Not that anyone probably cares about the book until it gets published, but for those few interested in the arcana of publishing from my perspective, we’re on the contract phase.
I have next to nothing to do with this, because I couldn’t understand a contract if it danced on my head. My agent has a lawyer for this stuff, who vets it all. The great bit about having an agent is that they can and will fight for your royalty rates ‘n stuff, whereas I would just go “Okay, sure, sounds good!” even if they offered me a penny a crate.
The current plan for illustrations is to have me do black and white interior illos–one a chapter or thereabouts–probably the cover, and maybe a color frontispiece. However, adding illustrations also adds to the price, and since the goal with this book is an inexpensive little hardcover, the odds are good that some, and possibly all of it will get cut, depending on how much it costs to produce the book. It’s also possible that they’ll want a different artist for the cover, someone with a proven track record there.
This doesn’t actually bother me in the slightest. For the first time since starting the book process, I feel back on familiar ground–the vagaries of illustration, I understand!
It’s also sort of ironic that this is the way that my illustrations will get into major book stores, for a major publisher, which will be a major coup on my artistic resume. All those years of sending out samples, and my big-league art break comes from writing.
People occasionally ask me how to succeed in art (and lately, terrifyingly, in writing, as if one major sale meant that I had any idea what I was doing!) Once I stop gibbering at the notion that people consider me a success, I generally find myself spreading my hands and trying to explain that my experience is of no use to anyone. It’s the most amazing maze of tangled stupid luck. If I try to nail down one particular spot, the pebble that started the avalanche I wind up years ago, playing a online MUD, being nice to a particular low-level character. (I don’t even remember what I did. Perhaps I was just funny.) And this character’s owner, Kathy, and I became friends, and her husband invited me to be GoH at a local Con, and James broke a tooth and collared T Campbell in a pain-killer induced stupor, who asked me to submit Digger to GraphicSmash, and then it became popular and Sofawolf was kind enough to publish it and then there was an Eisner nomination and then I read a romance novel and then the author, a friend that Kathy had also introduced me to, was telling an agent about what a weirdo I was and then I had an agent and then I wrote a book and then the book sold and then I had to illustrate it, and the only possible moral that we can derive from this is that the secret of artistic success is to be nice to newbies in MMORPGs.
I don’t see myself writing a how-to book based on that any time soon, but hey, you gotta laugh.