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How can an aspiring light novelist catch the eye of an editor? Well, a recent Tweet by author Mai Mochizuki gives us a little hint.

In Japan there are many ways for light novel publishers to find up-and-coming authors. From a number of different writing competitions, scouting talent at one of the many doujin events, and walk-in appointments by potential authors, there are no end to the methods editors use.

In recent years, however, the internet has become one more tool for editors to find new talent. One such site light novel editors in Japan are using is the self-publishing site Shōsetsuka ni Narō (Let’s Become a Novelist). And in a recent Tweet by Mai Mochizuki, author of Holmes of Kyoto, she spoke about her editor at POPLAR Publishing using that site.

My editor at Poplar Publishing said that they were checking out “Shōsetsuka ni Narō” and when I asked them, “So you do check the rankings?” they said, “No, I’m not looking for light novels, so I don’t use the rankings as a reference at all.”

So I asked them how they search, and

・Dive deep into your search
・Follow the reviews of readers who prefer reading things other than light novels
・Check the titles that have an enthusiastic fan base even if the site hits are low

Is what they said.

They also said, “It would be easier to find something if it had an easy-to-understand title that grabs people’s attention, but it’s hard to find.”

I’ve heard rumors but, (if you’re looking for works other than light novels) editors don’t seem to place much emphasis on rankings.

In the Tweet, Mochizuki says she knew her editor checked Shōsetsuka ni Narō and asked, “Are you checking the rankings?” It’s a legitimate question to ask since one would assume editors are looking for the most popular authors or works to publish. However, the response she received defied those expectations. Instead, Mochizuki’s editor responded they instead do the following:

1. Dig deep for titles.
2. Look for reviews of readers who read things other than light novels.
3. Check the titles that have an enthusiastic fan base even if the site hits are low.

Mochizuki then continues her Tweet saying her editor also said, “It would be easier to find something if it had an easy-to-understand title that grabs the reader’s attention. But those are hard to find.” More importantly, though, Mochizuki ended her Tweet by saying she’s heard rumors many editors, even those outside of light novel editing, don’t place much emphasis on rankings.

At first glance this opinion seems counterintuitive — if a work is popular, shouldn’t editors reach out the author? But, in a strange way it makes a lot of sense. For instance, by searching Shōsetsuka ni Narō for lesser-known titles, it’s more than likely editors will find something users of the site overlooked. It’s also important to see the opinions of those who are not inundated in one genre of fiction and have a broader perspective of literature. Also, an enthusiastic fan base means there is something about an author’s writing that strikes a chord with readers. And now with the popular trend of titles essentially telling you the plot of the story, titling has become rather important. So, as odd as this editor’s opinion may seem at first, there is sound logic to it.

Mai Mochizuki‘s Tweet is a nice look into the light novel publishing world. It’s also a great tip for those who aspire to become novelists, novel editors, or someone who just enjoys reading a good story.

Source: Mai Mochizuki‘s Twitter account via Hachima Kikō

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Holmes of Kyoto Novelist Mai Mochizuki Tweets That Certain Editors Don’t Bother with Light Novel Rankings – Interest