In Shanghai Daily, Yao Minji says this about the rise of online literature in China and the corresponding lack of interest in classic martial arts novels:

Zhou’s frustrating search for classic martial arts in print – and the emergence of online sci-fi fantasy martial arts – is a story in itself about the dying love of reading good books for pleasure. It’s also about the onslaught of online novel publishing as millions of young people grind out primitive pulp fiction in hopes of making it big.

Fine, I’ve heard versions of this (though I haven’t heard of martial arts novels), but I haven’t heard this before:

Large well-known “literature” Websites often have thousands of contracted writers, ranging from 12-year-old middle school students to people in their 50s. They are selected from among registered users, based on the click-rate of their pages and novels. Then they become VIPs and users pay to read them.

Contracted writers assign all rights to the Website. In return, the Website upgrades them to VIP writers, who receive a monthly payment based on their popularity.

“When we started writing online, it was totally for personal interest and sense of achievement,” says 31-year-old HR manager James Chu who started writing suspense novels online in 1998. That was long before any specialized lit Website emerged and the idea of online writers was new. Online writing began to develop after 2000.

“It feels so great to know that thousands of people are waiting for me to continue my story,” says Chu.

I haven’t actually read any of China’s weblit so I can’t actually say that I like it, but I really like the idea of it.  


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