So I finished some work for Achtung! Cthulhu recently, and now the waiting game begins. I’m dying to see what the finished book will look like, and I’m also looking forward to the paycheck I will receive — once the book is published. Freelancing is like that most of the time; I end up having to wait until publication to get paid. It makes sense, of course, since in most cases the publisher doesn’t have the money until the book comes out and starts to sell. If publication is delayed, so is my payment, and if the project gets cancelled for some reason, I usually get nothing – unless I’m lucky enough to have a “kill fee” clause in my contract.
A kill fee is exactly what it sounds like; if the publisher/editor rejects the entire project for whatever reason, a kill fee means you get some of the money — usually 10% to 25% of the total you would get had the thing been published. It’s not great, but it’s better than nothing. I have yet to see a company in the gaming industry that offers kill fees; the few kill fees I’ve received have come from more mainstream magazines.
Another thing I’m waiting for is word of edits that need to be made. In the previous project for this company, I received a very clear list of changes that were needed, and while it was imperative that I finish quickly, I didn’t feel rushed to finish the required changes. That’s one of the little things that makes a writer feel valued; good communication. When a company is clear and concise about what they want, they are far more likely to get it, making for a better relationship all around. Not all companies in the gaming industry work this way; very few are better, and many are much worse. It really makes me appreciate that extra effort after having worked in a situation where communication was lacking.
The one thing I’m not waiting too impatiently for is to see my name in print. Oh, I’ll check the credits page, no doubt about that, and I’ll smile when I see my name there. Somehow, though, that feeling of seeing one’s name in print isn’t as exciting as it was the first time. Possibly it’s because I’ve had a lot of credits to my name previously; in former days I worked for an internet collectibles website called Collecting Channel, and had several bylines a day, five days a week, for nearly a year. After that many times having my name attached to an article, the lustre of seeing my name in print kinda wears thin.
On a final note, I’m looking forward to Teslacon this weekend, where Steampunks from around the globe will be dressed in their finest and looking to show off a little – okay, a LOT! I hope to document the occasion in pictures. Stay tuned…