Big Life

Chapter 11: Popularity Comes Knocking (4)

Chapter 11: Popularity Comes Knocking (4)


A sigh of relief escaped from Ha Jae-Gun’s mouth. He threw his head back and stared at the ceiling. Rika approached him and jumped onto his lap.

“Humans seem to change very easily according to their circumstances,” muttered Ha Jae-Gun while rubbing Rika’s neck. He was so disgusted by the nauseating actions that Haetae Media’s department head had taken.

His debut novel with Haetae Media wasn’t that good, but it wasn’t garbage. It could be considered to be average with an average performance.

Ha Jae-Gun had planned to create seven volumes of the novel, but his small dream to finish even three volumes was broken. The depressing moment from years back when that department head had given him a one-sided notification over dinner came back to him as vivid as ever.

“Writer Ha, your novel isn’t doing well, so let’s end it with four volumes.”

The so-called suggestion for early termination was no different from a death sentence to an author.

An additional production cost was necessary to produce paperback novels compared to ebooks, so they wouldn’t hesitate to axe unpopular novels. The publishers wouldn't care if the novel ended on an anticlimax since it was 'published trash.'

Back then, Ha Jae-Gun had thrown away his pride and clung to the department head, begging to let him end the novel with five volumes to give it a proper end.

However, the response he had received from the department head was ice cold.

"Why are you acting like this when you know the current situation of the market? We are a small publishing company. We had to delay the upcoming novels just to keep ourselves afloat. If we push for your novel's fifth volume, we wouldn't be able to pay the employees' salaries. I understand your situation, but let's try again next time. I have another meeting to attend, so I'll be hanging up."

The words from the phone call rang in his ears loud and clear.

Ha Jae-Gun unconsciously rubbed Rika harder when he recalled those moments, and the cat responded by rubbing its face against Ha Jae-Gun's chest. Ha Jae-Gun's anger gradually subsided at that.

"Thank you, Rika. I'm better now. I don't really have any feelings left for them."


"I've met a great editor-in-chief, and I have also started writing a novel that's performing well. My once-poverty life has come to an end. I don’t have to be sad."

Ha Jae-Gun then headed to his desk. It was six-thirty in the evening. He had been working since noon, so he had been working for around six hours now.

"Wow, Rika. I've written half a volume in six hours."

Opening the document information screen once again, he saw that he had written over 65,000 characters. If he continued for another seven to eight hours, he would be able to complete the volume.

"I'm kind of tired, and my neck is sore. I'll grab a coffee and take a break."

Ha Jae-Gun massaged his stiff back as he stood up. He had been typing nonstop for six hours now, so his fingers had also gotten numb. He headed to the kitchen and turned on the electric kettle after retrieving a stick of instant coffee.

"Darn it, I didn't wash the dishes."

Ha Jae-Gun was about to do the dishes when his eyes caught sight of a gray cup. The grey cup was one of Seo Gun-Woo's items. He had washed it clean and left it in the kitchen where it belonged, but he still hadn’t used it even once.

"Now that I look at it, it's great that the cup is huge. Alright, I'll add another stick."

Ha Jae-Gun tore open two sticks of instant coffee into the cup and added hot water.

The thicker-than-usual coffee scent wafted and pervaded the air before going right into his nostrils.

"Mm, delicious. I'm not even envious of Starbucks anymore."

Ha Jae-Gun scrolled through the news on the Internet while he enjoyed his break with his hot coffee. Despite it being instant coffee, it tasted exceptional today. He downed the cup, but he enjoyed it thoroughly.


Ha Jae-Gun inspected his own body after putting down the cup. He frowned and tilted his head in both confusion and curiosity because he could feel energy surging within him.

He felt exhausted and tired, but now, he felt refreshed. He felt like he had just woken up from a deep sleep, even though he worked for six continuous hours just now.

"What's this? I haven’t really had coffee in a while now. Did my caffeine tolerance go down?"

Ha Jae-Gun put the used cup into the sink while still wondering about what was going on. He didn't notice the white stain at the bottom of the cup.

"Phew. Well, since I'm in my best condition today, let's finish this before two in the morning."

Ha Jae-Gun started typing away on his keyboard. The sentences filled up the screen at lightning speed. Ha Jae-Gun still had no idea, but the coffee’s effectiveness had gone up tremendously after he drank it from Seo Gun-Woo’s cup.


Editor-in-chief Kwon Tae-Won had just returned to Star Books’ office after a business trip. He started reading through all the manuscripts that had been presented to him.

Just then, employee Jung So-Mi from the editing department came looking for him.

"Editor-in-chief, are you busy?"

"Ah, Ms. So-Mi. Sure. Please speak." Kwon Tae-Won, whose eyes were fixated on the monitor, moved over to So-Mi. He would never ignore any employee in the company, even the janitors.

Jung So-Mi, who had just joined the company six months ago, smiled awkwardly and said, "Um, this is regarding Writer Ha's latest work, Records of the Murim Master."

"What about him?"

"He had sent over the complete novel's manuscript up to volume ten. How should I deal with it?"

"What?!" Kwon Tae-Won jumped out of his seat at the shocking news.

"Up until volume ten? Are you sure?"

"Yes, I've looked through everything. He sent everything from volume four to ten at one go."

"I can't believe this. What's happening? Didn't he just send in the manuscript for volume three not too long ago? How did he manage to complete volume ten so quickly?"

Kwon Tae-Won shook his head lightly and slowly returned to his seat. It was barely ten days ago when they received the manuscript for volume three. He knew that it usually took Ha Jae-Gun a month on average to complete a volume.

Kwon Tae-Won was stupefied when Ha Jae-Gun submitted a manuscript worth three volumes in just two weeks. However, he actually submitted a total of seven volumes in less than ten days.

No matter how much he thought it over, the only answer Kwon Tae-Won could come up with was that Ha Jae-Gun had written them in advance as a stockpile.

"Did you read through them, Ms. So-Mi?"

"Yes, but not everything. I just took a quick look up to volume eight."

"That's quite a lot. How did you find it?"

Jung So-Mi placed her hands on her chest and said with certainty, "I like it. The flow was straightforward, and the plot twists were refreshing. When it comes to the overall quality, I would only know for sure after looking at the story settings in detail, but it doesn't seem to have any plot holes for now."

"Really? I wonder what happened to Writer Ha this year."

"I guess his potential is blooming this year."

"Probably. I got it, I'll check it out and let you know again. Thank you."

"Sure, you're welcome." Jung So-Mi left and returned to her seat.

Kwon Tae-Won placed his chin on the table and fell into deep contemplation.

The responses to Ha Jae-Gun's latest novel have been positive so far. They were planning on printing an additional thousand copies after publishing volume four. Now going forward, each volume would have four thousand printed copies.

Originally, there would be a month-long break before the next volume would get published. The break was partly in consideration for the author’s health, but it was also time given to the public to get used to the newly published content.

However, it only applied to paperback novels when the paperback novels market was still booming.

Now, it was the era of ebooks. Wouldn't it be great to move into the ebook market since Ha Jae-Gun was already done writing the entire novel? He even wrote ten whole volumes, to boot!

It could snowball into greater success.

'But I still need to know his opinion about it…'

Kwon Tae-Won took out his phone and scrolled through the countless contacts until he found Ha Jae-Gun's name and pressed the call button. The call was answered shortly afterward.

— Hello, editor-in-chief.

"Writer Ha, you've written all these in advance, right? How are you able to complete up to volume ten in ten days?"

Haha, how did you find it? I hope it's good enough.

"I haven't gotten a chance to take a look, but the editor found it interesting. Ah, I want to talk about…"

Kwon Tae-Won paused momentarily and checked his afternoon schedule. Since the novel had come to a close, it was time for them to discuss the contract for his next novel.

It would be a huge issue if Ha Jae-Gun were looking to change to another publishing company since he could not afford to let go of Ha Jae-Gun now.

"Are you available tonight for dinner? It's been a while since we last met, even though I had brought it up several times in the past."

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