Big Life

Chapter 16: I’m Being Generous (5)

Chapter 16: I’m Being Generous (5)

“Would you each like a cup of coffee?”

“It’s fine. We had some before coming here. Thank you for the offer.”

The three men sat on the cushions laid on the floor in Ha Jae-Gun’s room that had been left untouched for years. After taking a quick glance around his desolate room, Ha Jae-Gun then started the conversation.

“I’ll skip all the small talk and go straight to the point. I won’t bring up a single thing outside of work in this discussion.”

Oh, okay…” Ma Jong-Goo answered meekly with his head lowered as he had offended Ha Jae-Gun in many ways. He knew it too well. He knew that he had been too cruel toward Ha Jae-Gun, who was still an unknown writer in the past when he could have treated him better.

“Department Head Ma must be aware of the conditions I’ve clearly laid out to Deputy Park before, right? Let’s start from there.”

“Writer Ha, about that… Your requests for ebooks revenue ratio is quite high, with the base being paperback distribution. Do you think we could extend the length of the contract or make some compromise on the revenue ratio?” Ma Jong-Goo looked like he was about to cry as he asked Ha Jae-Gun for some leeway.

Even though he knew that Ma Jong-Goo wasn’t exaggerating things, Ha Jae-Gun still looked away and sighed. His sigh made Ma Jong-Goo and Park Kyung-Soo feel afraid, and their cheeks twitched in response.

“Let’s do this, then.” Ha, Jae-Gun acted as if he had recalled something else he had thought out before and listed them out for the two men.

“Let’s do 10% royalties for paperback sales and forget about guaranteed copies. Additional 1% royalties for every thousand copies added starting from four thousand copies onward. But the contract will last two years, and the ebook revenue ratio will still stay at 7 to 3.”

Mixed expressions flashed across Ma Jong-Goo’s face.

“I’ve made a huge compromise,” Ha Jae-Gun added quietly, showing his consideration for them.

Ah, I know that. But… Writer Ha…”

The terms were extremely vague for Ma Jong-Goo to seal the stamp on the new conditions Ha Jae-Gun had laid out. Not even industry insiders could predict how paperback books would perform at this time and age, and there was no guarantee that Ha Jae-Gun’s novel would continue to be the readers’ favorite in the long run.

To be honest, Ma Jong-Goo would prefer it if they could at least get a better revenue ratio for ebooks.

Just then, Ha Jae-Gun raised his index finger and added, “If you add in this one other personal condition from me, I’m willing to extend the contract length to three years or adjust the ebooks revenue ratio to 6 to 4.”

“And… what would that be?”

Ha Jae-Gun then opened his middle and ring finger, showing the number three. “Please give me an advance of thirty million won in royalties at the start of the contract.”

Ma Jong-Goo’s jaw dropped to the extent that his uvula could be seen.

Ma Jong-Goo hadn’t heard any details about what his next novel was about or even how many volumes he was planning to make for the novel. However, he was already asking for an advance royalty payment worth thirty million won? That was too much.

“W-writer Ha…” Ma Jong-Goo was at a loss for words.

Park Kyung-Soo took the chance to raise a question. “Please excuse me for asking this question, but how many volumes are you looking at to complete the novel?”

“I will have at least ten volumes for the novel,” replied Ha Jae-Gun.

Park Kyung-Soo nodded in acknowledgment and did some quick math in his head.

If they printed an initial three thousand copies for each of the ten volumes, the manuscript would cost twenty-four million won at the minimum. If they wanted to break even, they would have to maintain above three thousand copies in sales, or Ha Jae-Gun would have to add more volumes to it. But right now, they still couldn’t say for sure that they could break even.

‘What if we suffer a loss from this contract…?’

Their only hope would be in the ebooks market. If they suffered losses in the paperback books market, they only had one choice—which was to fill up the loss through the ebooks market. However, Haetae Media was a late-mover in the market compared to its competitors. For the company to see profits, it needed more time to stabilize itself in the market.

Hmm…” Ma Jong-Goo pressed his nose bridge as he fell deep in thought.

Ma Jong-Goo had always been sticking to his principles of abandoning unknown writers whose work couldn’t rake in the cash. He was afraid that Ha Jae-Gun would do the same to them and kick Haetae Media away for the same reasons.

“Ten volumes… You must keep your word and make sure you write at least ten volumes for the novel.”

“I give you my word for it. I’ll write more than ten volumes if the novel’s plot requires it.”

Ma Jong-Goo felt slightly relieved, but he was still hesitant about something else. Ha Jae-Gun took out his vibrating phone and checked the message that came in. Once he was done checking it, he then showed it to Ma Jong-Goo.

“How about you take a look at this?” said Ha Jae-Gun.

Ma Jong-Goo looked at the tiny screen and saw that it was a message from a Jung So-Mi of Star Books. And the message read…

— We have decided to reprint 2,000 more copies for Records of the Modern Master. We should be reprinting another thousand copies for Records of the Murim Master in the coming week as well. Modern Master now has 4,000 copies, and Murim Master at 5,000 copies! A whopping total of 9,000 copies! I had to share this great news with you as soon as the decision was made. Good luck today as well~

Hmm…?!” An unknown sound escaped from Ma Jong-Goo.

Ha Jae-Gun retrieved his phone and continued confidently, “The value of an ink-slinger like me is soaring every minute right now. You might not be able to get the same conditions I laid out earlier in the future.”

“L-let’s sign it! Let’s sign the contract!” Ma Jong-Goo exclaimed and pulled out his phone. “Can I just give our president a call first?”

“Please go ahead. I’ll give you some space and grab a cup of coffee myself in the meantime.” Ha Jae-Gun exited the room and left Ma Jong-Goo and Park Kyung-Soo in there.

Ha Jae-In, who was standing at the pillar between the living room and kitchen, stood bolt upright in surprise when Ha Jae-Gun came out.

“What are you doing?”

“I-I was just getting a cup of water, and then I got curious about your conversation with them…”

”Ha Jae-Gun, I heard something about a thirty million won advance payment. Are you sure that’s possible? Did you get that much money from your fantasy and martial arts novels?” asked Ha Jae-In.

“I was about to give three million won to Mom as her pocket money, but I just decided to add one more zero behind it. It’s nothing special.”

Ha Jae-Gun had been planning that right from the start. He wanted to give the profits from the novel that he was planning to contract with Haetae Media to his family so that their lifestyle would improve.

Ha Jae-In was so astonished that she was drawing in deep breaths.

“H-how is it nothing special? That amount alone would solve your yearly key deposit issue at once…”

Ha Jae-Gun only smiled in return before making himself a cup of coffee.

Hot steam wafted as the boiling hot water from the kettle melted the coffee powder.

Ha Jae-Gun blew at the hot drink to cool it slightly as he took small sips from the cup. Before he could even finish the entire cup, thirty million won had already been transferred into his bank account.

“The money has been transferred to you, Writer Ha.” Ma Jong-Goo said as he came out of the room.

Ha Jae-Gun nodded and said, “Yes, I just saw the message notification. Thank you.”

Ha Jae-In couldn’t believe her ears, her mouth still hanging open. Did her own younger brother really just receive a whopping thirty million won? Her brother, who was nothing but an unknown writer actually received that much money?

Ha Jae-In hadn’t really asked her own brother what he had been working on all this while, as she didn’t want to pressure him. On top of that, she couldn’t bring herself to look up the bad comments and reviews on the Internet, and that was why she had no idea how popular his recent novels had become.

“I’m looking forward to your novel, Writer Ha.” Ma Jong-Goo and Ha Jae-Gun shook hands at the door, saying goodbye. The handshaking and smiles on their faces exchanged between them were very business-like rather than sincere.

“I appreciate your cooperation as well. I’ll send over the manuscript for five volumes in a week’s time.”

There was a saying about how it was better to be amiable with someone else rather than enemies, even if the other party wasn’t really one’s friend.

Ha Jae-Gun had long engraved his father’s long-term societal experiences in his heart, and recalling his father’s advice, he personally sent Ma Jong-Goo and Park Kyung-Soo away.

When Ha Jae-Gun turned around, his mind quickly got busy structuring the plot of the novel he signed with Haetae Media.


“Team Leader, are you not going to eat?”

“Please go ahead. I bought myself some sandwiches to eat while I read the book,” said Lee Soo-Hee as she sat at her desk in the office of the game development company, Nextion’s mobile planning team.

Lee Soo-Hee’s long, straight hair was tied up into a ponytail. She started reading the book that was propped up on her knees while eating a sandwich in one hand.

‘Huhuhu, this is fun.’

Lee Soo-Hee was reading a new fantasy novel by the author Poongchun-Yoo titled Wizard of Pezellon. She had been reading all his works from the Records series up to the first volume of this new novel.

Lee Soo-Hee knew the real person behind the pseudonym Poongchun-Yoo. She had been supporting him all the way ever since he embarked on his writing career and had gotten all his books on her bookshelf at home.

Poongchun-Yoo was the only man she had sincerely opened her heart up to throughout the twenty-seven years of her life.


Lee Soo-Hee looked up at the random sob. The youngest member of her team, Hye-Mi, was returning to her desk while wiping the tears off of her face.

“Ms. Hye-Mi, what’s wrong? What happened?”

Lee Soo-Hee patted Hye-Mi’s back softly, consoling her.

Hye-Mi took another piece of tissue and wiped her tears, and said while sniffling, “Sniff…! I’m sorry, Team Leader. But I’m really having a hard time working with Writer Oh…”

Lee Soo-Hee’s eyes narrowed. This wasn’t the first time they had trouble working with Oh Myung-Hoon. Actually, this was the fourth time now. Now, Lee Soo-Hee was convinced that nice words wouldn’t be able to resolve the situation.

“Where is he?”

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