By Li Hongrui
Online writer Tangjiasanshao, or Zhang Wei, took the crown again on the latest income ranking list of Chinese online writers.
Receiving 122 million yuan ($18 million) in royalties, the writer comes in at first place for the fourth time.
Born in 1981, Zhang once worked for a small IT company after graduating from Hebei University. He got fired by the slumping company in 2003.
In 2004, Zhang started writing his first online novel, Guang Zhi Zi, or Son of Light. In 2012, the young writer was crowned on the royalties ranking list for the first time.
Many web writers, such as Tiancantudou (Li Hu) and Wochixihongshi also rose to fame because of their work and enviable royalties.
A series of popular TV series, animations and games have been adapted from their writings, including Nirvana in Fire and The Journey of Flower. Read more
Source: China Daily
Zhang Wei, China’s top-earning online novelist, is not modest about his success. “I love writing, and I’m gifted,” Mr. Zhang, 35, said in a recent interview.
The numbers back him up. In 2015, Mr. Zhang, better known by his pen name, Tang Jia San Shao, earned 110 million renminbi, about $16.8 million at the time, according to China Daily. Much of his fortune was made from selling his so-called IPs, a buzzword in China referring to intellectual properties or original content that is often adapted into movies, television shows and games. It’s a strategy that in recent years has become a major source of revenue for China’s online literature websites and writers. Mr. Zhang’s earnings would put him on par with best-selling authors like Stephen King and George R. R. Martin.
Mr. Zhang’s works typically fall within the fantasy genre. “Douluo Dalu,” one of his most popular works, is the story of a martial artist who tumbles into an eerie new world called Duoluo Dalu. The story is being turned into a movie, a television show and a video game. In the interview, Mr. Zhang talked about the difference between online literature and traditional publishing, the advantage of an established fan base for lucrative spinoffs and his dream of creating a Disney-style empire. Read more
China’s wealthiest and most prolific internet novelist sees room for ‘boundless imagination’ in digital fiction: Sixthtone.com
Zhang Wei has made his fortune from the internet. He’s not a viral live-streamer, a tech entrepreneur, or one of China’s new generation of e-commerce merchants, but an online fantasy writer who earned 110 million yuan (over $16 million) in royalties last year.
The staggering amount — more than “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin’s estimated annual income of $15 million — most recently earned the 35-year-old Beijinger the top spot in a ranking of China’s richest online writers for the fourth year running.
Publishing under the pen name Tang Jia San Shao, Zhang began to write online novels in 2004, a time when China’s online literature scene was still in its infancy. Twelve years and 150 titles later, he is now a member of the Communist Party-led China Writers Association and a professor of online fiction at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art. A large number of his works have been made into movies, video games, and web series.
Zhang talked to Sixth Tone about the secret to his success, the state of China’s wider online fiction market, and why he thinks “Game of Thrones” would never work in China as an online novel. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Short story authors used to need a collection of stories before securing a book deal. Writer Zhang Wei and book critic Yan Jingming both expressed publicly through a literature forum last year that short story writers struggle with a limited readership and a small slice of the publishing pie. Short story anthologies rarely make bestseller lists.
But the ebook era could change all of that.
Novelist Zhang Wei has become a literary icon in China thanks to his prolific but diligent work, and his writing is now reaching more foreign readers as well, Mei Jia and Sun Ye report.
Shandong-based writer Zhang Wei says he seldom has felt writing is a pain while producing the biggest body of works in contemporary Chinese literature for more than 30 years. Read more