about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Saturday, August 01, 2009


Steve Cole recently sent this memo to a group of other game publishers who were discussing the issues of dealing with writers and artists, paying them on time, and negotiating what "control" the writer and artist would have over the development process and over future uses of the work.

1. I, for one, pay artists and writers on time. Always have. My wife runs the money around here, and we have never ordered a printing job, or a piece of art, or a writing project, without having the money in the bank. At the end of the month, the bills are paid. Sometimes I get paid late, but no artist gets paid late. (I watched a good friend run his game publishing company into the ground, taking his full paycheck every month and finally just closing the doors, turning off the phone, and walking away with tens of thousands of dollars of unpaid bills and worse: unpaid taxes. Actually, i watched two good friends with two different companies do that. Wait a minute, three, but the third one wasn't really much of a friend.)

2. I'm lucky. I have more artists begging for work than I can ever employ. If one of them is demanding or hard to work with or does silly things like "lock" his draft art so I cannot "steal" it, or demands some strange form of compensation or control over my future product development or anything other than work for hire, I just go to the next guy on the list.

3. Writers. I'd love to pay writers if they would actually write. I've been waiting four years for five different writers to deliver one particular project (my content, a licensed RPG system) and so far, nobody finished the job, or even got a good start on it before flaking out.

4. Everybody who runs a game company is an artist, a gamer, an entrepreneur, who had to become a businessman (a good one or a bad one) just to get his stuff published. I'm lucky in that my engineering degree came with a few random semesters of business law for engineers, accounting for engineers, business administration for engineers, and so forth, but even at that, I actually took a couple of night courses at the junior college, attended a series of seminars at the local Small Business Development Center, and (gasp!) went down to the bookstore of the local college and bought a textbook on business and a textbook on marketing, put them in my bathroom, and read them cover to cover. Twice. Read a book now and then people; it would do you all a world of good.