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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
‘Yun Woo’s photo. In the book,’ Nam Kyung thought. In a sense, Yun Woo’s new book was drawing more attention than any other book he had edited up to that point. Along with the two most prestigious literary awards, Yun Woo’s identity and the company’s promotional strategy were some of the biggest contributing factors. There were unfounded predictions regarding the new book running amok on the internet. On the other hand, people’s expectations were through the roof, in anticipation for what kind of story Yun Woo would release after ‘Sublimation.’ For the sake of research, Nam Kyung read through each and every one of the comments. The international fans weren’t exactly quiet about the young author either, and news of the senior editor of Fernand visiting Korea was drawing massive attention.
“Fernand,” Nam Kyung let out, leaning on his chair’s backrest and thinking back to the recent past. “They’ll probably start with one million copies.”
Nam Kyung asked Mr. Seo about the number of first editions. Considering the current situation, it would be safe to start the new novel off with a generous figure, hence one million. Nam Kyung believed that Korean publishers needed to be just as generous to Korean literature as they were towards any famous foreign literature. Meanwhile, Mr. Seo was staring into the air with an ambivalent expression on his face.
“Who knows? No publisher in their right mind would be that generous right off the bat.”
At that, Nam Kyung objected immediately, “I don’t think that’s being generous at all. You know just how much attention Mr. Woo’s new book has been receiving.”
Mr. Seo nodded in agreement. Not only was the book written by Yun Woo, but it also contained a photo of the young author. On top of that, he was the first Korean winner of both the Nebula and Hugo Award, which were two of the four most prestigious literary awards for science fiction in the world. Although there was no promise as to how the book would do in other countries, the publisher was confident that it would do well in Korea and in the US. Following in the steps of those awards’ winning authors, having Yun Woo added to that equation would only make the results more promising.
“But it can be risky. There have been cases when books that sold nearly a million and a half copies in other countries ended up selling a third of that in Korea. The content plays a big role.”
Since they were not running a non-profit organization, they had to make profit a priority. They couldn’t afford to be generous. Nam Kyung, on the other hand, was growing impatient, “But this is Yun Woo we’re talking about. It hasn’t even been half a year since he’s got the Double Crown, and throw a picture into the mix? It’ll sell! No matter what! For starters, I’m getting three copies for myself.”
Mr. Seo laughed hollowly at that. In that case, he, too, had taken requests from those around him, including his children. No matter how much he had nagged at them to read more, his kids had paid no attention to their father, immersing themselves in video games instead. But now, they were begging him to get the new book for them. There was a clip floating around the internet with a massive number of views of the awards’ ceremonies’ hosts calling Yun Woo the winner on live television.
“The thing is, though, Mr. Woo’s face is already public.”
“That isn’t the same as the photo of him standing next to Kelley Coin. The way I see it, I think it’s better that people know what Mr. Woo looks like. Koreans tend to obsess over results rather than the process. That’s just how they were taught and brought up. But thanks to Mr. Woo, the book became the answer to the curiosity burning within readers’ minds.”
It wasn’t until after pulling his immature nephew out of that living hell in front of the company that Nam Kyung realized that Juho had been at the scene all along. Although everything had been in a disarray back then, the editor became hopeful once he realized how things were actually unfolding, The result was the answer to the fans’ burning question: a book containing the truth. The expectations were through the roof.
“That’s not all. The writing is solid, too. If it was some mediocre book, I would’ve done everything I could to talk you out of it, Mr. Park. I mean, we gotta be mindful of the time, right?”
There were times when expectations turned into burdens. Authors often wrestled with the burden of not letting their readers down, and as Yun Woo’s editor-in-charge, Nam Kyung had to be more sensitive to that than anybody else. However, the piece of writing that he came across was beyond his expectations.
“He will NOT disappoint. Yun Woo still has a lot to show.”
“I know that,” Mr. Seo said, smacking his lips.
“Then, we can probably start with one million, right?”
“Well, there are about four-hundred thousand copies on pre-order already, so there’s hope.”
“C’mon, Nam Kyung. Cut me some slack here.”
“Hold on, Mr. Seo.”
“Well, I’m getting back to work.”
While the two quarreled, Mr. Maeng turned up from behind them. He looked quite excited for some reason.
“I was looking everywhere for you Mr. Seo. Hey, Nam Kyung.”
“What is it?”
“It’s Mr. Woo.”
“What about him?”
Nam Kyung and Mr. Seo took turns to ask, and Mr. Maeng said without a delay, “They’re printing one million copies as the first batch.”
“Are you serious!?”
While Mr. Seo looked puzzled, Nam Kyung was about to throw his hands in the air in celebration. At that moment, Mr. Maeng blurted out the rest of the sentence.
“In the US.”
“What?!” Nam Kyung let out, standing in an awkward stance and looking at Mr. Seo, whose mouth dropped open.
“In the States??”
“Yes! In the States! One million copies!”
With that, after revisiting his memory, Nam Kyung sat up on his chair. One million copies. He didn’t resist the corners of his mouth turning up, and seeing the editor smiling on his own, Mr. Maeng gave him a weird look. Then, wanting to see the reaction of the fans, Nam Kyung clicked an article on the internet.
“Yun Woo’s New Novel, ‘An Insect Leaves No Trace.’ First Edition Reported to Start with One Million Copies in the States. Zelkova Publishing Decides to Start with Eight-Hundred Thousand in Korea.”
“Fernand, the Publishing Titan, Said to Print One Million Copies of Yun Woo’s New Novel, ‘An Insect Leaves No Trace.’ First Figure in the Millions for a Korean Author. The Young Author Isn’t Finished Just yet.”
“Yun Woo Draws International Attention. First Novel Since the Double Crown. It’s Pure Literature This Time.”
“The Publisher Remains Silent. ‘Nobody Knows Until the Book’s Released.’ Yun Woo’s Actual Appearance!”
“The Top Secret of the Publishing Industry Comes to Light! Is He Really Yun Woo? ‘We Might Have Seen Him Already.'”
“The Mystery That Is Yun Woo. What’s the World Like through His Eyes? Take a Closer Look at All the Events Up to Today.”
“The Astounding Accomplishments of the Young Author. The Message of Yun Woo Literature?”
“There’s Never Been Anything Like It! What Makes Yun Woo’s New Novel Special? His Profile Picture Said To Be Included in the New Book. Fans Finally Come to Face Their Favorite Author.”
“Yun Woo Finally Comes Out of Hiding After Wandering like Coincidence. Picture Said To Be Included in His New Book. The Publisher Speaks Up: ‘You Won’t Be Disappointed.'”
“Is He Really Yun Woo? Fans Still in Doubt? ‘Yun Woo Only Exists in Our Minds.'”
“Yun Woo Reveals Himself. Book Districts on Their Toes. What’s the Young Author Like?”
“Who is Yun Woo? Does He Exist?”
“What did I just read? Is Yun Woo really gonna reveal himself?!”
“Yun Woo! Finally! I’m dying to know what he looks like.”
“I don’t care if it’s Yun Woo or his book that comes out first. Just hurry up already!”
“Wow, I never thought I would see the day that I’d wait for a book to come out so desperately.”
“I agree. I’m going to the bookstore the day the book is released. I don’t think I have the patience to wait for it to arrive in the mail.”
“I’m going to the bookstore to see what Yun Woo looks like! They’re not gonna keep it all wrapped up, right?”
“Looks like there are more people going to the bookstore to see Yun Woo than for his book.”
“I’m going for his book! Personally, I’m super stoked for his new novel. I mean, he made it to the top at the age of nineteen. How can you not check it out.”
“Wonder what it’s like to be that successful at that age.”
“I wanna live like Yun Woo.”
“If only I could write like him. Please, Mr. Woo. Would you write my self-introduction for me?”
“Isn’t he about to go to college? I wonder what his self-introduction would look like.”
“Probably the best self-introduction of the year.”
“He’s probably one of the recommended students.”
“Which school is he going to?”
“Heard he’s not going to college. Although, it’s strictly a rumor.”
“Look up a video called ‘Yun Woo in the Broadcasting Room.’ That was the last time he was seen apparently.”
“Is that real though?”
“I doubt it. He sounds different.”
“I thought he sounded the same.”
“Isn’t he just desperate for attention?”
“What if he’s real?”
“We’ll find out when the book comes out. The book holds the key.”
“In the video, he says to read the books, and there’s a rumor going around that he’s implying something.”
“That sounds plausible.”
“C’mooon, I wanna know!”
“I wonder what he looks like. Any day now, Zelkova.”
“Is ‘An Insect Leaves No Trace’ the sequel of ‘Trace of a Bird?'”
“I just read the plot and it seems like they’re not related at all. It’s gonna be about love, apparently.”
“Is this gonna be Yun Woo’s romance novel??”
“Blech! Romance. Well, as long as it’s written by Yun Woo.”
“A pure love story of a high school student?”
“Wonder how it relates to the title. How can one fall in love with an insect?”
“Seeing how Yun Woo’s saying that there’s no trace, I don’t think he knows what true love is.”
“The book isn’t even out yet people…”
“I’m gonna be at the bookstore right when it opens! The curiosity is killing me.”
“What’s with the publisher telling fans to look forward to the picture? Are they that desperate for profit?”
“Maybe there’s a twist? Who knows?”
“What if Yun Woo isn’t actually revealing himself…!? What if it’s a picture of some guy!?”
“That better not happen.”
“I’m gonna start a protest in front of the publisher’s building.”
“I’ll blow up their website again.”
“Noo, that can’t be! Somebody, please tell me none of that will happen!”
“All right, now I’m getting all anxious. I’m really gonna have to go to the bookstore now.”
“I guess everyone’s going to the bookstore. I better join in on the party.”
“I’m surprised my parents haven’t said anything. I guess it’s because I’m going to the bookstore to get books.”
“I’m surprised that I’m even reading books.”
“I usually don’t have time to read ’cause of work, but I always carry one of Yun Woo’s books around.”
“I don’t think I ever stayed up all night to read.”
“Yun Woo! Show yourself!”
“Zelkova! Hurry up!”
“We want it now!”
“What the heck?” Juho let out. That morning, he had decided to walk to the book district for morning exercises and, when he arrived, he was greeted by an astonishing sight. It was just past nine in the morning, and the bookstore wouldn’t open until 9:30 a.m. Which meant, the crowd had arrived long before opening time. It was a rare sight for a bookstore in Korea. Like Juho, there were other pedestrians walking by, looking at the strange phenomenon. Similarly, even the employees inside the store were busy taking pictures of the people waiting in line outside.
“Is something happening today? What’s with the line?” somebody let out. Juho knew the answer to that. His book was being released that day, and that meant that he was officially revealing his face to the world as of that day. ‘But are all these people really here just to buy a book though?’ Juho asked himself. Then, his phone started vibrating. It was Seo Kwang, who had to be in school by that point. When the young author answered the phone, Seo Kwang’s excited voice came from the receiver, asking, “Your book’s coming out today, right?”
Looking at the people waiting in two separate lines, Juho said, “Yep.”
“Man! If only I could be there right now!” Seo Kwang shouted genuinely. It was quite funny to hear that coming from someone whose parents owned a bookstore. Seo Kwang was in school. After the SATs, the juniors had kept going to school for no apparent reason.
“Wait, you didn’t turn your phone in?”
“Don’t bother asking the obvious.” Seo Kwang said. Judging from what sounded like the noise of a video game coming through, things had to be quite lax in school for the juniors.
“Oh yeah! Did you see the articles? People are lining up at bookstores.”
Of course, the press wouldn’t let something like that slide. There were pictures turning up on the internet in real time, both from reporters and fans.
“I’m looking at them.”
“… Where are you at right now?”
At that, Juho repeated the same exact words that Seo Kwang had just used on him, “Don’t bother asking the obvious.”
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