Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast)


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    We interviewed J-Novel's own Sam in the latest episode of the light novel podcast. It was a blast to have Sam on, and he was very generous taking the time to answer as much as he could.

    There's a small announcement in this one too (that some eagle eyed fans on here spotted on Amazon days before the recording), so listen to the end! =]

    If you'd like to download it:
    http://www.lightnovelpodcast.com/podcast-10-sam-pinansky-of-j-novel-club/

    You can stream it from YouTube here:
    https://youtu.be/yiGKKnbgfTY

    Here were my questions that made it on air:

    Edit: The My Little Sister Can Read Kanji question did not make it on air. Whoops. Maybe next time. xD



  • @terrence I love how Sam our mighty CULT leader sometimes reply’s to us mere plebs... lol JK, anyways yeah Sam replying to some questions in the forums is actually something I don’t see often and am thankful he is the CEO of JNC and also am thankful he started JNC. Thanks Sam you are awesome! Keep it up.


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    @hyferzftw said in Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast):

    @terrence I love how Sam our mighty CULT leader sometimes reply’s to us mere plebs...

    I actually had a question prepared about this... But like you said, my appreciation sounded cultish, so I didn't ask it, lol. xD

    1. In the Light Novel industry (and even the translation industry at large) I’d say you’re one of the few faces in the industry that people can actually converse with. Do you think the inviting atmosphere of JNC on social media has been a positive influence on the business side? Has the reception to JNC been more or less positive than you thought it would be, especially considering you have licensed a few titles that were popular on the free fan translation market?


  • @terrence lol ever since Sam joked about the cult thing I been using the joke whenever I can. Just imagine future people who read this and don’t know where it started might actually believe JNC is an actual subscription based cult lol.



  • Just finished—well, not just, I also went and saw random videos on YouTube too but gimme a bit of credit that I arrived here lol.

    Well, it inspired in me a desire to ask few questions—where I, selfishly and annoyingly (as usual), will ask him on curious cat.

    Also, expected more questions about future market possibilities with odd licenses like Hayakawa or how now, everyone got non-LN title.
    Even tho, everyone treating this differently—Sam is quick to correct people when they call Last and First Idol LN, Seven Seas call everything LN, Vertical is conscious of it but still don't push and let fan call it anything they want and I think they found more money on the LN side for NisiOisiN than regular novels markert anyway.
    Yen press got Tomihiko Morimi books (I think they didn't explicitly call it regular novels... I don't remember.)
    And Haikasoru is denying the light novel term.
    So, wanted to know his views on that and how it may affect the market in years to come—maybe, we finally find a bridge between Light novel and non-LN market.
    Since Japanese Mystery and Horror is definitely doing well.

    Well, for announcements:
    I prefer print edition and said that many times so—when I heard about printing thing, I was excited but...
    Smartphone... Not interested in that
    How not to summon a demon lord...nah

    Then I heard 'If for my daughter', now, you got my attention!


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    @hyferzftw do you remember where this "joke" originated? The farthest back I can think of was the "knock off Yakuza" post.


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    @bloodygaikotsu said in Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast):

    Also, expected more questions about future market possibilities with odd licenses like Hayakawa or how now, everyone got non-LN title.

    I felt like asking about specific licensing possibilities would put him on the spot a bit (I mean, Curiosity Cat is one thing, he can choose to not see a question from an anonymous source if he can't answer it; I'm sure Justus would just cut it if it were an issue, but I didn't want to ruin the mood / pace of the interview too much as well). Even asking "do you think you'll work with this publisher again" could be unanswerable.

    I suppose we could have asked about more future business though (do you have more licenses planned for the rest of the year; I wasn't too interested in the manga, and figured someone else would ask about it... I can't remember if anyone did). I asked him more about underserved genres, and building the female demo at JNC. We definitely asked about past business stuff on air (Tom asked about Seven Seas).

    Selfish questions were mostly left for off the air too, lol, so you didn't hear many of those (except for my TTS question if that made the final cut).

    As a side note, if you have a really good idea or model to emulate to bring in some more Horror / Mystery fans, please, make a thread, contact Sam, have at it. I'd love more horror / mystery / Death Game / psychological stuff personally.

    @drone205 said in Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast):

    @hyferzftw do you remember where this "joke" originated? The farthest back I can think of was the "knock off Yakuza" post.

    Ha ha, I think so. I wanted to mention knock off Yakuza as part of the few 'angry' fans in that potential "cult of forum positivity" question, but that could be too combative towards others in the community; no sense in breeding bad will, I think the community is mostly positive.

    I totally missed my chance to mention "introspective loser" in that favorite character type question though. It was literally on the page. Our podcast needs more injokes. xC



  • @terrence

    I felt like asking about specific licensing possibilities would put him on the spot a bit

    I didn't mean specific thing.
    For long time, the LN and regular novels market didn't have a bridge but now, they are touching so, I wondered if he has views, expectations or vision where these two markets are merging.



  • @terrence said in Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast):

    As a side note, if you have a really good idea or model to emulate to bring in some more Horror / Mystery fans, please, make a thread, contact Sam, have at it. I'd love more horror / mystery / Death Game / psychological stuff personally.

    I'm no businessman so hardly got anything—but dunno if I said it before but I am a freelance book cover designer (That's how I can afford buying my books in 3rd world country lol).
    So, I worked with many indies and seen how some may try and promote their works.
    And based on that, I did recommend pitching reviews to blogs outside LN range on curious cat.
    Then remembered 'reedsy' and told him in another message lol.
    (Reedsy is a site to help authors to find all professional help he need from editors through book cover artists and layout designs to blogs that may review his books)
    After all, the market exists out there.
    Vintage International, Vertical, Haikasoru and even Seven Seas titles are proof of that.
    Like the first author Vertical kept pushing was Koji Suzuki and now is NisiOisiN and they even introduced Keigo to the western market.


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    @bloodygaikotsu said in Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast):

    @terrence

    I felt like asking about specific licensing possibilities would put him on the spot a bit

    I didn't mean specific thing.
    For long time, the LN and regular novels market didn't have a bridge but now, they are touching so, I wondered of he has views, expectations or vision where thesee two markets are merging.

    I think your idea (that Novel and LN line is getting more blurred, and some publishers even trying to strip certain terms away) is interesting, it just didn't come to mind for me at all. It's on my mind now though, lol. I still think that'd be worth a thread at some point, even if it's not a specific business model / plan, because I honestly had not thought of how publishers see their licenses as LN or non-LN branded before.

    I feel like Sam has mentioned on Curiosity Cat that something without pictures could be more easily (and cheaply?) printed on demand. Maybe that would help certain books reach audiences that are more inclined to buy physically? I don't know, if like, horror / scifi fans would prefer physical versions of novels over digital, vs Isekai / more LN specific fans being more used to digital. That could be a thing though. Idk.


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    @terrence YIKES! The interview is 1:55 long. Need to have the time to listen to it. Maybe this weekend.



  • @terrence
    He did mention on CC that people who prefer "serious reads", prefer physical release as well. (Well, I'm omnivore who leans towards physical release so, I can't comment on behalf any of the two sides lol)



  • Well, I do wanna see the line between LN and non-LN disappearing tbh.

    I've been trying to push this by requesting titles that I know they don't go along with the usual audience.
    General literature titles or LN with topics that ain't very LN-y.
    I'm just fishing—hoping that just one title get enough backing.
    (Unfortunately, so far—no good lol. The last one got only one vote and it's from you, @Terrence lol )


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    @paul-nebeling said in Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast):

    @terrence YIKES! The interview is 1:55 long. Need to have the time to listen to it. Maybe this weekend.

    Yeah, Sam was generous with his time. I actually didn't ask more questions at the end not to keep him (and I would have had to look over my notes again to find one), and then we talked quite a bit longer after the recording, so no need to worry.

    I didn't get the chance to ask my "Would you license 'King of Mayo'" and "How about licensing 'Because I Reincarnated as a Succubus, I’ll Squeeze Out Milk'"... Next time surely. These quality titles must be seen in English! x)

    https://bookwalker.jp/de32e6ef60-9c31-4d8c-9ae8-d4325d543c30/?acode=WpfPW3yk

    https://twitter.com/GRNKRBY/status/989010718165995521?s=20

    Oh god, I should have told him to license 'The Panda and The Prime Minister' one from that Twitter post when talking about the push for Shoujo. That literary masterpiece does not belong locked up in a museum!

    @bloodygaikotsu said in Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast):

    Well, I do wanna see the line between LN and non-LN disappearing tbh.

    I've been trying to push this by requesting titles that I know they don't go along with the usual audience.
    General literature titles or LN with topics that ain't very LN-y.
    I'm just fishing—hoping that just one title get enough backing.

    I still think something safe-ish, like the one I posted a bit back, It's Time From Z (by the Bluesteel + Outbreak Company author), could help break the tide a bit. There's a few other ones that have that LN author or feel to them, but with horror / death game attached, that I think could help ease people into horror too. I'd like more of those mystery type full on novels and psychological things too (especially Sakurako, which blurs the line between LN and novel, and Subete Ga No F which is very much not light novel-y) in addition to straight out horror (Shiki).

    There's ones I want to suggest, but I know nothing about too, which makes for a tough thread (and a lot of them are very short, and potentially unfinished, which I don't want, so that makes it tougher to recommend). T_T


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    @bloodygaikotsu said in Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast):

    Well, I do wanna see the line between LN and non-LN disappearing tbh.

    I've been trying to push this by requesting titles that I know they don't go along with the usual audience.
    General literature titles or LN with topics that ain't very LN-y.
    I'm just fishing—hoping that just one title get enough backing.
    (Unfortunately, so far—no good lol. The last one got only one vote and it's from you, @Terrence lol )

    I think there is something about LN that makes them strictly LN. LN are basicly serialized book series that run for a very long time. Each book tells a complete story (or has some sort of conclusion) while also progressing the larger story in some way. Novels typically tell one story and ends in 7 or less volumes (usualy). There is just a difference between LN and novels that I do not want that to change. Pulp fiction is special for its own unique reason like LN is special for its own unique reason.

    Edit: though this does mean I don't want more ppl finding about LN and such but I just think the stuff that makes certain types or categories of stories should be considered "different." Though I also want authors to explore and experiment with new ideas and whatever they can think of regardless if it is "LN-ish" or not.



  • @drone205

    1. The line between LN and novels is more thing than you think—which is evident by NisiOisiN and Light Bungei stuff like 'I want to Eat your pancreas'

    2. Serialization ain't unique to LNs—take NisiOisiN's Legend Series (which has not LN-like elements a.k.a Moe like his other series), Hyouka (which is YA mystery series and only touched the LN market cuz of the anime), or, let's shot really away from LNs and say Ryuusui Seiryouin's What a Perfect World! Series (which he wrote to match Katanagatari) or any of his other series.

    Actually—the genres and type of stories that started LN craze are very different from what we have now to begin with.
    Like in late 1990's early 2000's
    Boogiepop, Zaregoto, Welcome to N.H.K
    These stuff ain't really what you call light read or genre and at the same time, some of kind of evolution of 80's titles with more Moe heroine appeared like
    Shana, Zero no Tsukaima
    And into 2004-2006, we got more stories and really attached with their heroine like
    Circlet Girl and Toradora.

    Then meta concept appeared with
    Haruhi and Monogatari.
    —And lead to appearance of novels which comment on Otaku culture and at the same time, try and promote more positive overview with a pair of Otaku and non-otaku as Main characters like Oreimo.

    At similar time, battle school started to get popular.

    Then we hit isekai boom that ain't stopping.

    Not like the early, more heavy stuff are nonexistent but majority of them are not attached to 'proper' LN line but you got Kodansha Taiga, Box, novels, MediaWorks bunko, Futaba Bunko, etc.

    What I'm trying to say with all of that is—the line between LN and non-LN is pretty thing and now, we got a whole new group living there (which is called light bungei).

    1. Plus, I mainly meant the readership.
      After all, it will do a lot more good to both markets—where people of both sides can get smth to read.

    Like, I guess people who are interested in Japanese mystery may enjoy checking NisiOisiN or Hyouka which are staying in LN side of things in the west unlike in more vague area like in Japan.

    Also as I said before, while Perfect Blue and Hosoda works are published as LNs in the west—unlike Paprika and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
    And I believe that you, @Drone205 , will find a lot of things appealing on the other side since you like NisiOisiN.

    For me, what I feel like what's so unique about LNs and works near it—is the personality and the freedom/freestyle writing lol.
    One of biggest way to sell LNs is making really likable characters especially heroines, so we get really interesting characters.
    In LNs, you are more free with your structure and some author even uses blank pages and typography as storytelling method.
    And—the most important thing is the personality that oozes from them especially, when the narrator is like Hachiman, Kyon, etc.



  • @terrence said in Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast):

    I still think something safe-ish, like the one I posted a bit back, It's Time From Z

    Well, not like I'm being random, I suggest stuff I'm interested in or love...after all.
    They happen to be so unpopular here—totally, not my fault!!!


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    Oh, it's definitely best to suggest what you love (because that passion comes across in suggestion topics, which gets people more interested). And I'd like some traditional horror / mystery stuff too, probably moreso than stuff that plays those elements halfway with more LN type content.

    I just think there might be that title that can bridge audiences. I mean, there's titles that are "horror" that I don't consider horror (see horror being romance like Dusk Maiden of Amnesia or comedic horror) along with mysteries + psychological stuff that are fairly SOL in nature. Occultic;Nine was kind of close to bridging the gap, having a current anime and having some LN tropeish stuff, but it did only appear at the beginning of JNC's life cycle. I'd want a bridge the gap title to open up more possibilities of the more traditional stuff too.



  • @terrence said in Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast):

    (because that passion comes across in suggestion topics, which gets people more interested)

    I wonder about that lol
    E.g. I wrote about Three Days of Happiness and shared a quote I like (yet it only got 6 votes) but get 20-30 votes over synopsis + cover with cute girl or half-naked girl, so....
    (The same applies to 'Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou' and 'Omae wo Otaku ni Shiteyaru kara, Ore wo Riajuu ni Shitekure!' lol)


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    @bloodygaikotsu said in Interview With Sam Pinansky (The Light Novel Podcast):

    E.g. I wrote about Three Days of Happiness and shared a quote I like (yet it only got 6 votes) but get 20-30 votes over synopsis + cover with cute girl so....

    Well, cute gals help too (unfortunately?). xD

    I think covers are really important. A high quality (subjective I know) cover sells me on a series because I think the story underneath could be just as good. Something more vague doesn't as much.

    If I didn't know the authors / stories, I wouldn't give these even a seconds look:

    alt text

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