How crowdsourcing turned a comic fan’s fantasy into a reality
By Victor Chu, co-founder of MangaMagazine.net
As a kid, one of my favorite pastimes was buying and reading comics. However, I found it difficult to find a platform that allowed users to interact with their favorite authors, read their content and buy their merchandise in one location. This challenge is equally frustrating to the authors; that’s where my co-founder and I came up with the idea for MangaMagazine.net, a digital crowdsourcing comic publishing platform.
We act as a resource to support our creators and connect them to readers who are looking for unique and professional content. We gather data from our readers and fans, providing a curated experience – highlighting high-quality series in our Featured and Premium tiers and offering corresponding monetary, merchandise and marketing support to our top performers. The goal of MangaMagazine.net is to become a self-sustaining platform where creators and readers can work together to find, develop, launch and monetize promising new work on a global scale, without leaving the site.
Here are four reasons why crowdsourcing is changing the comic publishing industry for the better:
- Comic fans and authors are fanatical. The dedication of comic and manga readers and fans has no limits. For an author to engage readers early and show them that their feedback and opinions are valued, the author builds a more passionate and supportive reader group. This allows for many interesting reader-based initiatives that might not have been possible before. For example, instead of pre-ordering books in anticipation for selling them at conventions, authors can now launch a kickstarter or pre-order campaign to avoid any inventory or cash issues.
- No more risky bets. Instead of paying an advance or prioritizing marketing budgets on a small sample based on historical performance, there is a now a medium to determine if certain works will become popular. Authors no longer wait for their entire series to be completed before they publish digital chapters to gauge their readers’ feelings. This also means publishers can collect valuable data and provide a much more concrete direction for publishing houses to prioritize investments and plans.
- Content aggregation sells. Crowdsourcing depends on content aggregation, which in turn naturally gathers individuals with similar interests. These individuals are open and interested in discovering related content. For example, when subscribers first join MangaMagazine.net, they follow almost five different series within the first three months. What if you could sell three or more books for every one you sold to a customer?
- Data analytics saves dollars. Traditional publishing houses are unsure when success can occur for an author and in what medium or form the success will come. The lack of clarity then requires the wholesale purchase of all content rights by publishing houses. Through data, publishing houses gain greater clarity on engagement across a medium, geography and demographics, allowing them to better bid and purchase specific content rights, while also giving authors a chance to take advantage of opportunities with any other remaining content rights they still hold. With data, authors can feel empowered and the publishing houses save money.
Only time will tell whether publishing houses will change their narrow view of the content acquisition pipeline, but with the success of crowdsourcing models, it would make sense to change sooner rather than later.