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Chapter 93: Keep Barking At It (9)
“Is that possible?”
Ha Jae-Gun had to ask.
It was true that Summer in My 20s had become a bestseller, and it was true that he had been receiving a lot of attention from the public despite being a rookie writer.
However, Ha Jae-Gun thought that it was an astronomical amount compared to the market rate that had been longstanding in the industry.
Oh Myung-Suk chuckled and replied with confidence, “Definitely.”
It wasn’t the amount that got Ha Jae-Gun concerned since he had earned that same point through other channels as well. The Breath, amongst other fantasy novels that Ha Jae-Gun had written under the pseudonym Poongchun-Yoo, was already bringing him over a hundred million won in royalties every month.
“I must make sure we sell the copyright at two hundred million won. This would become another talking point for a while. This will also become a symbolic accolade in your career as well, Mr. Ha,” Oh Myung-Suk said with confidence once more.
He was aware of what Ha Jae-Gun was talking about.
Oh Myung-Suk had never once made a promise in his life that he couldn’t keep, aside from the promise he had made to his brother.
Ha Jae-Gun looked up at the sky and sighed. “I can’t even thank you now, Editor-in-chief. I think you’ve heard it too much, and it’s starting to trouble you.”
“Seems like we’re the same. I was quite concerned about it, actually.”
The men burst out into laughter.
The two of them headed off to grab a coffee, and the spring sun beat down on them, casting a long shadow on their trail.
“Can I do it?”
“What’s up with the sudden inferiority complex? I thought you wanted to do this. Are you pulling my leg? I’ve already bought the copyright.” Woo Jae-Hoon downed a shot of whisky neat.
Sitting across him on the cushy sofa was Park Do-Joon, and the two men were accompanied by ladies in captivating dresses on both sides.
They were in a private room frequented by people in the entertainment industry, and its business required no form of advertising or promotions, as its only channel to obtain new guests was through word of mouth through their regulars.
“Do-Joon oppa, why are you on such low energy today? Do you want to make a toast with me?” one of the ladies stuck next to Park Do-Joon and held her gla.s.s up to him.
Park Do-Joon shot her an annoyed glare and rejected her advances.
“Isn’t there anyone else asking for your company?”
“What? Are you asking me to leave?”
“Yeah, it’ll be great if you could,” Park Do-Joon replied nonchalantly and brought the gla.s.s in hand to his mouth.
The lady snorted and glared at him coldly before leaving the room.
Pouring a gla.s.s for Woo Jae-Hoon, Park Do-Joon asked, “Have you already decided on the actors for the other characters?”
“I’ve decided on most of the characters, except for the female lead and a few others.”
“Han Joo-Hee, right?”
“Yeah. We need someone intelligent with a fresh image but two-faced as well. She’s got to be good at acting, too. I don’t think it’s easy to look for someone like that through auditions.”
Park Do-Joon lowered his gaze to his gla.s.s and thought for a moment.
Park Do-Joon was definitely interested in acting in Summer in My 20s since he personally enjoyed the original novel, and it was also a new genre for him to challenge. On top of that, he was familiar with Woo Jae-Hoon’s working style since they had worked together for a couple of productions before.
However, his worries felt as heavy as the burden he felt since the original novel was such a huge hit. It would be expected that everyone who had read the novel before would want to watch the movie adaptation.
“Will my image fit with the main character?”
“Yes, it’s a perfect fit.”
“But I’m tall...”
“The main character’s height in the novel wasn’t mentioned. Hey, Park Do-Joon, Stop with all the nonsense and just make your decision. The distributor is hoping to premiere the movie before summer ends, so Dong-Il is anxiously working on the scenario right now.”
“Of course, he would.”
“We’ll be doing a site visit in Osaka to clear the scenes where Han Joo-Hee and Lee Ye-Ji went on their trip. Have you been to Tempozan before?”
“I haven’t been to anywhere else in j.a.pan except for Tokyo.”
Just then, there was a knock on the door, and the door opened.
A waiter poked his head in, it was someone Park Do-Joon knew well.
“What is it?”
“We’ve got a new girl, so I wanted to introduce her to you.”
Park Do-Joon didn’t look too interested, as his mind was currently occupied with matters about the movie, and it was on the verge of exploding.
If it hadn’t been for Woo Jae-Hoon, he wouldn’t have come here in the first place.
“Just send her in; why bother asking that every time?” Unlike Park Do-Joon, Woo Jae-Hoon welcomed the girls with open arms. At the sight, the woman next to him sulked and moved away from him.
The waiter sn.i.g.g.e.red and signaled to the lady outside to come in.
A lady in a wine-colored dress walked in with her head slightly lowered.
“Look up for a bit, I can’t see your face properly.”
The lady bowed slightly and looked up as instructed.
Woo Jae-Hoon’s eyes widened in admiration when he saw her flushed face.
“Hey, you’ll look even prettier without make-up on. What’s your name?”
“My name is Kim Na-Yeon. It’s my first day today.”
“I see. Go take a seat there.”
Kim Na-Yeon hesitated, but she eventually sat down a short distance away from Park Do-Joon. Park Do-Joon had yet to take a proper look at Kim Na-Yeon’s face.
“Shall I fill your gla.s.s?” Kim Na-Yeon asked and slowly reached out for the bottle on the table.
Just as her fingers touched the gla.s.s in Park Do-Joon’s hand, Park Do-Joon frowned and looked at her, annoyed.
“I will pour it myself—” Park Do-Joon stopped mid-sentence, and his gaze met with Kim Na-Yeon’s gaze, who was taken aback by his sudden outburst and was leaning away out of fear.
“What… is your name?”
Park Do-Joon went agape, stunned by her beauty. The ladies working in this establishment had outstanding beauty like her, but she had a strange appeal that he couldn’t quite describe.
‘She’s really pretty.’
Park Do-Joon had to acknowledge Woo Jae-Hoon’s keen eye.
He agreed with Woo Jae-Hoon—she would look much prettier without make-up.
Park Do-Joon signaled to the waiter. “Tae-Sung.”
“Yes, hyung.” The waiter walked up to Park Do-Joon with his hands gathered in front of him in the shape of a bowl.
Park Do-Joon took out his wallet and pulled out a cas.h.i.+er’s check worth a million won. However, he didn’t just pull out one cas.h.i.+er’s check, but one, two, three, four, and five…
The waiter, Tae-Sung, gulped as he watched Park Do-Joon pull so many checks out one by one.
“Bring me a Royal 38 Years, and I’m keeping her here tonight. You can keep the rest.”
These ladies could jump to other rooms unless a guest specifically wanted to keep them in their room, and keeping a lady in the room tonight meant that she wasn’t allowed to entertain other guests and could only stay in this room.
“You’re okay with it, right?”
Kim Na-Yeon nodded silently.
Park Do-Joon put out his gla.s.s, and Kim Na-Yeon added ice and alcohol into it before handing it back to him with both hands.
“Director, where did we stop?” Park Do-Joon asked, sounding energetic. He chuckled to himself upon realizing that he was still a man, after all. His confidence was coming back to him with a beautiful woman accompanying him.
[Movie adaptation of the bestselling novel, Summer in My 20s, scheduled to premiere this summer.]
[Popular actor Park Do-Joon cast as the male lead for Summer in My 20s (Working t.i.tle). Who will be the female lead?]
[Sales of the original novel, Summer in My 20s, confirmed for a movie adaptation, are soaring. Soon hitting 1 million copies sold.]
[Newdon, a distribution investor, ‘Production fee expected to be over 50 billion won.’]
[Writer Ha Jae-Gun’s copyright fee is a whopping 200 million won?]
All signs of drowsiness disappeared on Ha Jae-Gun’s face.
After working all night on his novel, he ended up waking to a lazy afternoon.
Ha Jae-Gun was enjoying a cup of coffee and was catching up on the news related to Summer in My 20s online. Amidst the many headlines was the name Park Do-Joon, and it was a name that caught his attention.
‘I remember seeing him somewhere before—Ah!’
Ha Jae-Gun snapped his fingers upon recalling the night when he did the radio broadcast for Writer’s Night at the broadcasting station. He recalled picking up the phone that Park Do-Joon had left in the washroom. He was even offered a can of beverage as thanks.
‘Seems like he’s quite popular. So he’s going to be the male lead.’
Ha Jae-Gun had already moved on from everything related to Summer in My 20s.
The issue with the scenario writer had been resolved, and Oh Myung-Suk had also transferred him the two hundred million won copyright fee as promised. In other words, whatever happened afterward was no longer Ha Jae-Gun’s concern.
‘Oh, he has been in the industry for quite some time. And he’s the same age as I am…’
Ha Jae-Gun started reading Park Do-Joon’s profile. It was natural for him to be interested in the actor since Park Do-Joon was cast as the male lead of his novel.
He even wanted to watch the movies and dramas that Park Do-Joon was cast.
Just then, Ha Jae-Gun’s phone rang; it was from Oh Myung-Suk.
Ha Jae-Gun stopped reading and answered the call, “h.e.l.lo, Editor-in-chief.”
— h.e.l.lo, Mr. Ha. Have you read the news today?
“Yes, I was just reading them. I heard that Park Park o-Joon…
— He’s a great actor, and he’s popular as well. His height is on the taller side, but I think he will still be able to do a good job portraying the male lead in the novel.
“That would be great…”
— I have some things to tell you today. Firstly, Director Woo Jae-Hoon is requesting your attendance at the movie press conference.
“Movie press conference? Isn’t that focusing more on the director and actors?”
— Well, Summer in My 20s is still quite popular as a book, so it’s not uncommon for the authors of a popular original novel to appear in its movie premiere press conference. Are you okay with that?
“Sure, I can do that.”
— Another thing, there’s a request from EBC Channel inviting you to appear in the show, A Writer’s Study. You know of that show, right?
“Ah, yes. I’ve watched it a couple of times.” Ha Jae-Gun nodded.
He had watched the show a few times before when the writers he liked appeared in the show. If Ha Jae-Gun’s memories were serving him correctly, then the host would go to the writers’ house to look around the place and talk with them briefly.
Afterward, the show would be held in a filming studio where there would be a talk segment with a panel.
— The impact of this invitation is incomparable with any radio show. It’s fine if you don’t attend the movie press conference, but I hope you’ll take up the TV show.
Oh Myung-Suk pushed ahead even before he could hear Ha Jae-Gun’s reply.
Ha Jae-Gun looked around at his studio, which still looked the same as it had been last year. He then asked carefully, “I’m still living in a studio, though. There’s nothing much in my so-called study except for a table. Is there anything to talk about in such a shabby place like this?”
Oh Myung-Suk burst out into laughter.
— I like how it is right now.
— Imagine what the viewers would say. They’ll think, why is an author who had written so many hit novels living in a cramped studio? Wow, so the environment doesn’t affect him at all. He’s really a hardworking, humble, and incredible person, etc… I think it’ll be great.
“I see… All right. Since you said so, then I’ll do it.”
Ha Jae-Gun talked for a while more with Oh Myung-Suk before finally hanging up. He prepared Rika’s meal and was about to make a pot of ramyun for himself when another call came in.
The call was from Kwon Tae-Won.
“h.e.l.lo, President Kwon.”
— I saw the news! Park Do-Joon is going to be the male lead of your novel? Your novel’s popularity is already soaring sky-high, and your movie is going to be a huge hit as well.
“Haha, we’ll have to see how it goes.”
— Ah, and I’ve just contacted Ms. So-Mi. She said you’d be paying her for the ill.u.s.trations out of your own pocket?
“Ah, that’s right. There are quite a number of ill.u.s.trations, actually.”
— Don’t do that. If others hear that a writer of your caliber is actually paying for the ill.u.s.trations out of your own pocket, I’m going to get cursed out. Laugh Books will be handling all of that. I’ve talked it out with her, we’ll be commissioning her 300,000 won for the cover, and her black-and-white ill.u.s.trations will be at 100,000 won each.
“I’m sorry, it’s my dream to insert many ill.u.s.trations for my novel.”
— You don’t have to be sorry. Ah, we will be printing physical copies of the novel as well since we’ve already rented a warehouse. I’m planning to print it together with The Breath, so I’ll let you know again.
— Oh, right, I almost forgot, but have you decided on a t.i.tle for your novel?
“Mm… About that…” Ha Jae-Gun trailed off and looked at his bowl of ramyun, which was turning cold. It was a first-world problem that he would always encounter whenever he had a new novel.
“What do you think of Dungeon’s Trader King?”
— Hmm, do you have anything else?
“What about I’m Running a Business in a Dungeon?”
— It’ll sound like a light novel if the t.i.tle is a sentence. Do you have something else?
“‘My Customers are Warriors’?”
— Um, Writer Ha. I think I’ll brainstorm a few t.i.tles and come back to you again.
“Okay, thank you for your help.”
After hanging up, Ha Jae-Gun sighed deeply and picked up his chopsticks.
Once again, he realized that he had zero talent for naming his novels.
He started eating his soggy ramyun as if he were a lifeless robot.
— Yes, I received the final volume ma.n.u.script and found it strange. This is a mistake, right?
Deputy Lee was in shock while on a call with a warehouse employee. She flinched and looked around the office, but she was relieved to see that no one else was around.
“Ah, okay. I’ll give you a call back soon.”
Deputy Lee ended the call in a hurry and looked for Jung So-Mi.
She finally found Jung So-Mi, who had just stepped out of the washroom.
“Ms. So-Mi, let’s talk for a bit.”
“Let’s go somewhere else.”
Deputy Lee pulled Jung So-Mi along to the deserted emergency exit stairway, and Jung So-Mi found the former’s actions quite out of the norm.
After checking that there was no one around them, Deputy Lee started.
“You’re in charge of Football Round, right?”
“Huh? Yes, what about it?”
“I received a call that the final volume wasn’t marked with that mark!”
Jung So-Mi’s face turned pale instantly in horror.
Was it partly due to the continued mental attacks that she had been receiving from her editor-in-chief that he couldn’t enjoy her work these days? In addition, it was her first time making such a huge mistake.
“I’m sorry, Sis…! I must have been out of my mind… what should I do?”
“The solution is to recall the entire batch, but since we’re going to suffer a huge loss if we were to do that, we would have to do something about it. Leave it to me.”
“W-what are you going to do?”
“I’ll have to add a gilt. Remove the cover and don’t print the mark, just emboss the gilt on it. Our loss probably won’t hit a million won if we do that.”
Deputy Lee patted the shoulder of the fear-stricken Jung So-Mi.
“Thankfully, we found out before the books were delivered because we can still find a solution for it. Don’t worry too much, it might just end with us writing an apology report on it at the most.”
Jung So-Mi was at a loss for words and buried her head in her hands, nodding silently.
If it hadn’t been for Deputy Lee, she would have already left her h.e.l.lish days in this office. She had been crying more frequently and had been finding herself more pathetic recently.
Deputy Lee skillfully resolved the issue at hand for her, as she had been in the industry for quite a while now and had experienced such things several times before.
However, Deputy Lee’s help didn’t mean that Jung So-Mi was saved. She was still in pain, and she fidgeted in her seat as if her seat had become a needle cus.h.i.+on.
On that fateful afternoon, the editor-in-chief, Park Kyung-Wook, returned to the office with a straight face from a business trip.
Jung So-Mi trembled at the sound of his footsteps alone; a sense of foreboding enveloped her as she felt Park Kyung-Wook’s presence towering over her from behind.
“Where did you leave your brain at?”
Park Kyung-Wook threw a book onto Jung So-Mi’s desk. The book had the words—final volume—printed in gilt on its cover.
Jung So-Mi stood up and turned around.
Her lips were trembling as she said, “I’m really sorry. I’ll make sure not to make the same mistake again.”
“No, you don’t have to do that anymore.”
“Sorry?” Jung So-Mi’s eyes widened in shock.
Park Kyung-Wook snorted and loosened his necktie in frustration.
He glared at her and said, “Ms. So-Mi, shouldn’t you just leave?”