Know how we keep saying that the interweb is the absolutely best showcase for your talent as a writer or filmmaker?
Know how y’all keep ignoring that?
Well, here’s a place where a lot of people seem to be giving the TVWriter™ way a try.
A little country called – China:
by Xu Jing
Over the past 10 years, Chinese Internet literature has grown at an impressive rate. With ever more such novels adapted to film and television drama, web-writers have finally reached their “golden age”. Some earn more than 10 million yuan (Bt54 million) annually.
According to a survey by Beijing-based newspaper Jinghua Times, Internet literature websites offer writers a lower access threshold, while writers themselves have more channels to publish their works and earn more.
Between this year and next more than 30 movies or TV dramas adapted from Internet literature will be released. Meanwhile, large Internet literature groups are being set up one after another and traditional Chinese Internet giants such as Tencent.com are taking the literature to new heights.
Web-writers initially published their work on online forums. Bu Feiyan, a web-writer as well as a Chinese literature lecturer at Renmin University of China, admits that she was writing for fun when she started on Tianya.cn, the largest Internet forum in China.
“I was just a college student back in 2002. I had a wuxia (martial arts) story in my mind, but none of my classmates wanted to hear it, so I decided to write it on the Internet. I was surprised that so many people liked my work. About four months later, a publisher left a message on my blog and asked if I wanted to publish my work,” she says. Bu has published 25 books so far. Most were serialised on an Internet literature website where people can read them after payment. Since early this year she has been working as a screenwriter for an Internet drama.
“The Internet has changed my life. Before, my works attracted attention from publishers, while now they earn rewards from my fans. Web-writers have more chances to become rich. All they need is talent, effort and fans,” she says.
Fans are really important to web-writers. According to the new remuneration system of China Reading Limited, the biggest Internet literature website in China, web-writers can receive up to 50 per cent of the subscription.
Almost all Internet literature websites include a reward function. Readers can award the web-writer money or props that can be “exchanged” for money.
Some sites encourage a “fans’ economy”. They publish monthly charts of popular web-writers determined by votes from readers. However, readers must pay to vote, and the more they pay, the higher rank their favourite writer will get.
There are millions of web-writers in China. They can be divided into five levels based on income and number of fans. The lowest level is the ordinary writer, also known as “poor guy”. Their fans are limited, while their works seldom get recommended. Normally, their annual income is around 1,000 yuan.
Xiaoshen (low rank god) class writers have more than 100,000 fans with an annual salary of more than 100,000 yuan. Generally, they are the foundation of a literary website.
Zhongshen (middle class god) class writers earn more than 500,000 yuan per year and have hundreds of thousands fans.
The annual salary for dashen (super god) class writers is more than 1 million yuan. The number of their fans is always higher than 1 million as well.