Tuesday means it’s time to share my weekly report on the Digital Manga Guild, Digital Manga Publishing’s new, community-based publishing experiment. As I explained in a post last week, I’ve joined the Guild as an inside reporter (with DMP’s consent) in order to give potential participants a chance to see what membership really entails before deciding whether to take the plunge.
Last week, I was notified that I passed my editor’s test and that I needed to become part of a group containing at least one officially accepted translator and typesetter in order to be able to work on any manga. I could do this by either joining up with other accepted individuals, or becoming part of an already-established group.
The DMG forums immediately began to fill up with posts from individual editors (and to a lesser extent, typesetters) seeking to form groups, at which point it became apparent that success was unlikely for a large number of newly-accepted members. With translators at a premium, the tone became pretty desperate, and the groupless began asking for assistance from DMP to help resolve their situation. A comment early on from DMP representative starlightmuse indicated that they might have some plan for addressing the situation, but aside from the creation of a new set of search threads, they’ve since made it clear in the updated FAQ that they “will not be taking part in forming groups in any way.”
At this point, it seems likely that a great many editors and typesetters are doomed to remain groupless, and it’s quite telling that of the new group-formation threads, the one entitled “Translators Looking to Join a Group” currently contains no replies at all. Some relief may arrive in the form of latecomers to the testing, as the updated FAQ indicates that there have been new applicants with yet ungraded tests, as well as a group of early applicants who will be taking a second test sometime this month. Of course, there’s every chance that the new tests will simply create more groupless editors, but only time will tell. On the upside, group participation is apparently fluid, and it’s been made clear that individuals are free to work with as many groups as they like, so translators looking to maximize their output and earning potential should find plenty of folks eager to work with them.
Given the general circumstances for individual editors, I must admit I’ve been extremely lucky. Not long after I posted my own little ad in the original group search forum, I was contacted by the leader of an already-established group, asking me to join as long as I could satisfy the group’s privacy concerns. Since I was immediately impressed by the leader’s management style and thoughtful self-expression, I eagerly agreed!
I will not be the only editor in the group, and indeed every role is covered by at least two people, which should allow us to work concurrently on a number of titles while accommodating its members’ busy schedules. Happily, too, the group has been chosen as one of the Guild’s beta groups, so we’ll be working with DMP on the first batch of titles, in order to help them identify any problems with their process. What this means for readers, of course, is that I’ll be able to report on the Guild’s inner workings from the get-go, which I hope might be enlightening for all.
Some of the questions brought up in comments to last week’s post have since been addressed (at least in part) in the Guild’s updated FAQ, particularly those about payment and taxes, though there is still quite a bit up-in-the-air there. When I have real facts to report on those issues, rest assured I will do so.
Signing out for this week! Please feel free to ask questions in comments to this post, and tune in next Tuesday for more!