Ring-ring: Your Novel is Ready
Rin, a 21-year-old nursery school teacher, has become one of Japan’s most popular fiction writers this year. Her novel, Moshimo Kimiga (If You …), is about a high-school romance and a girl’s fight against HIV.
But the most fascinating aspect of her success is that her book started as instalments uploaded to an internet site and then sent out to the phones of thousands of subscribers. Since being converted into hardcopy last January, it has sold more than 420,000 copies. And there’s more: Rin typed the whole story on her mobile phone.
Justin Norrie, who has reported on this phenomenon for the Sydney Morning Herald, says that in the first half of this year, half of Japan’s Top 10 fiction list were composed on mobile phones. These popular mobile phone novels (keitai shousetsu) have made their authors a fortune, selling an average of 400,000 copies.The usual writer of the mobile phone novelist is a first-time writer, who writes under a one-name pseudonym. Stories cover teen issues, eg romance, sex, drugs, etc.
The readership is mainly young females readers who check their mobiles constantly. The mobile-novel is easy to read on mobiles because the authors rely on one-liners, emoticons and spaces (to show a character is thinking). Norrie writes, ‘Scene and character development are notably missing.’
Another mobile-novel, Mika’s Koizora (Love Sky), sold more than 1.2 million copies since being released as a hard copy book last October. The story, soon to be made into a movie, is about a high-school girl who is bullied, gang-raped, becomes pregnant and has a miscarriage.
Why buy a book after reading the installments on a mobile? As the story unfolds, the mobile-readers often email suggestions and criticisms to the novel’s website. Because they feel they’ve contributed to the story, they buy the hard copy as a keepsake.
Maho no i-rando (Magic Island) is a site that provides tools to help readers create their own mobile phone novels. It has accumulated nearly 1 million works since being set up seven years ago.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Dec, 07.