One Year, Two Months, 24 Days

Yesterday I got a check from Chaosium. It’s been deposited and I expect it to be good. I may have heard a lot of complaints about the company recently but bouncing checks doesn’t seem to be one of them. I’d gotten an email from Charlie on Friday saying that the check was in the mail but I wanted give the check time to arrive before I posted anything here.

I’ve also heard from other contributors to Strange Aeons 2 and they seem to be getting paid as well. Folks outside the US probably won’t get their checks for a few days yet but hopefully their payment are on their way. I’ve asked them to let me know what happens.

I’ve added a link to this post to my previous posts but left them otherwise untouched. In this age of online news and social networking it seems like bad manners not to share my experience, positive and otherwise. I thinks it’s important for creative people to look out for each other. That this situation is resolved should be noted but I can’t promise that there’s no further quicksand ahead.

One question I asked of others was, given their frustrations, would they work with Chaosium again? Some would. There are apparently worse RPG companies out there to deal with. Others seem to take the … negotiation … process in stride.

Would I work with them again? That’s tricky. I have no real animosity toward Charlie or anyone at Chaosium. I don’t think I’ve held a grudge for anyone since I was a teenager. (I save my hatred for people who are actively horrible to others.) In previous years I’ve worked with other folks because the work was enjoyable and they communicated regularly. I had the Day Job so I could think about building up a body of work without needing to pay as much attention to whether the work would pay my bills. With the Day Job gone and having established at least a tiny reputation for my work I’m much more focused on what I put on my plate.

There are now enough companies who have a CoC license that if I want to do Call of Cthulhu illustrations I can work them instead of Chaosium. Chaosium has some books in the works for their BRP system that would be fun to illustrate and, previous to this experience, I’d planned to lobby for the jobs. I’d love it if I could still get those jobs.

This experience has made me be more rigorous in how I work with clients. I’ve put in place a process to make sure that both of us are in agreement before I get too far into a project. I think I’m better at managing expectations. If Chaosium wanted to work with me again I’m certainly open to discuss the possibility. If payment and communication issues could be worked out, I’d be happy to do more illustrations for the company.

Stay tuned.

11 thoughts on “One Year, Two Months, 24 Days

  1. I know my friend whose zine was basically stolen by them would never work with them again. I consider it nothing short of a minor miracle that you’ve been paid and it’s probably due to the bad PR you caused with your posts.

  2. These posts have gotten a lot of traffic and likely made a difference. The other contributors to SA2 have been making noise for a while as well so I don’t think I can take all the credit.

    And I’m not saying your friend (or anyone who has had trouble with them) should give them a second chance. If I were to work with them again I’d be doing so only with upfront payment and a more rigorous set of written agreements.

    What was your friend’s zine? Has he/she gone public with his/her problems?

  3. I’m glad you finally got paid, at least. I know someone who actively works as an illustrator and is consistently frustrated with how the industry treats him and his peers. Thankfully, I could never do illustration and won’t have to worry about this sort of thing.

  4. I’m giving serious consideration of putting up a page with every one of Chaosium’s overdue payments to freelancers – even those that were resolved. I can understand when a company has some short-term problems, but it’s clear this has been going on for a long time.

  5. Her Zine was Cthulhupalooza, but after the thing with Chaosium, she went inactive and not having copyrighted the name, I believe another mythos group swiped the name out from under her. I’m not going to ask her for specifics at this point. It’s kind of a sore subject. I know she did manage to sell a few copies of her zine on Etsy.

  6. Adam –
    I love drawing. I continue to love drawing by only taking jobs that I want to do. Someday I may reach a point where that process will pay all my bills but until then I also work a Day Job. (Or will once I find another one.)

    Dan –
    I’ve got no problem with you putting me up on that page 🙂

    Candace –
    Cthulhupalooza is a great name. I’m sorry things went badly for your friend. Hopefully she’s found other paths for her creativity?

  7. Honestly, I think she gave up. I try to prod her into writer now and then, but she’d gone back to school to be a nurse, has two kids, and I think she’s basically “decided to become a grownup” and let go of her dreams. Who knows but that she’ll pick up a pen and start writing again, but at this point she hasn’t really written anything in going on two years. That’s not so bad considering I once went three years after a publisher screwed me over on a contract… leading me on that my book would be published and then not responding to any of my messages until a month after the book was due out. When he finally did get back to me, he pretended that his “new investors” didn’t like the idea… and that he had sent me numerous emails. o.O

    Then a little over a year later he and his company disappeared off the face of the earth. Karma, or another writer took matters into their own hands… who can say??? He was a small horror publisher. so chances are good. Mwahahahaha!

  8. I, also, love drawing, but I’ll never make a living at it. On the other hand, I love writing just as much, and endeavor to make a living at that, too (and I’ve finally sold a novel to an upstart company, squee!). That illustrator buddy of mine also still works a day job, and it’s one of the reasons he speaks poorly of industry treatment, since most of the others he’s introduced me to also do this. He’s planning on starting his own company dedicated to illustration distribution or something like that… I’ll have to ask the next time I see him.

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