Bob Baker's Book Promotion Blog

Cellphone Novels: Bestsellers in Japan

Want to see an example of the rapidly changing world we live in? Here's the lead paragraph from an article in the New York Times called "Thumbs Race as Japan's Best Sellers Go Cellular":

TOKYO -- Until recently, cellphone novels -- composed on phone keypads by young women wielding dexterous thumbs and read by fans on their tiny screens -- had been dismissed in Japan as a subgenre unworthy of the country that gave the world its first novel, "The Tale of Genji," a millennium ago. Then last month, the year-end best-seller tally showed that cellphone novels, republished in book form, have not only infiltrated the mainstream but have come to dominate it.

Who knew you could even write a book on a cellphone, much less become a celebrity doing it? From the article:

One such star, a 21-year-old woman named Rin, wrote "If You" over a six-month stretch during her senior year in high school. While commuting to her part-time job or whenever she found a free moment, she tapped out passages on her cellphone and uploaded them on a popular [Japanese] Web site for would-be authors.

Crazy. Here's another passage worth noting:

The writers are not paid for their work online, no matter how many millions of times it is viewed. The payoff, if any, comes when the novels are reproduced and sold as traditional books.

Lesson: Whether we're talking cellphones, typewriters, or spray paint as the writing instrument, the principle remains the same: widespread exposure and awareness can lead to cash flow and opportunities.

Think twice the next time you get out your Blackberry.

Read the entire article here. (Free NY Times registration required.)

-Bob

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