Disappointing News

Back in December, I was contracted to work on parts of three different books. I had strong reason to believe all three would be available at GenCon, August 17-20 of this year. After turning in most of my initial material in late January/early February, I was confident things were on track.

None of those books will be available in time for GenCon.

If there is one constant in the life of a freelance writer, it is uncertainty. I have only received half-payment for one of the books (half payment due upon acceptance, the other half due 30 days after publication). I’ve returned my corrections for two, and am still waiting on edits/redlines for the third.

This is disappointing news to say the least. It’s always good — particularly if one is looking for more work — to have something recent to point at to demonstrate a writer’s reliability. It’s also nice for the ego to have work on the sales floor when bigshot authors come strolling by talking up their latest projects.

Many things can intervene to delay a project from publication. An artist or writer might either be dreadfully late, or they might flake out altogether, not deliver on time and stop communicating with their editor/developer. This has happened on numerous occasions,and it often preceeds the party in question finding another industry in which to work. There can also be printing delays — printers have equipment and personnel problems too. In fact, every once in a while there’s a “hand of God” moment, such as when a container ship goes down with every single box of new plastic miniatures being shipped from China. Needless to say, delivery on those miniatures was substantially delayed…

The good news is that a recent project I’ve been working on did go live last week, and so far has met with very solid reviews. Madison by Night is an ebook for Vampire the Masquerade, detailing the Anarch city of Madison, Wisconsin. I had the pleasure of writing the Madison details for the book Anarchs Unbound a couple of years ago, and it always struck me that I wanted to do more. I still want to do more, but for now, the book that’s out there is good. I’ve had three out of three very positive reviews so far, but sales have been less than impressive — I haven’t yet made back the money I owe to my map artist, Jefferey Preston, who designed the very sharp map on page 6 on short notice. Madison By Night has only been live for three days, so I need to learn to be more patient. At the very least it’s out there, and now having done one I have a much better idea of what to expect, and what to do differently.

My book was one of several that launched the Storytellers Vault project, and I couldn’t be more pleased to be in the company of fellow authors like Sarah Hans — whose Fiends and Foes: Ready-Made Antagonists for V20 is a valuable asset for any storyteller running a Vampire the Masquerade campaign. Also of note is A Harpy’s Primer, by Crystal Mazur, for anyone wanting to explore the role of Harpy — gossip mongers who can make or break a vampire’s reputation — in a Camarilla-based game.

Sometimes things don’t work out the way we hope. We just have to make the best of it and move on with life. Of course I’m disappointed that those three books won’t be available in a timely fashion, but I’m still pleased I got to work on them, and look forward to seeing them when they do finally hit store shelves.

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