Friday, May 11, 2012

On the Road to No Where

  I know, I know, what you're all thinking. You're thinking that I just bugged out on my blog again. I know,  I've done it in the past. I know, I always come back, full of sweet talk, promising never to leave you again. Always swearing that this time it will be different, that this time ill post regularly. Then, after a few posts, I tell you that I'm going out for a pack of cigarettes and don't come home for months, making all kind of promises again. 
Well this time was it was different. This time I have a good excuse. You see, I've been down the rabbit hole, through the looking glass and to see the wizard, in what has to be the most bizarre experience of my professional career.  In short, last fall I contracted to do covers for a fantasy series by this guy set to self publish. Then shortly before he launched the first book it got picked up by a MAJOR publisher (we're talking MAJOR). The deal was huge-- a quarter of a million dollars for the series.  The author decided to to set up his own publishing company and then license the series to the MAJOR publisher. One of his best friend quit his job to run the business side, and he hired me to be Art Director, giving me a percentage of the company and a commission percentage on all royalties and licenses on our products.

Pretty fucking sweet, right? 

But wait it gets even better.

You see the MAJOR publisher showed the series to a MAJOR movie production company (the one from of New Zealand) and they were interested in developing the project. It was like a whirl wind sweeping though and suddenly I wasn't in Kansas any more. Imagine, little old me about to fly off to New York for a big meeting with the MAJOR publisher and the MAJOR production company.

Pretty unbelievable, right?

too good to be true, right?


it was a lie 
there was no deal. 
it was a lie
the letter welcoming said author to the MAJOR publishers' publishing family, the proposed publishing schedule for the four books, the quarter million dollar contract, all on forged letter head of the MAJOR publisher, along with forged signatures. 

it was all a lie
who does this? what kind of person would form a company and register it with the IRS? Draw up contracts with me? Have his friend quit his job? forge contracts and letters from a major publisher? The man was obviously pathological. I really think he believed, in some fantasy world of his own making, that it would all work out, That if he could keep the con going long enough, his book  would somehow get published and become best seller and he become a famous author -- 

---or maybe it was all about the grift to see how much he could get and get away with. Turns out he did take the forged contract to the bank to try and get a line of credit.  I don't know....

 I do know that over and over there were little things, coincidences, delays, mistakes that made me uneasy and I kept thinking,  this just doesn't add up. So much so, I only told a few friends about it and never announced it on my blog or facebook or in public. And I continued to do freelance work along the way. But, I would be lying if I claimed to know it was all just a big con job. I wanted it to be true and went along with it, hoping it would work out. Stupid me. All in all I only lost a few months of work. Creating a cover and character concepts for a book that may not even exist, designing letter head, logos, business cards for this sham company he formed.  But others left their Jobs, supported him. These people lost much, much more. All of this has been turned over to the legal department at the MAJOR publisher, and the supposed author has deleted his presence from the web an slunk off to who knows where.

I know I sound glib, but in truth, it leaves me sad..... not only for the obvious reasons, but I did some really beautiful artwork for this asshat that will never be published (above is the cover, below a concept piece)--  all of this work, time and for what?  Just petty grift and a pathetic need to be seen as a great man.

Ugh.... I need a smoke, going out for some cigarettes. I'll be right back, I promise....

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