HOME / 2022 Program / Yuli Pritania
|Noura Publishing is a part of Mizan Group. It publishes a broad range of books: fiction, children books, nonfiction, and religion. Its list of prominent Indonesian authors include SEA Write Award winners Budi Darma and Seno Gumira Ajidarma. Noura’s books have also been published overseas in the UK, Malaysia, and Singapore. In regards to international authors, Noura publishes the work of Edgar Allan Poe, A.A. Milne, Roald Dahl, and Rick Riordan.|
Publishing in Indonesia
Indonesia was in 60th place, out of 61 countries, for World’s Most Literate Nations Ranked in 2016. But then in that exact year, this Wattpad phenomenon appeared and hit the bookstores like storm. Started with Dear Nathan, which soon became the mega bestseller book, adapted into movies and got 2 more book sequels. Hundreds of titles from Wattpad continued to dominate the shelves in bookstore until now. Another famous title is Mariposa, got 133 M views in Wattpad, sold 18.000 copies in pre-order and later also adapted into movie and got 2 more books sequels like Dear Nathan.
Since the pandemic, nonfiction books were really good in selling, especially if it discussed about mental health or recommended by K-Pop Idols. The one which really stole the spotlight is I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokpokki by Baek Se-Hee, recommended by RM BTS. There are more nonfiction books from Korea you will see in bookstores instead of the ones translated from English or even written by Indonesian writers. There was also a trend with the prose or poetry books, in mini size, hard cover and full-color illustration, although it just stayed for a short time because of the expensive price.
As a fiction editor, I’m surely more familiar with the novels. And if you ask me about the keywords for fiction trend in Indonesia, I will say these 3: K-Pop, AU, and Wattpad.
We’ll start with Wattpad. This is the right place for debut author or the writers who can’t get their manuscripts being published by the publishers. E-books are not doing really well in Indonesia, but the writing platform like Wattpad is succeed in grabbing teenagers’ attention. Why? I think it’s because Wattpad is the media for communicating, discussing and finding new friends with the same taste. People in Indonesia love to leave comments in everything and in Wattpad, you can share your thoughts in every paragraph. The readers can communicate directly with the authors and that’s what they love the most: the closeness, the intimacy. They like to have some kind of role models. And Wattpad users are mostly teenagers. They don’t really care about the writing style, as long as the story is relatable to them, they devour it. They love light story about bad boy and high school, or CEO male lead and office romance.
For some reasons, personally I don’t really like this trend. There are some good stories, but the ones which get attention is some kind of vulgar stories that are accessible for the young readers. It’s really unfortunate that many new publishers even give the spotlight to this kind of stories. They just want the good money and not really think about the quality. They don’t even edit the manuscripts to make the novels proper to be sold, just release it as it is.
But on the other side, Wattpad makes young people, especially the teenagers, started to read again. They can access this platform from their phone easily, read for free, and even communicate with the authors and other readers. This is why they are willingly buying the same stories which then publish as a book, with quite high price. Usually, the novel version has some special chapters and the merchandises for the pre-order package.
There are many Wattpad novels adapted into series or movies in OTT platform. They choose teenage stories because people from that age-group is their biggest users. The young people in Indonesia tend to avoid television programs because they are rarely good and have hundreds of boring episodes, that’s why the OTT platforms are really welcomed in this country.
Wattpad trend already dominates for years and I hope, if this trend still continued, the publishers become more selective of their choice, instead of only looking for profit based on million views in Wattpad.
Trend for AU (Alternate Universe), part of fanfiction world, appeared massively in the last 2 years in form of Twitter thread. This is for the young readers, especially K-Popers, who don’t really like to read the stories with long narration, many chapters and hundred of pages. AU usually has K-Pop idols as main character and sets in Indonesia, in range of high school to college students. The concept is fake chats (mostly WhatsApp) and social media posts, accompanied by some photos from the K-Pop idols in their “boyfriend or girlfriend style” to make it looked real. The stories are light, short (just 2-4 photos upload in one tweet), and relatable. Senior-junior, childhood friends, brother/sister’s friend, enemy or friend to lovers, matchmaking; those are the love tropes they like. Once these stories get published as books, the authors will change the K-Pop idols into local names to avoid the copyright.
Noura Publishing, or me as the editor, is more interested in other perspective of the K-Wave. Webtoon and KakaoPage have massive readers in our country, so we choose to publish the novel version of some webtoons, especially the titles which then adapted into K-dramas. We’ve already published The King: Eternal Monarch and Office Blind Date/Business Proposal. We also published a novel by actress Ku Hye-Sun, titled Heart-Shaped Tears and two novels of Korean thriller: The Plotters and Lies Hidden in My Backyard.
Noura Publishing is more popular with translated fantasy novels. Some of our famous writers are Rick Riordan, Victoria Aveyard, Stephanie Garber, and Roald Dahl. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series are our most best-selling book. And now Indonesian readers also interested in classics, so we also published books from Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Austen, and Mark Twain.
I always hope, as the one who choose what to publish in the first hand, Noura Publishing and other publishers can deliver not only good novels for readers, but also the stories which can deliver good messages to them, some that they can remember or even change their life.
BOOK INTRODUCTION VIDEO