Category: Miscellaneous

8 Things To Keep In Mind When Boosting And Supporting People

Posted May 11, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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One thing that, in my experience, comes up a fair bit when people see aces and aros ask allies to speak up about the issues we face too is the idea that people can’t boost our voices or issues because something else is happening that affects that person directly. This post, however, won’t look at aces and aros specifically. It looks at general ways I’ve found that are important when speaking up about the hurt done to other marginalisations when your own marginalisation is being hurt too.

It is written from an ace perspective on account of the fact that I am ace spec, after all, but I have done my best to keep the tone of this piece neutral-to-positive and general. It’s also, because I spend most of my time on Twitter, going to use Twitter terminology more than anything else, but I think it applies across various platforms. I hope you’ll find it useful, so let’s dive straight in with the first and, in my opinion, most important point!

1. Keep talking about your own issues.

Seriously. Don’t stop talking about the issues that you and your community face to talk about someone else’s. For one, if you don’t share that marginalisation, that community doesn’t need you to speak for them. For another, your voice regarding what’s happening in your community matters! It’s important!

Do you know who’s qualified to talk about the issues you/your community faces? You are. Don’t stop speaking just because another marginalisation is asking you to boost their voices.

This is especially true and especially important when multiple trashfires are happening in different communities simultaneously. Talk about yours! You don’t have to make threads to discuss what’s happening in another community unless you choose to. People just want a boost in visibility. That’s all.

If you share both? It’s okay to pick and choose which one matters most to you if you need (or want) to. Focus on whichever topic is more important to you at that time. You’re not obliged to talk about both (or either) of them. Just… Do try to boost both if you can.
Relatively, if you think the best approach for you is to focus on making positive and inclusive art and boosting the same, that is absolutely valid. You do what makes sense for you. Everyone does activism in their own way (and this is activism) and there is no One True Way.

2. Retweet or otherwise boost other marginalised voices.

Okay, so you’re dealing with your own stuff, but you see a tweet about something another marginalised group is dealing with. Why not hit that RT/reblog or like button? Even if you don’t engage with it otherwise, that will help the issue become visible to other people and it sure as heck will make the people you’ve retweeted/reblogged feel like they’re being heard and seen.

That’s basically it, though. Whatever you’re dealing with, unless you’re in the middle of a tweetstorm or aught, why not hit that RT button? It only takes a few seconds and a single click and your extended reach could help a lot.

Yes, even if your reach is only tiny. You know that saying about small things adding up? That applies here too. Lots of boosts from people with small reach adds up. It’s like crowdfunding. If 100 people can only chip in $1 each, the total sum raised is still $100 dollars. That can still make a huge difference!

But this is social media, so chances are that a boost is going to reach more than one person. I’m terrible with numbers, so to make maths easier for me (and you!), let’s say that each RT boost will reach 10 people who’ve never heard of the issue before.

If 20 people boost one of my tweets, that means that 200 people whom I could never reach on my own saw that tweet. If those people then boost your boost, that reaches another 20 people each and… that’s… like… 20 times 20 number of people who’d see it so that’s like 400 people? (This is a genuine question.) In any case, that one RT you gave me has the potential to reach exponentially more people than I could reach on my own. And all of that just for a few seconds of effort to hit a button!

3. Don’t speak for the people you’re boosting. Speak with them.

If you don’t share the marginalisation, you are not an expert on what they face. Let them speak for themselves. They’re perfectly capable of it and usually prefer to.

Just to be clear: that doesn’t mean “don’t talk about what other marginalisations deal with”. It just means “Don’t make your voice the only voice your audience sees”. Remember that you’re boosting the people, not the issue.

There are things that, if you don’t have a particular marginalisation, you will never understand in the same way. There are nuances you’ll miss and microaggressions that you might accidentally repeat. You’re trying the best you can, but there are just some things that you can’t see because you have privilege along that particular axis. Sucks, but that’s life.

If you want to speak with people, by all means do. Your voice will be welcome. But please remember this isn’t about you. Do your best to centre the people who are being hurt.

You may not always succeed. That’s okay! We’re people. We mess things up. It happens.

Relatedly, this also applies to including ways for people to support you financially without including ways for them to support the people who are actually being hurt the same way. Yes, I know that it takes a lot of effort and emotional labour to speak about an issue like, say, why something is erasive, but remember this is not about you. If you direct people only to places where they can financially support you, you’re making that thread about you and your voice, even if you include links or boost other people’s threads at the same time. They’re doing the same labour you are and, if you don’t share the marginalisation, at a much greater personal cost. Remember to centre them.

It’s okay to tell people “Hey, if you want to support me, here are ways to do it” if you also focus on ways they can support people of the marginalisation you’re boosting! Please remember to centre them in this area too! They could often use the boost!

4. Recognise that it’s okay if you, personally, cannot boost a specific instance.

Really, it’s okay. People don’t know your circumstances. If you, personally, cannot boost something at a specific time, that’s okay. You, personally, are just one person and self-care is important. Also we can’t boost all the things all the time. It’s exhausting and leads to burn-out.

Just… If you never boost a specific group or topic, even when you’re aware of an issue, and you do routinely boost other groups, the people from the group you never speak about will notice. And at that point, you may have to ask yourself why you never boost that particular group because it’s clearly a pattern that only occurs with that particular group.

5. Recognise that not all marginalised groups get the same level of boosting.

Let me be very clear here: this is not me trying to play a round of oppression Olympics. This is just a simple fact because not all marginalisations are equally widely understood or discussed. Asexuality and aromanticism are largely invisible, so of course straightwashing an aroace character is going to have less visibility (and thus less boosting) than straightwashing a gay character is.

The thing is, though, those smaller marginalisations will notice when they don’t get the same level of boosting and they’ll talk about that amongst themselves. And when they do, someone somewhere is going to tell them that they have no right to be upset about the issue because X, Y or Z is far more important.

That response is what turns it into oppression Olympics. That response is telling marginalised people how to feel and that their issues and oppression isn’t as important as another. So don’t do that. If people are hurt by the lack of support, allow them to talk about that without trying to shame them for it.

Sometimes, members of these groups will vent about the differences in boosting. Sometimes they’ll discuss it amongst themselves. I stress: they’re not doing that because they want to say “Oh, we’re more oppressed than others!” They’re doing it because, actually, it really hurts to see others speak up for or boost everyone else and they just want to talk about that hurt, process it and deal with it. And yes they often also phrase as “Why us? Why does no one listen to us? Why does everyone else get boosted?” because those are valid questions to ask when that’s why you’re hurting. (I have yet to see anyone decide that the answer is “Because we’re more oppressed!” It’s usually something along the lines of “Because we’re invisible”.)

Now, obviously, if someone is making threads about how their issues are more important or trying to derail existing discussions, that’s a different matter. Do not do these things. They are wrong on so many levels and, really, the only thing it accomplishes is that you’re hurting the community you’re trying to help. You’re also hurting the other community that was originally being discussed. Don’t do this. It is harmful to everyone.

6. Be prepared to learn.

Issues don’t just disappear because we RT them (though we can dream and wish). If you’re RTing a specific instance once, chances are that there are more examples of that instance either in the past or in the future that you’re not aware of. That’s okay! You don’t need to be aware of each instance individually ever!

My point here is that when people are talking about issues they face because they’re part of a marginalised group, chances are that this singular instance is an example of something systemic. For example: an article discussing how Jughead might still be ace (and makes no mention of his aromanticism) is a single instance of aro erasure that you can call out. But there have been articles that did it before and there will, almost certainly (T_T) be articles that do it afterwards. It’s a pattern of aro erasure.

Sometimes you’ll easily be able to see how the system repeats itself. Sometimes you won’t. But just because you can’t see it that doesn’t mean it’s not there. (Remember: if you don’t share the marginalisation, you may not notice it. Heck, even if you do share it, you may not notice it at first!)

Anyone, calling out a specific instance once likely isn’t going to do much besides making you feel good for helping.

Be aware of the fact that specific instances that gain discussion traction are often symptoms and examples of a wider problem. You don’t need to know (or recognise) all the individual instances. You do need a rough idea of what the framework it occurs in is, so you can speak out against the framework the instances occur in. And that requires a bit of effort to learn what’s happening in that instance you saw and why it matters.

You don’t have to drop everything to learn about that framework right there and then! Especially if you’re dealing with an issue in your own communities or have personal issues that mean you’re not up to learning new things, you don’t have to drop everything immediately. Again, you are important too. Focus on yourself. Practice self-care. You matter.

But when you’re in a better place and can manage it, try to learn about the issues those other marginalisations face. You want them to learn about the issues you deal with too, right? If you’re never willing to learn about other people, you can’t really expect them to be willing to learn about you.

7. Self-care is important.

I’ve said that a few times and in different ways, but it’s worth repeating and giving it its own point. As many people have pointed out, if you’re marginalised in any way self-care is the most radical thing you can do. I assume that, if you’re reading this, you’re marginalised in at least one way yourself. If you’ve ever spoken out about anything, you’ll undoubtedly know that doing so comes at a price. Trolls will find you and harass you for it. They’ll do the same if you speak out for people whose marginalisation you don’t share.

Practice self-care. Don’t feel obligated to take on more than you can handle. See also: don’t speak for others. That’s a related issue. Often, I see people think that “help us” means “speak for us and get attacked by the trolls for us” and… Listen, I won’t deny that it can be nice to have someone else handle the brunt of the troll attacks for you, but that doesn’t mean they should. No one is obliged to take on trolls. If someone chooses to, that is incredibly generous of them, but it should be their choice.

If you don’t want to take on trolls for another group, that’s okay. Never let anyone tell you that it’s not. It is not your job or obligation to take a proverbial bullet for other marginalised groups.

Take care of yourself too when you boost other people. Boost in ways that balances with your needs and personality.

8. Consider boosting positive things related to a marginalisation.

Again, I’ve mentioned this before, but I thought it deserved its own thread. So something is trash and people are hurting? Boosting their hurt and their discussions isn’t the only way to boost people from that marginalisation! You can also boost positive things that people from that marginalisation have done or are doing!

For example: if a white author publishes a racist book, boost non-white creators and encourage people to support them financially. That creates positive visibility for the people who are being harmed by that instance and it can introduce people to new favourites and marginalised people to creators who share their marginalisation. It is powerful to read books by people who get you.

Marginalised creators often need the boost for visibility and many struggle financially, so your boosts of their work can offer concrete support in a way that boosting the conversations and threads can’t.

And on that note, I think that’s me all rambled out. I hope this is helpful to you! Please do use this post as a jumping out to add more things people can do or shouldn’t do while boosting others. And let me know if I’ve messed something up or left it unclear. Let’s work together to make the world a more inclusive and positive place for everyone!

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Lynn’s 3-Step Guide to Getting Started with Indie Publishing

Posted May 5, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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I’ve been asked recently how to get started with indie publishing. That’s… a slightly tricky question since, like so many questions, the answer is roughly “It depends”. That’s not me being coy! It really does depend on who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, what your budget it and what you want to accomplish. There’s more but that’s a good start!

Nevertheless there are a few basic things that you’ll need to take into account if you want to pursue self-publishing. First and most importantly: you need to research your options. You need to know what you want to do and what will work for you.

For example: Do you want to publish to Amazon exclusively? Do you want to publish via Draft2Digital, Pronoun or Smashwords? Do you want to offer only ebooks or only print? Or do you want to offer both? What about audiobooks? If you want to publish print books, do you go with CreateSpace, IngramSpark or some other publisher entirely? Do you hire someone to do the work for you or do you want to invest the time yourself? Do you want to set up a small imprint for your own books? If so, can you design the logo yourself or do you want to hire someone to do it for you? What are the benefits and drawbacks of any and all of these choices? Etc, etc.

That’s… a lot of question to throw at you, sorry. They’re important, but you don’t have to tackle them all in one go! For me, personally, the biggest issue was anxiety, so for me the main thing that I needed to do was a quick way to get my work out there and then sort the rest later. It’s not a strategy I recommend unless you need it, but it’s a strategy. Anyway, let’s break it down a bit by looking at what you need before you get to that “hit publish” button.

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Kindness of Gifts

Posted May 4, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Today in Anonymous Kindnesses Specific To The Lynn, we tackle what you will probably think is a slightly frivolous and entirely unexpected topic: book gifting.

I told you it was frivolous. But if you haven’t yet noticed from my blog, I really like books. Most all of my friends really like books. And I think one of the things we like most is sharing books.

And it’s almost always a nice feeling to find yourself facing an unexpected gift which was given purely because someone cares about you. (Disclaimer: Not everyone thinks this is a nice feeling. If you know someone like that, honour their feelings on the matter! And maybe try to find some compromise if possible.)

But if you’re someone who likes being given gifts (which I am!), then it is a great thing to know that someone cared enough to gift me something. Especially when it’s a book (and most likely on my wishlist or chosen with care because the gifter thought I’d like it), because obviously books are my one true weakness.

So… I know that I said this was a post specifically about book gifting, but of course this applies to other gifts as well. It’s just that books are the best gift anyone can give me if you’re looking for a gift for me personally. (I’m also really fond of “I donated to X charity in your name!” as gifts.)

And my friends know this. Of course I do my best to return the favour when I can afford to. ^_^

One of the reasons random gifts can be so kind is because they can be timely reminders that someone cares about you. As someone who deals with depression (don’t worry; it’s usually under control), it’s something that can have a lot of emotional impact because it’s such a concrete reminder that someone cares about you enough to spend time (and/or money) on finding (and/or making) you the perfect gift.

That’s powerful stuff.

And I’m grateful to everyone who’s ever sent me gifts, even when I’ve not always been good at graciously accepting them upon arrival, because knowing that people care is the greatest gift of all. <3

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Culture Consumption April 2017

Posted May 2, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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What I've Posted

What I've Read

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows: My thoughts will follow. I enjoyed this, but I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped I would.

Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver: My thoughts will follow. This was delightful. Not perfect, but utterly and entirely delightful and I’d be happy to recommend it to anyone looking for a diverse read and a read that offers hope and goodness.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: My thoughts will follow, but basically this book is absolutely amazing and if you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac: My thoughts will follow. This was a beautifully written look at Navajo code talkers in WW2. I think with the amount of information it includes it leans more towards creative nonfiction than a novel, but don’t let that put you off. It works well with the structure of the book, it’s an important piece of history and it’s well-written.

What I'm Reading

A Courtship of Dragons by Becca Lusher: Slowly, slowly, this story is continuing. I’m… oddly not enjoying it as much as I normally like Becca’s work, though. It feels far less polished and strong than her work usually is. (Sorry, Becca!)

Masquerade by Laura Lam: I’ve finally tracked down a copy! So of course I dove straight in. I’m enjoying it so far, though it’s taken me a bit longer than I thought to settle into the world Lam’s built these past two books. (Masquerade picks up right where Shadowplay left off.) You can read it without (re)reading book 2, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Dragongift by Becca Lusher: Wherein the Adventures of Mhysra, Cumulo and the other surviving Riders continue! Also wherein the plot thickens, Yullik remains terrifying and we may slowly be learning more about Dhori. It’s as different in tone as Rift Riders was to Wingborn, but the heart and core of the series, the characters and their relationships with one another, continues just as strongly.

What I've Played

Technobabylon: My thoughts can be found here, but if you enjoy diverse futuristic settings in gaming, do check it out to see if it’s something you’re interested in. I found it a lot of fun.

Divinity: Original Sin 2: This is still only in Alpha. It plays quite similar to the first game, except with some changed dynamics (you don’t start off with two characters) and the option to play as several different races rather than only as human. Being an alpha, things are subject to change, but I’ve had a lot of fun returning to Rivellon and I’m looking forward to seeing how the game develops.

What I've Watched

Rogue One: Everyone who knows me and watched this before I did and didn’t tell me I was going to need tissues? I hate you for not telling me I would need tissues. Seriously, what kind of friend are you not to tell me I would be needing tissues? Glad to have finally seen it, though, and kinda looking forward to seeing it again (WITH TISSUES) now that I know what to expect and at some point where no one will disturb me so I can actually watch it in peace.

Sera Myu: I’m slowly wending my way through the musicals. So far I’ve seen the ones available to me up to the original Sailor Stars musical. Next up is the kaiteiban of the Stars musical. I’m really enjoying them and because my brain is mush, they all get only one entry this month, sorry! Most have got a number of really big plot holes and the costumes are… something special that only happened in the 90s but that’s what makes them glorious, and the shows just spread cheer and joy. The cast looks like they’re having a blast in every musical and I love them to bits. <3

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Are you criticising the whole book when you criticise the blurb?

Posted April 19, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Are you, though?

Spoiler: the answer is “no”.

tl;dr A blurb is a short text designed to give you an idea of what the book will be contain. Blurbs can be badly written. It is okay to criticise a blurb for being badly written or throwing up red flags. Also no marginalised people DON’T have to “read the book first”.

For a broad context (because I kept it reasonably broad): whenever marginalised groups even discuss potentially harmful content (never mind actively calling it out as harmful), there will be someone who does not share that marginalisation who pops up to say “You can’t criticise the book without reading it first!”

And, yeah, we can. Readers do it all the time, actually, even those claiming you can’t criticise a book without reading it start to finish. Making judgement values about the content of a book we haven’t read is part and parcel of how we decide what to read and whether to read that specific book. It’s what blurbs (and reviews) are for. That is their purpose.

Okay, no. A blurb’s purpose is to convince as many people as possible to pick up the book (and if they don’t like it, well… they’ve already paid for it now). But the way it does that is by telling people what the book is about and enticing them to make the judgement value “this book is worth my time and money”.

Anyway, here‘s a thread I did today.

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SeraMyu Livetweets Scheduling

Posted April 18, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous, News / 0 Comments

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Saturday is going to be SeraMyu livetweet day! :O Why? Well, simply put because I think Saturday is going to have the greatest chance of letting people join in or follow along with the livetweet if they want to. 😀

So… Let’s first start off with the basic details, such as the time. I’m going to start at around 20.00 CEST. I’m really, really sorry to everyone for whom that happens to be the middle of the night! (It’s about 14.00 EDT and 04.00 AEST, so… Yeah.)

This should hopefully give me enough time to do everything I need to that day, so I can focus solely on the livetweets, chat with people a while afterwards if anyone wants to and still go to sleep at a vaguely reasonable hour. The musicals are about 1.5 to 2 hours, but since I’m livetweeting, tend to pause in between to screencap or ramble or the like, you can safely assume it’ll take me about twice that long to watch the whole musical.

I’m really excited about this and I look forward to seeing you all for the livetweets starting this Saturday! <3<3<3<3<3<3

What’s the schedule like?

I’ve already watched the first three, so I’ll leave those out. That leaves the schedule looking like this:

First Stage

  • 22-04 Sailor Moon SuperS – (Kaiteiban) Yume Senshi – Ai – Eien ni… Saturn Fukkatsu Hen (1996 Spring Special)
  • 29-04 Sailor Moon Sailor Stars (1996 Summer Special)
  • 06-05 Sailor Moon Sailor Stars (Kaiteiban) (1997 Winter Special)
  • 13-05 Eien Densetsu (1997 Summer Special)
  • 20-05 Eien Densetsu (Kaiteiban) – The Final First Stage (1998 Winter Special)

Second Stage

  • 27-05 Shin Densetsu Kourin (1998 Summer Special)
  • 03-06 Kaguya Shima Densetsu (1999 Spring Special)
  • 10-06 Kaguya Shima Densetsu (Kaiteiban) Natsuyasumi! Houseki Tankentai (1999 Summer Special)
  • 17-06 Shin / Henshin – Super Senshi e no Michi – Last Dracul Jokyoku (2000 Winter Special)
  • 24-06 Kessen / Transylvania no Mori – Shin Toujou! Chibi Moon wo Mamoru Senshi-tachi (2000 Summer Special)
  • 01-07 Kessen / Transylvania no Mori (Kaiteiban) – Saikyou no Kataki Dark Cain no Nazo (2001 Winter Special)
  • 08-07 Last Dracul Saishuu Shou – Chou Wakusei Death Vulcan no Fuuin (2001 Spring Special)
  • 15-07 Tanjou! Ankoku no Princess Black Lady (2001 Summer Special)
  • 22-07 Tanjou! Ankoku no Princess Black Lady (Kaiteiban) – Wakusei Nemesis no Nazo (2002 Winter Special)
  • 29-07 10th Anniversary Festival – Ai no Sanctuary (2002 Spring Special)
  • 05-08 Mugen Gakuen – Mistress Labyrinth (2002 Summer Special)
  • 12-08 Mugen Gakuen – Mistress Labyrinth (Kaiteiban) (2003 Winter Special)
  • 19-08 Starlights – Ryuusei Densetsu (2003 Summer Special)
  • 26-08Kakyuu-Ouhi Kourin – The Second Stage Final (2004 Winter Special)

Third Stage

  • 02-09 Shin Kaguya Shima Densetsu (2004 Summer Special)
  • 09-09 Shin Kaguya Shima Densetsu (Kaiteiban) – Marinamoon Final (2005 Winter Special)

Will you be collecting these livetweets into Lynn Reacts ebooks for easier reading like you’ve been doing for the tv shows?

Honestly? Not unless a lot of people want me to and then I’ll probably add it as a smaller scale Patreon goal. These ebooks do take time to create, after all. I’ve learnt my lessons from three seasons of Crystal and the live action version. I would love to make everything available as (everfree) ebooks for fellow fans to enjoy easily wherever they choose, but it’s just not something I’m able to invest time in for no return right now. 🙁

Will you be adding screenshots and gifs?

Most likely only a handful of the former. I’m terrible at remembering to make screenshots and adding gifs would (feel like it) just take ages even now I know what I’m doing. Again, though, if there’s interest in me doing livetweets of tv shows and films, I’d be happy to add it as a specific Patreon goal. 😀

You said fansubs? Where’d you get them?

I did say fansubs, yes. And my deep, deep gratitude to all the fansubbers who made these musicals accessible to those of us who don’t understand Japanese or don’t understand it well enough to know what’s going on.

The fansubs come from SeaofSerenity.net. With many thanks to the people at SeaofSerenity for their hard work and dedication!

I have a question or a comment you didn’t answer!

Ask or comment away! It’s what the comment section is for, after all. 😀

Just to Recap the Details:

Topic: Sera Myu musicals livetweets
Date: Every Saturday, starting April 22th, 2017 until September 9th, 2017
Time: 20.00 CEST / 14.00 EDT / 04.00 AEST
Location: My Twitter account!

I hope to see you all Saturday! <3

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Addendum: Indies and Translations, Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Posted April 6, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Aaaaand something I completely and utterly forgot to mention explicitly in my post about whether indies should invest in translation and feel is too important not to create a new post for it:Sometimes writers will have personal reasons to want their works translated. This is totally and absolutely a valid reason!

I focused the initial post on just the practicalities of it deciding whether or not a translation is worth it for you from a business perspective, but there are many non-business reasons why someone might want to translate a work into a different language.

These reasons are also reasons that you should take into account when making the decision about whether or not you’re happy to translate your works into or out of a language. There can be a tremendous emotional boon to translating your works into more languages.

I suspect this is a boon you’re most likely to see with multilingual authors who feel like they have to publish in English because market practicalities. That’s because these authors are, by and large, asked to set aside a large chunk of who they are in order to get their works out there in a way that is palatable to the majority.

You see it in the setting changes in books like HEX or The Dream Merchant. You see it in the way that, for example, a South-East Asian author may talk about how their work was rejected from a Western-based, English-language market because it was ‘too Asian’. When you’re not part of the majority (and in English-language/international publishing “the majority” is very much “white Americans”), there’s a tendency to expect people to conform to that majority and to hide away any traces of foreignness.

In these cases, translations can provide a lot of solace. Or just excitement that your story is available in a language that is important to you. You may not always be able to recoup the costs (which sucks), but it may well be worth it to fight back that tiny little bit against the linguistic and cultural dominance of English.

And that is totally valid! If these are reasons why you’d want to see your books translated, get them translated! <3 It does matter! Your voice matters.

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Kindness of Teachers (Again)

Posted April 5, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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And since, so far, anonymous people from my past have been a big thing in my posts on kindnesses I’ve experienced, let’s continue the trend!

This time we’re focusing on university! Where I took syntax courses. They didn’t advance beyond intermediate English syntax, I don’t think, but that’s okay! You may have remembered from last time that I said that I can get bored by classes?

Well, syntax was one of those classes. Not because I didn’t like the subject (I did!), but because the homework assignments we had didn’t cover what I wanted to learn and what I wanted to tackle. I know why they didn’t and it’s not like I never made mistakes, but they just… felt easy. There wasn’t any challenge in thinking about making the exercises. Figuring out why my answers were wrong, now. That was a wonderful challenge, but it didn’t exactly help me with my homework.

And yes this is the point where I admit to being a terrible student who rarely did her syntax homework on time. I was usually scrambling to finish it five minutes before the start of class. I don’t recommend it, but what’s done is done.

Anyway, I did actually do syntax during the time when I was supposed to do my homework! It just… wasn’t the exercises I should be practicing. It was usually a sentence from the back of whatever book I’d packed to read on the train ride back. It was a sentence I’d carefully selected to practice both the material I was supposed to be learning and explore the ways of syntax that we hadn’t yet covered in class.

And every week I did these sentences, I would check whether our teacher had some time left to go over the work with me and discuss what I’d done with it. She always had time for me. She didn’t always have a lot of time, true, but she always found the time to look the sentence over and correct it, despite the fact that she’d never seen the sentence before and despite the fact that they weren’t in any way academically sound practice sentences.

It’s one of my favourite memories from my time at university. True, I didn’t take syntax or any form of linguistics for my MA and moved onto purely literature, but I genuinely enjoy syntax as a subject and those few minutes at the end of a class to look over a student’s enthusiastic and excited “I like this so much let me do random extra work that’s really difficult!” sentences really meant a lot. ^_^

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Culture Consumption March 2017

Posted April 2, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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March, oh, March. Let’s just see what I’ve been up to in March. You know, apart from trying to recover my feet and get back up. ^_^ Let’s go!

What I've Posted

What I've Read

Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd: I think my main let-down about this book was how little it actually was about the body that Fergus found in the bog. It sounded like we’d get some rough balance between their two lives, but we get little more than the bare bones of the historical story. Outside of that, I enjoyed the book. Its plot was a little predictable in places, but the characters and the personalities carry it through. (My main gripe would have been when Fergus speaks up in a room full of archaeologists and experts on the field. I’m pretty sure at least one of them should have had the same idea Fergus did.)

City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault: My thoughts will come later, but in short: SQUEE! *lobs a pillow at Larryn because Larryn* I heart this book so so much and I want to use it to set up a writing curriculum on How To Include Characters’ Sexualities Overtly Yet Without Labels. *spins* This is glorious and lovely and I highly recommend it if you enjoy political fantasy and queer fantasy. Read iiiii~t.

The Elephant Party and Other Stories by Paul Biegel: A friend gave me this book because they knew I wanted to try some more Paul Biegel in translation. I didn’t think any of the stories in this were any good, I’m afraid. I can see why this one hasn’t been reprinted at all.

Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron: This was amaaaaaaaaaazing. I loved this! I loved how slowly everything built up and the twists and turns and revelations and the world-building and just whoo! <3<3<3<3<3<3 (My eloquence. Let me show you it.)

Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott: I’m a sucker for fairytale retellings and, clearly, something saw me push through in two reading sessions, but I can’t say I enjoyed the book much. It was okay, but it didn’t blow me away. The superficialness and the handwaveyness of the setting bothered me and neither the main romance nor the protagonist’s drive for vengeance worked for me. Also this book comes with a trigger warning for on-screen explicit self-harm and, in my opinion, badly handled self-harm that’s more a plot device that showed up when convenient than an integral part of Suzume/Rin/Yue’s character. Not to mention that the way the book handled Akira’s gender unsettled me in ways I don’t really have words for but that would make me hesitant to recommend it to transgender readers without some large caveats. 🙁

Who Is Willing by M.C.A. Hogarth: Yay, space adventures! More stories about Alysha Forrest. I love Alysha and I love her discovering her self and her morals. I did find that it… annoyed me more than I’d expected to see her be the only person to make any kind of effort to get to know the Nayshi and the Platies. Alysha does have her own prejudices to deal with and these form the emotional heart of the book, but I wished we’d seen just a few more people make more of an attempt the way that Alysha did.

What I'm Reading

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows: This is… An odd book for me. It’s well-written and intriguing, but somehow it’s just not holding my interests at all. T_T

City of Betrayal by Claudie Arseneault:  One day, I will talk about this. That day is not right now. Suffice to say I find it very hard not to squeal at you all and start a livetweet of my reactions.

A Courtship of Dragons by Becca Lusher: Awww, Estenarven and Mastekh are so cute together. <3

Dragongift by Becca Lusher: Whooo! More Rift Riders stories! Very curious to see where this is going to go. So far (and by ‘so far’ I mean ‘we’re on chapter 2 still’ we haven’t yet had any answers for the questions left by the previous book. We do, however, get to deal with the aftermath.)

What I've Played

Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan: I picked this game up as part of a Humble Bundle at some point and only just got around to checking it out. It’s an ARPG set in an African fantasy world and it shows. It’s glorious. The art is beautiful and, while I’m not a fan of the combat system, it’s still fun to use. I haven’t played much of it yet and right now I have some smaller issues with the writing, but overall I’m really intrigued by the narrative and looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds and the system continues.

Torment: Tides of Numenera: Last month, I said that I hoped I wasn’t near the end of the game. Alas, I was. I have to admit that I’m actually a little disappointed because I thought the environment would be bigger. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s a ton of replay value and I enjoyed myself a lot, but it wasn’t… what I thought it would be based on the hype surrounding it. It felt short and cramped. Even though I did my best to explore every single option available to me, a single playthrough took me, what, 25 hours when I’m used to them taking upwards of 40 hours. It’s a noticeable difference. Storywise, I liked it. It was fun to discover the setting and the story behind it and I loved some of the tougher choices in the game.

What I've Watched

Beauty and the Beast: Yes. I did watch it. I… have to admit I wasn’t much impressed by anything but the expanded backstory for the Beast and the increase in scenes where he and Belle bond. (Belle is my demisexual Disney princess headcanon, so of course I liked that.) I… am heartily unimpressed with Cogsworth and Lumière as well as with LeFou. And the scene where the wardrobe dresses men up in fancy French dresses just did not strike me as funny. The songs… I get that Disney wanted to make them fresh and new, but I really hated some of the changes. Disney, you’ll have people who want to sing along with these because they have for years, why are you purposefully tripping them up? And… Yeah. I just. When I heard we were getting a live action remake, I admit that I was expecting something I would love even more than the animated film because it’d be longer and we’d have a chance to fill it with all the things we’ve learned and… I felt like the film tossed or altered most of what I loved about the original. T_T

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Indies and Translations, Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Posted March 29, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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I saw this discussed recently and I thought that, as a multilingual reader with experience with multiple language markets, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the matter.

First things first: The answer is slightly different depending on the market you’re operating in. If you’re looking to translate your works into English, and you can afford a high quality translation, that’s a massive market that’ll be open to you. It’s not just the English-speaking countries that open up to you. It’s all the countries where English is taught as a second language and your native language is not too. So, if you’re thinking of expanding into the English-language market, the answer may well be “Yes, you should”.

When you’re looking at translating into languages, things get murkier and you’ll need to do more research to decide whether it’s worth it for you. Translation isn’t cheap. (Personally, I’d charge about $0.06 per word, which afaik, is still a fair bit below average and means a novelette at exactly 17,500 words would cost you about $1,050 to translate.) Markets vary in size. I can all but guarantee you that paying me to translate your story into Dutch will cost you far more than you’ll recoup. Besides, many Dutch readers are equally happy to read in English, so your book is already available to the majority. If you wanted to translate into Dutch, by all means do, but make sure you have a kick-ass marketing plan and a good reason to do it at a loss before you start because you’ll need them.

In contrast, for example, the Spanish language market is much bigger. You stand a far better chance at recouping your loss and, in my experience, there’s actually a sizeable chunk of that potential market that cannot access your books in English and will not be able to unless you translate it. That up-front investment in translation (and changing the text on your cover) may well recoup itself in time. You’ll still need a marketing plan and you still need to prepare for the chance of a loss, but the chances that you’ll be making a profit are much higher.

You might be better off doing what some authors have done which is pay for the translation out of pocket and shop it around to traditional publishers, using your indie sales to help convince a publisher that they want to publish the book you’ve already translated for them. They won’t be the ones paying extra for the translation since you already paid it, so you’ll stand a better chance of getting your work accepted than if you were shopping the English proposal around.

Whichever way you look at it: venturing into a foreign market is a risk, especially when it’s a market where you don’t speak the language at all and are dependent entirely on other people to tell you what’s going on. You may not want to deal with that aspect at all.

In short, my common sense advice is really: do your research and figure out whether the cost is worth the risk to you. It’s expensive and, depending on the market, there’s no real gain to be had. Ask yourself why you want to translate your book and look into your options. You may be much better served shopping the foreign rights of your book around to traditional publishers.

Well, I hope that was somewhat useful to you! ^_^

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