Author：Verbena C. W，Elaine Yang
The youth novel is a type of novel, that will continue to sell well in China for years. Its catchphrase is youths writing for youths. Frequently, authors pay no attention to what other people in society say about them; they just write things that readers of their own generation and experiences can understand. Sometimes they don’t even care about what readers below a certain age threshold think.
The most well-known youth novel author in China is, without a doubt, Guo Jingming. In 2003, he entered the limelight after publishing the fantasy youth novel, “Ice Fantasy.” “Ice Fantasy” tells the story of a pair of brothers in an empire on a different world, the pains and sorrows during their struggle for power. The tone throughout the book is beautiful but desolate. It became an immediate national best-seller, and in its first year sold a total of 840,000 copies. Afterward, Guo Jingming’s youth novels occupied the top three spots among China’s best-selling novels for 9 consecutive years with annual sales of more than a million books, including such series as “River of Sorrow” and “Small Times.” The books are all about the life and emotional entanglements of youths during school or shortly after graduation. In 2007, Guo Jingming was crowned champion of “China’s richest authors.” At the same time, he established his own culture and communications company, and the magazine he founded, “Most Novel,” is still a craze among young readers. In a report entitled “China’s Pop Fiction” in 2008, “The New York Times” of America evaluated Guo Jingming as “China’s most successful author”.
However, although the age of Guo Jingming has seen glories abound, there are controversies galore regarding his personal life. In December of 2003, female author Zhuang Yu filed suit against Guo Jingming, claiming that his novel, “Never flowers In Never dream,” was a plagiarism of her own novel, “Inner Or Outer.” After that, the court decided that Guo Jingming had indeed plagiarized some content from “Inner Or Outer” involving relationships that had a unique creativity which resulted in the two novels as a whole being substantially similar. It was ruled that Guo Jingming and his publisher had to reimburse Zhuang Yu for RMB 200,000 in losses.
Readers not only pursue Guo Jingming’s books; they have even made him into a celebrity idol and pay attention to everything about him. And Guo Jingming understands this very well, and uses it to his financial advantage. In his magazine for which he is the chief editor, every author and editor is packaged like a star. Half of the readers read the books, but the other half are records of the lives of these smart guys and gorgeous girls who work on the texts. And in August of 2011, for female author Di An’s birthday, Guo Jingming went so far as to post a nude photo of himself on his microblog. He wrote: “My dear Di An, in just one more hour it will be your birthday. Though I already gave you a present while I was in Hong Kong, in order to express my sincerity once more, I am giving you this special gift ‘completely unwrapped.’ Please kindly accept it. But please do not let your mom or dad see this present.” Although Di An herself expressed her thanks in a calm and collected manner, this blog post was forwarded a rocking 30,000 or more times and sparked over 8,000 discussion threads.
Most amusing was that in the fall of 2011, this nude photo became spoof material for fans of fellow author ranked among “China’s richest authors,” Nanpai Sanshu(Xu Lei). While shooting character cosplay photos for “The Graver Robbers’ Chronicles,” internet users used this nude photo of Guo Jingming as the cos avatar for “The Graver Robbers’ Chronicles” in a gesture of ridicule.