing 'real' in real estate. I liked that. Selling our home and selling my manuscripts have many commonalities. In both an agent is not required but suggested. In both our works have been lovingly created to the best of our abilities and with much hope and fear.
This agent understands that because before she did this, for many years, she was a classical musician. I suppose she still is but I mean that she made her living, such as it was, by that means. Her husband has a book with an agent and so we chatted about that process.
It wasn't, as you might imagine, my first time thinking this. This house is truly the fruition of everything my dear guy has learned over forty years. He designed it with very little input from me to suit an audience of four not for its ability to be easily flipped. It doesn't have an en suite or a walk-in-closet because we didn't want that. It does have a room entirely devoted to the bath (listening Tartlette?) - so that a person deeply immersed in the old cast-iron tub would not need to make way for the urgent toilet needs of others. It doesn't have an entry with a cathedral ceiling for impressing folks coming to the ball - something we find personally hideous and bizarre but know that many others covet. It has the best kitchen I've ever worked in - spacious, loads of cupboards, heavenly to stand and chat and drink wine and chop vegetables with as many people as you can imagine all quite comfortable. It has the best view from a bed (our bed) that I can imagine - as if we were nestled right into the trees and with little glimpses of the ocean in the winter and spring. In short I love it and it is quirky.

I think my manuscripts are like that. I really write them for just a few people. I hope lots and lots will like them but I certainly don't count on it. I guess I could give them more curb appeal - put more or less blood and gore in the mysteries - find something more currently desirable to write about in the literary fiction, less ordinary perhaps. In the YA novel I'm burning through now, I know I could take out all the chapters by the mother so that it would appeal more to the perception that teenagers can't bear any view point but their own but I'm not going to do that. Just like I'm not going to stage my home for prospective buyers and take out every piece of art we own and beige it up. Not going to happen. We will have to wait for the prospective buyer who sees beyond that - who sees that this is a house that works. We now have an agent who sees that - who said it her first words to me, "when I saw your house down the driveway, nestled into the trees, I thought it looked like the essence of house." Yep! She got it in one. Now I have to find an agent that feels the same way about my manuscripts.


KarenG said...

what a charming house and what a charming post! And I love how you relate the two. It's so vital to stay grounded in this business, and your post says it perfectly.

KarenG said...

what a charming house and what a charming post! And I love how you relate the two. It's so vital to stay grounded in this business, and your post says it perfectly.

Carol Kilgore said...

I think I missed the post where you said why you're selling the home you clearly dearly love. By not beiging it up, your house will attract the people who will love living there as much as you do.

I also think you and I are somewhat alike in that we write the stories we are called to write. We hope others will like them as much as we do, but they are our stories and not neutral beige ones.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - What a terrific analogy! Houses and manuscripts really do reflect who we are so much don't they? And we feel a strong attachment - a vested interest - in them. So much to think about here :-). Oh and I love the 'photo.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

That house is home and you say it so beautifully in this post. Since I may soon be involved in selling a family home, I feel touched quite deeply by your words and the analogy to writing. It is the deeper layers that mean something.

Liza said...

I can feel the love you put in your house through the words you write on the page. I'd frame this blog post an let all the prospective buyers see it. It will sell your house in a minute to the right people! And it's nice, isn't it, to thing of the "right" people living in a home you loved?

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