It has been eight years since web novels newly appeared in 2013, and the market size of web novels has grown from 10 billion to 600 billion won. The global influence of Korean web novels is spreading through international content platforms like Naver and Kakao Entertainment. As the attention and expectations of web novels are rising, anybody who enjoys reading them might probably want to try writing them someday. The Sungkyun Times (SKT) interviewed writer Jinmun who graduated from the Department of Law at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) and has been writing web novels for seven years. His recent work Real Money has recorded over 1.7 million downloads.
Making a Decision to Earn Money by Wiriting
Q1. Please introduce yourself.
I am a web novel writer under the pen name Jinmun. I started at SKKU in 1999 and graduated from the Department of Law. My debut work was Legal Mind published in 2014, and I started to earn money by officially serializing Stay Civilized on KakaoPage. Now, I am lecturing for people who dream of becoming web novel writers in the future.
Q2. What made you decide to become a web novel writer?
I dreamed of becoming a web novel writer to become the person I wanted to be and to live doing what I like to do. Initially, I prepared for a judicial exam for five years. At the end of the preparation period, I visited a mountain in Gangwondo and decided to bow 1,000 times in a temple. I wanted to get rid of my anxiety and find a solution for my problems by doing this. At first, I prayed for success in the exam. After bowing 500 times, however, I started thinking about the basic I t has been eight years since web novels newly appeared in 2013, and the market size of web novels has grown from 10 billion to 600 billion won. The global influence of Korean web novels is spreading through international content platforms like Naver and Kakao Entertainment. As the attention and expectations of web novels are rising, anybody who enjoys reading them might probably want to try writing them someday. The Sungkyun Times (SKT) interviewed writer Jinmun who graduated from the Department of Law at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) and has been writing web novels for seven years. His recent work Real Money has recorded over 1.7 million downloads. class101.net 10 In SKKU question, “Why am I here?” in my head. It made me reflect on my life up until that moment. Through this question, I realized that being a judge or a prosecutor was not what I truly wanted. At the same time, I remembered that I liked fantasy novels during my childhood. Finally, I decided to become a web novel writer because I thought I could write well and could no longer put off the things that I really liked to do.
Q3. Please explain your life journey to becoming a web novel writer.
Before becoming a web novel writer, I was a salesman at an insurance company. I thought I could do well in sales tasks because I am eloquent, but I was missing something. Salespeople should be good at encouraging people to buy products, but I was not that kind of person. After working two months in that company, one of my friends introduced me to a reporter who asked me to write columns about financial technology for the rich. I wrote for them for six months, and after that, I got a call from a consulting company. Through this experience, I realized that I am a good writer and thought I could earn enough money even if I did a different job. For these reasons, I started to take writing a web novel more seriously.
Writing is Like Building Blocks
Q4. You have caught the attention of many people since your debut. How did you prepare for your first project?
At first, I uploaded my works on web novel platforms usually used by male readers such as Joara and Munpia. It was really competitive; I only earned 1,800 won for the first four months. At that time, I only had a two-year time limit to become a writer due to some situational issues, so I busily wrote works while also being a part-time worker. One day, I met my friend, and he said, “Writing is like building blocks.” My friend’s words inspired me, and this was my turning point. Before I heard that, I didn’t understand how other writers could write such long stories. However, after that, I understood how to connect the stories and could put all of my writing skills into the new novel I prepared, Real Money. That was my actual first work before my debut. The work ranked 8th in Golden Best and finally led me to a contract with a company.
|Real Money, Jinmun’s First Web Novel (series.naver.com)|
Q5. What was the main difficulty you experienced, and how did you overcome it?
After signing the contract, the company later predicted that lots of people would not read the next episodes of Real Money. They requested that I write a new web novel, and I could not give up although it was such a harsh request. At that time, the top-ranked novel was in the medical time-traveling genre, and lots of writers expected the next popular genre would be about laws. For this reason, I decided to write Legal Mind, a novel in the legal time-traveling genre. Actually, I hated to write the legal genre because it was like going back to my big failure. But I knew how to write it, so I started to serialize from October 2014, and the work ranked 4th in Golden Best the next month. Then, it became a fee-based subscription the following year, and I started to earn a lot of money.
|Legal Mind, a Web Novel about TimeTravel (series.naver.com)|
Q6. Now you are giving lectures about how to make money by writing web novels at CLASS101, an online lecturing platform. What is the reason for starting these lectures?
I was once invited to be a web novel lecturer for Dongguk University. When I started to write a web novel, there was no one to teach me. Former writers did not let me know how to write web novels systematically, and they just told me to read a lot of the best web novels. For these reasons, I ran a book club for two years by gathering several students who were passionate about writing web novels. After that, I founded my own Jinmun academy in 2019. For the first recruitment period, about 18 people came, and some Real Money, Jinmun’s First Web Novel people debuted or succeeded after the course. During the period of the third group of recruits, CLASS101 called me, and I started to lecture there from January 2020.
Q7. Million View Web Novel's Secret Code, published in January 2021, attracted people who want to earn money by writing web novels. Why did you write this book?
I wrote the book because no one tells people how to write web novels. Of course, there are some YouTube channels operated by web novel writers, but they only teach a few tips, and people cannot be good writers with only those tips. Also, there are lots of differences between web novels and pure literature, so people need new skills for web novels. Therefore, I put codes that were organized by the processes and personal experiences of me and other best-selling web novel writers.
|Million View Web Novel’s Secret Code, Published by Jinmun (yes24.com)|
Q8. Please give some advice to young writers out there.
Some people say that they are writers even though they earn a small amount of money just for coffee, but I think they cannot call themselves writers. That is just a hobby, not a real job. You can call yourself a web novel writer when you can earn enough money for a living. Also, writers are the ones who can safely put their name on the best top 10 writers list anytime and be able to compete with other writers in open web novel platforms. That’s why they have to analyze their audiences and write novels that fit their particular tastes.
Jinmun in 2021
Q9. What are you planning for this year?
Actually, I do not have many competitors in the web novel online lecturing field, and I already settled in fantasy novels that are usually popular among male users. As I think firmly establishing myself as a lecturer is more important than writing new novels, I decided to stop writing for a while. Now, I am focusing on the Jinmun academy and preparing a new curriculum. I will open new lectures for romance fantasy novels. After making my status strong in the romance fantasy field and completing the academy classes, I will begin to write a new novel.
Q10. What kind of web novel writer do you want to be remembered as?
I want to be the best writer out there. I also want to be remembered as a writer trying to make the web novel market better. In the old days, I had a bad experience with a contractor who insisted that I should give him half of my profits even though that was not in the contract. After I won the case in court, I filed a petition for young web novel writers to prevent unfair contracts. Even today, some platforms still come away with more profits than the writers. I really want to let many people know about this problem and change the current situation. By doing this, I want to be remembered as a writer who contributed to making the virtuous circulation of the market.
Q11. Any advice for Kingos?
As a student, you might only think about getting jobs to survive in the real world, but it is different from what you expect. For companies, employment is literally a fixed cost, and this fixed cost can be easily replaced by others. Now, it is okay for you to experience failure. If you do not fail and just settle in something, your fate will be fixed, and it will be difficult to dream about something new. So, I want to say that failing a lot in this period will lead you to learn how people earn money and how the world works.
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