Otaku Links: Otaku talk, revisited

17 October 2014 | 1 comment

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  • Steve of Otaku Network connected me to the previous link. (I guess you can tell how he feels about the word, too.) His latest post is about his struggle to connect with otaku in Japan about how they feel about the label.
  • I was on college radio with Naomi, a student at Pasadena City College. She interviewed me about otaku journalism and we somehow also ended up talking about hentai somehow, so check it out.
  • This has nothing to do with fandom, but everything to do with telling true stories effectively: my friend Rachael works with elderly people suffering from dementia, and her blog shares their experiences in a very humanizing way.

Photo via Gundam Guy (not my husband!) 

Writing a book in seven weeks, part 4

15 October 2014 | 5 comments


On Monday evening, I came home from Geek Girl Con to a packed inbox I really wasn’t ready to tackle. Because of the time difference, I ended up devoting two days to travel, and because of the lack of Internet in both the hotel room and the convention hall, I lost a full four days in which I’d normally be working on my book.

A lot of people, including myself, have an idealized version of the time spent writing a book. When I was younger, I imagined that by now I’d have a sunlit office (or any office at all), where I’d rise at 5 AM and churn out a chapter or two before anyone I knew was even awake. Or perhaps I’d retire to my candlelit library with a glass of wine in the evening, and transcribe the words on parchment with a fountain pen. So romantic.

But unless writing books is your full time job, and I’m guessing even if it is, life gets in the way. I wrote Otaku Journalism in snatches of time between my actual life obligations. And this book had such a tight deadline that I’m pretty sure I wrote every word of my chapter while actively experiencing a panic attack. Now, I’m writing around an event, not to mention all my usual writing jobs. (Though if I was going to take off time for ANY event, it’d be Geek Girl Con. More on that in a later post.)

I spent a good chunk of Geek Girl Con advising people how to launch their own careers in fandom, and if you have the time, I’d love for you to check out the fully taped panel I’ve linked here. But all the while, I was feeling pretty behind on my own. So now you get a short, late book-progress post, and I get a short week to compensate for all the work I didn’t do earlier.

I guess what I’m trying to say is there’s no perfect time to start writing your book. There are always going to be a million more pressing obligations to take care of.

Since high school I have idealized NaNoWriMo and every time—for over a decade now—I’ve pushed it aside with excuses. “I already write hundreds of words a day for work.” “Not this November; I’m too busy.” This year, however, none of that is stopping me. Because that decade has taught me that when I look back ten years, I don’t remember all the tiny chores I took care of. Only the book I didn’t write.

Who’s with me?

Screenshot from “From Feels To Skills: Putting Fandom On Your Resume.” Recording captured by Alexandra Edwards

Otaku Links: Hi from Seattle

10 October 2014 | No comments yet


By the time you read this, I’m Seattle-bound. I’ll be there for Geek Girl Con, where I’m presenting panels on fandom and journalism with some stellar Internet friends. I’ve never been before and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! In the meantime, I’ll be updating my Instagram with travel pictures.

  • Aja (who happens to be in Seattle with me!) expertly explained why so many fans have a problem with the sexual assault/body cavity search during the first episode of Cross Ange. Parts of this article are NSFW.
  • Vocaloid superstar Hatsune Miku performed on the Late Show with David Letterman because that’s the world we live in now.
  • At Manga Therapy, Tony looks at the role same-sex friendships play in supporting manga about romance.
  • The new season of Gundam Build Fighters means now is a great time to get into Gunpla building. New Gunpla builder Mario wrote some really sweet things about my gunpla blog over at his site, Shared Universe.
  • The A.V. Club poetically reviewed my all-time favorite video game, Chrono Trigger.

Photo by 4Corners

And the winner of Fandemonium is…

8 October 2014 | No comments yet

fandemoniumLast Wednesday I said I’d be giving away a copy of Rick Schindler’s Fandemonium to one lucky reader. So this morning I used Random.org to pick a commenter.

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The winner is commenter #3, Otakista. If that’s you, please drop me an email because I don’t have any way to contact you you except your website and Twitter.

Didn’t win and still want the book? You can pick it up on Amazon or at Wattle Publishing.


Writing a book in seven weeks, part 3

7 October 2014 | 4 comments


I should have expected that I would fall behind on these posts eventually. I feel guilty doing anything, even blogging, when there’s work to be done on the book.

It’s quickly becoming apparent that the actual writing part of the book is going to be a cakewalk compared to getting the photos in order. I didn’t write a word of the book this week. Instead I spent my time organizing the cosplay photos my publisher has already given me, plus searching for and contacting talented cosplay photographers all over the world.

After all, this isn’t a book that’s primarily written. My words will add context and captions, but the best way to explain cosplay is through photos, and the more the better. For every thousand words of the book, there will be 50 or 60 cosplay photos.

So far, the biggest obstacle is diversity. My first 500 photos were almost all of white and Asian women. The major priority is showcasing awesome cosplay, but it’d be nice for a book that professes to be about cosplay as a whole to be more representative than that. I’m encouraging photographers to send me more photos of men and people of color, too.

This week has taught me that there’s a lot more to writing a book than, well, writing. I’ve gotten fast at the churning out words part, but I have lots more to do. I have to get photos and permissions for those photos. I have to make sure everyone is compensated for their work. And there’s a lot of research and email-writing that goes into making all of that happen.

If you can recommend a talented photographer or cosplayer, let me know!

Photo by Moyan Brenn

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