Just got off the phone with my editor, and it looks like not-so-good news for Steady Beat. In fact, it looks like not-so-good news for anybody who's working with TP right now. I'm not sure how much I should say for fear of causing an outright panic with other creators, but essentially, nearly all of Tokyopop's future books will be going straight to web. This wasn't a case-by-case scenario. Neither I nor any other single creators were singled out. It looks like nearly the whole line of non-licensed material will cease printing and be promoted online only.
However, this does not mean "Steady Beat" will never see print. Borders on the verge of bankruptcy hurt a lot of people, but it doesn't mean the end of the world. There are other publishers, other outlets, other venues. Tokyopop could in the future still print the third volume of Steady Beat.
In spite of this potential, however, I am going to try to negotiate print rights back from Tokyopop until such a future time as they choose to bring my books back in print. In the meantime, should Tokyopop fail to follow through with their promise of at least web print, I will put full "previews" of all the books online myself.
We'll see what other rights I may be able to negotiate back, as well. My business partner just recommended a lawyer to me who worked closely on the WGA strike and getting writers paid for online content. What concerns me is this: how will royalties be calculated for online content for our graphic novels? If the books have ads on the web page, we writers should be paid a portion of the add revenue. If readers are required to pay to view, we writers should be paid portions dependent on percentage of hits. Web content was not clearly defined in my contract and therefore should at least fall under that 8% "everything else" clause.
These are the questions I am asking, at least. I'll try to keep people updated with the basic answers I receive from Tokyopop.
Unfortunately, this also means I don't even want to LOOK at "Steady Beat 3" at the moment. I am heartbroken and torn, but I've had a feeling over the past week that I'm going to need to focus on other things. Tokyopop is still paying me for what remains of Steady Beat, but it hurts just to think that it may never see print. If I'd known it would only be published online, I would have spent far less time on inks and artwork, but as it stands, I'm committed to maintaining the quality I started this book off with. And that's okay. I'm proud of this book. I've put a lot of time and effort and improvements in it that I feel blow the first two out of the water completely.
But now, this just means that I'm going to have to delegate it to the back burner for a bit longer and focus instead on finding "Jane's S.O.S." a publisher. I'm a little nervous because it's pushing me out of the nest; I've been keeping "Jane's S.O.S." safely tucked away on my hard drive ever since I finished editing it, because a part of me is scared of putting my little baby out into the world, exposing it to all those terrible elements (and the critics!). But it had to happen sometime. I'm looking at this as it's opportunity to become something real.
And in the long run, I'm remaining optimistic. I truly believe that everything that happens to us has a purpose. I cried after that phone call with my editor, and I've a feeling there will be a lot more crying later once the shock wears off. But I believe firmly in framing in my mind the positive thoughts that will lead me forward instead of the negative ones that leave me spiraling ever inward. It's sad. But it's okay. Life goes on. And I know that from this, I will find better and greater things.
What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right? I know I'm a decent writer. I know I'm a decent artist. One little setback can't hold me back. Not ever.
Looks like TP may be able to give me the print rights back to book 3. Let's keep our fingers crossed!