Sunday, October 15, 2006

Home Girl Makes Good Abroad

Taiwan blogger Sponge Bear sent me this tale of a local romance writer who has hit it big in Japan:

While many are content to follow trends, others try to steer them. One such person is Taiwan romance novelist Zheng Yuan. Having made her Japan debut last month, Zheng aims to establish a foothold for Asian love stories in Japan's bookstores as well as on its screens.

Zheng, 36, has been writing novels since she was a 20-year-old college student, and she has 52 titles to her credit so far. Her first book started as a story of revenge between two feuding families, but ended with a man and a woman from opposite sides falling in love.

The author's real name is Yi-Ling Weng, but she adopted the Zheng Yuan pen name in 1998, in part because its characters had a lucky number of strokes.

"This name brings her a lot of fortune," said Ernest Chang, general manager of Matsugaya Publishing, Ltd., a Taiwan company that produces bookstore editions of her work.

But whether it's the way her name is written or the way she writes her books, Zheng must be doing something right. According to Chang, a typical first printing of a romance novel in Taiwan is 1,500-2,000 copies, but Zheng's name has such selling power that her first printings are normally 20,000 copies.

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