Big Life

Chapter 9: Popularity Comes Knocking (2)

Chapter 9: Popularity Comes Knocking (2)


"Aigoo, damn it! Again?!"

"Meow!" Rika cried in shock at the curses coming from Ha Jae-Gun.

Ha Jae-Gun buried his face into his hands as he sat in front of his computer. The infamous blue screen was being displayed on the monitor.

"I just had this fixed! What’s up with this blue screen?"

He was complaining, but his computer was relatively old as well. He got it during his university days, so it had been with him for over seven long years now.

"Damn it. Thank god this happened after I sent the manuscript over yesterday."

Ha Jae-Gun had, in fact, completed the third volume of his latest novel. He was about to start on the fourth volume when the blue screen popped up. He got lucky, but how was he going to work on his fourth volume? He was at a loss.

"Should I get a new computer?" The thought of using this chance to get a new computer seemed fine because he still had 1.5 million won left. So far, he had used 300,000 won on his father's birthday, 45,000 won on Rika's cat food and supplements, and some others on his daily necessities.

'No, I shouldn't let down my guard so soon.'

Ha Jae-Gun shook off the thought that entered his mind for a bit. He had lots of money right now, but it would definitely disappear in the blink of an eye once he started using it.

He needed the money to pay off his upcoming rent and utilities bill, which would leave him with less than a million won. If he purchased a new computer without taking into consideration the expenses for the following month, he would be like those one-day millionaires.

'Looks like I'll have to visit the PC Cafe and maybe get a monthly pass.'

Ha Jae-Gun's mind was full of ideas for the next volume of his novel. He could only rest after pouring all of those ideas out into a document. He stood up immediately, but just then…

'Oh right, there's that!'

Ha Jae-Gun looked toward a corner of his room where he had kept Seo Gun-Woo's laptop. It was ancient, but it shouldn't bring him that much inconvenience because he would only be working on his novel using the laptop.

'Word is also installed, and it's working fine, so I'll just use it for the time being.'

Ha Jae-Gun removed his computer from the desk and replaced it with Seo Gun-Woo's old laptop. He then plugged the adapter into an electric outlet and pressed the power button.


The laptop started booting up.

"You're even more ancient than my seven-year-old computer."

Ha Jae-Gun connected his own keyboard and mouse to it. He was more used to working using his own keyboard and mouse than using the laptop’s trackpad and built-in keyboard.


Just then, a call from the editor-in-chief came in…

Ha Jae-Gun picked up the call while clicking on the Word program icon available on the desktop.

"Editor-in-chief, hello."

— Hello, Writer Ha. How are you able to send over the completed third volume in two weeks? Did you write this in advance?

Haha, no. I had some inspiration, so the story just came to me, allowing me to write so smoothly.” Ha Jae-Gun wasn’t lying at all. Ever since parts of Seo Gun-Woo’s memories entered his brain, how he felt when writing had changed entirely.

He couldn’t point out exactly what had changed, but it wasn’t only the memories he had received. Inspiration kept surging within, and his eyes for judgment in his writing had improved as well. He could clearly tell the difference while working on the recent volumes.

— Wow, so you really wrote all these in two weeks?

It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that the editor-in-chief was surprised by Ha Jae-Gun’s work and productivity. After all, Ha Jae-Gun would usually take an entire month at the fastest to complete a volume. He would usually take two weeks to write out the manuscript and another two weeks just to revise the draft.

— I took a quick look, and volume three is interesting, too. I don't think we will need to do much editing on this, considering the quality of this manuscript. You've done well, Writer Ha.

"No, no. I should thank you for helping me with the edits when my novel is still lacking.

Hahaha, it's nothing. By the way, Writer Ha. I have some surprising news for you.


— Hold onto your phone tightly and listen carefully.

Ha Jae-Gun clenched his phone tighter than ever at those words.

"What is it? It's not bad news, right?"

— It should be good news for you. Which writer would hate to hear that their novel has been sold out?

"...?!" Ha Jae-Gun momentarily thought that his ears were playing with him.

‘Sold out? Me? My own novel?’

Ha Jae-Gun could not believe his own ears, but the editor-in-chief continued talking as he sat there blankly, thanks to the shocking news.

— Are you listening, Writer Ha? Hello? Writer Ha?

The editor-in-chief kept asking despite knowing that Ha Jae-Gun was still on the line and listening.

Ha Jae-Gun stood up, embarrassed, and started walking rounds in his apartment. Then, he sat back down in his chair and started talking again.

"Yes, yes… I'm still listening. You said my novel got sold out?"

— Yes, that's right. The response was overwhelming in all large-scale bookstores that were holding your novel. I think we'll hit sixty stores in distribution, so we're printing another thousand copies.

"What? How many? A thousand?" Ha Jae-Gun dazedly looked down at his weak legs that were about to give way.

In fact, with the introduction of ebooks and paywalled serialization for novels, the market for paperback novels had turned into a total mess. It was to the extent that selling two thousand copies per volume was considered a huge feat. Who could have expected that Ha Jae-Gun's novel would get sold out and a whopping thousand copies of it was slated to be printed?

"E-editor-in-chief… y-you… you’re not lying to me, right?"

Ha Jae-Gun knew that the editor-in-chief would never lie about these things, but it was so unbelievable that he still had to ask. His eyes were still fixed on his empty and shabby studio apartment.

— Am I not a trustworthy person to you? Why should I lie to you about these things? I'm congratulating you from the bottom of my heart, Writer Ha. The results of your efforts are finally starting to show. Your profits are bound to increase, and your lifestyle will improve as well.

Ha Jae-Gun had signed a contract to receive 8% in royalties per copy sold. Each copy was priced at 8,000 won, which would bring him 640 won with every book sold.

A thousand copies would bring him 640,000 won. There was still a 3.3% withholding tax to be applied, but he would still receive a considerable amount of money in royalties.

While Ha Jae-Gun was still digesting the news in shock, the editor-in-chief continued cheerfully.

—Please keep up the great work, Writer Ha. I’m looking forward to your next volume, but don't push yourself too hard. Ah, we should arrange to meet sometime soon and have a meal together.

"Yes… of course. Thank you so much."

As soon as the call ended, Ha Jae-Gun headed toward the fridge and pulled out a cold bottle of water. He looked at it for a moment before downing it entirely.

He was trying to calm his crazily thumping heart, but he had nowhere to release this newfound happiness. He wanted to call Ha Jae-In or even his friend Park Jung-Jin, but both of them were definitely still working right now.

Ha Jae-Gun eventually picked up Rika and exclaimed, "R-rika! Did you hear that? My novel got sold out! And they are printing a thousand more copies!"


"Now I'm selling three thousand copies per volume, and that'll be 1.9 million won! Wow, that's so much money! I never expected that the day when I could earn almost two million per volume would come! Am I not dreaming? Is this real life?"

"Meow, meow!"

The same amount of money could be considered peanuts in the eyes of popular writers. However, it was a huge achievement for Ha Jae-Gun, as he had only seen modest profits throughout his five-year-long writing career.

"All right. I'm in the mood, so let's work on volume four! Watch me complete it in two weeks as well! Rika, time to look forward to next month! I'll earn lots of money and buy you the latest model of that cat tower or whatever it's called!"

Ha Jae-Gun was so excited that he quickly started working using Seo Gun-Woo's old laptop. He already had a completed big picture of the content that he would write for volume 4, so all that was left to do was for him to transfer it into writing.

Tadak! Tak! Tadadak! Tadadak!

Words started springing up at lightning speed in the monitor screen in front of him, and he started speedily forming sentences and paragraphs as he typed on his keyboard.

‘Here, let’s have the main character go through betrayal. Take a step back just to have that refreshing comeback right around there—Hmm?!’

He was focused on his writing, but a weird feeling surged within Ha Jae-Gun, and it made him stop working.

‘Something feels weird.’

Usually, Ha Jae-Gun would find that his typing speed couldn’t keep up with his overflowing thoughts and ideas while working, but it was different this time. Strangely enough, his typing skills had become much faster than his own thoughts.

‘Wait. Wh-what’s this?’

His jaw fell to the floor in shock when he saw the number of pages in his current Word document.

He looked at the time, and only an hour had passed since he started working. However, he had already filled up over twenty pages of B6-sized documents.

‘Did something go wrong with the document? Just how much have I written?’

Ha Jae-Gun opened the document information window half in doubt and gasped as all his hair stood on end.

Characters: 10,798

‘My god! I wrote over ten thousand characters in an hour?!’

Ha Jae-Gun was definitely not slow in terms of his typing speed, and he was probably just a bit faster than the average writer. However, even in his best condition, he could only hit 3,500 characters in an hour.

To hit ten thousand characters, he would need to spend at least two hours...

‘This is definitely impossible even if I were in my best working condition!’

He wasn’t even transcribing an existing work. He was writing an original piece. A speed of ten thousand characters in an hour sounded like some supernatural influence had intervened to help him.

Ha Jae-Gun was extremely confused, and he was having a hard time believing what he had achieved.

‘If I keep this speed up, I will be able to finish an entire volume in just a day.’

Ha Jae-Gun’s martial arts novel usually contained around 1.4 million characters. If he continued his current pace, he would be able to complete the volume in just about fourteen hours. It was a bit unbelievable how he could complete a volume in one day, even though he usually had to spend a month doing it.

‘Let’s see how far I can go.’

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