In Japan, books, novels and manga move the country's entertainment. Both anime and games, dramas and films 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 are going to talk about whether it is possible for a foreigner to become a famous author, what steps are necessary for that.
Before I 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 on the N2 of the JLPT to have the ability to make manga and preferably N1 to write books and novels. And it is not enough to have diplomas, you need to know the dialects, keigo and slang to do good works. The most important thing is that you can write something acceptable to be accepted by the publisher! So the first step is to know Japanese! It doesn't have to be perfect, there will always be errors in the original drafts and files that you present to the publisher. Even the Japanese cannot 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 professional! We are not going to address how to write your story, draw it or how to do 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.
Can a foreigner author books and manga?
Some believe that the simple fact of being a foreigner makes it impossible to become a Japanese book author or mangaka. It is true that for both a Japanese and a foreigner the greatest difficulty in becoming a famous author is to create the 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 authors of Light Novels and Mangas use pseudonyms and never appeared in public, so there may be foreigners among them.
There is even a Brazilian illustrator called Lucas Thiago Furukawa (alias Yuu Kamiya) who became famous for writing Light Novel by 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 are from. What matters is whether the book or manga will attract the Japanese audience and sell.
The first steps to being a famous author
Now that you are fluent in Japanese, you are a writer or artist and have created your success story. You need to keep in mind that succeeding as an author of light novels, books or manga is a dream of many Japanese and you are competing with them! There are thousands behind 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 manga writers 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 have mentioned, you need to do a research on each one and stay on top of all dates and rules. Bearing in mind that exposing your manga or book on the Internet is not necessarily creating a blog or website, there are websites online 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 that you want to publish your works and contact them. You can find the phone or email address in your magazines and books. Try to contact or even show up on the spot and make an appointment in person with an editor to present your works. Anyone can do this, regardless of experience.
We recommend trying to arrange a meeting in person even if some publishers encourage contact over the internet. Sometimes, trying to send your work over the internet, you will not always get opinions or even an answer. Keep in mind that thousands of people are sending their works and stories to the publisher, especially if it is a famous publisher.
At these meetings you find 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 perhaps the Editor will give you suggestions and procedures for you to succeed, even if it is not with him. You can try as many times as you like, the editors encourage you not to give up if they see a future in you.
If you are refused by the publisher, do not give up becoming a mangaka! You can write doujinshi (independent works) and achieve success over the internet until someone notices you. And don't give up on holding meetings and presenting different works to the editors of the magazines.
The publishers we mentioned above are responsible for publishing their stories to the world. Most publishers, especially mangoes, publish weekly or monthly chapters of works by several different authors in magazines that look more like a thick book. This is the way that publishers have found to measure authors' success and determine whether their works are famous enough to win 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 about them, some are specialized in a certain genre or type.
The main Light Novel publishers to contact:
- Dengeki Bunko;
- Famitsu Bunkom;
- Fujimi Fantasia;
- GA Bunko;
- Gagaga Bunko;
- Jump J-Books;
- Kadokawa Benas Bunko;
- Kodansha BOX;
- Kodansha Ranobe Bunko;
- MF Bunko J;
- MF BOOKS;
The main manga publishers to contact:
- Akita Shoten;
- ASCII Media Works;
- Core Magazine;
- Chuokoron Shinsha;
- Fujimi Shobo;
- Hayakawa Publishing;
- Kadokawa Shoten;
- Mag Garden;
- 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 author of light novels or mangaka. Have you tried to send a work to a publisher? Contest or website? We hope to see your experience in the comments.