View Full Version : Itty-Bitty Publishers and Getting Paid for Your Writing

09-13-2004, 02:27 PM
I generally just hang around on boards; I don't like to post. <img border=0 src="http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/smile.gif" />

But I've read so many of these posts, where wanna-be authors post how they say they'll pay to get published or pay to get an agent. And then someone replies how they should never do that!

I got something simple to add: those people who say "get paid for your work, don't pay someone" are absolutely correct!

I've spent the last few years working in one of the tiniest branches of the publishing industry: role-playing gaming. Yes, I mean stuff like Dungeons and Dragons, GURPS, Rifts, Star Wars RPG, etc.

Well, the RPG industry isn't big, but it sure exists. And every legit company in the batch pays. They don't pay a lot, no, but they don't want YOU to pay THEM for YOUR work!

I spent a year freelancing as an editor and writer, and then another year as a full-timer for an RPG company. This wasn't a huge company, but it was a decent-sized office. They had a professional view of authors and contracts: you get paid for work.

If you signed for a project they already had outlined, you take the outline, write the book, and then send it back for editing. Editing is done in-house and you are not charged for editing. You get paid when you submit the finished manuscript. You get paid royalties. You get paid if you have to pull from the project (they buy out your work for a predetermined amount). You do get docked pay if you submit your manuscript late, but this is made blatantly clear in the contract.

Like many companies, they don't accept unsolicited manuscripts. They do accept ideas for projects, and sometimes hire people who submit solid, well-thought-out ideas. They direct first-time authors to their magazines, which is an excellent way to screen for writers without hurting anyone's feelings.

Not all publishing companies in the RPG industry offer percentages of the profits, but every last one pays. Even in this little industry, though, any legit company pays for your work. Many of them will want to see full manuscripts, but they expect to edit them and they certainly won't charge YOU for editing them. Even the tiny outfits that are just publishing online or very limitedly will be up-front if they can't pay you right away, and understanding if you say "no" to them because of that.

They certainly WON'T charge you. Most people in this industry are in it for a love of the games, not for the money, but they understand others' needs for money. There are outfits that just publish your stuff online and don't pay; those aren't professional writing gigs, those are fan writing.

Anyone who tries any other stunts are out there to get YOUR money!

<img border=0 src="http://www.absolutewrite.com/images/emoteThumbs.gif" />

P.S. And if you do run into some game company that wants to charge you, they're a scam too. I'm not saying any one branch of publishing is immune.<img border=0 src="http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/frown.gif" />

James D. Macdonald
07-29-2005, 08:30 PM
That's called Yog's Law. See http://www.sff.net/people/yog/