UPDATE – The check has arrived!
I’m posting these screenshots from Chaosium’s Facebook and Twitter pages as a record in case someone at Chaosium decides to scrub my posts. They should be able to. I’d suspect that they hadn’t noticed them except that I get emails when someone responds to my FB posts and tweets. Someone there should be noticing that I’ve been posting.
Between Facebook, private emails and looking around the web I’m finding a lot of folks who are pissed off at Chaosium. Sadly I’m not hearing from any defenders. The best I’ve gotten is “So far they’ve always paid me … but yeah, I’ve heard from a lot of people in your situation.”
It’s been recommended that I call and speak directly to Charlie Krank. That’s a good suggestion. For the moment, however, I’m still trying to be polite. In an email or a blog post I can think twice (thrice!) about what I’ve said before I pass it on to the world. In a phone conversation I’m more likely to be … surly. Also, unless I record the phone call, there’s no record of what was said. I like keeping records.
It’s also been suggested that I take Chaosium to small claims court. I’m seriously considering that one. Laws vary from state to state so I’ll have to see what the situation is here in Washington.
Here’s the thing – I have no illusions that Chaosium is getting rich by publishing stolen property. I’m sure they’re not. I’ve been a publisher. The publishing business has a narrow to non-existent profit margin. For every best seller there are thousands of books that barely cover their print costs. Chaosium publishes roleplaying game books for Call of Cthulhu and the Basic Roleplaying system, therefore they are niche publishers in a niche market. I’d be really surprised if a best seller in that market sold 10,000 copies. More likely it sells 5 thousand or less.
I wouldn’t be happy if they went out of business. I’m rarely happy to see a business fail. But, as I said yesterday I have to pay attention to getting paid. Chaosium has made it a habit to not pay people. I can’t, in good conscience, keep my mouth shut about that.
Chaosium could probably continue to exist if they restructured as hobbyists and paid contributors in copies of books printed. The RPG industry is fan driven. Folks work in it because they love it. They would still have writers and artists who would be happy be published. No one would expect to get paid and everyone could get along happily. Yeah.
Until then – DANGER! QUICKSAND AHEAD!