By far the most practical class I had in law school was a course called Personal Real Estate, in which our professor, a practicing attorney, walked us through all the documents that you use to buy or sell your house or a small commercial property. It was very useful, especially when it came time for me to buy my own house, but the thing that stuck with me out of all of the helpful things we learned in class was this:
Everything is negotiable.
Let me repeat that one more time:
EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE.
Some of you might be objecting to this right now. "Oh Jay," you might be thinking. "That's not true. When I go into the grocery store and buy milk, that's not negotiable. I just pay the price that's marked." Sure. Of course you do. So do I, for that matter. But that doesn't mean the price isn't negotiable. It means you haven't asked.
(There's also a corollary: just because everything is negotiable doesn't mean you should negotiate everything. That way lies madness. Sometimes you just want to buy the damn milk and go home, you know?)
Which brings me to why I heart Agent Kristin, even though she does not have the good fortune to be my personal agent. Last week she wrote this post, in which she talks about how she's not going to take it anymore when a publishing house says "we have a policy that we won't do that" about something.
She goes on to explain what's got her back up, and I won't go into that here as (1) I'm not an agent and (2) I don't practice publishing law, but the principle of not accepting "oh, we don't do that" as a reason for not negotiation is a sound one.
Labels: industry stuff