Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Tapas recently announced the launch of the #InThisTogether campaign to support comics creators in this challenging time. What can you share with us about the details of the campaign, and how will this directly impact creators who publish with Tapas?
Michael Son: #InThisTogether is a month-long event, where Tapas is remitting 100% of the revenue from our Ad Revenue and Support Programs directly to the creators. Our goal is to help as many creators financially as possible and also empower readers to have a direct impact on their favorite creators.
We’ve raised several thousands of dollars in the first few days alone, and we’re incredibly proud of the reader and creator community for coming together to support one another during these challenging times. We’re always at our best when readers and creators are connecting and supporting one another.
BD: Likewise, how can Tapas’ readers get more involved in supporting their favorite creators on the platform?
MS: There are two primary ways readers can get more involved - for starters, they can turn off their ad block or whitelist Tapas and simply read the stories on the platform. We have ad units within every episode and simply reading the stories directly helps the creators via ad revenue.
The second way is using the Support Program. It’s a crowdfunding tool inside of Tapas where you can contribute to your favorite creators using micro-transactions. You can tip your favorite creators and leave an encouraging message to accompany it.
And if you don’t have disposable income, don’t worry. We have set up a number of different ways to get access to our digital currency (Ink), ranging from watching video ads, installing partner apps, or taking part in surveys. We’re hard at work to increase the ad fill rates and give readers more access than ever to these opportunities so they in turn can support creators more.
BD: How has Tapas been impacted by these challenging times, and what message do you hope to share with your stable of creators and readers?
MS: We’re trying our best to make sure that our staff members are physically, mentally, and emotionally safe and healthy during this time. We’ve taken a lot of extra precautions in making sure that the transition from the office to a remote environment is as smooth and comfortable as possible. And we’re so incredibly grateful for our reader and creator community for not only being patient with us during this time, but they’ve also been so generous in their support. We appreciate all the kind words and fan mail.
We’re doing a lot more individual outreach to our creators to check in on them and make sure they have everything they need. While it’s been a difficult few months, it has brought us closer together. A lot of us are working weekends in order to do check ins, some of us have even joined impromptu drawing and streaming sessions with creators.
I feel like stories have never been more important than right now. As so many people are sheltering in place, we’re turning more and more to stories to pass the time and keep us feeling some sense of normality and comfort.
For me, Tapas has always been an incredible source of inspiration. We set out to make an open publishing platform with as few gatekeepers as possible and allowing fans to dictate what gets featured and promoted. In doing this, we’ve found such a diverse group of storytellers that are truly telling stories that you can’t find anywhere else and readership that feels they’re being represented in the stories they’re reading.
I remember growing up with pop-culture - both my parents worked all of the time, so I grew up on television, movies, pulp novels, and most importantly comics. In those stories, we were always promised this really bright future with flying cars, robot butlers, and heroes that would save the day - which I guess is in stark contrast to what we’re experiencing right now. What I find so inspirational about Tapas is that so many of these storytellers are free to tell any stories that they want to and are still telling stories about a bright and wonderful future - always telling stories of how the world can and should be.
I’ve found a tremendous amount of comfort reading and exploring so many of the stories on Tapas these days - from first-time creators to familiar faces I’ve seen over the years. As storytellers, we’re providing a comfort that is so often taken for granted - we’re offering entertainment, escape, catharsis, community and so much more.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Tapas’ #InThisTogether campaign and its catalog of digital comics will connect with and impact readers?
MS: I’m hoping that readers feel inspired and empowered by the event - the simple act of reading a comic is directly helping creators. I’m hoping that this event inspires readers to explore even more stories and connect directly with even more creators. During challenging times like these, I feel that it brings out a lot of good in people, and we’re seeing that embodied by the reader and creator community within this event.
BD: What are the best ways for interested readers to access Tapas and its growing catalog of titles?
MS: Our mobile apps available for iOS and Android are streamlined versions of the Tapas experience meaning a clean and elegant reading experience and easy to use sorting options to filter and curate a more personal selection of stories. We also have a mobile web and desktop version of Tapas which are easily accessible. A majority of our library is completely free to read and we have a number of different tools to help readers explore our premium line of comics and novels - our goal isn’t to lock out readers from the reading experience, our goal is to help build unique tools to allow readers to connect with creators in a variety of different ways and take part in their creative journey.
BD: Are there any other developments that you have in the works at Tapas for 2020?
MS: We’re launching a number of Tapas Originals throughout the year - these are stories made by community creators and are fully financed by Tapas. So, keep an eye out for those!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about Tapas?
MS: Tapas is a creator-first open publishing platform where readers contribute to a creator’s success just by reading, liking, commenting, and subscribing - all these actions help promote your favorite creators to our trending and popular sections.
And if you’re a fan of reading comics and novels, then you probably have some aspirations of making stories yourself! We have easy-to-use publishing tools; you can publish and share your stories in a matter of minutes.
Thanks so much for giving us this opportunity to share more about ourselves and our #InThisTogether initiative - none of this would be possible without the continued support of passionate readers and supporters. We appreciate all the love and hope you’re all staying safe and healthy. And if you’re new to Tapas, welcome to the family.