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How About a Genre Novel to Read on a Quiet Day?




Imagine a hunter who seeks out his prey for writing, hunts it down, collects it and cooks it after. If one were to look at Gozknock ENT, they would be reminded of such a hunter, as the workers here become observers and explorers in order to find good writing. They are in their second year of existence and they already have a strong reader base and are known for their genre novels. Readers say they don’t need to think twice when it comes to books from Gozknock - they just read them. The below is a Q&A with Bae Seon-a, head of Gozknock ENT currently sprouting stories for film adaptations in a garden of content.




Could you tell us what kind of place Gozknock ENT is?



Gozknock ENT is a development company that creates original stories ready to be adapted into video, in addition to genre novels. We combined the Korean word ‘gozknock’ which means quiet, cozy with ‘ent’ from the word ‘entertainment’. As you’ve already felt from the name, as soon as you open up one of our books, you feel calm, quiet and like you can focus entirely on the story. ENT symbolizes the fun in content. It also means all stories can be the source of entertainment content. Gozknock ENT’s business model is currently divided into three sections: publishing and serial uploading, secondary copyright contracts and education for authors. Above all else, we are a professional original story for video IP development company, and it is our mission to provide excellent content and educate new talent.



We are curious to know the genre literature brands that Gozknock ENT has.



I think we can introduce the literary genres Gozknock deals with with a number of different meanings. First would be the history ‘faction’ genre that has helped the company establish its foundation. Through books like Five Special Cops and Direct Writing we were able to know for sure the value of written content that could be adapted into film. By expanding that thought, we asked ourselves, ‘What genre would people like best if it was adapted into video form?’ And we arrived at ‘K-thrillers’. Much of our efforts goes into honing part of our craft.
What we’re thankful for is that our fans, the readers of our thrillers, have given us a slogan of sorts. This would be, “Just trust and read Gozknock’s thrillers”. We believe our achievements are only as big as the trust and acknowledgement our readers give us.


▲ Gozknock ENT’s K-thriller series


In our business expansion to include web novels, we’ve newly launched the publications of romance novels. Our romance novel brand name is ‘GRomance’, with the letter G coming from Gozknock. This genre has also gained popularity from word of mouth and readers have been seeking them out through web novels and webtoons. Lastly, we are considering expanding again to include science fiction works. There is much demand for content in this genre in markets like China and the United States and we are eyeing to see if there is a good story out there like Voyager we can launch in South Korea and elsewhere.



▲ Gozknock ENT’s science fiction novels



Is there a special tactic that you use to seek out good writers?



It’s our goal this year to bring together a group of 100 local writers. We are currently working with KOCCA and the SBA to create an educational course and encourage new, young writers.
In South Korea, there is a desperate need for a development program that has a good system to educate writers. So in our case, since the beginning of the company, we’ve tried to funnel our efforts into creating a good education program for authors. We felt that we needed to aggressively find authors who have diverse talent and a strategy to let them reach their potential through learning. In this process, we’ve managed to find what certain styles individuals have as well as what genres they are most comfortable with in order to help them publish books that can later be adapted into films, dramas and even webtoons.


▲ 2018 Web video novel creator course_learning class for authors


In the case of thrillers, these novels have to follow a certain structure even from the very first page. So we scrutinize every 50 to 100 pages of the drafts. If a writer has written 500 pages but we feel it’s not in the form of a thriller, we will urge them to start from the beginning. Through this detailed writing that’s planned out from the beginning we get good thrillers.
I think our biggest competitive edge at Gozknock would be this collaboration with the writers and our story development system. The producers who work in the video industry boast the highest skills in the story industry. In order to create intellectual property they can be satisfied with, you have to have a detailed development program like I mentioned. Otherwise, you will have a difficult time obtaining excellent work.



Do tell us about the moments when you felt ‘happy’ by discovering a certain story or author.



There are people who say there are three kinds of people in the world: man, woman and writers. (Laughs) I do think writers have a whole different system of thinking than most other people. And they should be respected for that. It’s our hope that all writers will be able to look deep at their own potential and drive themselves to be their best. In that respect, I think I can say Gozknock ENT encourages writers and helps draw something special out of them.
One memory I have is of some of our writers feeling exactly what we were thinking as we worked together. It was basically the writers surprising themselves, saying they never knew they had this kind of ability in them. When rough writing reads rhythmically, or when a certain piece of work comes out better than the editor expected, then that ends up being very fulfilling. In these cases, we end up signing future contracts with the authors quite easily.
At times this has led to signing contracts for secondary copyright sales or even overseas translation deals. One author told us he never thought he would be able to achieve the things he did, being a newly debuted author. He thanked the editors and planners and afterwards, he told us he was leaving everything to us because he could trust us to do the right thing for him. “I’m just going to write!” he told us. I think that’s when this work feels most fulfilling. And we try hard to give back as much as well. (Laughs) In the end, it’s a process that involves feelings going back and forth. The more we try to help our writers shine, the better our results are.


▲ History ‘faction’novelsFive Special Cops(left) andDirect Writing(right)



We’ve heard you’ve had some successes in international events. Could you tell us about them?



One feat that we’ve managed would be that we were selected four years in a row from 2014 to 2017 for the book-to-film Asia Film Market at the Busan International Film Festival. Of the four works that were pitched, we’ve completed deals for their film adaptations. Last year we pitched Lee Jeong-yeon’s Five Special Cops and received a new creator award. This award is usually given to the creator who has the best pitch and thanks to this award, Gozknock ENT’s name became a bit more famous. I think this was possible only because of the hard work and passion our editors and producers poured into the projects. We tried to prepare as much as we could for a dramatic pitch.


Affairs of Fate(left),My Sister(right)


Aside from this, we participated in the K-Story event hosted by KOCCA and ended up signing a contract with a Japanese publisher for a 2016 entry novel called My Sister. We’re now anticipating the novel’s translation and subsequent release. A 2017 entry novel in China called Affairs of Fate caught the eye of China’s only listed literary contents provider, which is a private publishing company. Their film making arm has expressed an interest in the original work and we are in talks with them.



Are there any upcoming publications from Gozknock you’d like to tell us about?



We’re currently working on four K-thrillers at the same time. One of these would be the next new release that deals with music by author Kim Yong-tae, who wrote Meteorite Hunters, and another is a fantasy thriller by Ju Jin, who wrote Direct Writing. We’re also preparing a political thriller by Kim Ju-ang, who received an award for Papa’s Scent is Alcohol Scent. Also coming soon would be the seventh thriller by Kim Ji-yeon called Red Hat, which is a family thriller based on fairy tales. Our hopes are high for these books as we’ve been working on them for a long time.



We’d like to know what your plans are for the future.



Our plan is to become the best entertainment content original story company that everyone wants to work with. Recently we’ve had film industry people recognize us first. We really have a professional know-how when it comes to adapting story content into video. It’s also our dream to take our work abroad. We’d like for a lot of requests to come in so that books by Korean authors’works are translated and sold abroad and later adapted into movies. We hope K-thrillers are not only on bookstores’shelves in Japan but in those of the United States, China and France. It’s our eventual goal to create Korean thrillers and romance novels that people around the world can enjoy.
For this, Gozknock ENT has a mission to find new authors like finding pearls in the mud. After discovering them, we need to create good, trusting relationships with them and work together. We have pride in creating global content from original works and that pride is probably what gives value to what we do.


Hostages Trial(left),Mr. Lee Clean Center(right)



Lastly, are there any Gozknock ENT books you’d like to introduce to our readers outside Korea?



My Sister, which we agreed to publish in Japan in 2016 was finally released there this year. At first, responses to the novel were, ‘Were there thrillers in South Korea?’ But we ended up changing these opinions and the feedback has been largely positive. We’re hoping with this, our K-thriller brand takes off in Japan, which is safe to say the home country for thrillers.
In the case of Hostages Trial, it received much interest at the recently held New York Rights Fair from U.S. buyers. It’s a novel that we are curious to see adapted into film or television.
We signed a deal regarding Mr. Lee Clean Center with a Taiwanese publishing group early this year as well as Indonesia’s M&C Comics. It’s a work that’s been contributing to the growth of Hallyu content. Deals have been signed for its adaptation into a television series, so we are excited to see what that will look like.

▲GRomanceMy Precious Ghost In A Jar


▲GRomance series


My Precious Ghost In A Jar andThe Windy Hills are historical romances that have been sold to other Asian countries. We’ve signed a deal for My Precious Ghost In A Jar with M&C Comics while The Windy Hills we have a contract with Indonesia’s Haru Publishing.
It’s quite difficult to enter the Chinese publishing market, but we’ve had some success after we pitched Affairs of Fate. In South Korea, it’s currently being published as a webtoon series. We hope many readers inside and outside South Korea will be able to lose themselves in our garden of content.



Written by Gwon Ji-hye
Photographs provided by Gozknock ENT


Gwon Ji-hye

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