First  Prev  1  2  Next  Last
Post Reply Will The American Light Novel ever sell in America?
44 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
19 / M / Somewhere in Kansas
Offline
Posted 2/4/16
I have a few questions for this group that I think should stir up some interesting discussion.

1. What do you guys think about the ability for writers to make a name for themselves in America using a light novel-esque writing style? Japan has excellent competitions and opportunities it seems for their writers to get out there: whether in print or online (citing Log Horizon as an online one). Here in America however, and I'd imagine the UK for that matter, it seems like a select few stories make it REALLY big, while the vast majority don't get any attention at all. Do you think this is due to differences in marketing, culture, etc?

2. Have you seen any more dialogue and character focused novels from America? It seems like what I find is always really verbose and descriptive to the point of making me putting it down for it taking too long. We Americans don't have much patience (Hopefully this long post doesn't fall into that category).

3. I've actually taken to writing in a dialogue focused story pattern, and plan on serializing my work, but the best place I could find was Wattpad, which definitely doesn't have the best user-base for this sort of style. Do you see this sort of site/app becoming a possible medium for aspiring writers to get out there, possibly targeting the anime/manga/light novel community and being based on short chapters which only take a few minutes a week to keep up on?

I know that's a lot but I'd be very interested to see your opinions. Thank you for reading down this far
BV235 
5528 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
27 / M
Offline
Posted 10/28/16
As a US author who makes a living off writing novels inspired by anime, I can say with definitive evidence that there is a market for it. At the same time, it's very hard for anyone to make money in this market. Firstly, because a lot of fans of authentic Japanese light novels aren't as receptive to a US author trying to create a series inspired by anime, manga, and Japanese light novels. I've actually had several people who discovered my books on Amazon call me a weeaboo and other derogatory terms for writing novels inspired by anime tropes instead of traditional western storytelling themes. Even so, I know that there are a good number of people who enjoy a westerners take on light novel style storytelling.

I think western "light novels" are something that could easily catch on if people are willing to give them a chance. I also think that as non-Japanese anime fans, we have a unique opportunity to combine the storytelling often found in anime, manga, and Japanese LNs, with more traditional English writing techniques and prose.

20 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
Offline
Posted 7 days ago
I've only just started reading light novels (I've read 2), but based upon what I already know of them, I think North American Light Novels already exist in some form; we just don't call them that. I'm primarily thinking in terms of the most fast-paced YA books, which tend to be streamlined, fun reads, even though they usually lack illustrations. Ultimately, Light Novels are meant to be fun, easy reads, and there are already a lot of books that fill that specification.

As for books that are specifically designed to resemble Light Novels, I think it would be interesting to see more, especially now that the fan community is more open to non-Japanese-produced anime/manga (compared to 10 years ago, at least, when any Western-produced manga was met with scorn). I enjoyed the illustrations in the Light Novels that I've read and would like to see more art in fiction books in general. As for the style of the writing, though, I think whomever's writing the books would need to be skilled at writing minimalistically for the novels to have any chance of taking off. Personally, I've found the minimalistic writing in Light Novels that jarring enough to be distracting, which significantly affects how much I can enjoy them (Though this may be a problem with translation more so than the original writing). The anime archetypes that appear are distracting, too. Nearly every time I've read a Light Novel, I've thought to myself "This needs to be an anime. Oh, there is an anime? I'd rather watch that." (And of the Light Novels that I've read, both have made better anime than books.)

If one is to try it from an economic standpoint, though, Print on Demand is definitely the way to go. Compared to other publishing options, it's considerably less expensive, which allows the author to devote the money saved into advertising (which is as important as the book itself, when it comes to eventually earning money).

If the recent rise in Japanese Light Novel publication is any indication, there's definitely a market for it, but it's already a small niche market, and North American-produced Light Novels would form an even smaller niche. A low-cost model like PoD might be the only way to make a profit off something that specific.
20 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
Offline
Posted 7 days ago

BV235 wrote:

As a US author who makes a living off writing novels inspired by anime, I can say with definitive evidence that there is a market for it. At the same time, it's very hard for anyone to make money in this market. Firstly, because a lot of fans of authentic Japanese light novels aren't as receptive to a US author trying to create a series inspired by anime, manga, and Japanese light novels. I've actually had several people who discovered my books on Amazon call me a weeaboo and other derogatory terms for writing novels inspired by anime tropes instead of traditional western storytelling themes. Even so, I know that there are a good number of people who enjoy a westerners take on light novel style storytelling.

I think western "light novels" are something that could easily catch on if people are willing to give them a chance. I also think that as non-Japanese anime fans, we have a unique opportunity to combine the storytelling often found in anime, manga, and Japanese LNs, with more traditional English writing techniques and prose.


My husband and I have also seen some success in the anime-inspired novel business! We have a trilogy of giant robot novels that are particularly popular - and all of our books follow anime's unique sense of ridiculous logic - but when marketing the books, we specifically avoided anime-inspired art. I think this contributed to a lot of their success, as it allowed us to snag the interest of readers who would normally have seen the anime stylings and dismissed it as something they wouldn't like. I agree that there's a definite audience - The fans we meet at anime cons tend to be the most enthusiastic ones - but unfortunately, when it comes to building a wider readership, downplaying the anime elements (at least visually) seems to be the way to go. That's one of the reasons why I believe North American Light Novels might have a hard time taking off - they're inextricably bound to otaku sensibilities and art.

Authors like us (you, and my husband and me), I think, have the right idea - combining anime-inspired tropes and sensibilities with Western storytelling styles. A typical Light Novel structure might be too alien for a new reader unaccustomed to anime archetypes and logic; throw in a bit of the familiar, though, and it becomes more accessible...and hopefully a new favorite!

(Totally going to check out some of your books, btw!)
6010 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
Offline
Posted 6 days ago

BV235 wrote:

As a US author who makes a living off writing novels inspired by anime, I can say with definitive evidence that there is a market for it. At the same time, it's very hard for anyone to make money in this market.


Curious to find out how you were able to break in and get people to start reading your stuff. I have this story i have been developing for a while now, and want to get an idea about what steps I should take to publish independently. Probably will try to go the traditional route first with my novel before I try to get into self publishing.

TLDR: I would like to read your story about how you were finally able to make a living off writing.
BV235 
5528 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
27 / M
Offline
Posted 5 days ago

hphololol wrote:


BV235 wrote: My husband and I have also seen some success in the anime-inspired novel business! We have a trilogy of giant robot novels that are particularly popular - and all of our books follow anime's unique sense of ridiculous logic - but when marketing the books, we specifically avoided anime-inspired art. I think this contributed to a lot of their success, as it allowed us to snag the interest of readers who would normally have seen the anime stylings and dismissed it as something they wouldn't like. I agree that there's a definite audience - The fans we meet at anime cons tend to be the most enthusiastic ones - but unfortunately, when it comes to building a wider readership, downplaying the anime elements (at least visually) seems to be the way to go. That's one of the reasons why I believe North American Light Novels might have a hard time taking off - they're inextricably bound to otaku sensibilities and art.

Authors like us (you, and my husband and me), I think, have the right idea - combining anime-inspired tropes and sensibilities with Western storytelling styles. A typical Light Novel structure might be too alien for a new reader unaccustomed to anime archetypes and logic; throw in a bit of the familiar, though, and it becomes more accessible...and hopefully a new favorite!

(Totally going to check out some of your books, btw!)


I actually went the opposite way. Instead of avoiding anime/manga style artwork, I ran with it and created a book series that told everyone exactly where the inspiration came from. My series even has manga illustrations similar to what you'd expect to see in a typical light novel. I've also got several more light novel series that I'm writing for, which will have similar anime-inspired art.

BV235 
5528 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
27 / M
Offline
Posted 5 days ago

BV235 wrote:

Curious to find out how you were able to break in and get people to start reading your stuff. I have this story i have been developing for a while now, and want to get an idea about what steps I should take to publish independently. Probably will try to go the traditional route first with my novel before I try to get into self publishing.

TLDR: I would like to read your story about how you were finally able to make a living off writing.


I had been writing long before I started publishing. I posted a lot of stories online and gained a following of around 10,000 or so people. A lot of my readers told me that they thought my writing was better than some professionals, so I decided to try my hand at publishing.

Of course, my first novel was crap. The editor I hired didn't fix a lot of my grammatical mistakes, or my syntax, and my writing wasn't quite where it should have been. I also had a very experimental style. My published series, American Kitsune, is a meta parody series that breaks the fourth wall more times than Deadpool in his newest movie. That turned a number of people off. However, a lot of my more dedicated followers that read my stuff online bought the series and kept encouraging me, so I kept writing and publishing more books. It just recently got to the point where I'm making enough money that I can live off my writing.
First  Prev  1  2  Next  Last
You must be logged in to post.