Best-selling author has Chinese companies to thank for success

Ke Jiayun
UK-based author and martial arts fan JKSManga, awarded "WebNovel Global Choice," finds fame with series of online novels that have captured the imagination of Chinese readers.
Ke Jiayun
Best-selling author has Chinese companies to thank for success
Ti Gong

JKSManga is awarded the "WebNovel Global Choice."

With Chinese web novels growing in popularity around the world, many foreign authors are emerging on Qidian's global online reading platform WebNovel. JKSManga is one of them.

That's the pen name of UK-based, New York Times best-selling LitRPG (literary role-playing game) author Kawin Jack Sherwin, whose series includes My Vampire System, My Dragon System, and My Werewolf System.

His works have sold 15 million copies worldwide, and several have been adapted into comic books. At a recent forum organized by China Literature, which runs various web novel platforms, he was awarded the title "WebNovel Global Choice."

But from a young age, he never planned to be a writer.

"I wasn't good at English so the idea of even being a writer never entered my head."

In his leisure time, he loves watching movies, reading online stories and manga, and that's why manga is in his pen name.

These hobbies sparked his imagination and after reading Chinese novel Supergene, he decided to try writing his own.

At the time, he was a full-time teacher.

He needed to wake very early and write two chapters before teaching teenagers at his school. After he got home, he would write another chapter.

"You kind of have to do that for free especially with online web novels because you're building your audience, nobody knows who you are," he said.

"If you're not getting paid for it, the only thing that keeps you going is either you want to really tell your story, or you enjoy what you're doing, or you appreciate the comments which let you know that other people are enjoying your work," Sherwin told City News Service. "It's like at least you are not just writing this for nobody, which is really great."

In the 5-million-word novel he has just finished, My Vampire System, he combines Western culture with the Chinese martial arts world.

"I really like reading about the martial arts, the buildings, the land. Many stories describe huge mountains and vast landscapes. When I come to China, when I go hiking, I can imagine I'm in a martial art movie or something like that."

He said publication by Chinese companies had changed his life, allowing him to write full time.

He thinks it's great that web novels are translated into different languages as China Literature does. "It's exchanging different ideas and different types of stories. At the moment, what's popular in China might not be popular in other countries. But when we have online platforms, all works can be translated very easily."

Now stories are already evolving by taking things from different countries and cultures and putting them into one, he added.

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