Chapter 542: New novel's contract!
Later in the afternoon.
He took a short nap.
The dust had already settled. With his ban lifted and the scores settled with his enemies, all the incidents that affected Zhang Ye had now come to a perfect happy ending for him. As such, the nap he took was exceptionally comfortable and sweet. From the time Decree #43 was passed, Zhang Ye had not stopped to rest for a single moment. He fought against everything with all he had, and was kept busy with scolding battles everyday. Luckily for him, at the disbelief of everyone, he fought his way against all odds and survived
Wisdom...alright, it doesn't seem like he had that.
This had been his biggest test since his debut and Zhang Ye had done what everyone else could not. Under this tremendous pressure and oppression, he gave the perfect answer to it all. At that moment, he felt really fulfilled as he took a big step towards his goal of international fame, as though as he "leveled up" through this experience.
Dong. The sound of the door closing rang out.
Zhang Ye rubbed his eyes and turned over as he got woken by the sound. He looked at his watch and realized that it was already past 5 in the afternoon and almost dinner time. Feeling well rested by now, he stretched himself in satisfaction and finally got up.
There was a conversation coming from the outside.
"Little Li, come in quickly."
"Auntie, that's not necessary. I'd best be going back now."
"How could you? Quickly, come in and have a drink before you go."
"Then...obedience is better than politeness, thank you, Auntie."
Zhang Ye could hear his mother's voice and another voice of a younger woman that he did not know. It sounded like a neighbour, but her voice was also somewhat familiar.
His father went over and asked, "This is?"
Then, he heard his mother say, "This is Li Mei from Eastern Publishing Firm. I was just coming home from grocery shopping and making my way back when I nearly fell because of the heavy things I was carrying. Luckily, Little Li caught me in time and helped me to carry them up. Later, I found out that Little Li was here because she wanted to look for our son to buy the copyright to his new novel. She checked our address and stood downstairs for almost an entire day, not daring to come upstairs. Hur hur, quickly go and get a drink for Little Li."
Li Mei said, "Auntie, don't trouble yourself. I am not thirsty."
"Drink some even if you're not. Take a seat. I will get Little Ye to come out in a while," his mother said.
Li Mei said, "Teacher Zhang is around as well?"
His mother laughed and said, "Yes, he's napping."
Eastern Publishing Firm?
Oh, wasn't it the woman who he had spoken to over the phone a while ago? How did she know about this address? Looked like she really spared a lot of thought for this.
With the commotion, Zhang Ye opened his bedroom door, still in his pajamas and saw the person from the publishing firm. She looked about 22 or 23, younger than him, with average looks. She dressed very professionally in a solid colored suit. From the way she carried herself, she probably did not have much working experience.
"Hi," Zhang Ye greeted.
Li Mei turned her attention to him and immediately answered, "Aiyo, Teacher Zhang, how are you? Am I bothering you during your rest time?" Having seen Zhang Ye in person, she became very excited.
Zhang Ye laughed. "No, I just woke up. Thank you for helping my mom bring up the groceries. Here, take a seat."
Li Mei said, "It was just a simple task."
His father and mother also spoke very politely to her, asking her to take a seat and have a drink of water. The two elders were still very friendly and receiving of her despite her being here with a motive. Since Li Mei had helped them out, they would definitely return the thanks. This was also where Zhang Ye took after his parents, having been taught to do so since he was young.
They chatted idly.
Since the family of three did not bring up the issue of the novel, Li Mei also did not mention it. They just chatted about everything else.
But a while later, his mother stood up and said smilingly, "Take a seat first, Little Li. I will go prepare dinner."
Li Mei quickly stood up and said, "Let me help you with that."
"Eh, you don't need to." His mother waved her hands.
But Li Mei followed closely behind her into the kitchen. "I've been in Beijing for a few years now and have always made my own meals. Even though I can't possibly be a better cook than Auntie, I can still help out with washing and cutting the ingredients. Let me help, let me!"
"Look at this child." His mother laughed helplessly. "Don't dirty your hands. How can I ask you to help out with this? Just stay for dinner, alright?"
Li Mei affably said, "If you don't let me help out, I won't feel good if I stay for dinner."
After a long time of pushing and pulling, his mother finally said, "Fine, alright then. Just wash the vegetables and leave the rest to me."
"Yes, Auntie," Li Mei said happily. She was also very dexterous and quickly started helping out in the kitchen. Her movements were all very skilled as she looked like she had done such chores before.
Li Mei had come to this place with a task to complete today, but it shouldn't really be considered a task at all. In the afternoon, during a meeting at the publishing firm, news of Zhang Ye's ban being lifted had just come through. The novel Legend of Wukong, which more than half of the editors in this firm liked very much, was added to the agenda for the meeting. The few leaders of the firm thought that they would really like to be able to get the rights to publish this novel, as they felt that it was an extremely outstanding piece of work. Just based on Zhang Ye's name alone, it would be worthy for them to spend a large amount of money to buy it. Sales figures? Compensation? They did not even consider any of this as Zhang Ye's name itself meant good sales figures in this industry. They were one and the same.
But what did Eastern Publishing Firm have?
If they mentioned scale, they were not as large as the top publishers. As for money, they were not ranked at the top either. They were just a medium-scaled publishing firm. For other authors, they might be an attractive option. But for someone of Zhang Ye's stature, they were basically no one. They believed that if Zhang Ye released news of wanting to sell the the copyrights to Legend of Wukong, or if he wanted to cooperate with any publishers on releasing the novel, having been unbanned, many of the country's major publishers would be attracted like bees to flowers and approach him about it. Even if Zhang Ye did not make any intentions to do so, they were sure that many publishing firms had already approached him about it. Therefore, since they knew that they couldn't compete with the others, they did not hold much hope for it. After the meeting, they just delegated this task to an inexperienced staff member who had been there for only a year.
That staff member was Li Mei.
The leader did not pin any hopes on this task, but Li Mei did not feel that way. She was very serious about it and put her heart into trying to make it a success. The first thing she did was look for a university classmate who was currently working as a reporter. After trying hard to convince her classmate, agreeing to lots of treats, and promising to keep the matter a secret, she finally got hold of Zhang Ye's contact number and his parents' home address. But when she tried to contact him over the phone, she met with a direct refusal from Zhang Ye. However, Li Mei still did not give up. After pondering for a whole day, she finally arrived at this place, waiting downstairs without a clear objective. She felt it awkward and rude to she just make her way to their doorstep. But she got lucky. After she had waited for an hour or so, she saw Zhang Ye's mother downstairs. Because of the mathematical conjecture's news, Zhang Ye's parents had appeared on the news before. Li Mei, who did her research well, naturally recognized her. That was how it all led to the current situation.
Li Mei thought that since her publishing firm could not offer the best amount of money, and were also not the largest scaled firm, then there was only one thing that they could compete on! They could only compete on terms of sincerity!
"Auntie, let me."
"Aiya, didn't I say that you only needed to wash the vegetables?"
"I cut them as well since it wasn't much trouble. It's fine, please don't stand on ceremony with me."
"Auntie, why don't you rest for a bit. The floor is wet, so don't slip and fall."
"It's alright, I'll be careful."
"Auntie, if you are buying so many things again in the future, you can give me a call. I don't live too far away from here, so you can always let me know and I will help you. Don't carry such heavy things by yourself again."
"Where do you live at?"
"Wow, that's already over at Daxing district. How is that not far?"
"It's not that far. I can get here by the subway very quickly. Just let me know whenever you need any help."
Li Mei tried to help out with everything in the kitchen and had a sweet mouth. Zhang Ye's mother took a liking to her. His mother and Li Mei naturally started speaking more. They did not stop as the two of them prepared dinner together.
Dinner was ready.
Zhang Ye went to take the dishes from them, "Hand that to me."
Li Mei held onto the dishes and said, "Teacher Zhang, let me. It's hot, I can do it."
His mother beamed and said, "Those two dishes were prepared by Little Li. It looks like she has better culinary skills than me. She's really nice and has a good heart."
"Thanks, Editor Li. We've even troubled you for dinner." Zhang Ye felt a little embarrassed. "Quick, have a seat and let's eat. It must have been tiring."
Dinner began and all of them sat together, enjoying the dishes.
His mother tasted the dish and immediately praised Li Mei's culinary skill. Then, as Li Mei did not mention about the novel at all until now, his mother just went ahead and helped her by asking, "Son, who did you sell your novel's copyright to?"
Li Mei's eyes widened when she heard this.
Zhang Ye who was just putting some food into his mouth said, "I have not sold it yet."
His mother said, "Little Li's publishing firm wants to buy the copyright from you. You're selling it anyway, so talk to Little Li about it and see if the price is right." Then, she turned her head and said, "Little Li, how much is your firm offering?"
Li Mei quickly put down her chopsticks and stopped eating. She spoke in a direct manner, "Auntie, I won't beat around the bush with you. The highest offer that my firm is willing to extend for the exclusive copyright to the simplified Chinese edition of Legend of Wukong is 1.5 million. On top of that, we heard that Teacher Zhang's copyright to Ghost Blows Out the Light and Zhang Ye's Compilation has also been sold back to him. If possible, we would also like to buy them and republish Ghost Blows Out the Light. The sales should still do well since the first edition had not yet fully enveloped the market at the time of it being taken down."
HIs mother asked, "How much?"
Li Mei said, "1 million for Ghost Blows Out the Light. The compilation series should fetch about 300,000, but we will need to add Teacher Zhang's recent works to it as well. I heard that the copyrights to those fairy tales have been returned as well? Since the North Chinese Youth and Children's Publishing Firm can no longer publish them, if Teacher Zhang trusts us enough, we could also republish them. But as we do not have any experience in the youth and children's market, we can't give any guarantee that we can market it well. This is what I can tell you in all honesty."
His mother nodded and asked, "So the total would be?"
"Altogether, it would be 3 million," Li Mei said so very nervously as she started to notice Zhang Ye's expression.
Zhang Ye did not say a word and just continued eating.
His mother rolled her eyes and gave her son a kick under the table. "So? Is that fine for you?"
Zhang Ye said without much of a care, "That's fine."
Although Legend of Wukong was very famous in Zhang Ye's previous world, the sales figure for it was still unable to compete with Ghost Blows Out the Light. It could even be said to lack by a lot. Besides, the character count for Ghost Blows Out the Light was manyfold more than Legend of Wukong, so it was only fair that it fetched a higher price. Even if it had already been published once, it would still fetch a million easily. Considering the various factors, the offer of 1.5 million for Legend of Wukong was not low, as the novel was already freely available online. Publishing online had its pros and cons. The pros being publicity from early readers which could lead to better physical sales. The cons were that many readers had already finished reading the novel once. Those who thought it was just an average novel would not be enticed to buy the physical copy of it.
It wasn't too bad.
When Li Mei heard Zhang Ye agreeing, she was totally stunned. Her hands were shaking from the excitement as she uttered, "Ah? You mean..."
"I will hand the copyrights of those works that you mentioned earlier to your publishing firm. Come back to me with a contract and I will sign it if the terms are OK," Zhang Ye said.
Li Mei felt as though a meat pie had fallen from the sky straight into her lap at this moment. She was feeling a little dizzy and said, "Teacher Zhang, I...I want to thank you for trusting me. Thank you!" Then she turned to Zhang Ye's mother and said, "Auntie, thank you too!"
His mother said, "Quickly eat then."
Li Mei stood up and said, "I will go and prepare the contract right now!"
"This child, why are you so anxious?" His mother pulled her back. "Since Little Ye has already promised you, he will not go and sign a contract with anyone else. It won't matter if you prepare it sooner or later. So just sit down and finish dinner together with us. If not, I will tell my son to not sign the contract with your firm."
Li Mei could only suppress her anxious feelings for now, and said, "Alright, auntie. I will listen to you." Then, with an improved appetite, she ate the dishes with great delight!
His mother commented, "From your looks, I wouldn't have thought that you could eat that much, but you can."
When Li Mei heard this, her face turned red.
After dinner, Li Mei did not care about Zhang Ye's parents' objections and took the dishes into the kitchen. She washed them before leaving.
It was almost dark.
Li Mei walked out of the district with quick steps and hailed a taxi. When she got in, she made a call to a team leader from the firm.
Du du, the call went through.
"Little Li, what's the matter?" asked a middle-aged man on the other side.
Li Mei clutched her fist tightly and said, "Team leader! It's done!"
The team leader was left scratching his head and asked, "What is done? What did you do?"
"The task you gave to me this afternoon." Li Mei's heart kept beating wildly as she could still not believe it herself. "I...I...I have completed the task!"
The team leader was extremely shocked. "You mean Zhang Ye's novel?"
Li Mei said, "Yes!"
"The copyright to Legend of Wukong?" he asked.
Li Mei added, "And Ghost Blows Out the Light as well as the others...I've secured them all! Teacher Zhang has agreed to fully let our publishing firm handle them all. We just need to prepare the contract for him to sign! Everything for 3 million!"
Pa! A loud sound of the thigh being vigorously slapped came from the other side of the call. "That's great! You're great too, Little Li! Well done! Really well done! I will call you back. I need to report this to the editor-in-chief! The contract will be prepared as soon as possible! Little Li, you've won great credit for our publishing firm this time! How on earth did you do it? Good! Good! Good!"
When they delegated this task to her in the first place, they did not expect any results from it. Otherwise, they would not have asked an inexperienced staff member to handle it knowing that Zhang Ye was such a good writer. With such great works, why did he chose them instead of some other big name publishers? It did not make any sense as they hadn't even expected to meet Zhang Ye in person!
But who could have known that Li Mei would succeed in just one afternoon!?
With these several copyrights to Zhang Ye's novels, not only would their firm be able to earn quite a tidy sum, they would also gain a step up in their reputations having signed a big name like him!
At Eastern Publishing Firm.
"What is done?"
"We have signed Zhang Ye!"
"Are you serious?"
"F**k! Teacher Zhang is now an author of our publishing firm?"
"That can't be?! How did it happen? Who did it? Wasn't it too difficult a task? Even a god like Zhang Ye can be signed?!"
"It was Li Mei!"
"What? Isn't she a newbie?"
"Li Mei will definitely be promoted this time! Haha!"
The contract was prepared at double-time and sent to Zhang Ye's parents' house by Li Mei herself. This time, she did not come alone. Rather, there were three or four other people from the publishing firm. People from the legal department, the copyright editor, and the editor-in-chief himself were all present for this symbolic contract signing. Eastern Publishing Firm had given the highest order of treatment to Zhang Ye. When the parties both signed the contract, the editor-in-chief went out to make a call and less than a minute later, the payment was already in Zhang Ye's account. Talk about fast! It did not even seem like it took longer than batting an eyelid!
Zhang Ye was quite surprised at this as he had never received payment so quickly before. 3 million before taxes meant that he still had over 2 million. The taxes for copyright sales was less than income tax, so after the money was transferred to him, Zhang Ye had also resolved his shortage of money issues just in time.
The editor-in-chief and Li Mei spoke in private after that. He had not noticed that there was this new staff member in his publishing firm before and only knew about her after she won Zhang Ye's signature for the contract. They chatted for a while. He thought about what she said, that their firm could not offer anything feasible to attract new authors but they had something else that could. How would they compete with others? They could only do it with sincerity! And so, not only did they pay the copyright fee quickly, they even paid it in full. On top of that, other than the necessary terms of contract breaking, nothing else was included. Yes, they did not include any other terms to show their utmost sincerity to him, as they knew that Beijing Education Publishing Firm had previously caused a big headache for Zhang Ye.
The matter was wrapped up without a hitch!
That night, the news of Zhang Ye signing with Eastern Publishing Firm spread throughout the industry quickly!
"Eastern Publishing Firm? Who is that?"
"I've never heard of it?"
"I know, it's a mid-sized firm in Beijing. They don't seem like they are large scale at all."
"How could that be? Why did Zhang Ye sign with them?"
"I don't know, but a friend of mine said that the contract included Ghost Blows Out the Light, Zhang Ye's Compilation and even the copyrights to those fairy tales! All of it went to Eastern Publishing Firm! Hai, I'm so envious of them. They've really pulled in a big tree this time, and it's even a money tree! Our firm's boss was still intending for a few of us to form a team to start talks with Teacher Zhang Ye, but even before the team was formed, the show was already over!"
"Our firm was very confident that we would have gotten Zhang Ye to sign over his copyrights to us. It's really unfortunate we were robbed of the chance by Eastern Publishing Firm. They're really the underdogs that no one could have expected to win the race!"
"Who was it that won the contract?"
"I heard it's someone called Li Mei."
"Li Mei? I've never heard of that name?"
"Which great god is that? "
"It's a newbie."
"F**k, that can't be right?"
"All of these experienced editors lost to a newbie?"
Slowly, Li Mei's name started spreading throughout the publishing industry!
In actual fact, only Li Mei herself knew that she did not have it too difficult this time in being able to sign Teacher Zhang Ye. Those who did not know him were biased against him due to news reports. Many subconsciously thought that Zhang Ye's temper was very bad and difficult to approach or communicate with. So they naturally thought that it was going to be an almost impossible task to convince him to sign the contract. But since Li Mei had managed to get in contact and speak to him personally, she knew that Teacher Zhang was not as scary as people claimed. Rather, he was a very friendly and easy person to speak with. He didn't put on the airs of a celebrity and he was even a very filial person.
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