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Tapastic vs Webtoon vs Self-Hosting

Bob

4-Stripe White Belt
#41
So I'm a genius and I posted this in the wrong thread (so, sorry if anyone from the other thread gets two notifications for this), but I wanted to add that the Webtoon rates posted on the previous page are not their rates for featured comics. Those are the rates they're offering via a temporary promotion related to their recent integration with Patreon. Basically, until July 2017, they're offering Patreon bonuses to up to 300 creators a month (Featured/exclusive or not) who meet the subscriber/view requirements in that chart. And again, the promotion is scheduled to end in July. If you launch now, you're not likely to gain the required subs/pageviews before July unless you advertise the crap out of your Webtoon page or have a super marketable top-notch comic in a popular genre like romance, BL romance, or slice of life.

The actual wage for featured Webtoon creators is a set dollar amount per episode (an episode being multiple comic pages formatted in vertical webtoon-style) with additional bonuses for readership/subscribers. And that is ON TOP OF the temporary Patreon bonuses listed on the previous page.

The exact pay for featured creators was told to me in confidence so I can't share it here, but it's something a person could theoretically live on full time depending on expenses, how many episodes per month they do, and how many readers they have. The people I've talked to who work with Webtoon professionally seem to really love the company and the work that they do.

As for my personal experience, I'm a fan of self-hosting as your hub, and using Tapastic + Webtoons to expand your readership for free. A lot has already been said, but here are my pros and cons -

Self-host - The best place to build relationships with your readers and have full creative control over your site format. Because it's yours alone, your readers won't be bombarded with icons advertising other comics they should read instead of yours. Treat visitors to your site like you'd treat visitors to your home.  Unlike Tapas and Webtoon (both mobile formats), you can talk without being truncated, which makes it easier to ask your readers questions or share news or basically just let them get to know you. I need to poll my patrons, but I'm 99.9% sure almost all of them read my comic on the main site. I get the best comments on my main site too - people really deconstructing the plot, working out theories, cheering me on, etc. Best bet is to have a responsive site design for both desktop/mobile users. (I'll be updating my site soon, whee!)

Tapastic - The best place to build relationships with other creators. Slower gains in readership than Webtoon, but I'm not gonna complain because it's free. Ad revenue + tipping program is a nice source of extra money, though for me at 5K subs, it's less than half the ad revenue I get at my main site and only enough for, like, a week's semi-decent food per month. Tipping for me brings in like 5x more than ad revenue, but you have to be part of the ad revenue program to qualify for tipping. Audience seems younger, maybe skews more feminine, more into anime/manga styles and slice of life/romance, comments tend not to be very meaningful because of the demographic and mobile format. The Tapas app also has featured/professional comics, but I have no idea how they're selected or how well they're paid.

Webtoon - The best place to gain a very large readership very fast. Posting 2x/week at Tapastic (and being a staff pick for a short time on their previous site format in 2014) got me my first 1K subs in about 6 months. Posting 2x/week on Webtoon (multiple pages per episode, though) without being a staff pick got me 1K subs in 5 weeks. It's integrated with Patreon so it's easier for people to pledge, though I don't see any evidence that Webtoon readers are more likely to pledge because even their super popular comics don't tend to have very high Patreon earnings. Don't expect to build a relationship with anyone - it's impossible to keep up with comments due to aforementioned issues of not being notified that you have new comments. Also don't expect to make any money unless you're selected to be featured (which is something I don't personally want because exclusivity is a deal breaker for a Patreon-centric creator like me, and you have to reformat your comic to be more vertical-friendly). But featured creators do get a fairly standard livable income for their work.
 

Kagekabuki

4-Stripe White Belt
#42
Webtoons - first off, they don't have a very engaging community here heck, they don't even notify creators if somebody commented on your update you have to check every single upload you have to see if you have new comments which let's be honest here, don't have time to do it. Seroiously tho I don't know what kind of sorcery webtoons are pulling for my webcomic to have 1.6k subs in less than a year while tapastic on the other hand has only 400 subs in the two years I've been there. Also, webtoon readers seem to have an issue on short updates probably because they are used to the vertical long form format and tend to get aggressive in the comments.
Someone just complained at me on Webtoons saying I should upload full chapters instead of blocks of several pages because 'you don't need to rush to update all the time'. But to get any reach/visibility, I do have to update regularly xD
I could do longer updates but I'll run out of pages much faster, and Chapter Two isn't finished yet. So then there could be a potential hiatus where I lose subs.
 

ChazWood

4-Stripe White Belt
#43
So, my personal observations of these options, as presented and discussed above, boils down to:

if you don't already have a huge following somewhere else (by some means), you're going to have a hard time establishing yourself on one of these other dedicated webcomic hosting platforms? I don't like the idea of having to post up everything I've already created to date just to scrape a dozen followers as a new arrival, leaving myself with no more material to post until I actually get new content created - by which time the followers have lost interest. Not to mention the fact that I'd be giving away for free content that's already for sale on Amazon.

I suspect none of my graphic novel work is not really suited to these platforms, which is probably why I've avoided them in the past. I found Drunk Duck a very amateurish and badly-coded site to use some years ago, and the update didn't make it much better - and while I did develop something of a fan base, it was hit and miss to transfer the fan goodwill from one series or story to another. The one series I did run as a 'true' webcomic (3 panel vertical format) is hosted by a 3rd party, at 2Laugh.com.

As I say - just my observations.
 
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#44
if you don't already have a huge following somewhere else (by some means), you're going to have a hard time establishing yourself on one of these other dedicated webcomic hosting platforms?
I've been using Tapas and Webtoon since starting this thread. My result with the first issue of the Sparrow is actually the opposite of what you say here. I've gotten more traffic on Tapas and Webtoon than my own website.

I think you may have it backward. You don't go to the webcomic host platforms because you have an audience. You go there to gain an audience.

Think of it this way. On Tapas, Webtoon, Drunk Duck, Smackjeeves, wherever, you have a whole community that is specifically looking for more webcomics to read. These sites also provide means for people to find your comic via searches, "latest updates" sections, etc. Some do better than others, but the methods are there. Essentially, it's the best kind of targeted advertising because you're marketing your comic specifically to a whole host of webcomic fans.

You can definitely benefit if you've got a big enough fanbase, but you don't go to these sites as a result of having an existing fanbase. You use them to broaden an existing fanbase.

Not to mention the fact that I'd be giving away for free content that's already for sale on Amazon.
To be fair, unless you're making bank or there are legal issues involved, I'm not sure this is necessarily a bad thing. A lot of major webcomics have their content available for free online, but still sell books online, on Kickstarters, or at conventions. I have even sold a few digital copies of the Sparrow #1 and the entire thing is available for free. I doubt making it pay-only would have gained me any more sales.

To each their own, though. If you don't want to do the sort of "freemium webcomic" model, that's your call. There are pros and cons to both sides.

it was hit and miss to transfer the fan goodwill from one series or story to another.
This is not really something unique to the hosting platform, though. Many people follow projects rather than creators, and there are many stories out there of how creators have to rebuild a fanbase every time they go in a new direction. Yes, you will have a group of fans who are interested in you as a creator and will follow most of your work. But you'll likely have a lot more who are specifically interested in whatever project they found and will need convincing to follow you to another story. So I'm not sure Drunk Duck is at fault for this. It's just kind of the nature of things.
 

ChazWood

4-Stripe White Belt
#45
Think of it this way. On Tapas, Webtoon, Drunk Duck, Smackjeeves, wherever, you have a whole community that is specifically looking for more webcomics to read. These sites also provide means for people to find your comic via searches, "latest updates" sections, etc. Some do better than others, but the methods are there. Essentially, it's the best kind of targeted advertising because you're marketing your comic specifically to a whole host of webcomic fans.
Understood, but as I don't do webcomics, I suspect I'm barking up the wrong tree with these options. What I'm exploring is ways to broaden the audience for existing digital content and wondered if posting some content free online might help. If fans on these sites don't mind reading 30% or 50% of a chapter or a story for free, and then being invited to buy the whole thing on Amazon, then it may be worth a shout.

However, the Amazon KDP platform does demand exclusivity so it's hard to say how easily they would detect such a possible breach of Ts & Cs.
 

AnitaComics

4-Stripe White Belt
#46
I was considering as well. I posted everything on Tapas as for now, because I did not know how long I'd have keep up with the project, nor how the response of the readers would be. It was for free and so far so good.
I couldn't build an actual audience there; I got a hundred of followers in almost one year, and none of them comment consistently, so for me it's been one random platform without prons and cons. Considering this, I'm waiting for a friend to help me build a personal website where I'd be able to give also more options like downloading PDFs, buy a copy, and such.

I guess whatever platform you use to display the content, you need the same amount of marketing and advertisement to have it read.
 
#47
*performs thread necromancy*
I found this thread while researching mirroring options. I've been Self-Hosted since I launched in 2015, with my own domain and a site built on the Comic Easel plug-in for Wordpress. For aesthetic purposes I would never have started on one of this communal platforms, but now I'm considering mirroring to build audience.

Has anyone has experience mirroring on Tapas, Webtoons, or Comic Fury, and attempting to drive readers to your main site by promising a MUCH more recent page? Like, being chapters or even books ahead on your main site? I fully understand people wanting to stick with their "subscription" system (I am a stickler for reading updates with Comic Rocket) but I'm hoping to drag some eyes to my main site.
 
#48
A lot of very valid points have already been made, but here's my point of view:

All sites want one thing, more visitors/users. This is why my self-hosted site will always come first. I control my ads. On it I sell printed copies and merchandise. I get a lot more out of it then any of the community websites. I try my best to get them out of there and onto my site.
Tapas, webtoons and cie want you to bring readers so they can sell ads. Never forget they are a business.

Tapas:
I've gained almost no readers on Tapastic and I rarely get comments. If you are not within the few categories they do promote (slice-of-life, gag-a-day, BL), I would forget them. I don't have as much readers on my site but it's still better than Tapas.

Webtoon:
I had a MUCH better experience on webtoons. I actually gained a nice community of readers and while I got a few of the "too short" comments, my readers actually came to defend me, I was very much touched by that. Some of them actually pledged when I did the Indiegogo campaign for my book.

On promotion, I do as much as I can on social media sites. Wordpress allows auto publish to multiple social media channels. Another advantage of self hosting. I post sketch updates on instagram which get pushed to my other social media accounts automatically through IFTT. Auto publishing is not enough in itself, but it's a nice plus. You do need to engage communities. Specially on Facebook. People who subscribe to your page will NOT get updates if they don't regularly "like" your posts. No much luck with Patreon, I don't promote it that much though.

Sorry for the jumble of thoughts. Hope this helps.