Friday, December 15, 2006

Richest Writers in China

Mr. Han Han

Mr. Guo Jingming

The most popular writers in today’s China have made their way into the millionaire club, by selling their books and earning eight-digit-number royalty.

Chinese Business Post recently surveyed publishing companies, bookstores and writers, and came up with a list comparing some writers’ royalty income for their works of the past decade, calculated by multiplying published copies, cover price and royalty rate of each work. The survey adopted an average royalty rate of 10 percent for the calculation.

The writer with the highest royalty income, 14 million yuan ($1.75 million) is Yu Qiuyu, of Shanghai. The best sellers among his works are collections of essays about his thoughts and reflections of cultures, Chinese and foreign. Eryuehe, a novelist, is ranked right behind Mr. Yu, claiming 12 million yuan ($1.5 million) in royalty gain.

Noticeably, two young and edgy writers, Han Han and Guo Jingming, earning 9.5 million ($1.2 million) and 8.5 million ($1.1 million) yuan respectively, are among the top five, beating old generation literature icons like Mr. Wang Meng and Jia Pingwa.

These two young men were born in the 1980s and started to publish when still teenagers. Appreciated by many, especially young adults, as the voice of China’s new generation, they are different from writers of older generations in many ways, such as not shy to boast their personalities and applying cutting-edge writing styles.

It is also interesting to see Anni Baby, who gained her fame by writing on the Internet, be listed at 11 in the fortune list of contemporary Chinese writers. Many of her works having debut on the Internet were later published in paper books, which earned her nearly $1 million in royalty.

Not surprisingly, most of the top 25 richest writers in today’s China made their fortune by writing fictions, a genre enjoyed by most of the reading population in China. There are only five women among the top 25.

Like many other businesses in China, book publishing and selling has marched into market economy and allowed writers of good-selling works to become millionaire. But these writers are still minority. Most of people who try to make a living by writing, however, are not making big money, the China Business Post report says.

----by Josie Liu

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