It’s been quite a while since I reached into my giant pile of rejection (and some acceptance) letters, so this week I spun up random.org to have it tell me which folder I should reach into. It selected folder I-J, from which I pulled an old contract from Hard Shell Word Factory (now an imprint of Mundania Press, home of some oddly specific genre categorizations), for the eBook rights to Night Watchman. “Hard Shell Word Factory” doesn’t belong in the I-J folder, of course, but, you know, sometimes things get misfiled. But anyway, I picked it, so here it is. Rather than reproducing all umpteen pages of the eBook contract, I thought I would just pull a few selected sections from it, which may serve as an interesting illumination of how the eBook world has changed since the year 2000 (or, as we called it back in those panic-stricken days, “Y2K”).
It’s been a while since I did a Random Rejection, so this week I thought I would reach into my giant file folder of writing correspondence and pull something out of it. But instead of either a rejection or an acceptance letter, I drew this instead:
So this week I reached into my pile of ancient elementary school paperwork and pulled out this one:
So after getting those encouraging letters from the editor at Eclipse, I had to actually produce the scripts. Fortunately that wasn’t a problem; I was pretty prolific back in the day. However, formatting was an issue. From reading reference books (in 1993, you couldn’t just hop on the Internet to find examples of comic book script layouts), I was aware that when submitting comic book scripts as a writer, you have to format them similarly to a movie script, with the action divided into panels. You have to supply POVs, camera angles, etc., and each line of dialogue is numbered; this is all so the artist will know how to arrange everything on the page.
As you can see from the Eclipse editor’s copious notes, in this early Night Watchman draft, I wasn’t very good at any of that yet.
So this week I pulled something really juicy out of my pile of rejections. I may have mentioned before that a number of my books, including Night Watchman and Dragon Stones, started out as comic book series proposals. I was working with an editor at the now-defunct Eclipse Comics on developing several of these. Unfortunately I’m not a particularly good artist, so I was submitting them as scripts that would be illustrated by others. How did it all work out in the end? Well, let’s just say I’ve lived in the San Diego area for eight years now and have yet to attend a Comic-Con.
The other day, I was poking around my old web site in The Internet Archive looking for some information, and I happened to notice my “Response Times” link. This was a report that could be spit out by my old Manuscript Tracking database and which I used to upload from time to time just as a point of interest to show how long it was taking to get responses to submissions. Obviously this information is now completely out of date and utterly useless, but I thought it would be interesting to post its state as of the last time I updated it, over ten years ago. And so, here it is, in all its retro Web 1.0 glory: