In Japan, books, novels and manga move the country's entertainment. Both anime and games, dramas and movies are based on these works. Therefore, many dream of becoming a manga author (mangaka) or a writer of light novels or other book formats. In this article, we will talk about whether it is possible for a foreigner to become a famous author, what steps are needed to do so.
Before we start I would like to say something very obvious: You need to be fluent in writing and in the Japanese language! You need to be at least at the N2 level of the JLPT to have the ability to create manga and preferably N1 to write books and novels. And it's not enough to have diplomas, you need to know the dialects, keigo, and slang to create good works. The most important thing is for you to be able to write something acceptable to be accepted by the publisher! So the first step is to know Japanese! It doesn't need to be perfect, there will always be some mistakes in the drafts and original files that you present to the publisher. Even the Japanese do not know how to speak Japanese properly...
If you want to write manga you need to know how to draw, you need to show that you are a professional! The same thing when writing the story, you need to be a pro! We are not going to talk about how to write your story, draw it or how to make it. The focus of the article is to explain that it is possible for you to become a famous author and what you need to do to get there.
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Can a foreigner be the author of books and manga?
Some believe that the simple fact of being a foreigner makes it impossible to become an author of books in Japanese or a mangaka. It is true that for both a Japanese and a foreigner the greatest difficulty in becoming a famous author is to create a successful work. But the only obstacle that separates a foreigner from a Japanese is being fluent in the language.
There are many foreigners who are authors of books, light novels and manga. Even at a university in Kyoto, the head of the manga department claims that 600 students at the school were foreigners. It is worth remembering that most Light Novels and Mangas authors use pseudonyms and have never appeared in public, so there may be foreigners among them.
There is even a Brazilian illustrator called Lucas Thiago Furukawa (pseudonym of Yuu Kamiya) who became famous for writing the Light Novel of No Game no Life that even won anime. Other famous foreigners are Tony Valente, Åsa Ekström, Shindo L, Boichi and Hagin Yi. Despite the pseudonyms some are from France, Korea, Sweden and the USA.
It doesn't matter how old you are, your gender, your experience or even what country you're from. What matters is whether the book or manga will appeal to Japanese audiences and sell.
The First Steps to Being a Famous Author
Now that you are fluent in Japanese, you are a writer or artist and you have created your success story. You need to keep in mind that being successful as an author of light novels, books or manga is a dream of many Japanese and you are in competition with them! There are thousands after the same dream, but it is not impossible!
You need to present your story! You have 2 options, try to contact a publisher or expose your work to the world on your own. Many people before becoming famous mangakas or light novel writers, they publish their story on the Internet or take it to events like Comiket. Others start by trying to participate in competitions or events that some magazines, publishers and organizations do.
To participate in the events and contests we mentioned, you need to do a research on each one and stay on top of all the dates and rules. Recalling that exposing your manga or book on the Internet is not necessarily creating a blog or website, there are online sites for that, with thousands of readers waiting for independent works. Now let's talk about the most common option, which is to contact the publisher.
Contacting the Publisher
You need to choose the publisher you want to publish your works and get in touch with them. You can find the phone number or email address in your magazines and books. Try contacting or even showing up on site and setting up an in-person meeting with an editor to present your works. Anyone can do this, regardless of experience.
We recommend trying to set up an in-person meeting even though some publishers encourage contact over the internet. Sometimes trying to send your work over the internet, you won't always get opinions or even an answer. Keep in mind that thousands of people send their works and stories to the publisher, especially if it's a famous publisher.
At these meetings you meet an editor and he will read your work and give his opinion. If you really write a successful work, you will probably be accepted or maybe the Editor will give you suggestions and procedures for you to succeed, even if it's not with him. You can try as many times as you like, editors encourage you not to give up if they see any future in you.
If you are rejected by the publisher, don't give up on becoming a mangaka! You can write doujinshi (independent works) and become successful online until someone notices you. And don't give up holding meetings and presenting different works to the editors of the magazines.
The artigo is still half finished, but we recommend opening it to read the following later:
The publishers we mentioned above are responsible for publishing their stories to the world. Most publishers, especially manga publishers, publish weekly or monthly chapters of works by several different authors in magazines that look more like a thick book. This is the way publishers have found to measure the success of authors and determine if their works are famous enough to earn an anime adaptation and continue to be published.
We also recommend reading: Tips for becoming a mangaka
Below we will leave a list of publishers of Light Novels and Mangas. It is worth making it clear that you need to research them, some are specialized in a certain genre or type.
Top Light Novel Publishers to Contact:
- Dengeki Bunko;
- Famitsu Bunkom;
- Fujimi Fantasy;
- GA Bunko;
- Gagaga Bunko;
- Jump J-Books;
- Kadokawa Beans Bunko;
- Kodansha BOX;
- Kodansha Ranobe Bunko;
- MF Bunko J;
- MF BOOKS;
Top manga publishers to contact:
- Akita Shoten
- ASCII MediaWorks;
- Core Magazine;
- Chuokoron Shinsha;
- Fujimi Shobo;
- Hayakawa Publishing
- Kadokawa Shoten;
- Nihon Bungeisha;
- Ohzora Publishing;
- Sansai Books;
- Shonen Gahosha;
- Shonen Jump;
- Square Enix;
- Tokuma Shoten;
- Ushio Shuppan;
- Wani Books;
Now you know how to become a successful light novel author or mangaka. Have you ever tried to send a work to a publisher? Contest or website? We hope to see your experience in the comments.