View Full Version : Is an expose' more trouble than it's worth?

07-02-2008, 01:26 AM
Here's my situation:

I'm a fiction writer so this end of the business is totally new to me. I've had an idea rolling around in the back of my head for a while though, and I have mixed feelings about it. I worked in the real estate (title and escrow) business for 9 years, until last summer. I worked for one of the biggest companies out there. I saw what the business was like before the boom, and what it was like after the crash. And I experienced a lot of "nasty" stuff along the way.

I'm talking about one end of the business to the other. From terrible and unethical management to corrupt and shady clients. I pretty much saw a little bit of everything.

I ended up being fired -no warning, no write-up- after nine years of putting in unpaid overtime, and being subjected to the most unethical treatment you could imagine. During my years there I was made to work overtime without pay, I was promised promotions and bonuses that I never received, and I was demoted at the whim of my supervisor several times. I was ultimately fired because he had been doing certain things (taking files off employees' desks and logging them out under his name to take credit for the work, and spending his free time sending porn to his friends and reading employees' emails) that I found unethical. I emailed a few of my friends in the office regarding this behavior. It was pretty widely known that he did this stuff, but I was brazen enough to tell them which software on their computer was used to read their emails. Two days later he had my check in hand and told me that I had used the business email for non-business purposes.

So obviously, there are a lot of things to consider. My bad experiences might imply to some that my account is 'tainted.' My bad experiences might lead to a slander lawsuit, or something along those lines. I'm totally unfamiliar with what you can and cannot state publicly regarding a situation like this, and I don't even know how to propose a book like this. It does seem, however, that there would be a good market for it. I think just about everyone that owns a home right now is curious about what went on in that business. That's a pretty big market. But the idea of going up against a huge corporation like that is intimidating, to say the least.

Am I crazy for considering this idea at all?

07-02-2008, 01:37 AM
If you have interesting new information about industry-wide shady practices, then your book would be worth reading.

One badly-behaved boss, however spectacularly inappropriate, isn't going to be anyone that anyone else cares much about.

Have you read Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis (about his experiences in the collapsing junk-bond industry)? It's probably worth a look.

07-02-2008, 01:51 AM
Ask yourself why you want to write the book. What need will it fulfill?

Then you will get an idea of whether or not it is a good strategy for meeting that need.

Because you will be labeled a 'disgruntled employee'. You will have to get some legal advice. You will increase your 'exposure' - so you should be comfortable with that idea before you go forward.

Is there a 'market' for the story? I think if it's a real expose' on an industry - then sure, probably is. If its just limited to the practices in your office (which I'm guessing the corporation will claim) then its probably not 'big' enough to intrest an agent or publisher.

But I think you've got enough of a tale to at least work up a proposal, and shop it around.

Just my opinion!

07-02-2008, 02:41 AM
Great advice, and lots to think about. Thanks! I have no doubt the corporation would go with the 'disgruntled employee' attack. I think my credibility is pretty strong though, considering I worked there for 9 years and received numerous awards and recognitions during that time. One good point though, is the industry-wide question. Unfortunately, one thing these big corporations are really good at is setting up requirements that management can't meet, as in the case of overtime, but not mandating anything illegal. I've worked a lot of places where overtime was not allowed on the time card, but it was required if I wanted to keep the job. But ultimately the company can just point to the manager and wash their hands of it. So yes, there were some things that were limited to my office, and others that were almost certainly state-wide, but nationwide is hard to prove.

Obviously there would be a number of motivations in writing this, some very personal. Do I want to sell a book and hopefully make some money? Hell yeah. Do I want to see some really corrupt and unethical people exposed? Uh huh. That's how I got fired! I think one of my main goals would be to convince the reader that a separation between the facets of the business is absolutely necessary to prevent the conflicts of interest that led to many of the things I witnessed. In that business, for example, the title department is responsible for preparing the property report, clearing it, and putting the transaction on record. But there were many, many times in which transactions were pushed through by escrow and management when they shouldn't have been. The Title Officers were told by managers at county or district level, to record bad deals. At a corporate level they see these practices as a percentage. 11% of these will come back to haunt us at some time, but the profits we reap will increase our bottom line by 35%, and those losses can be reduced by our legal department... well you get the idea.

Anyway, it really feels like a big headache at this point. I'll be thinking about it a while.

WriteKnight, is that you in your avatar? I see you're from norcal too, it looks like the Marin Ren Faire? I used to go all the time, but they haven't been on the last couple years :-(

07-20-2008, 08:12 PM
Well well, looky here.


Yeah, looks like you're idea DOES have commercial appeal. Is there room for another book?

And yes, that's me in the avatar. That shot was taken in Texas - April 7 a year ago - IN THE SNOW. Go figure.

07-26-2008, 04:07 AM
The best way to heal pain is turn the energy of anger into creativity that can help others and transform the face of humanity.

You have all of the insider knowledge for it to be real evidence based upon experience. With my marketing hat on, [ex Marketing Director of own consultancy]do not loose sight of the fact that to be really successful one must have a creative product that appeals to a mass market. It does not have to be a literary master but if it can inform, enlighten and share truth that impacts on many target audiences you have a winner.

My recommendations to you are to bring in the new science of leadership and how your industry do not invest in people. Ultimately, estate agency is a people industry, a company is only as good as its staff and customers are KING.

If you can help the customer to take back its power from estate agents/bosses, elevate falsehood into the light of day to bring about reform. You will be doing humanity a great justice as well as yourself.

All experience has a powerful reason for being when we find the meaning and the silver lining of every dark cloud.

Before you begin define your 'Unique Selling Propositions', motivation for writing and creative rationale. Defining your target audience will assist your creative input when you hold them instead of yourself in your heart and mind.

Also recommend that you read 'New Science and the New Leadership' by Margaret Wheatley.

For this book to be a success it requires good marketing strategy, solutions to the problems and a title that inspires the reader to say YES, I want a copy.

It could also have a powerful impact on the small to medium size business if you target it right.

Books of exposure also require a publisher that is committed to a marketing campaign to support it. Without the right partnership and promotion it is hard to get an expose onto the book shelves.

It is one thing to create it and something else to sell it. Many publishers and writers expect books to sell themselves. There is a magic formula think Men Come From Mars, Women Come From Venus' make it entertaining, let it touch the heart and elevate business with its solutions into the 21st century with the new scientific paradigm.

Get to the root causes of the core issues without blame and then you encourage others to do the same.

This is the new era of books that change the culture and catapult the healing process by removing the plaster that covers the wound.

Love with honour