Re: Agencies-response

Subject: Re: Agencies-response
From: JIMCHEVAL -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 03:56:27 -0400

In a message dated 97-05-13 11:46:18 EDT, ryanowit -at- NYCT -dot- NET (Richard
Yanowitz) writes:

<< If my experience is idiosyncratic, others will work with KTI and be happy.
But I wanted the list to know that at least one other person had problems
with this company. >>

Problems? It seems that what we're discussing here is a difference in

If KTI, having obtained the initial contact, chooses to retain control of the
relationship by sending a rep to the initial meeting (and subsequently having
project managers track progress), that's certainly their right. The initial
posting on this subject accused them of being a 'body shop'. It seems to me
they're being faulted here for the opposite - instead of just throwing
'bodies' at a project, they actually try and stay involved.

Personally, I work very independantly and didn't particularly enjoy this
approach. But it's hardly dishonest or abusive.

As for the mark-up they get, it's only an issue to the degree that it limits
what the writer gets. If you can get better rates on your own, then of
course you'd do better to book your own projects. But if they're paying you
what you'd get anyway, then the fact that they managed to negotiate a high
profit margin for themselves is, for the writer, a fairly abstract issue.

If, on the other hand, they negotiate you down (as they tried to with me on
each one of my projects), it could be a problem. Except the question remains
- if you can do better on your own, walk away. If you can't, then can you
really complain because they don't do better for you than you can do for

To be very crass about it, 50 percent mark-up on a product is not outrageous.
And in this context, the TW is the product. (By the way, I suspect it was
way below that on my projects with them.)

A root issue here seems to me to be the simple fact that the people who work
prospecting for and negotiating jobs have a very different mentality from the
people who work doing the actual writing. The former will often seem slick
and smooth to the latter, and certainly have very different priorities.
Technical people in general tend to be suspicious of sales people, and in
the case of KTI, the gap is made even wider by the fact that a lot of their
writers are artists: writers, poets, musicians, etc. So I can certainly see
where some TW's might be put off by the staff of a professional consulting

But it's a long way from that to talking about 'problems' with a company.
KTI simply isn't a good match for some writers. That's very different from
not paying, or paying late, or forcing people to do unpaid overtime, or
ruining a writer's reputation, or any of the other truly dishonest practices
some people have mentioned elsewhere.

I think it's very important to keep the distinction clear.

Jim Chevallier
Los Angeles

P.S. - Full disclosure: I've worked for KTI three times (on a 1099 basis
only). Having now moved to L.A., I don't expect to work for them again in
the near future. I have no other involvement with the company.

<A HREF="";>Chez Jim: Jim Chevallier's Home Page<

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