Bryan Lee O’Malley reads Tokyopop’s contract for their new “Manga Pilot” program and proceeds to tear it into itty-bitty shreds:
Pilot Fee $____, payable in full when we receive and accept the Manga Pilot
That’s a conspicuous blank. I’m not aware of just what they’re offering. Are they asking you to put up your own number? What are they, Radiohead? Also, please note that whatever amount they’re giving you, they aren’t giving it to you until they receive and accept your comic – which is 24-36 pages, by the way, “inked, toned, ballooned, and lettered”, not to mention that you’ll be doing all the digital prepress. (If you’re “only writing”, you get off easy – just a manuscript.)
So, hey, what does accept mean? Does it mean that they might not accept your story, the one you slaved over for weeks or months, and then they’ll be well within their rights to never pay you? Yes. Yes it does.
It also means they might just ask you to change stuff! That’s okay, right? Back and forth, back and forth. You may not know it, but this editorial stuff can take ages. It can also drive a sober man to drink. Not a fun time. And PS, you won’t be paid until it’s all over. The dollar amount that seemed so big when you signed the contract is going to seem smaller and smaller with each passing week. But hey, you live with your parents, right? It’s not like you have anything better to do, right?
If you’re even thinking of submitting your work to TP, you need to read this right away.