Light novels are novels which are greatly influenced by Japanese otaku subculture. The reader is expected to be familiar with settings and character archetypes specific to Japanese animation and depictions seen in their comics.
A lot of light novels became the source material for animated series. Because of this, the text is often written with that goal in mind. One should envision the scenes depicted as if they were shown animated. The characters are not meant to be realistic, they are caricatures.
The novels are written in a ‘light,’ simple language with focus on dialogues between characters, comedy and romance between them. The protagonist is often male and is the first-person narrator, who meets various female characters on which the action focuses.
The novels are released in print as a series of A5-sized books of around 200 pages with few monochrome illustrations between the text. The book’s cover is also illustrated. The illustrations are often what brings a potention customer’s attention, hence almost all light novels are done by a duo of writer and illustrator. Some are a single book, some end at the second volume, but some span as high as 30 volumes with sales over one million units sold. Sales of a volume determine whether the series will continue or not.