After agreeing to do the book, but before a contract is signed, the focus changes. Thanks to the US publisher/distributor the book shifts to cover more of the mobile space, cellphones and their ilk. Everyone with half a brain knows that the cellular industry is a faddish maelstrom of moneygrubbers and, as a platform for games or art, it’s a wasteland. From a development perspective there’s little substantive difference between developing images for a mobile screen or a TV screen. Sure, there’s a difference between modern consoles and mobile phones, but phones today are remarkably similar to consoles ten or fifteen years ago. It’s not different, and from the perspective of pixel art, it’s completely uninteresting. But what the publisher wants the publisher gets. Thinking I could work in a lot of screenshots of cellular games, I agreed to do the book and signed the contract.
I set up a special wiki for the effort and told my editor about it. He was really enthusiastic about being able to track my progress in near-realtime. He suggested I start off with a table of contents, and based on his approval of that I could start working on the book. I had some four months to write it, not enough time by half, but I was game to give it a go.
I write the table of contents and the first four thousand words (ten percent). I tell the editor where it is and invite comments.
I get nothing. Not even an acknowledgement of my email.
I write a few more pages and ask again for his approval of the beginnings of the book. I get nothing. FIguring they were just trying to yank my chain or that they lost interest, I move on and find other things to do.
Two months later, he pops up again and asks me to submit the 50% of the book, and 100% of the images, that I should have ready. Oh, I thought to myself. Oh shit.
So I scramble. I bust ass. I write like a demon, I make hundreds of screenshots and painstakingly edit the crap out of them. I work on it for hours every night for several weeks. I reach the 50% mark, and submit it.
I don’t hear back. It went on like this – the only time I heard from my intrepid editor was when, I imagine, someone else was breathing down his neck about it. Then he’d not respond to emails at all. It was intensely frustrating. The book is DONE, and to this day I’ve not heard a single word of praise or criticism about the content. Some suggestions were made about changes to the included segments, entire pages were dropped when the word count reached the right amounts, but I have no fucking idea, at all, if anyone at the publisher liked what I wrote.
To make a long story short, I finished it all up, after many late night phonecalls from Britain making demands and pleading with me to get everything done. After submitting it all and getting requests for a glossary, credits page, etc, I submit an invoice. This was at the beginning of this year, I believe. It took them until two days ago, the very tail end of May, to pay up. They twice promised payment and didn’t deliver. For one reason or another the money was put off. To their credit they did pay, and that really makes me feel better about the whole thing, but come on! The whole thing was slightly ridiculous.
They didn’t put my name on the cover.
I’m mightily pissed off about this – they asked me if I wanted my real name or nickname on there, and I told them to use my real name, but no. No, it has “NFGman” on the cover. Damn it!
So I wrote a book and I’ve never seen it, it doesn’t have my name on the cover, and until two days ago I didn’t even get paid for it. I guess I should be happy, I wrote a book and I got paid, but the trials of it all have kind of soured the bliss. It’s interesting that for several months before I finally got paid I had no idea if they were still going to publish the bloody thing. No idea, I was in author-limbo.
I wrote a book! =D