Editor’s note: We thought it would be useful to feature publishing professionals who manage spoons! You can also check out our Writing Resources menu for more tips and consultants!
This week, Robert Kingett answers some of our questions about user accessibility and representation of Blind characters in fiction!
SpAN Editor: Can you describe the services you offer?
Robert K: I offer many services in the sensitivity reading/content editing space, but I also offer audio description writing services with our audio description collective called Social Audio Description. I’m a writer above anything else, but I also do corporate Day Consulting, which is basically a corporate sensitivity read. I often do sensitivity reading for Blind and visually impaired characters, but I have a wide array of lived experiences, so I also consult on aspects of LGBT+ community and those who are speech disabled.
In addition to offering expert witness and accessibility consulting services, I work for many fiction podcast companies, consulting on audio drama scripts, and I work with many publishers to contract a ton of sensitivity reading work. I still do journalism on occasion, but the journalism I do has shifted exclusively to personal essays. I also provide technical writing services, such as writing manuals, tutorials, and guides on how to use hardware and software.
SpAN Editor: What do you often find is missing, when it comes to accessibility for Blind and visually impaired folks?
Robert K: In the fiction podcast space, I’d say the biggest barrier is having an accessible website, with properly labeled links, edit fields, and buttons. In terms of publishing, the biggest missing component is templates for writers to use if editors like something to be formatted a certain way. The biggest barrier to Blind and visually impaired writers is having to contend with extremely complicated visual formatting requirements such as line spacing, indentation, and margin width. Providing free templates would cut down on so many emails back and forth as well for everybody involved. Providing free templates will ensure everybody is productive and is working on the same page.
SpAN Editor: What are the common tropes you spot when sighted authors write Blind/visually impaired characters?
Robert K: The common misleading tropes I see when sighted authors write Blind or visually impaired characters is the trope of always talking to technology rather than using a screen reader. I’ve never seen an accurate depiction of screen readers on the page. This goes along with mobile phones as well. Another big trope I see is that Blind characters hate their blindness. I’d love to see a character that happily embraces the full aspects of Blind culture, good and bad.
SpAN Editor: What projects have you worked on, where we might experience your work?
Robert K: I’ve worked on many podcasts but the latest is a science fiction podcast called Earth Eclipse. As for books I’ve consulted, or help write, you can find the most up to date works on my website.
SpAN Editor: Where can people find more info about your rates and business?
Robert K: The best place people can visit is my website, blindjournalist.wordpress.com/
Robert Kingett is a totally blind author who writes essays and fiction where disabled characters live “normal” lives. When he’s not writing, he loves to listen to fiction podcasts. Visit him online at his website, http://blindjournalist.wordpress.com/