Melinda Beasi is continuing to show us how it is to work for the Digital Manga Guild, with two recent posts that expose some of her experiences and concerns. (She applied over a year ago; the first DMG title was released in August 2011.)
In her first recent post, Melinda explains how the group she first joined fell apart over contract issues (a not-uncommon concern). She attributes this to “lack of effective and accurate communication between DMG’s caretakers and its members … something which continues to be an issue for the Guild”.
She found another group, where she began working without credit or payment, due to existing agreements. However, when that group’s editor went missing, she was finally able to get recognition for her work, when the DMG agreed to “redo the original paperwork”. In the comments, another participant points out that contributors dropping out is a major problem for the program overall. That makes sense — for efforts where you might get paid after publication, sometime down the road, it can be hard to maintain motivation.
It’s disturbing, however, that DMG seems to value having contracts in place over having them realistically reflect who’s doing the work, with them being very resistant to modification of the documents. There are also concerns over scheduling, with questions as to how realistic the due dates are in some cases.
Melinda’s second post looks deeper into her specific role as editor, working without a net. No one required her to have experience, and there was no one for her to turn to with questions. I found it odd that, although she’s labeled an editor, the tasks she describes sound more similar to the role of adaptor, someone who takes the literally translated Japanese and turns it into readable English, and that DMG considers her suitable for that role without knowing Japanese. Ultimately, though, the piece is about how DMG is letting possibly unqualified people work on their publications, based only on their self-assertion that they could handle it and their willingness to accept the deal, and without much oversight or guidance. Of course, providing help would mean that the DMG couldn’t run as cheaply for the company.