Before you freak out, I’m only saying there’s a chance I might have to drop it.
If you recall when I shared the conversation between the author and I, I mentioned that the author was fully supportive of my translating it and wanted me to translate the entire series. The publisher in the other hand, does not want me to translate the VIP chapters which are all the chapters after this volume (volume 3).
So to protect myself and ensure that the series can continue to be translated beyond volume 3, I told the author I wanted a black and white contract with the publisher, otherwise known as a licence, that would allow me to translate the series with their acceptance and prevent any DMCAs being thrown in my face. If I were to get a DMCA, I would be forced to drop the series, lose the website hosting service and the domain and hosting costs, good shit. While the author has given his support, he is under contract with the publisher, and if they want to DMCA me, there’s nothing he can do about it.
A few days back, I brought up the licencing plan again. To reiterate, it’s a costly decision. Getting a licence would mean flying to China, negotiations and a fat chunk of money for the licence. Apparently they don’t sell licences at Toys R Us nor do they come with your happy meal. There’s also the cost of accommodation. I failed high school maths, so you can estimate and do the math there to figure out how much it would all cost. I don’t have that sort of money. If I did, I’ll make sure to show the world. Some people think money is bad, I consider a vehicle to do more things, like learn more, help family and feel secure. Maybe feeling secure and being happy is a bad thing, maybe it’s not something people should strive for, I’ll mull on that one when I’m not busy.
To digress a bit, the hopes for licencing Martial King’s Retired Life are bleak at the moment. The author isn’t exactly as responsive as the Son-con chapter (last time I asked about the artist of a piece of art for Archer, it took him a long time to get back to me), and the series is growing at a crawl now while we’re nearing the end of the free chapters there too.
We’re about ½ way through volume 3 already, so the talks for licencing and continuing to translate are approaching fast. As I mentioned previously, if they refuse to let me continue, then I will stop. I don’t see any reason for me to challenge the law.
To be able to provide evidence that they should allow the series to continue being translated, I asked multiple times to the 4600+ readers of the series to spend a few minutes to rate and review the series on Novel Updates. That would allow me to show the publisher that the readers care enough about the series. Their standpoint is that “there’s no interest for it and we see no potential in the English speaking market”. With lots of ratings, reviews and the series being on a lot of reading lists, I could show otherwise.
A number of you left reviews after I requested your help, and that’s what allowed the me to get the author’s approval to translate it. That’s what allowed us to get the uncensored chapters. That’s what allowed me to be able to share with you the artwork which isn’t yet officially released for the Chinese readers.
However, there are a mere 298 ratings, and 19 reviews when there are 4600+ readers. Maybe the publisher was right, and maybe there is jack shit interest in the series, and jack shit potential in the English speaking market.
It somewhat amuses me since the one month it was on hiatus while I translated volume 1 of Martial King’s Retired Life, there were cries for more Son-con, two individuals were posting everyday on every chapter “More son-con!”. So while there was evidently time to spare in crying for more Son-con chapters, there was apparently no time to give a rating or leave a review.
So there’s a situation of “give me more son-con chapters, but fuck you, you can’t have 5 minutes of my time to continue translating the series, figure it out on your own.”
Alright, that’s fine. I’m an “everything is my fault” type of person. I’ll work harder, release more chapters and hopefully something will happen.
Oh, and there are the helpful bunch who use the bonus chapter donation to try and fuck with me by making trying to cheat the thing and donate stupid things like $999.99 with fake email accounts. So they’re making sure to waste the available executions with the hosting plan to try and crash the site. After all, an offline site makes it more convenient to read, huh?
So far, I have made good on everything I said. For the record, I never promised to translate Martial King’s Retired Life on top of Son-con, but I have anyway, so while I promised 4-5 chapters on Patreon, I’ve been releasing 8 per week.
So while I’m releasing more than ever, we’re not growing in any area. We’re not getting more reviews, we’re not getting more ratings, we’re not getting many more readers either (this one is beyond your control too; I acknowledge that). Let’s look at Patreon. I was expecting a take-off this arc seeing as how we’ve returned to the elves, but we didn’t. Just last week, I said I’d release an extra chapter this month if we could get to 100 patrons, and instead of getting closer (we got to the point where we were two away), we’ve now taken a step back.
I’ve seen the “I would if I could, but I can’t afford $1 per month” claim before. Nobody on the entire planet believes you including yourself. If you couldn’t afford to spare $1 per month, you’d be out there hustling to survive, not reading this or any other series for that matter. Like, you’re basically in a life and death situation, and I’m sure nobody who can’t afford $1 is online reading novels or whatever (can’t spare $1 a month, but iPhone X anybody?). I’m not saying this to say “bloody donate punk”. It’s just me telling you to save the blatant lies. Just come forth with it, “I don’t wanna”, hey, that’s cool, nobody expects you to offer even $0.50 in exchange for something you don’t think is worth $0.50. That’s fair game. Nobody can or should hold that against you. Just don’t try to bullshit me, anyone else or yourself – but I digress.
As part of that, we’re now back to square one, which is why there will only be 4 son-con chapters per week from next week onwards (although I will still do 5 this week despite that fact). I don’t have any obligation I can think of to do Martial King’s Retired Life, and nowhere did I every promise I would, but I do despite that fact, so there are daily releases every single day of the week.
Before I started doing both series, I was sleeping 3-4 hours per night as that was all I was left with after real life matters and then translating at night, every single night, never missing one. On Fridays and Saturdays, I now forego another 90 minutes to get the weekly 8, or sometimes 9-10 chapters (upon patrons request) done. I choose Friday and Saturday because the roads are quieter the next day so there’s less stress on the road for me. Some other nights, I need to keep it to just 3 hours.
I’m not having a whinge about translating or not sleeping 8 hours or whatever it is you consider sufficient, because there are soldiers out there dealing with actual harsh shit. I don’t know that I can function with any less sleep at this point. My specification is to point out that I cannot humanly release any more than that at the moment. I’ve tried that. When I re-translated the uncensored chapters on top of releasing normal releases because you requested so, I pumped out a total of 15 chapters over 7 days. Going 2 days without sleep, 1 with and then another day without sleep, I can tell you, it’s not pleasant when your body starts quivering throughout the day and you start spacing out frequently throughout the day. If you don’t believe me, give it a try.
“Translate more chapters, release more frequently and you’ll be Gucci.”
You know what? Not one more rating, not one more review, not one more dollar, not one more new commenter came as a result of that surge of releases.
Last I checked, that’s close to the translation load of full-time translators who’re now doing it as a full-time job. I did and do it while maintaining a full-time job to stay alive. If you can math me how to translate full-time, and live off what my Patreon numbers are plus $2-3 per day on days with releases from ad revenue (I provided proof of that previously with a complete day by day for multiple days, both days with releases and days without, and a breakdown of impression rpm, CPC etc.) after paying $300 for an electricity bill, teach me how. So no, I’m not going to start doing 12 chapters per week with the current numbers and pray to a goblin that everything will work out.
I thought that if I worked harder, improved my translation quality, released more frequently, released more chapters, got the approval to translate to protect the series and myself, things would work out. But instead, nothing has changed, and just after passing the first milestone on Patreon, we’re now back to trying to hit that first milestone. I certainly want to keep translating the series. I certainly want to translate full-time. I continue to strive for more but we either stagnate or go backwards, and I’m at a lost for what to do.
And then, we have the end of the volume and legally continuing to translate the series issue coming up real soon.
I’m anxious about the future of the series because I actually care about it enough to promote it wherever I can within the realms of feasibility. I want to secure it because I want it translated. I’m the one who translates. I’m the one who cares enough to correct mistakes and negotiate possible improvements to the translation quality. The previous translator didn’t get you the uncensored chapters, he didn’t get you the artwork (credit to him because he works hard on a bunch of other series, and I give credit where it’s due). That was me, the generous patrons (past and present), and the people who rated, added to their reading list and left reviews were the ones who played a big role in making it possible. I got the uncensored chapters. I got the exclusive artwork. I invested time outside of everything else to get the author’s approval. If we’re going to convince the publisher, we need numbers. We’re not having a disqus or chatroom conversation over the internet where you can persuade people you have a harem and out-boxed Mayweather for some internet credit. Challenge my words that I’m not invested in the series and care about it.
So, tell me what it is I need to do to advance forwards. Tell me what it is I need to do to have a chance at the negotiations. Tell me what it is I need to do to fund air fares, accommodation and a licence or licences if we have a successful negotiation. Tell me how I can get to the next level.
Because I don’t know what more to do anymore.