Novel idea becomes a literary hit for spurned farm boy
For one poor farm boy turned self-proclaimed millionaire novelist, revenge on an ex-girlfriend could not have been sweeter.
Since sharing a story about how he broke news of his success to his ex-girlfriend on Chinese internet forum mop.com, the 24-year-old from eastern China’s Quanzhou province who goes by the internet penname of “Big Head Cat God” has become something of a social media celebrity. The forum post has been viewed as many as 60,000 times.
Two years ago, when he was unemployed and unable to afford a sleeper train ticket for his girlfriend to come and visit him during the Chinese New Year holiday, he was dumped for another man that she had already been seeing while they were together, according to an interview with news website voc.com.cn.
Heartbroken, he returned to his parents’ village home where he spent a month moping.
His epiphany finally came while he was catching up on old episodes of Woju, or Dwelling Narrowness, a hit TV series about difficulties mainland urbanites faced buying property during the big bubble era. (The series was eventually axed by China censors due to its “negative influence” on society.)
Recognising a good story, Cat God decided to publish a series of “creative and funny” online novels about a landlord and tenant, setting pen to paper on May 4, 2011.
The first Killer Landlord, Pretty Tenant novels were an instant hit. In just one month, Cat God had raked in 7,000 yuan (HK$8,730) in royalties from the publishing website, 17K, most of which he gave to his parents and the rest used to “buy a camera and treat friends to a meal”.
“At this point I was earning a few thousand yuan each month compared to when I used to earn just a few hundred yuan…it really seemed like I could never finish spending all the money,” he said.
Cat God then began writing the Killer novels full-time, spending about three to five hours per day writing and the rest of his time coming up with ideas.
He then signed a new contract with the publisher, which gave him a steady income. Subscriptions and revenues began rising rapidly, earning him as much as 80,000 yuan in one month.
According to voc.com.cn, his Killer franchise has earned him nearly 900,000 yuan as of 2012. Statistics for 17K indicate that Killer novels have been read 240 million times.
Cat God has now earned enough money from his writing to buy his own apartment and is working on a new series of novels with 17K called Beauty Please Stay.
Netizens on Weibo are hailing him as an inspiration for "men with low self-esteem" and "a role model for all males".
"Behind every successful man, there is always...a woman," wrote one user on Sina Weibo.
Cat God told voc.com.cn: “I want to use this experience to tell everyone, especially young girls, don’t look down on the poor, after all, things change.”