I get asked from time to time if I would stay in real estate if The Beggar’s Opera became a big bestseller. Now bear in mind that this is all completely hypothetical; everyone I know in this business, including bestselling Canadian authors, have full-time jobs. A bestseller in Canada is 5,000 books, and with royalties topping out at around $ 1.50/book, no one I know is getting rich writing novels.
But all that aside, my answer is always the same– absolutely.
As many of you know, I am a sales representative with Royal LePage Team Realty– a realtor — but I was a lawyer for 30 years before that.
I worked from a home-based office from 1987 until 2010, when I decided to switch careers and leave law behind. In fact, I was studying for my real estate licence when I wrote The Beggar’s Opera. I started as a sales representative with Royal LePage Team Realty the same day that I got an offer of foreign rights for TBO from Rowholt in Germany.
Now everyone who writes fiction know how isolating being an author is. You sit in front of a laptop, as I am now, and compose your thoughts into some kind of structure. And then you do it again, and again, and again.
I found law just as isolating. I was involved primarily in Aboriginal issues for the last 20 years, and that meant my network was scattered all over the country. My clients were usually on remote reserves far from Ottawa. When I began hearing Indian residential school abuse claims, I was on the road all the time.
Once back in Ottawa, it wasn’t unusual for me to go a whole week or two without having a meaningful conversation with another adult, just brief encounters with store clerks and delivery people.
But as a realtor, I don’t feel isolated at all.
Royal LePage Team Realty has and is the best working environment I’ve ever experienced. The amount of support, both personal and professional, is outstanding. The staff is amazing, and there is a spirit of collegiality that I only occasionally found in law. Many of my colleagues have become very close friends.
I’ve been fortunate to have clients I have really enjoyed working with, too. Even the ones I didn’t know when we started on their sale/purchase journey are people I’m proud to now call my friends.
Obviously, I hope The Beggar’s Opera does really well. But would I give up my real estate career to be a full-time author?
Not on your life. There isn’t a day when I don’t look forward to going to work. I have the very best of both worlds: I get to schmooze with clients and colleagues (and stage houses, oversee renovations, and negotiate — all things I love) and then come home to play with my imaginary friends.
(And if I’d do all this to sell a book, imagine what I’d do to sell your house :-).)
In compliance with my governing legislation, because this blog could be considered advertising, I am required to post the following information:
Peggy Blair, Sales Representative, Royal LePage Team Realty, 1335 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, K1Z 8N8, tel 613-725-1171. There. Now you have no excuse for not calling.