I’m sorry for being late to talk about the issue related to Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan mangaka not receiving any profits from his work’s adaptation into anime, live-action film, games, novels, and various merchandise.
I guess that once-a-month blog update won’t do any justice to this blog, after all.
While the issue related to Shuichi Aso, the mangaka for Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan is already old news to some people, I still want to tackle this issue first since I’ll be addressing a similar issue in my next blog post.
Before I begin with my own two cents, let’s take a look at what the issue is all about.
What’s with Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan mangaka issue
If you’d like to know more about the issue, you can read about it right here on ANN. But if you don’t feel like reading the news, here’s a summary of what the issue is all about.
Shuichi Aso tweeted back then that he didn’t receive any profits for his work’s adaptation since he thought that he should get some parts of it.
He also tweeted that he didn’t get involved with the production of the anime and the goods.
Despite feeling upset that he didn’t receive any profits from the adaptation, he was grateful that these adaptations help with increasing the manga sales.
In the following news, he said that he finally got his portions of the profits. It’s just that he didn’t expect that it would be this late.
I’m happy to hear that he finally gets his part of the share because it pains me to hear such stories.
But I have a feeling that he’s not the only one who experienced such things. I’m sure that other creators may have a similar experience like him.
It’s just that they don’t want to be vocal about it because they don’t want to trouble their publisher. They know that complaining about that will only jeopardize their career in the long run.
Does it mean that Japan has an unprofitable system for creators?
It’s easy to think that the problem is unique to Japan because of Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan mangaka’s issue.
Well, I’d like to think that’s the case. But the truth is this problem can happen anywhere in the world.
So, it’s not an issue that is only unique in Japan. We only see this problem impacting Shuichi Aso because he’s a creator from Japan.
I bet that you’re going to question the same thing if it happens in the US or anywhere else other than Japan.
The lesser known truth about getting a book deal
Any authors or mangaka will tell you how amazing it feels like to have a reputable publisher to publish their work.
Just take a look at the same scenario depicted in Bakuman. In the manga, being able to get the manga serialized in Shonen Jump means the world to Takagi and Mashiro.
After all, having the manga published will mean that they can call themselves a mangaka. And it also means that the publisher is recognizing their talents and their work is worth publishing for the Shonen Jump’s fanbase.
But their major debut comes with a caveat, though.
If their manga rank slips to the double-digit, the editor will have to put a stop to the manga. Once the manga stopped, they have to come up with a new manga and they have to go through the same system again just to get their work published and remain published for a long time.
Okay, you may be thinking that what I’m saying is only applicable to the manga publication.
But here’s the thing that you don’t know: getting a book deal will also mean that you’re at the mercy of the publisher. They can choose to stop publishing your work if your book isn’t hitting the bestseller list.
Not only that, but they can also choose not to pay you any profits from your work’s adaptation.
And there’s nothing much you can do about it. Publishing is still a business. If your book won’t make them money, they have no obligation to keep publishing your book.
Getting a book deal isn’t as glittery as it seems
It’s unfortunate to say that getting a book deal will also mean that you’re forfeiting your work’s rights to the publisher. You can argue all you want that the book still has your name on the book cover.
But it’s only on the surface. Technically, the book no longer belongs to you anymore. You already give your book’s rights to the publisher in exchange for allowing them to publish and market the book for you.
Of course, the publisher will still pay you the book royalty. But depending on your book deal, they will either pay you lump sum or royalty based on the book sales.
Books aren’t a high ticket item. You won’t make much from your book especially the amount of royalty you’ll get is most likely less than 10%.
So, you have to sell truckloads of books just to get them to allow you to publish your next book.
The deal is off when your book isn’t selling as much as they thought. It’s just like what we see in Bakuman.
The news doesn’t surprise me at all
I wasn’t surprised at all when I heard about the news at that time.
I can’t say for sure what kind of deal that he signed at that time. But it’s not surprising that one of the clauses in the deal may state that he may not receive any fees other than his manga sales.
Even if there’s any, they will only give his portions of the profits when there’s anything left.
It’s sad to say that the creators will always be the last people to receive fees from their work. But that’s how the industry works.
The unfair advantage for today’s creators
The good news is you don’t have to resort yourself to an unfair deal. You can do that by going indie since you have full control over how you want your work to be and how much you want to get paid.
But then again, going indie will require you to learn multiple skills that can help you to sell your works, especially if you want to do this for a living.
I won’t deny that because I experience that myself. But hey, I choose that option because I know that I have to work hard. And I’m fine with that.
In fact, I’m loving it.
As much as I’m a huge advocate for going indie, I know that not many people won’t be able to pull it off since they don’t want to do all the hard work.
If the idea of going indie will make your stomach churns, the least you can do is to negotiate a better deal for your work.
You must know your book contract inside out. You’re in for a disappointment like Shuichi Aso if you don’t know what sort of deal that you’ll get into.
In Shuichi Aso’s case, he won’t be in this mess if he understands the contract that he signed during his major debut. Sure, the contract is most likely the same for all mangaka.
But it’s still better for him to double check his contract. He has no one to blame but himself for signing a contract that won’t do any good for him.
Let me be clear here. This post isn’t about me criticizing him for his action. But the lesson here is too great to pass on.