I think that’s part of it, and also when it comes to videogames in particular, there was this real (seemingly) misconception from Japanese developers that people outside the country just aren’t interested in Japanese things. So a lot fewer games got localized around this time, and I think they went to efforts to plaster over the original a little in some cases to almost dress something up as what they imagined westerners wanted. Honorifics are a tiny part of that, but they do contribute. Honestly, if I recall correctly, the “too Japanese” line of thinking is believed to be why a couple more historical Yakuza spinoffs haven’t had a release in English.
Yeah, my (not necessarily informed) impression is that in the mid-2000s it just probably seemed like it made sense to sell an untested series ostensibly about organized crime in the west by trying to make it seem as approachably familiar as possible, and hope that it caught the same mainstream appeal as Grand Theft Auto that way, despite being a completely different story-heavy game barely about crime. And that didn’t pan out particularly well and the game didn’t sell so localizations were relatively neglected through the PS3 era.
It’s only with Yakuza 0 that they took a shot at putting more care into it with a new team, who went into it with a different approach that was more confident about preserving the full tone of the original. And then Yakuza 0 was extremely successful outside Japan, so that’s been the strategy going forward. The localizations of the most recent games, with full subtitles for the Japanese voice tracks + full English dubs, while also hitting the same release date as the Japanese version must truly be an absurd amount of work! And surely shows the lessons taken from 0’s success.
(I would even be shocked if the historical-themed games didn’t get localizations if they’re remade at some point in a post-0 world)
Anyway, it makes for interesting case studies! A lot can change about a translation depending on who you think your audience is (and how correct or not you are with that guess can make a big difference in how the result is perceived…)
EDIT to add: even the title is interesting - “Yakuza” makes sense from that first perspective - it’s certainly direct and completely intelligible to English-speaking audiences!
But 龍が如く is much much more evocative and in-line with the series’ actual tone… I wonder if the series somehow started today already knowing there was an English audience if it’d be the Like a Dragon series here too (or if the Yakuza: Like a Dragon sleight of hand with 7 will manage to get us there anyhow). I suppose probably not! But maybe…
EDIT to also add: speaking of titles,
龍が如く5 夢、叶えし者 → Yakuza 5
龍が如く6 命の詩 → Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
is also kind of an interesting little example of the shift (0 came out in between them)
Anyway, I’ll stop talking about Yakuza
Man aren’t there? Feels like the main thing you hear about
Maybe it’s because it’s not a “story”? Idk it’s weird how people work
I like your stories
Although there are arguably ways to somewhat restore that nuance without using honorifics. For instance, having him say “MY DEAR/LOVELY KIRYUU” “LITTLE KIRYUU” “(nickname)” etc.
I have no idea what the context is though
I feel a bit like I’m butting into this conversation (also a few days late!), but it made me think of book translations. Mainly Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and the book he wrote with Neil Gaiman (Good Omens), and their translation to Swedish. Discworld especially relies a lot on puns and word jokes, and those can seldom be directly translated into another language and still retain their funniness/punniness (I think I just made up a word, anyway…).
And while I myself didn’t read Swedish and English versions of Discworld, I heard many good things from my friends (who first read some translations and as we got older and better at English read originals). The translator had to change names and such to make the word puns still work in Swedish, and as I understood it, at some points translator notes were left.
For Good Omens, I’ve read both translated and original, and I remember being so dang impressed with how faithful the translation was (and it was well written in Swedish too). When I read the original I realized I hadn’t lost anything by reading the translation. That is art. (Good Omens doesn’t rely on word jokes/puns, but still.)
And then to take that so many steps further with taking Japanese to English translations when the very bones of how things are expressed is hugely different between the cultures. In some ways, the honorifics is probably an easy decision.
Sorry I didn’t have anything more directly related to wrestling or Yakuza.
Oh I love Discworld, but that series is so intrinsically linked to Pratchett’s authorial voice that I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to translate. The general conversational tone Pratchett employs can’t be easy for a translation to recreate. On a similar note I’ve heard that the Witcher books are quite beautifully written in Polish, but reading it in English the translation feels rather flat and plain in terms of the prose. Not really much extra to add here, but translations are an interesting topic for sure. It can really change the perception of a work depending on how its done
Made it to level 37!
It took me just under fourteen days this time. It wasn’t the greatest past couple of weeks for me, but I did manage to escape covid (for now…), so it could have definitely been worse.
I ended up joining the GeoGuessr game that WK hosted, and to my utter surprise, I came in second place somehow, despite never actually having been to Japan? I guess I just got lucky. I feel like wrestling helped me a tiny bit, because I’ve seen parts of Japan in street wrestling shows and on wrestlers’ social media and such. But it was fun! I recommend trying it out if you’re able to make it to the game the next time they host one!
And if you win and receive the wrestling-themed WK sticker, I will gladly trade you any of my stickers for it. I was extremely disappointed that I didn’t receive that one, because if anything embodies my Japanese language learning journey, it’s that.
To the, uh, second place victor go the spoils?
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 3001 (and 2139 on KW!)
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
There have been a few small updates on the situation with Kota Ibushi and NJPW. I talk about some of it here. For the most part, I’ve been letting (better) translators handle this, but I did watch NJPW’s press conference on the situation with youtube’s auto-captions turned on and tried to gleam as much as I possibly could from it, while one of my friends was live translating the most important points from it in another chat. Part of the way through the video, they released a full English translation of it, so I gave up on trying to understand anything from watching it and just read that.
On a brighter note, I was happy to see that AEW now has an official Japanese twitter page! Not an especially useful source of reading practice for me, because it’s information that is readily available in English, haha, but it’s really exciting for the Japanese fans. It was nice to see that account promoting things like the Pride video that AEW did and that sort of thing.
I laughed out loud at this tweet from TJPW wrestler Mahiro Kiryu about her cat. The picture especially is funny, but the caption is great.
I also enjoyed seeing retired TJPW wrestler Nodoka Tenma posting about her farm adventures. It looks like her farm is feeding more than humans, haha.
I talk about this more in the TJPW recap posts, but TJPW is doing a new project that’s basically like a small competition giving the winning candidate out of four women in the entertainment industry (with no wrestling experience) the chance to become a wrestler. They’re uploading a new episode to their youtube channel every week, and I watched the first one out of curiosity and was pleased to discover that it has Japanese subtitles! So I’m planning on watching the rest of them, too. I’m using them more for passive immersion than active immersion, because I just don’t have the time, so I’m not attempting to really pause and read the subtitles, but I think I am going to try to learn at least a few words from each of them.
In the first episode, they had the women do different tasks that I’m pretty sure are part of basic wrestling training. The tasks were helpfully labeled in the corner of the screen, allowing me to learn 準備運動 (warming up exercises), 前転 (forward somersault), 側転 (cartwheel), 筋トレ (muscle training), and a more complicated term, 前回り受け身, which sparked a short discussion in the pro wrestling thread because 受け身 is actually a really interesting concept in pro wrestling because of how it kind of skirts the edge of kayfabe.
The flash cards I made from those terms are the first cards I’ve made with an image reference instead of a sentence, haha, but I think they’re effective!
I also caved and bought a rotating mechanical pencil. I’d heard about them and thought they sounded interesting, so I wanted to try it out. I was really pleased that I could read a lot of the text on the packaging! The front of it said: “キレイな文字が書ける”, and the back of it showed how the pencil allows you to write “いつも同じ太さ・濃さのキレイな文字がつづく”. I haven’t used the pencil enough to give my verdict on whether or not there’s a tangible difference between it and a standard mechanical pencil, but I’m looking forward to trying it out.
みんなの日本語 Lesson 32 – Lesson 33
I enjoyed the reading comprehension exercise at the end of lesson 32. It gave this month’s horoscope for Taurus, then listed stuff about what Tauruses should or shouldn’t do regarding work, money, health, and love, plus their lucky item of the month. The exercise questions were things like: “Should they quit their job and open a restaurant?” or “Should they go to the ocean holding a blue stone?” and I had to answer yes or no based on what the horoscope recommended, haha.
Honestly, I’ve actually enjoyed a lot of those exercises in the book. People talk about textbooks being boring, but I think they do a pretty good job with these. They’re at least very different every lesson.
The last exercise for the lesson asked me what I think about 星占い. And boy, what a question to answer when you have very limited vocabulary! I think I managed to stumble my way to an answer that I more or less believe, though I’m sure the grammar is wrong for at least a chunk of it because I tried to say things that were too ambitious. I did like my last sentence, though (I managed to use some of the new grammar!): “それを信じたら、それが叶うでしょう.”
I struggled to figure out how to word “it will probably come true”. I had a couple clunky versions where I tried to pick a word for “reality” haha (WK sure does teach a lot of these) but I didn’t feel like I knew any of them well enough to choose the word with the right nuance for this. I ended up going with 叶う because I just learned 叶える (and its accompanying kanji, which isn’t in WK) in the last TJPW recap, where it was part of the tagline for their aforementioned new project. It seemed like the right nuance for the sentiment I was trying to express. Is this the best way to say it? Probably not! My worry is that it’s more positive than I wanted it to be, haha.
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 33 kanji!
Reading in Spanish (the end of Wonder and starting a new parallel text book about local history)
I finished Wonder! Overall, I enjoyed the book, though it had its moments where it was a little tough to read (both emotionally and language-wise). So far, it’s definitely the easiest book I’ve read in Spanish, though some of that might just be the fact that I’ve improved at the language. I think it was the right call to put aside my other books for now and pick up something easier.
I believe that Wonder has some spin-off books, but I’m not sure if they’ve been translated into Spanish, and in any case, the library does not have them, so I decided to move on and read something else.
The new book that I picked up is an exciting one! It’s a local history book (so I’m not going to say the title, haha) that is written as a parallel text book with Spanish on one side, and English on the other! It’s incredible! It was written intentionally to encourage people using it for language learning as well as learning about local history (and to make local history more accessible to Spanish speakers, since there is a fairly large Spanish-speaking population here).
It’s very smooth and not disruptive at all to read because I can glance over at the English side whenever I don’t know a word or am unsure of the meaning of the sentence. My Spanish is good enough, the reading process for this is mostly spot-checking specialized vocab that I’m not super familiar with, because the grammar is pretty intuitive for me.
I’m really enjoying the subject matter, too. I’m learning so much already, though some of it doesn’t exactly paint the most flattering picture of the city. Something that really surprised me is that there used to be a large population of Chinese immigrants in the area. Today, we don’t have many Asian people living here (I wouldn’t have much luck finding a local language partner for Japanese), and I really shouldn’t be surprised to find out that that is largely in part to extreme racism at the beginning of the 20th century, which led the conservative white inhabitants of the city to drive out the Chinese inhabitants, as well as threaten and force out the Japanese and Filipino inhabitants. Even though this happened a hundred years ago, history casts a long shadow.
I guess this is why learning about history is so important. This city has always been very conservative, and very racist. The only thing that has changed is the primary target of that racism, depending on which group is seen as the biggest threat at any given time.
A large part of the reason why I’m learning Spanish is so that I can better participate in the local community here instead of restricting myself to just the (white) English-speaking part of it. I want to be involved and informed so that I can help out where I can and also make friends across language barriers.
Sorry to get suddenly emotional over this book! I think it just reflects so much why I’m trying to learn Spanish, and what I’m trying to do here. I want to help encourage other monolingual English speakers in this community to reach out past language barriers and engage with the other half of our community so that we can create a better future together instead of repeating the mistakes of the past.
Regarding reading in Japanese…
I finished the spring read every day challenge! Here’s my final report for it. I managed to read in both Spanish and Japanese every single day, which is a pretty cool achievement! I’m planning on signing up for the summer challenge when it starts in a month.
I also tried my hand at translating a few more senryu. Here are all the ones I attempted (links are to my translations):
オフクロの好きなタレント役しだい (mine was our winner!)
Guess what? I finished chapter 4 of volume 3 of 大海原と大海原! Finally! After so long! I briefly managed to catch up on the TJPW translations, so I had one day where I needed some different reading material if I wanted to keep up with the challenge, and I read like 10 pages of the manga. Just like last time, I noticed that the manga has gotten significantly easier to read than when I last read some pages.
I also finished two TJPW show translations! Both were fairly short, and both gave me exactly 12 new words.
2022.05.15 TJPW SPRING TOUR '22 — (12 words added)
2022.05.29 TJPW SPRING TOUR '22 — (12 words added)
My wrestling deck currently contains 729 words, some of which aren’t in circulation yet. I’m hoping to get them all added by my next update, but depending on how many I add for the upcoming Korakuen show, I might still be behind, haha.
I found this website with a collection of 450 Japanese children’s stories with audio. I haven’t poked around much, but I tried listening to かぐや姫 and reading along without pausing, and I actually was able to more or less follow it, so I feel like this might be potentially good listening practice for where I’m at.
Got some very good recommendations from Daisoujou! They posted about some VNs that they were considering trying next, and I was interested in FLOWERS -Le volume sur printemps- and 古書店街の橋姫. I’m not really much of a VN person in general, even in English, so I may or may not get around to trying them in Japanese, but those were the first two that actually tempted me.
Daisoujou also pointed me in the direction of the Read Real Japanese parallel text books. I really like the sound of these, especially the translation notes! I ended up ordering the short stories one already, though it’ll be a while yet before I actually attempt to read it. I probably should stop buying books for the rest of the year at least .
This is just a small thing, but here’s a tweet with some translations of encouraging things you can tell someone.
- Dashboard Progress Plus — This script adds visual indicators of SRS stages of items, as well as a “90%” kanji box, plus gives you a popup with item information when you mouse over the items. I installed it pretty much entirely for the last thing, because sometimes I’ll prelearn the kanji a day or two before officially learning them, and this lets me check my memory by simply mousing over the items without having to open them in a new tab.
I started working on a project with debatable utility, haha, but naturally that hasn’t stopped me. I’m trying to put together an Anki deck containing the 26 pictograms teaching wrestling things from that one Hiragana Muscle show. A lot of the vocab are katakana loanwords, and a few of the pictograms are jokes (“seconds putting chairs away”, “that joshi reversal to a pinfall”), but the format of it is just too perfect. It’s a little slow-going, because I have to go through and screencap each of them, then create two versions of the images for the front side of the recall and recognition cards, plus clip the audio of the term getting announced, then edit each audio clip, etc.
I think this could be a fun starter deck for any wrestling fan who’s hoping to learn a few Japanese wrestling things, regardless of their current level of Japanese ability. You don’t have to be able to read kanji or kana to use the deck, since it has full audio, and there are no definitions or translations on the cards, just an illustration and a photo demonstrating each of the terms (I am trying to include translations in the card metadata in case something isn’t clear, but they don’t show up when drilling the cards themselves).
Also, while quarantining due to possible covid exposure, I ended up working on an article for the library website with some tips about using the library collection for learning Spanish (I’m very grateful to the WK community for everything I’ve learned on this subject!). I was really glad that my boss and coworkers loved the work that I did on it. It already inspired my boss, haha. She asked me if I had any easy Spanish books to recommend, and I told her that she should read Wonder, so she checked it out the moment I returned it.
It’s very strange to finally have a hobby/hyperfixation that is just about as close to a universal good thing as anything can be. I’m going to try to ride my enthusiasm for language learning as long as it’ll take me, and try to spread it as much as I can in the meantime, haha.
Onward to level 38! 行くぞ！
Made it to level 38!
Took just over thirteen days. Most of that time passed in a weird blur for me. I would really like events in my life to stop happening, please.
On top of all of that, Firefox decided to reset all of my extensions, so I ended up having to reinstall all of my Yomichan dictionaries, as well as all of my tampermonkey extensions. I have, uh, 32 extensions installed, so it was a real pain to reinstall all of them individually. I was very, very grateful for my past self for being so diligent with this study log, because almost all of the scripts I still use were compiled in my one year anniversary post, and then I just scrolled through the rest of my log entries and added the others.
I found out that there is in fact a way to back up your tampermonkey scripts, so I have my current setup backed up now, in case this happens again. I think Yomichan has a way of preserving your settings as well, though I believe not your imported dictionaries. I didn’t bother messing around with it because the settings didn’t take too much time to set up again. Once again, grateful to my own study log for preserving the links to the special dictionaries I have installed.
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 3133 (and 2239 on KW)!
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
I forgot to mention this in the last update, but I’ve been enjoying the carpentry and tool appreciation thread here, though I’m coming at the topic from a bookbinding/papermaking direction, not carpentry. It prompted me to share a bit about one of my favorite bookbinding tools, the Japanese screw punch (or, as I found out they’re called in Japanese… スクリューポンチ ).
I’ve been meaning to post about some Japanese papermaking tools, especially since my Japanese is a lot better since I last tried looking up papermaking terms in Japanese. It’d be a fun excuse to do another google deep dive.
In pro wrestling news, Mr. Haku released an (English-subtitled) interview with Asuka/Veny! I’ve talked about Asuka before (she’s in my number one most recommended match), but if anyone is interested in learning more about her, I shared some more links and other info in this post in the LGBTQ thread.
Something kind of funny is that Veny is my mnemonic for 口紅, and as it turns out, 紅 is where she got the name Veny from! They talk about 紅 as well, because there is an X Japan song by that name, which Mr. Haku helpfully linked in the video description.
I liked this farm tweet from Nodoka. She said that she doesn’t like tomatoes, but can eat them in curry, and I am the same way.
I’m behind on my translations for CyberFight Fest and TJPW’s latest Korakuen show, but one of the best matches at Korakuen was the Raku vs Pom Harajuku vs Yuki Aino threeway match. Before the match Yuki said in a tweet that people call them a 三角関係 (love triangle), but when it comes to being in a match, it’s a different story. The three of them have a really fun dynamic, haha, where it’s… a seemingly reciprocated love triangle? I’m unclear on the exact feelings or the order in which they happened (it’s also further complicated by Raku’s “husband”, Ram Kaicho), but my friends and I refer to the three of them as the “pomycule”. (Did I add 三角関係 to Anki just so that I could include part of Yuki’s tweet for the context sentence on the flash card? …Perhaps.)
The match itself had its share of dramatic twists, with Pom pulling out the big guns (a Raku photobook) to try to bribe Yuki into helping her beat Raku, whom Yuki is in love with. Ultimately, though, Pom’s efforts were not enough, and she lost the match. Afterward, Pom posted this. She likes to tweet without using a lot of kanji, which frequently throws me off, but I was in fact able to read this one without any trouble!
TJPW got a new theme song by the Final Fantasy composer (one of the FF composers? I can’t remember which game(s) he did). I really enjoy it a lot! It makes their card announcements seem really exciting, because it feels like it’s right out of a video game. Here’s an example of one for their next big show.
There have been a few small updates on Kota Ibushi’s situation with NJPW. Not really anything that has improved my view of the company, unfortunately. Too bad, because the buildup to the Forbidden Door show could have been really fun, but it’s hard to get too excited now.
I have been greatly enjoying DDT wrestler Konosuke Takeshita’s excursion in America, though! It has been fun watching him get over with American wrestling fans. The AEW crowds warmed up to him pretty quick, and the indie crowds seem to love him. Lately, a lot of his twitter activity (and at least one indie feud) have been centered around him having a love affair with Cinnabon.
Food seems to be one of those universal points of connection that goes beyond language barriers. At least, I’ve seen that over and over again with wrestling. It’s often one of the first ways a Japanese wrestler is able to connect with an English-speaking fan audience. I think Satoshi Kojima (NJPW wrestler and… current GHC champ in NOAH? what a world we live in) figured that out with his “bread club”.
みんなの日本語 Lesson 33 – Lesson 34
As of lesson 33, I have officially learned the imperative form! It’s another thing that I’ve known about for a long time, but never formally practiced until now. I also enjoyed the reading exercise about 頑張る and the different uses for different verb forms with that word. It makes sense that it originally meant “自分がいる場所から動かない”!
I think I’m officially about 2/3rds of the way through MNN? I’m about a third of the way through the second book, which is kind of a strange feeling, because it feels like I just started it!
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 34 kanji!
Gave this category a slight name update! This is sort of the “active immersion” section of my log, and, well, I started actively working on listening immersion as well!
Why now? Well, someone started a listen every day challenge, and I could not resist signing up . I only committed to the off-month between read every day challenges, though, so the challenge period for me only runs until the end of June. Then I’ll be switching gears back to focusing primarily on reading.
Like last time, my goal is to listen to something in both Spanish and Japanese every single day.
Spanish (Reading: local history parallel text book) (Listening: Duolingo podcast and La Casa de las Flores)
The local history book is still going well, though I confess, my progress stalled out a little when I shifted my focus to listening . I’m currently 72 pages in (out of a little over 200), though that only represents 36 pages of actual reading, since the content is doubled in English. I’m still really enjoying the book, though!
As far as listening goes, I’ve been splitting my time between listening to the Duolingo Spanish podcast (which I can listen to while walking, which is awesome), and then on days when I can’t exercise, I’ve been watching La Casa de las Flores with Spanish subtitles on Netflix.
I’m trying to do extensive listening, so I’m resisting the urge to pause and look stuff up. I was really amazed to realize that my Spanish is good enough, I can actually more or less follow La Casa de las Flores as long as I have Spanish subtitles! Parts of the plot are a little complicated, and there is definitely nuance that I’m missing, but I feel like I’m able to follow the story well enough to get invested in it.
I talked to my coworker (whose native language is Spanish) about the show, because she really likes it as well. She told me that one of the characters in particular has a certain way of speaking that’s considered stereotypical for upper class Mexicans. Once she pointed it out, I was able to hear what she was talking about, haha. When I mentioned that I was using the show for learning, she said: “You’re going to start talking like a rich person!”
It’s actually a huge milestone for me that I can watch a show like this, with native language subtitles, and find myself still wanting to watch more episodes without feeling fatigued.
Listening in Japanese has also been going well! At least, I’m able to keep up with the challenge. My actual listening comprehension in Japanese is still not very good .
I tried out Nihongo con Teppei, and I think I’m unfortunately between levels in terms of difficulty. His easiest podcast is too easy for me, and his next easiest one is too hard. I think I understand the vocab and the grammar in it, but can’t process it fast enough without subtitles or a transcript.
So, for active listening, my primary source for material has been the site with all of the 童話 stories that I linked in a previous update. Usually my process is listening to the story once while reading along, then reading through the story with the help of Yomichan, aiming for full comprehension, then listening to it again while reading along. I’d probably benefit from a fourth go around, trying just to listen without reading, but usually by the third time, I’m tired of the story and don’t feel inclined to listen again .
So far, I’ve read つるのおんがえし, かさじぞう, かぐや姫, and うらしまたろう. I think these are a pretty good indication of where my grammar is at now, because I can read them without having to do any grammar lookups. I usually know most of the vocab, but have to look up a few words in each story. Naturally, the words that I don’t know tend to be the ones that are absolutely pivotal to the plot.
I’m also counting wrestling shows for Japanese listening practice for the sake of the challenge, though those are more passive immersion for me instead of active immersion.
As far as reading goes, I have… not done a lot of it this level . Well, besides the reading I’ve been doing as part of my listening, and the passive immersion I’m doing practically daily. I don’t think I can balance listening to something in Spanish and Japanese every day, and also reading something in Spanish and Japanese every day.
But that’s okay! I’ll get back to 大海原と大海原 eventually.
I did a few more senryu translations. Here are the poems I attempted:
I also got a couple TJPW translations done, though I still haven’t finished translating the TJPW parts of CyberFight Festival. The first one is short because I didn’t have a recap to work from, only the text from the post-match interview tweets.
2022.06.04 TJPW CITY CIRCUIT～浜松公演～ — (4 words added)
2022.06.13 TJPW Press Conference — (25 words added)
The press conference felt like a small milestone, because for once, the only corrections for my translation questions were nuance comments and not correcting bigger mistakes. I guess I’m learning after all?
My wrestling deck now has 758 words in total! Still not all in circulation. I’ve been trying to add cards 10 at a time instead of 20 to see if I have an easier time keeping up with the new additions that way.
My Read Real Japanese: Fiction book came in, and I’m super impressed with it! I’ve just lightly flipped through it without reading in detail, because I’m saving it until I’m done with my beginner’s textbook, but it looks really handy, especially the translation notes section at the end, which is quite extensive.
- Level Duration 2.0 — This one is not actually new! I just forgot to include it earlier in my study log, so it never made it into the one year anniversary post, and I didn’t notice I’d forgotten it until I had to reinstall everything. All this script does is show at the top of the dashboard how long you’ve been on a level. Handy!
- WaniKani Forums: Emoter — This script lets you upload your own custom emotes! I used it to import some favorites from a wrestling discord server I’m in. Unfortunately, I uploaded them before my scripts got wiped, so I still need to re-add most of them .
I did want to share the two most important emoji that I have:
We typically use tamu_believes_in_you to express solidarity and support and sometimes gratitude. And feelstana is fairly self-explanatory, I think.
This one is just a personal favorite:
I gave myself some leeway this level, in terms of things I wanted to get done, because I’ve been dealing with some ongoing health issues, and one of my coworkers just passed away unexpectedly, which has made things at work a lot harder. It’s looking likely that I will be picking up more hours at some point, which will mean less time for studying.
When I started WK, I felt like this might be really the last chance I’d have in my life to devote so much time to doing something like this, so I thought I better take the opportunity when it was actually feasible. I’m definitely glad that I started when I did, because I think my life is probably going to get a lot busier in the near future.
That said, my soft goals for this next level are to work on the Hiragana Muscle Anki deck, and maybe finally post about papermaking tools in the tool thread.
Onward to level 39! 行くぞ！
Made it to level 39!
Got there in just under thirteen days. Things have been okay for me these past few weeks. Not really any worse, not any better (though it’s becoming an increasingly stressful time to live in America, unfortunately). My birthday came and went pretty uneventfully.
I appreciated learning 併殺 on WK because I could bring out some Blaseball mnemonics again, however, I think Blaseball might lead me down the wrong path with that one, haha . It’ll be fun when Blaseball is back up and running. Hopefully it’ll be back by the time I get to more of the specific baseball vocab, because I definitely do not know a single thing about normal baseball rules, and I could use a bigger incentive to remember.
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 3251 (and 2325 on KW)!
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
I did end up watching Forbidden Door after all. I rambled a bit about the show in this post. All in all, I did enjoy the show, despite, well, everything. It ended up being pretty successful, so it seems quite likely they’ll do another one.
There has also been talk of them doing a crossover in Japan next time. There was some drama over this in the internet wrestling community because Tony Khan, AEW’s president, got interviewed by Japanese media, and some English media were reporting on what he said, but were working off of machine translation of the article, so they reported that he had proposed holding a “tournament” in Japan when really he had just talked about 大会. This is not the first time machine mistranslation has mislead western fans due to irresponsible reporting. I feel like if any wrestling media organization is going to be reporting on Japanese wrestling at all, they really should employ at least one person who is at least decent at the language, and not share machine translations that have not been double checked by a real person .
There was a funny moment at the beginning of TJPW’s Korakuen Hall show. Akki tried to test Chris Brookes’s Japanese by seeing if he could catch Raku’s train of the day, but Chris had to shamefully admit that he missed it (I also couldn’t catch it, so I sympathize). Unfortunately, it wasn’t one Akki was familiar with, so he only caught part of it. Mr. Haku saved us all by posting which train it was on twitter, granting himself a victory over Chris in a “super special singles match”, with the Yamabiko Super Express as his winning move (Chris is a notorious tweet deleter, and the deleted tweet there was him admitting his failure).
I enjoyed this tweet from NJPW wrestler (and current GHC champ in NOAH) Satoshi Kojima. Kojima’s account is frequently amusing, because he spends a lot of time tweeting about bread in English, but his Japanese tweets are often entertaining, too. In this one, he says that for over 20 years, he’s been saying “いっちゃうぞバカヤロー！！”, but Kenoh was the first wrestler to immediately cover Kojima’s mouth with his palm. Kojima concludes that this man is no ordinary pro wrestler.
I also liked this tweet from CyberFight’s 大社長, Sanshiro Takagi. I could read this one straight up, without needing any translation tools, which is always a good feeling. A lot of the DDT wrestlers have been going to eat Cinnabon in Konosuke Takeshita’s honor, since Takeshita has spent a large portion of his American excursion flirting with the Cinnabon account on twitter. The DDT wrestlers are showing that they miss him by eating Cinnabon in Japan while he’s gone. Admittedly, Cinnabon is not really my favorite (sorry, Takeshita), but, like Takagi, I have been holding off on eating sweet foods recently, and that second photo looks so good… .
During the King of DDT tournament finals, I learned some older DDT lore from one of my friends who has been watching DDT since 2015 (he basically has been watching from the immediate post-Golden-Lovers era, when the company had to essentially reinvent itself after losing them, up until the present). He doesn’t know much Japanese, so I asked him how he managed in the days before Mr. Haku’s translation, and he said that he’d mostly just muddle through by trying to guess as much as he could from context during the shows, then he’d check the Dramatic DDT fan blog afterward for more clarity.
I was going to say “I can’t even imagine that,” but truthfully I can, because we were briefly back in that position with DDT, and are technically there again now with TJPW, except for my own translations. Honestly, I find his sheer dedication to keep up with it anyway during those times to be genuinely inspiring. I suppose my response being to attempt to learn the language and translate things myself is maybe not a normal person’s reaction .
みんなの日本語 Lesson 34 – Lesson 35
It’s a really good time for MNN to teach me 咲く, because I’ve been seeing this word all the time while translating TJPW stuff, with Rika Tatsumi constantly talking about wanting to bloom a second time, 返り咲く, and become a 狂い咲くchampion (blooming out of season, literally “crazy blooming”).
I also didn’t have any trouble at all remembering 朱, thanks to the wrestler Syuri, who has it in her name: 朱里. Months and months ago, I had a long conversation with my friend about how to translate some color name puns she was making involving the color vermilion/the first part of her name and other words.
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 35 kanji! We just surpassed 700 kanji, which is pretty amazing.
Spanish (Reading: local history parallel text book) (Listening: Duolingo podcast and La Casa de las Flores)
I only barely got back into resuming my book, since the read every day challenge started back up again. But I’m happy to be back! I should be able to finish this book pretty quickly, and then I’ll see what else the library has.
I finished season one of La Casa de las Flores! I just started season two, and am already a little confused, because there was a time skip . I’m still enjoying the show, and will probably keep watching it sporadically over the next couple months, despite focusing mainly on reading. I’m hoping that some of the things I’m confused about right now are things that I’m meant to be confused about, haha, because a lot happened to the characters over the time skip that we’re only just starting to find out about.
As far as Japanese goes…
I completed my listen every day challenge with a perfect score! I finished right before most people are starting, but I’ll probably be back at the end of the main challenge period to do it again for the off month.
In the meantime, I started the summer read every day challenge! Same goal as last time: I’m aiming to read something in both Spanish and Japanese every single day.
Seeing all the charts I’m making for these, I wonder what it would look like if I put them all together at the end of the year. Maybe in 2023, I can aim for getting a perfect 365 day challenge streak.
I made no progress on 大海原と大海原, but I read/listened to a few more 童話! I read ももたろう, はなさかじいさん, さるかにがっせん. I also watched some miscellaneous TJPW videos, all with Japanese subtitles. My comprehension is still largely pretty terrible, unless I pause and look things up, but I did surprisingly okay with this video of Rika Tatsumi cleansing herself beneath a waterfall and praying to win the Princess of Princess title on July 9. Mostly because the stuff she shouted out while under the waterfall was all very straightforward .
Overall, I think my Japanese listening did surprisingly improve over the course of the challenge, as short as it was. I’d be a lot more helpless if I hadn’t been SRS-ing wrestling vocab, though. I’ve gotten nothing but encouragement that I’m on the right track there. It’s kind of amazing how adding words to Anki from wrestling promos has helped me understand not only wrestling, but also fairy tales and senryu poems.
Regarding senryu, here are the poems I attempted (links go to my translations):
その夢にあんたもいたと妻が泣く (mine was chosen!)
父母の幼き写真見る不思議 (my translation won this time as well!)
爽快に起き目覚ましの故障知る (this one took me two attempts, but my second attempt won!)
Maybe I’m getting better at these? Or I just got lucky with the ones I attempted .
I’m a little behind on the TJPW translations. I finished one for a decently big show, but didn’t quite manage to finish the Korakuen show translation before I leveled up. I’m working pretty hard to try to get the remaining translations done before their next big show, which is on July 9.
2022.06.12 CyberFight Festival (TJPW portion) — (18 words added)
My wrestling deck currently contains 775 words. Adding five new words a day is a pretty good pace, I’ve found, if I’m going through a period where I’m feeling particularly swamped, and 20 new cards a day feels like too much. Still have a good chunk of cards not in circulation, though that number is gradually going down.
Thanks to my Yomichan settings getting refreshed, some of the recently added cards need to be remade or have audio re-added, so that’s a bit of a pain, but it’s a pretty easy fix, fortunately.
The manga linked in this tweet seems interesting! It’s called 半分姉弟, and it depicts a story about mixed-race Black Japanese siblings navigating racist Japanese society. The first part of the manga is free to read and is linked downthread.
The book mentioned here also seems interesting. An academic named Kohei Saito wrote a book on degrowth communism that became a runaway bestseller. It’s apparently getting an English translation, so I’ll probably wait for that (reading leftist theory in a language I’m not fluent in sounds like it might be a little above my current skill level ), but it’s another subject that could be interesting to explore. At the very least, it’s quite cool!
Didn’t really accomplish either of the two goals I mentioned last time, so we’ll see if I have better luck this level . Not that the stakes are very high here.
I’m also considering dipping my toes a little bit into learning Japanese phonetics? Not because I have any interest in speaking, but because I wonder if it would help my listening comprehension. However, I’m not sure the time/energy investment would be worth it. Might just come down to whether I find it interesting or not. In any case, it’s not exactly a top priority for me right now, so I may or may not get around to trying it. If I do, I’ll post my thoughts and links to the resources I used.
Getting pretty close to leaving the Hell levels. Thankfully, my work schedule should be remaining about the same for at least the next couple months, so my study time is not in jeopardy (…yet ).
Onward to level 40! 行くぞ！
Happy belated Birthday @fallynleaf !! (´｡• ᵕ •｡`)
I just started getting the baseball vocabulary this level and I know nothing about baseball. Those are gonna be a bit hard I suspect for me.
I knew nothing about baseball until I got into Blaseball, and now I think maybe I actually know even less about baseball than I did before? Pretty sure real baseball does not involve killing neoliberal capitalist gods, salmon swimming upstream and going back in time, necromancy, rogue umpires incinerating players, and betting on games in order to win coins so that you can purchase votes to change the rules of the game and open the forbidden book.
I think I’ve already mentioned Blaseball a hundred posts or so back in this log, but things were pretty different with the game a year ago. The game is on hiatus currently. When it’s in operation, it’s sort of like a mass TTRPG with absurdist horror themes.
I’m actually very much not a sports fan, despite liking professional wrestling (pro wrestling is just as much non-sport as it is sport), but Blaseball is extremely fun because the fans would come up with all of these wild schemes, somehow manage to pull them off, and then end up shaping the entire direction of the game.
Here is probably the most famous example, when the fans exploited a few game mechanics in order to commit necromancy (though, skimming this, I have no idea how much sense it’ll make to outsiders ). Here’s the follow-up to that, because our actions sure did have consequences, and the follow-up to the follow-up. And here’s a song about it!
In any case, it gave me this huge fondness for baseball, despite me still having zero desire to watch an actual baseball game. So I decided instead of dreading the baseball vocab in WK, I’m going to look forward to it .
I was so upset when I unlocked the baseball team management minigame in Yakuza 6 and not one umpire incinerated a player, and none of them got encased in peanuts
I wish Blaseball was a little more friendly to my timezone - I was only able to keep up with it for a short while but all the big events would happen at like 2AM in the morning for me
Made it to level 40!
Took a little over fourteen days. I was actually pretty motivated over these past couple weeks, and I got quite a bit done!
I’m thinking of slightly reducing my daily lesson workload, from 3 kanji + 9 vocab to 3 kanji + 8 vocab. My vocab lessons were getting quite low at the end of this level, and I have more leeches now, so I think spreading out the vocab a little more should be beneficial. If I start to get a huge backlog of lessons, I’ll readjust, but for now, I don’t think it’ll hurt.
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 3375 (and 2443 on KW)!
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
After failing to catch Raku’s train of the day in all three TJPW shows this weekend, I tried to see if I could find an Anki deck of Japanese train names so that I could better prepare. I… could not find one. Alas. Guess I’m going to have to learn the hard way.
Speaking of Raku, I enjoyed this tweet from Pom Harajuku after her tag match with Raku, Yuki Aino, and Aja Kong at TJPW’s Ota Ward show. This was where I realized that 三角関係 is seemingly a regular name that Raku, Yuki, and Pom use to refer to their team. Pom’s use of only kana and no kanji confused the machine translation on that one, but I’d added 三角関係 to Anki after reading an earlier tweet from the trio, so I immediately knew what she meant, haha. My friends and I had a lengthy discussion about whether or not 三角関係 has the same connotations as “love triangle”, and if the wrestlers would be likely to know about the concept of polycules, which seems to be a closer fit for their tag team dynamic, compared to the typical “love triangle” as understood in the west.
I don’t have as many of the usual examples to talk about this level, partially due to the fact that I’ve been a lot busier on the active immersion front, which I’ll talk about a couple sections from now.
I did want to mention something that isn’t entirely on topic, but it relates to the conversations we’ve been having here re: wrestling fan translation and paying jobs. There have been a fair amount of Japanese wrestlers going overseas to America this year (including fairly high profile names like former Stardom wrestler Jungle Kyona), wrestling in AEW as well as a few smaller promotions, and I was wondering who was helping facilitate this, since most of these wrestlers are not proficient in English.
I had a suspicion… And it turned out to be right! Mr. Haku has apparently had a hand in working with loads of overseas promotions recently (notably GCW, EVE, and DPW), according to these tweets from him. And that’s in addition to the companies that he has been working with in Japan (TJPW, NOMADS, GanPro), plus all of the interviews he’s been conducting with wrestlers in his spare time. He also mentioned that in late 2019, he’d had an arrangement to go to AEW (thanks to his work in DDT as Kenny’s translator), which covid unfortunately ended up disrupting.
It’s truly an incredible amount of work for one person to be doing. I think the demand is much greater than the supply, honestly. One of my friends actually had someone reach out to her and ask if she could help facilitate an interview with Jungle Kyona, but she had to decline because her Japanese isn’t good enough for that kind of thing yet. But that’s an opportunity she got offered entirely due to her fan translations.
Even if my Japanese was better, those kinds of jobs aren’t really jobs I’m interested in doing, but it’s amazing to watch it happening. I’m happy both for the wrestlers, who are getting all kinds of new opportunities to perform in front of international audiences, as well as for people like Mr. Haku, whose efforts over the years are paying off in pretty spectacular ways.
Speaking of translation, even if you don’t care about wrestling, please watch these 50 seconds of a recent Kenta promo. It’s hysterically funny. Even though I don’t watch NJPW anymore, I do miss a lot of the wrestlers.
But, well, with NJPW anything (and wrestling in general), there is the bitter as well as the sweet. Apparently Kota Ibushi’s shoulder injury has gotten worse, so the timeline for his recovery isn’t looking very good. We had some discussion about recent updates with his situation in the pro wrestling thread.
みんなの日本語 Lesson 35 – Lesson 36
I finished lesson 35 and learned the lesson 36 vocab! I wasn’t quite able to finish 復習I or the other review section that came after it, though I’m hoping to get those done tonight. But I’m essentially 2/5ths of the way through the second book! It was a little tough fitting it into my schedule around all of the translations I was doing, but I did manage it!
Unfortunately, the Forvo pronunciation downloader Anki addon stopped working a few days ago. It seems to be due to a problem on Forvo’s end, according to comments on the page for the addon. I haven’t tried any user-made fixes yet because I’m hoping the original author fixes it soon. Yomichan has me covered for the most part, but the Forvo script is nice for my textbook vocab deck, which I have to manually add audio to. I can still use Yomichan to get audio files, but it takes a couple extra steps to do it, which is a pain.
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 36 kanji!
Spanish (Reading: local history parallel text book) (Listening: Duolingo podcast)
Didn’t get a whole lot of reading done this level, but I did faithfully read every day, and I made some progress in the book. I found one particular bit of history especially fascinating (as well as extremely depressing), and I’m actually considering trying to write an article about the history of white supremacy in this city, with the intent of getting it published in the local paper if possible. Do I have time to do this? Absolutely not. But I think the author of the book would be interested in helping point me to more information, and I think it’s an important topic to talk about, though it would probably get my name raked through the coals a bit in the local community, because I don’t think it’s something that people particularly want to hear about… .
I’m almost done with the book, so I’m going to look for another one to read next very soon. I’m also making pretty steady progress with the Duolingo podcast, even though I don’t have a specific listening goal right now.
Regarding reading in Japanese…
Still going strong with the read every day challenge! Haven’t missed a day yet!
I made no progress on 大海原と大海原, and did not attempt any senryu translations this level. I was just way too busy reading and translating other stuff .
I’d fallen a bit behind on the TJPW translations, but I really wanted to catch up before their big show, so I pushed myself pretty hard. And, well…
2022.06.19 TJPW Additional Attack ‘22 — (24 words added)
2022.06.22 TJPW Press Conference — (26 words added)
2022.06.25 + 26 TJPW CITY CIRCUIT～神戸公演～ — (19 words added)
2022.07.09 TJPW Summer Sun Princess — (22 words added)
(As usual, the links go to more detailed posts with summaries of the translations, plus all of the things that I found particularly interesting or confusing). This was easily my busiest couple of weeks yet, as far as translation/reading goes. I did at least 9,000 characters the first week, and then 7,000 the next. To put it in perspective, this is more than translating an entire volume of manga in just two weeks.
Generally, the number of new words added to Anki per translation is a pretty good barometer of how much work each translation was for me. If you compare these numbers to past weeks, you’ll see that this was quite a lot . In total, I added 91 new words to Anki. They are not in circulation yet.
My wrestling deck contains 880 words currently! I’ll take quite some time for all of the new words to enter circulation. I’m also in the middle of trying to translate three TJPW shows that happened all in a row, so I don’t get a break quite yet .
New resources (pronunciation-related):
Created a temporary new section for talking about studying the basics of Japanese pronunciation. I’m not planning on going very far with this, at least not at this point, but I thought it would be a good idea to build at least a foundation.
I started out by following the pronunciation section laid out in this guide (The guide has better descriptions for all of this. These are just the resources I thought were particularly helpful), which I watched/read little by little over the past couple weeks:
- I watched Fluent Forever’s video on Japanese writing systems + pitch accent (10m), Japanese consonants (12m), and Japanese vowels (8m). I think I’m far enough along with the language, I was already aware of these basics and can hear these sounds in Japanese already (and can hear the difference between them and English). I highly recommend enabling the WK audio samples to autoplay, and including audio for your other SRS decks if at all possible, and doing your reviews in an environment where you can listen without background noise. I’m almost certain that practicing this through sheer repetition here is what helped me learn to connect these sounds to the kana, and understand the general rhythm of Japanese. I did find the sections in those videos about where in your mouth these sounds are coming from to be interesting. I did not know that!
Sidebar: just for fun, I tested myself on pitch accent (using this test) again after watching those videos. If I’d thought about it ahead of time, I’d have tried testing myself right before starting to actively study pronunciation so that I had a better control to compare the results to. I actually did decently well! I got 82 out of 100 correct (81% heiban/odaka, 88% atamadaka, and 67% nakadaka). I tried testing myself about a year ago, and I did terribly on the test. I can’t remember my actual score, but it was something like 60%. So just barely above guessing, which means I wasn’t actually hearing it at all .
So, good news, I can hear pitch accent now! At least a little bit! I don’t know if I’d credit that toward actually bothering to start studying pronunciation, though. If anything, I think I benefited just from thousands upon thousands of repetitions with flash cards and from listening to Japanese with steadily increasing comprehension. But after realizing that I’m not a hopeless case, it inspired me to start actually paying more attention to the pitch accent diagrams during my WK and KW reviews and trying to practice my understanding there.
Here’s an Anki addon that adds pitch accent information to cards. I can configure Yomichan to add pitch info automatically, but this lets me add it to my existing decks without needing to remake hundreds of cards (though it plays a lot nicer with Yomichan-created cards than my MNN deck). I’m not actually testing myself on my knowledge of pitch accent with this vocab, but I am trying to pay a little more attention to the diagrams and see if I can follow the changes in pitch as I listen to the audio.
Continuing with the guide linked above…
- I read this article and this one, which offer some more examples and tips about Japanese pronunciation and how it differs from English. The second one was actually handy for Spanish as well. I appreciated the audio clips illustrating the points it was making. Here’s another article (with audio accompaniment) talking about accent reduction.
- Moving on to prosody, here’s a quick overview of what it even is. I also watched this video on stress, rhythm and melody (16m), one on connected speech and phrasing (19m), and then one on intonation and pitch (8m), all focusing specifically on identifying these patterns in English speech. Here’s a pretty funny example illustrating Mandarin Chinese tones with the “dude system.”
- Getting started on pitch, here’s a short video (4m) about stress accent vs pitch accent that was pretty neat. I thought the examples with English were actually the most interesting, because I hadn’t realized that English stress changes can turn nouns into verbs and vice versa. And here’s a video (7m) talking about intonation vs pitch accent in Japanese that I found super interesting, especially the part about some people emphasizing particles in sentences, which doesn’t actually make sense and is technically a bad habit. I hear that all the time in wrestling, I feel like, haha, but rarely seem to hear it in more scripted Japanese, which makes sense! Weirdly, emphasizing the particles can sometimes make it easier for me to parse sentences, so I can’t say I mind it when wrestlers do it.
My verdict on all of this so far is that I think it is helping me at least a little bit with listening, and my pronunciation has absolutely already improved, despite me putting very little practice into it. I don’t think it would have been the right choice for me, personally, to have studied this right at the beginning of getting into Japanese, though I understand this guide’s argument for introducing it then. I think studying it at the mid-beginner phase (after I finished MNN 1 but before finishing 2) was a good time to do it, because I had enough of an understanding and familiarity with the language that I could easily apply the things I’m learning to it.
Next up: actually diving into studying pitch accent in more detail. For the record, I am not planning on going beyond the basics with this. I’ll report back on how these studies go in the next update.
New resources (not pronunciation-related):
Japanese Ammo with Misa released a neat video on LGBTQ vocab and slang in Japanese!
Someone on the forum put together an Anki deck for practicing how to read 草書体, the cursive kanji style. I downloaded it, but haven’t tried it out yet (I have way too much other stuff on my SRS plate right now). I’ve contemplated waiting until level 60 to start working through this, starting with the level one kanji and adding new cards very, very slowly, but we’ll see how patient I am . I suspect it’ll probably be similar to practicing stroke order, in that once I’ve done it with a few hundred kanji, I’ll start to get a basic idea of how they’re formed in this style, and won’t need to go through the entire deck. Some part of me wonders if it might be better to learn how to read this style by learning the basics of how to do it, though…
Here are some blogs that review untranslated Japanese books in English! One is tsundokureader.com, another is insidethatjapanesebook.com, which focuses mostly on mystery/crime novels, and here is a list with other blogs.
I found some more podcast recommendations for listening practice, though I haven’t had time to try any of them out. One is the Bite Size Japanese Podcast, which is about simple things in daily life using colloquial vocabulary. The podcast host often defines more difficult words in English or Japanese, and the subtitles have full kanji.
I also found the Thinking in Japanese Podcast thanks to Tofugu’s summer post on new Japanese learning resources. Apparently the topics discussed are less generic than typical learning podcasts, and it’s spoken in a way that makes it easier for learners. There are some other recommendations for listening practice in that list that seem potentially useful, but that podcast was the one that particularly stood out to me at this moment. I’m trying to keep an ear out for things that I could try the next time I attempt the listen every day challenge.
My plans for the next level are to stay caught up as much as possible with the TJPW translations, and also continue my pronunciation studies if I’m able to fit that into my schedule. And of course, keep up with the read every day challenge, though reading every day is seriously the least of my concerns right now, haha.
I’m guessing my other projects will probably have to wait until another level, so I won’t commit to anything else right now .
Almost out of the Hell levels! See you all in Paradise!
Onward to level 41! 行くぞ！
That promo tweet is brilliant, really made me laugh
I’m quoting you from Daisoujou’s study log because I wanted to reply to something that was specific to you.
Hello fellow writer!
I’ve been plugged into the industry for a few years now. I’m very poorly trying to make it as a writer too. Mental health stuff means I’ve not really gotten anywhere, although I have self-published (often called indie published nowadays) a few things.
While I do publish on Amazon, that is not the only place I published and while it might seem that all indie/self publishers are Amazon exclusive there are a whole bunch that aren’t and that advocate being wide (aka publishing everywhere). A couple of people you might want to check out are Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. They were in trad publishing for a long time, and moved over to self/indie publishing as that became more viable in 2009/2010. They do publish on Amazon because there are readers there, but they advocate for publishing wide to places such as Apple, Kobo, and through distributors to get you even wider Draft2Digital (being the main one and the best one).
I don’t know any authors who are making their living as indie publishers who aren’t on Amazon as well as everywhere else, so I can’t point you to such a person, but there are plenty who sell everywhere. If nothing else, because they don’t want all their eggs in one basket.
So there are people out there you can learn from. I’ve been following them for a few years now and what they say makes a lot of sense.
Thanks for sharing your perspective! Yeah, I’m aware of other authors who have succeeded outside of the Amazon ecosystem. It’s definitely possible, though it often takes more work. I used to be pretty plugged into the discussion surrounding the publishing world, but I’m admittedly not as plugged in lately.
Truthfully, my problems stem from so many sides :
- Amazon and pretty much all companies range from being very evil to somewhat evil (in terms of environmental issues as well as labor stuff).
- Current copyright law is incredibly draconian and I want people to be free to create fanworks based on my stuff without fearing legal repercussions (for either me as the author reading their fics or for the fic authors haha).
- I want my writing to be accessible to as many people as possible. This is more important to me than making money. I don’t want to become one of those bitter authors who goes after the Internet Archive or rails about piracy or makes it hard for librarians to do their job or whatever.
- Print on demand saves work and cost on my end, but comes with significant trade-offs in terms of aesthetics and higher cost per individual item, plus I have very little control over the production in terms of environmental cost and all of that.
- Small print runs give me substantially more control over the materials and production process, and is cheaper per individual item, but has a high up front cost and requires me to store and ship the items. It also has a chance of losing you quite a lot of money if your books don’t sell.
- Self publishing in general often has high up front costs, in terms of needing to pay for art/cover design, editing, ISBNs, and various other assorted costs.
- The best way to be able to actually be successful with your writing career is publishing on a regular basis, because it’s a good way to build a regular audience, and your new books effectively promote your old ones. This is hard to do when your mental health is as inconsistent as mine is.
- To avoid relying on unethical companies, host your own website with your own store, offering special perks perhaps for books purchased through it. However, this requires fulfilling the purchases yourself, and reduces access to your books. Your entire business model also relies on funneling people to this one hub.
- To avoid draconian copyright law, publish your stuff under a creative commons license. Nice, this one actually has an easy solution! My preferred license is this one. I can see possible scenarios where people could republish my stuff and I’d lose money or whatever, but my main philosophy is that that shouldn’t be as much of an issue if I can offer something of unique value with my books that’s difficult for others to reproduce. In any case, it’s more important to me that transformative works are protected, and that my work isn’t locked away forever under copyright law.
- To increase accessibility and render piracy a moot point, publish my stories for free on my own website (also helps attract viewers to the website!). Serialize them in order to slowly build an audience over time, then make edited print and ebook versions available for purchase after the serialization has finished. If the print and ebook books are designed well enough, fans of the stories will want to buy them despite the story being technically available for free.
- Print on demand might be a necessary evil? For selling on platforms like Amazon, at least (if you favor the put your eggs in more than one basket strategy), and getting your books in libraries and bookstores. Though you can make them an option without making them the core of your business.
- Small press print runs could possibly be crowdfunded? Assuming you could raise the money, you wouldn’t have to worry about funding the run or storing most of the books, since most of the copies have buyers. If any titles prove to be really popular, you could do another printing, possibly with different aesthetic decisions so that each run feels special and unique (and people feel more incentivized to buy your books).
- A lot of costs in general could be taken care of by crowdfunding, assuming you build a large enough audience. Patreon is also a possible funding avenue. You could make advance chapters of your stories available there to incentivize people to sign up, etc. I tend to favor the argument that says that if you have like 1,000 devoted fans of your stuff, that’s really all you need to stay afloat. You don’t need to aim for making bestsellers. So I’m mostly interested in fostering community around my work, I guess, and trying to be interesting as an author. I do have the bookbinding and papermaking and such going for me, in terms of things that might be interesting to readers, haha.
- Don’t really have a solution to mental health stuff making it difficult to publish on a regular basis, unfortunately . I keep hoping that with more stability in my life (now that I’m done with school), my writing habits will stabilize, too, but then a pandemic happened, as well as increasing unrest in my country and the world . For the time being, I’m trying to stockpile my manuscripts in the hopes of eventually having enough of a backlog of stuff that I feel like I could actually attempt to get this whole venture off of the ground.
That’s where my head is at with all of this at the moment, basically. It’s hard trying to balance ethical concerns with aesthetic ones (as a bookbinder and book designer in addition to being a writer) and with, well, the practical realities of life (costs and marketing and storage and shipping and all of that). Hence why I’ve largely stalled out on this as a primary career option.
I’m gonna be quoting a lot to reply, but not everything.
Environmental and labor stuff
To things about environmental issues and labor issues, I’m not particularly plugged in. There are a lot of bad stuff in the world on these issues and it sucks, but my personal stance is that I can’t avoid them entirely. How many things are made in china for example. Are store employees ever treated well by their employers? What about earning a living wage? If I start taking all of that into consideration for my life. I think I’d have to stop buying anything but locally made stuff that I could truly look into if those issues exist, and make everything else myself. Basically start a farm, and live off that. Except I’d probably need machines, and I can’t build those myself and probably can’t find a local maker that isn’t attached to a bigger company that will probably not be perfect. (Also, I don’t want to be a farmer, I have other dreams for my life.)
So instead, I do what I can to make better choices (like picking local, like not buying from Amazon if there are other alternatives that won’t bankrupt me, etc.), and I advocate for better rights and so on. And for the rest, I recognize that I have to make a living, and my happiness is also important.
And still, I’ve been thinking about whether I could for example stop buying things made in china, but that isn’t always something that is written on product information online, and I don’t want to have to buy everything in a physical store.
So I just thought I’d put that up front and then focus on specific things.
Actually nowadays, Amazon is a place you have to put in a lot of work to have success in too. Now that ads for books is a thing. The golden age of just slapping things up on Amazon and selling have not been around for a while now; the amount of work it takes to have success on Amazon have grown bit by bit and is quite significant now.
I’m not sure why this is a problem? Copyright is not like trademark. You don’t have to defend your copyright (nor will anyone else), and unless you license your rights to someone else, no one else is gonna go after anyone for your stories. So you could license under creative commons for sure. Heck, there is nothing stopping you from putting your own works into the public domain from the moment you’ve finished them. (At least I’m pretty sure you can sign over your stuff to the public domain.)
But also, I don’t think you have to. I think there are authors who even write guidelines for fan fiction authors on their personal websites. And I’m pretty sure you can put in any will of yours that your stories go into the public domain upon your death, if you want that.
You should look into Cory Doctorow who gives away their books for free online (at least they did a few years ago, see a short interview here), I’m not plugged in more than knowing that, so I can’t say exactly how they do it, but you should be able to find more info. They are also a successful author as far as I know.
As to anyone making fanfics from your works… Well, that is another thing entirely. CC licenses have something about what license a derivative work needs to be under, I think (to be legal I guess). But I’m not entirely plugged into that.
Personally, I won’t go after fan fiction works/writers just for writing fanfics of my work and posting them online for free. I see no harm in it. If they start to try and sell them for money, or such, then I might do something.
The aesthetics are a lot better these days. PoD is booming and quality is up. Although price per copy is still high (even higher now because paper prices are higher). In one aspect, the environmental cost is less: books will only be printed when someone orders one. So no unnecessary/unwanted copies and associated environmental costs will happen.
All I’ll say is no. You can find royalty free art for pretty low costs on sites such as Dreamstime, Depositphotos, and such places. Designing can be learnt to do yourself, but even if you don’t at least you can find cheaper options now because indie publishing is so big. ISBNs I’ll grant you, but you might not need one (ebooks don’t); US authors is getting screwed here, because in Sweden I get ISBNs for free…
As to editting, copyediting is all you need, and you should be able to find that for a reasonable price. I don’t know how exactly, because I can’t just go to my local library and finding someone who’s good at English, nor go to a local college and see if an English major want to earn some extra coin (or English professor).
Look for cost articles on Dean’s website. He’s blunt and doesn’t mince words. But don’t let his tone fool you. He’s mostly angry because so many people get screwed. (Although probably don’t take his advice on what designing software to use to make covers, because there are cheaper and free options out there. But keep in mind his comments on fonts, because someone made those fonts and they should be licensed properly for what they are used for.)
Self publishing can be fairly cheaply done. It can be done more or less free if one really wants/needs. Even with small investments (such as getting a design program that costs a little, and/or paying for copyediting, etc.), it can be done well.
It is much better to get them out there. Even if they don’t make much or anything. Because the more things you have available, the easier it is for someone to find you, and if they find you and like your stuff, they’re likely to buy everything you have available so you want as much available as possible. Regularly publishing can help for sure. But the best way to sell more is to have more out there. Holding back because you don’t have the mental well being right now to figure it out is absolutely a good reason; holding back because you think publishing something once a month is better than it being out there already potentially earning you money is not such a good reason.
I’m pretty sure that libraries when it comes to ebooks could never buy direct from you right now, or you’d have to get very famous for that to be a consideration. When it comes to print books, they also mostly (only?) buy through certain channels, so if you want your stuff in libraries, you might have to make your books available in those channels.
The best way to build an author career is having many years before you need to make money at it. So starting slow, getting things out there bit by bit is the way to go. And marketing really isn’t that useful until you have at least 10 novels/collections out there, because until then even if you convert someone to that one book, well, if there is nothing else for them to buy after, so it is hard to make the marketing worth it.
Another truth is that you will make mistakes. And you learn from them, and fix them as you can, and then you move forward. I haven’t gotten very far in my career, but I’ve already made plenty of mistakes. Comes with having your own business, and life in general.
Edit: Wanted to add that I know how much work it/this is. I think the only thing I’ve done these past couple of years is keeping up with the industry and not much else, except sporadic writing. The pandemic with the fear and such has played several numbers on my mental health. (Along with moving and trying to settle in a new place.)
Gonna preface this with a Robert Bringhurst quote (from “Why There are Pages and Why They Must Turn”): “Many writers, of course, had no more desire to start designing and setting their books than they had to start building their own houses, growing their own food, and making their own clothes.”
Let’s just say that I am that kind of writer . I’ve dabbled in all of these things. It’s definitely not how all writers are, but it is how I am.
I think you gain a bit of a different perspective on the material reality of books when you approach bookmaking kind of sideways, from the bookbinding/papermaking/printing/design side of it and not the content creation side. And then add librarianship and book conservation and general archival concerns on top of that, and well… you will find yourself spending a lot of time in your life thinking about paper .
In my opinion, the best era for paper in terms of quality (for printed books specifically) as well as environmental concerns was the 15th century European papermaking industry, when the vast majority of paper was made out of old linen and hemp. This paper still holds up beautifully to this day. Of course, this era was not so great about labor issues.
In the modern day, we simultaneously have more and less options for paper. It’s impossible to reach the same level of quality (and, well, recycling) that existed in the 15th century because that industry is entirely gone now. But there is a lot of really nice paper out there, and there’s more awareness of archival concerns than there used to be, so like print on demand books are trying to think about these things and all of that. However, you still don’t get very many choices for the paper your books are printed on, with print on demand. All of that is completely out of your hands.
When I talk about aesthetics, this is the kind of thing I mean. The ability to choose and heavily customize the physical materials that make up your book. Obviously I don’t have the ability to make the kinds of choices I was able to make with my custom edition of Moby Dick, which I digitally designed myself, made my own handmade paper for (complete with a harpoon watermark), printed the book onto the paper via a home printer, and will ideally eventually bind myself (I have a specific plan in mind, but was unable to finish the book before I graduated and lost access to the studio space I was using).
But with any book I’m making, I do care a lot about paper: what does it feel/look like, how long will it last, where did it come from, what materials was it made out of, who made it? I care about it from an aesthetics perspective, from an archival one, from an environmental one, and from the perspective of labor issues.
Granted, print on demand has improved in many ways. They’re much more archival now, for one thing. The conservator emeritus at my old university actually helped some companies improve in this regard. Aesthetically, they’ve also improved a lot (though you’re still quite limited in terms of choice). But the rest of it… well…
For one thing, printing on demand is just more inefficient than printing in a larger batch. That’s just how it is. No matter how much the technology improves, this will always be the case. It takes more energy/resources/time to print 1000 individual books on demand than if you did a small print run and did them all at once. Environmental concerns aside, one perk of doing print runs is that I’d be able to offer my books for cheaper, or make more per copy without having to hike up the price unreasonably for customers.
I think this is where we differ, in terms of aesthetics and such . I’m actually legit trained in book design, so I don’t have to pay anyone for that, but for stuff that goes beyond fonts and layout, like cover art and illustrations, I’m not a good enough artist to produce work with the quality that I would want. I’d much rather commission an artist to get a nice illustration in the style that I want, which I can use on the book as well as on the website, and in any crowdfunding campaigns I might attempt and such.
As far as ISBNs go, without one, you’re limited to publishing in print through Amazon’s POD service, since they give you one of their ISBNs for free, but it’s sort of not a “real” ISBN, and my understanding is that if you use theirs, you’re kind of stuck in their system, and also bookstores won’t carry you, and most libraries won’t, either. Maybe this part has changed in the past few years. In any case, I already purchased plenty of ISBNs, so it’s not an issue for me.
If I do try print on demand, I’m currently favoring IngramSpark over the free options, just because the quality is better, and it’s way better for wide distribution (plus freeing yourself from Amazon). However, Ingram absolutely does have more upfront costs than other POD services. It also requires an ISBN, but thankfully that one thing is not a problem for me.
As far as editing goes, I’d absolutely want to pay someone to do it, and that could easily run you a decent bill. If I serialize my stuff for free first, though, I think I could probably get away without paying an editor until the book has finished serialization and is about to be published. So it’s another thing that crowdfunding could potentially help cover.
My main concern is that if I want to make Patreon part of my business model at all, and with serialized web content, you do need to be pretty regular about updating. It’s less of a concern if you’re not going down that route.
I don’t think I’ll ever in my life be someone putting out one book a month, but I think it’s reasonable to want to get to a point where I can reliably get a new book done in the 20 weeks or however long it takes to serialize the previous one . If I’m at least a few books ahead, in terms of finished manuscripts, that would give me more of a buffer so that I can stay on schedule with publishing even if I fall a bit behind on writing.
With libraries, it’s… complicated. There are so many issues with libraries and ebooks, and libraries and self-published books. I’ve come at this one from both directions (the perspective of a librarian and the perspective of an author).
Unfortunately, a lot of it comes down to publishers being very greedy and afraid of piracy (several major publishers won’t even let libraries carry ebooks of their books, and of the ones that do allow it, they often charge a lot of money per book and limit the number of uses), and basically deliberately doing what they can to make it very hard and expensive for libraries to carry ebooks.
The system that is currently in place is very frustrating to me because it basically tries to eliminate every single positive quality that ebooks have over print books (extremely low cost of production, ease of distribution, lack of decay of physical condition, ability for more than one person to read the book at the same time, etc.) by attempting to reproduce the exact same conditions of print books.
Something I’m interested in doing, actually, while I work at a library, is trying to find other solutions that make it easier for libraries to carry ebooks, and ways to do it that aren’t so mired in DRM. I’d literally make ebooks of my own books available for free to libraries if they wanted to carry them. I’d love to find a way for authors who think similarly to be able to get their books into libraries like that. Of course, libraries might not be interested in carrying them (even ebook collections must be curated), and there is a certain prejudice in some libraries against self-published material (some reasons are valid, and some aren’t), but it would be nice to forge an alternative pathway that makes things easier for everyone, including patrons.
Yes, the creative commons license that I use allows for sharing (copying and redistributing the material in any medium or format) and adapting (remixing, transforming, and building upon the material for any purpose, even commercially), as long as I’m attributed, and as long as any derivative work is distributed under the same license as the original.
Your intentions are good, but here’s where things get sticky. The most famous example is probably this one. I’ve seen many authors, like Neil Gaiman and such, say that they don’t engage with fanworks of their stuff at all for this reason.
Part of the reason why I use the creative commons license that I do is because it renders situations like this a non-issue. Regardless of what may or may not happened in that specific situation, I don’t want fans of my works to feel afraid. I also don’t want to feel afraid to engage with fanworks of my stuff as the author.
And as far as people making money off of fanworks goes, it’s a really tricky situation because the vast majority of the time, people who take fanfiction commissions and all of that are doing it because they need money to survive. Current AO3 policy forbids asking for money for your work or linking to places to take donations because they’re afraid of a legal battle happening over this, which could prove disastrous for fanworks, depending on how it goes. I think it’s going to inevitably come to a head at some point, as more and more people slip into poverty and get more and more desperate.
In any case, this is another occasion where I don’t want fans to feel afraid. If someone takes a $20 commission from another fan and writes them a fic based on my book, I want them to be able to do that without fearing retaliation from me.
For theoretical use cases beyond that, if someone writes an 80k spin-off fic of my book or whatever and wants to publish it for money, as long as they credit me and publish their stuff under the same CC license, I don’t have a problem with that. I’d rather put ideas out in the world that get picked up and used by other people and become part of the wider story fabric, rather than getting locked away in a copyright vault somewhere for like a century.
I think all writers (for fic and original fiction alike) have different things to contribute, and our work cannot replace each other’s. A fic writer’s take on my stories will be different than mine. Some people will prefer that other person’s version. Their version making money would not be taking away from me.
And the more of us are writing in the same world, the more exciting and fleshed-out that world becomes, and the more other people will want to play around in it.
This is getting long as heck, sorry! Props to everyone who made it this far .
I guess to sum up my overall position on things, the business model I currently favor, and which I think is most conducive to the kind of lifestyle I want to live and my ethics in terms of accessibility and all of that, is publishing my novels digitally by serializing them on my own website for free, with a Patreon set up that people can subscribe to to get the next week’s chapter available in advance, as well as extra goodies like occasional free book downloads, wallpapers maybe, and additional content.
I think digital content wants to be free. If you don’t provide it for free, someone else will. But if you offer regular, quality content, people will be happy to support you, especially if the cost barrier is very low. If you have 1000 readers paying $1 to you every month, that’s a decent chunk of money, and you’ll make more than if all of those people purchased 2.5 ebooks a year from you. And some of them might also buy an ebook from you at the end because they want to own the book in a more convenient format, or they might buy a print copy (or both!). I just think digital content should be treated differently than print books, and should be monetized differently. Otherwise, you’re just going to constantly run into problems with libraries/archives and piracy and all of that.
As far as print books go, I treat them sort of like special art objects. If I’m going to be putting print books out there in the world, I want them to be worth everything it took to produce them. I think if you offer a very high standard of quality and uniqueness with your print books, people will want to own them as objects. This is something that other publishers will struggle to reproduce, even if someone takes the text of your book and tries to do their own POD edition of it or something.
A lot of upfront printing costs can be taken care of with a successful crowdfunding campaign, which is essentially guaranteeing sales of your book by having people preorder copies. If the printing step comes at the end, after your book already has a dedicated audience via serialization, it should theoretically be easier to get it funded.
I guess maybe it’s kind of a weird, somewhat contradictory position, because I’m informed both by the zine world as well as the book artist world. I want my stuff to be very accessible and free, but also high quality. And I want it to last, and be available in libraries. It’s a lot to ask for .
My goal would be to foster a positive community around my work where people could engage with it however they wanted, without fear (and without needing to spend money), and would feel encouraged to spread and remix the stories in their own words. And ideally, the thing that would keep them coming back to me would be the quality of my writing as well as the quality of the production, which I do believe are things that are unique skills of mine, which cannot be reproduced exactly by other people. I think if you cultivate for yourself a small community of people who truly love your work, they’ll stick with you, and with time, that community will likely continue to flourish and grow.
But, well, my mental health being what it is and all of that, I guess for now, I’ve picked the easy path (working as a librarian without trying to make it as an author). But ideally, I do want to eventually try to get this all going, even if it ends up being a huge failure.
For now, though, all of my spare time/energy that could be going into writing is definitely going into studying Japanese instead . But I hope that once I reach a more advanced level, I’ll be able to introduce a little more balance back into my life and study Japanese more on the side rather than as a primary hobby.
A lot of what I wrote was because there is a lot of misinformation about self/indie publishing and most think it has to be expensive. However it doesn’t have to be. But you seem aware of this and instead wants to choose certain aesthetics and such that will make it expensive. Just be aware that you’re making it a lot harder to make a living at it, if that is what you eventually wish. But I think you know that. ^^
You know a lot about paper.
I’d to just mention that the quality of illustrations and such you can find on the royalty free sites is great. It won’t be custom obviously, but there is a lot of variety there. But perhaps you’ve investigated them already and know that. ^^ In any case, you seem to have a very specific vision and for that you’ll probably need custom art.
Currently I think the recommendation is (to reach the most readers) is to go with IngramSpark but turn off the Amazon channel, and use Amazon’s PoD for Amazon (and only Amazon). I also know the distributor Draft2Digital has PoD in beta right now, and it’ll be interesting to see how that one works.
True, Patreon and serial models certainly work a lot better with regular content. However outside that, it is generally better to publish things sooner rather than later.
I know. What trad publishers are doing is just stupid when it comes to ebooks both to libraries and the market in general. They seems to think their business is print books, not selling books in general. Despite them earning more per ebook copy than they do paper copy.
Not engaging with fan fiction will be my stance too. For legal reasons, it is just safer. I’ve never been engaged with fanfictions, I’ve read a handful in my teens and that is about it. I always wanted to write my own stuff because it is much easier to make things up, than trying to play within someone else’s restrictions, in my opinion. (Aka I find it much harder to ape someone’s style, or write their characters true to how they appear in another work, than make up my own characters.)
I don’t think I’ve heard of this practice.
Well, it will take work. And while I don’t know if someone else is currently doing the specific combo you want to do, I’m sure you can find examples of people serializing on their websites/Patreon and then selling the books; and same with people making books as art.
There is a wide world out there. Forging your own path in it is seldom easy, but hopefully it will be worthwhile. (I don’t necessarily mean worthwhile as in successful but satisfying, fulfilling, and hopefully successful.) I certainly hope it will be for me too.
Yep, I’m very aware . But I guess I just know too much now, I can’t really compromise my ideals. I kind of sit at the intersection of all of these different worlds (writing, fanfiction/copyright, bookbinding/papermaking/printing/design, libraries/archives), not to mention zines and artist books.
Before grad school, I was coming at this from just the writing (and fandom) side, but I picked my school specifically because of their fanzine collections, so I ended up studying all sorts of stuff through that angle (zine librarianship, the material composition of zines, and basically the history of self-publishing, as well as the history of many subcultures that ultimately moved from zines and became internet subcultures) during the course of my library science degree. At the same time, I was learning bookbinding and book conservation and stuff like that. Came out of it feeling like I was literally destined to self-publish my own stuff, haha, but then also felt myself getting pulled in way too many directions, I wasn’t sure how to even go about it.
What’s funny about this is when I first started learning book arts, naturally I signed up for a bookbinding class, because that was the most interesting skill to me by far, but I was surrounded by lots of MFA book arts students who’d specifically come to that school to learn papermaking, and I thoroughly Did Not Get It. They’d pick up a sheet of handmade paper and just marvel over how nice it was, and I’d pick it up, nod, and be like “ah, this sure is a sheet of paper.”
I put off learning papermaking until my last year in grad school. I felt like I was obligated to cover all of the main bases (I’d taken four bookbinding classes, box-making, letterpress, calligraphy, book design, book preservation, and book conservation, but no papermaking yet). My class was on Nepalese, Islamic, and Japanese styles of papermaking, with a particular focus on Japanese papermaking, which was my professor’s specialty. It utterly blew my mind and transformed my entire way of thinking about books.
I came out of the semester with the realization that I had become one of those paper people .
Yeah, I’d want the art to be a strong focus for promoting and illustrating the website and any possible crowdfunding campaigns as well as the book, so I’d want something that’s very tailored to the work, which can become part of its unique identity. Plus, I know a lot of really talented artists who I’d love to commission .
This is extremely by design. People who take fanfic commissions do them very much under the table because they don’t want to get sued for them. The commission solicitation posts often talk about it with very vague language that gives the authors plausible deniability (like people promising they’ll write you a “story” with the unstated implication being that it will be a fanfic).
Like I mentioned earlier, people aren’t even allowed to talk about it at all on AO3, so you won’t usually see it mentioned on the fic websites. The vast majority of people doing this kind of work are people who cannot work a regular job for whatever reason (often they’re disabled), and this is a last resort for them to earn a little bit of money so that they can scrape by. It’s not a lucrative industry by any means.
It’s… kind of a disaster waiting to happen, in my opinion. If an author did find out about it and sued the fan writer for it, I think it would probably be really disastrous for all involved, and for fanfic in general. Personally, I think it would be very cruel for an author to go after a fic writer for doing it, because the person in question is likely very poor, and is not taking any money out of the author’s pockets or anything (if someone is paying someone else for a commission, they’re doing so either to financially support that person, or because they want something that wasn’t in the original work anyway).
I hope so! And yeah, I hope you manage to find success with your own writing, too.