Dramatic title aside, it’s disappointing to be left off the credits for a book on which I’ve worked. It’s happened to me twice — once two years ago, and again in the last six months. In both cases these omissions were clearly not intentional, but they present a couple of major issues for me.
First of all, there’s the emotional issue of feeling forgotten, left out. This is an issue I personally have problems with, so it’s something with which I need to come to terms. Second, and more importantly, it means that this is a book I can’t use on my resume — at least until it’s fixed in some fashion to give me proper credit. My worst fear is that, when applying for writing work elsewhere, the publisher or developer will look at that book, see my name is not on the credits page, and assume I’m lying about my involvement to pad my list of credits.
Things like padding one’s resume have definitely happened in the gaming industry, and I’m not so well known that I would be immune to such understandable assumptions. In both cases I was approached in the 11th hour of the project and asked to pinch hit, so to speak, to finish up some work that was either overlooked initially or which the previous author was not able to complete for whatever reason. For both books my turn-around time for the text was very short, and in both cases I completed the work satisfactorily (so I was told) and came in under deadline, which makes being left off the credits even more aggravating.
This is the sort of thing one has to contend with occasionally as a freelance writer. That doesn’t make it fun, and the fact that it’s an understandable, honest mistake is, in some ways, even more frustrating. I’m not going to name the companies involved, because they’re both trying to fix the issue, and both have apologized profusely for the mistake. Unfortunately, when a book goes to press, it’s far too costly to fix an error like that — one that has no effect on game play whatsoever — by dumping the first print run and reprinting the book. However, if the book sells well enough for a second printing, the fix will hopefully be included in the new edition. Sadly for me, given the sales records of most tabletop RPGs, the odds of a reprint are slim.
This kind of thing can’t help but make me more aware of such issues, and hopefully encourages me to be better about in turn giving others credit where credit is due.