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Author Topic: Publishing in the PRC  (Read 2017 times)

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Publishing in the PRC
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2016, 07:56:33 AM »
Online Fiction Becomes Chinese Cultural Force

The internet has introduced new ways for people to spend their time, from sharing on social media to battling in multiplayer videogames to watching user-generated videos. But in China, the web is also giving a big boost to a more conventional leisure-time pursuit: reading novels.

Some 43% of China’s online population, or 297 million people, read novels online in 2015, according to a government report. The best-known authors have millions of followers. Their works are made into films, TV series, animations and games. In a country where many people feel alienated from the official socialist slogans and elite culture, online fiction readers say they find comfort in a literary world that takes them away from reality. “I enjoy fantasizing along the storyline,” says Dai Wei, a project manager at a design company in Beijing. “It’s different from watching TV or movies.”

As a result, fiction websites are becoming a formidable force shaping China’s popular culture—and attractive assets for internet companies that own film studios, video sites and videogame developers. In March 2015, game and social-media company Tencent Holdings formed the biggest online literature company in the country, China Reading, after combining its own literature division with Shanda Cloudary, which it had reportedly acquired for five billion yuan ($747 million). China Reading has eight websites, with categories including fantasy, romance, kung fu and business. It has altogether four million writers and 10 million book titles.

E-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding set up its online literature division in April 2015. Search engine Baidu recently sold the controlling stake of its online literature division to a film and game developer for reportedly one billion yuan—only three years after the developer sold the same business—in much smaller form—to Baidu for 190 million yuan.

Online literature has followed a similar pattern to e-commerce in China, which took off partly thanks to the country’s weak traditional retail industry. Similarly, online literature has blossomed in China because it addressed demand for topics that traditional Chinese book publishers had largely ignored: home-grown science fiction, romance, fantasy and erotica.

Some of the top TV series, movies and games last year were adaptations of popular online novels, such as the fantasy drama “The Journey of Flower,” in which a god and a goddess who were destined to kill each other became lovers in their afterlives.

Such series took top spots in TV ratings and generated billions of streams on video websites. “The Journey of Flower,” which aired on China’s top entertainment channel, Hunan TV, ranked No. 2 nationally in 2015, and garnered over 20 billion streams on big video websites. A videogame based on the novel took in nearly 200 million yuan ($29.9 million) in the first month after its launch.

User-generated fiction is gaining traction in the West, too. Toronto-based story-telling site Wattpad claims 45 million active users and some two million stories uploaded per month. Fan fiction, romance and mysteries are among the most popular categories. Like its Chinese counterparts, Wattpad is working with TV networks and Hollywood studios to identify works and subjects suitable for the screens.  Amazon.com and digital publishing houses also are making it easier for aspiring novelists to self-publish.

There are other similarities and differences. Like fiction offered on Wattpad, Chinese online novels are serialized. Authors usually post two chapters a day, or over 3,000 Chinese characters that take less than 10 minutes to read, and end with a cliffhanger.

Unlike Wattpad, which is free for its users to upload and read, the Chinese online fiction site Qidian, now part of China Reading, decided in 2003 that it would charge readers so it could pay authors.

Industry standard prices in China are around 20 to 30 yuan per million Chinese characters (it’s common for online novels to total millions of characters). Readers seem to pay little each time, but can end up paying more for a full online novel than the cost of a print book.

The biggest boon for online novels is the flourishing entertainment industry, which is hungry for good storytelling. China is expected to overtake the U.S. as the biggest film market in the world next year. iResearch said in a report that Chinese spent 200 billion yuan on online entertainment in 2015.

Income for some authors has skyrocketed as a result of the increased interest in online fiction. Zhang Wei, pen-named Tang Jia San Shao, was the top-earning author in China from 2008 to 2012, during which time his royalty income rose to 110 million yuan from 26.5 million. It would have put him behind romance novelist Nora Roberts as No. 10 on Forbes’s 2015 list of highest-earning authors in the world.

The online lit business faces big challenges, chiefly copyright piracy and censorship. Pirated versions of novels such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” (in translation) are easily accessible. Only a fraction of the 297 million readers pay to read. China Reading says that in the first half of 2016 the company sent about 110,000 complaints to websites that violated its copyrights and filed hundreds of civil lawsuits against websites that infringed its rights.

In the past, censors had been more relaxed with fiction websites than traditional book publishers, which enabled a sizable output of erotic romance novels. But after crackdowns in the past few years, some websites won’t allow any description of physical contact below the neck. In its author guidelines, China Reading lists contemporary politics as a taboo. Even alluding to it isn’t allowed.



/posted in full because paywall (and WSJ)
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Publishing in the PRC
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2016, 07:58:53 AM »
More recently...

Web Novels are Taking China by Storm

The big trend in China over the course of the past few years are web novels. Over 297 million people read one in 2015 and the creators see their stories transcend the internet with their stories being converted to films, TV series, animations and games.

Most Chinese web novels are serialized with the vast majority ending on cliff hangers. The average chapter takes around ten minutes to read and the authors have millions of followers. Tang Jia San Shao, was the top-earning author in China from 2008 to 2012, during which time his royalty income rose to 110 million yuan from 26.5 million. He basically makes as much money as bestselling author Nora Roberts, who is number ten on as No. 10 on Forbes 2015 list of highest-earning authors in the world.

Publishing web novels is starting to become big business. Tencent Holdings is currently the biggest online literature company in the country, China Reading, after combining its own literature division with Shanda Cloudary, which it had reportedly acquired for five billion yuan ($747 million). There are four million writers and 10 million book titles on this platform.

The success of Tencent has prompted other established internet players to start their own publishing division. Alibaba set up its online literature division in April 2015, while Baidu recently sold the controlling stake of its online literature division for one billion yuan.

In North America the largest web novel website is Wattpad. They have 45 million active users and two million stories uploaded per month. Amazon tried to battle them with their Kindle Worlds platform, which allows authors to write sanctioned material based on established franchises. This allows the original author and the fan-fic one to share royalties, sadly Kindle Worlds never took off and is is relegated to the type of obscurity that Kindle Scout enjoys.
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Publishing in the PRC
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2016, 05:12:18 AM »
I feel like, if only Chinese people know about this, then we're missing out.
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Publishing in the PRC
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2016, 05:16:38 AM »
This is the big one, apparently:

Qidian

A pay-to-read fiction site, I believe, with some proceeds going to the authors. (Mind the overbearing popups.)
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Publishing in the PRC
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2016, 05:22:19 AM »
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

old34

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Re: Publishing in the PRC
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2016, 07:56:21 AM »
This is the big one, apparently:

Qidian

A pay-to-read fiction site, I believe, with some proceeds going to the authors. (Mind the overbearing popups.)

My student's book: http://www.qdmm.com/MMWeb/1754998.aspx

She says she's made a little bit of RMB. She's in the middle of writing a second novel. Her day job is in trade finance for China's Ex/Im Bank some staff of which my uni is currently conducting some corporate/banking/finance training.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Publishing in the PRC
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2016, 01:13:13 AM »
China's gongfu and fantasy web fiction becomes hot in US


- Recently a two-year-old website, Wuxiaworld.com, surprised many Chinese people by its great popularity in the United States.

The website is a platform for sharing English versions of Chinese gongfu and fantasy online novels translated by Chinese martial arts lovers.

According to data from Alexa, the website ranked 1,525 in the world and 986 in the US, with more than 3 million daily page views, 241,211 daily unique visitors, and 2,475,861 monthly unique visitors....



/Chinadaily
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Publishing in the PRC
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2017, 07:05:06 AM »
WeChat to roll out paywall for publishers

WeChat, the massively popular messaging app with over 800 million active users mainly in China, is testing out a paywall that will allow media outlets and bloggers to set a pay-per-read price.

Like Facebook, WeChat has brand accounts used by media outlets, celebrities, bloggers, and companies of all sizes.

A spokesperson at parent company Tencent confirmed the long-rumored move to Tech in Asia today (hat-tip to Yicai for spotting this) but declined to give details as it’s still in a trial phase....
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Publishing in the PRC
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2017, 12:26:32 AM »
Translation critical to Chinese contemporary literature going abroad

followup: On Introducing Chinese Literature to an International Audience


There's something weird in the way these organizations speak of their missions. How they manage to make sharing perspectives sound as isolationist as any other Chinese activity is quite remarkable.
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...