The Future is Webtoons
This blog post is quite different from the norm as it addresses my future predictions, suggestions, and concerns relating to Webtoons.com.
For those of you who don't know much about Webtoons, here it is in a nutshell:
My name is Clay Matthew and I've been reading Webtoons for around two years now. I actually have my own Webtoon available on the platform as of June 16th 2018. If you're interested, it's called The Vapor Sea.
Why I am writing this post
I really do care about the future of Webtoons.com and personally believe that this post will be of use to readers, creators, and even the staff at LINE Webtoon even if they choose to just glance at some of the info in this post.
- Much like the webtoon Noblesse, I predict an increase in the number of animations turned out by 2022, the reason being quite obvious. With seventeen million monthly users and an enormous rate of new and returning users, the animation industry is bound to spot potential for earnings.
- LINE Webtoon will open an online store to sell translated physical copies of featured webtoons as well as merchandise.
- LINE Webtoon will expand it's reader base in the United States and the global market as a whole.
Webtoons as a Business:- Leverage your connections and reach out to several Japanese Manga Publishers - such as Shonen Jump and Shueisha. I can almost guarantee you that if you present the following proposition for a partnership, the Webtoons platform will grow exponentially:
Propose to the publishers that in exchange for an official license to several widely known manga in Japan, that Webtoons will release the manga for free, chapter by chapter each week, colored by and translated by fans to be put in the featured creators section with the mangaka's name.
This not only expands the audience of Webtoons, but it expands the audience of manga, garnering a worldwide following for the mangaka, their work, and the webtoons brand. The Japanese publishers would accept this partnership for two reasons:
1) Increases the likelihood of the manga being animated or adapted into a live action - publishers earn money from this.
2) Webtoons would link bundles of the original manga in the Webtoons Store. This would allow the publisher to earn a great deal from readers.
- In addition, while requiring a great deal of investment and quality insurance, Webtoons should promote their merchandise more as they did this past month at a convention in North Carolina called Heroescon. - Webtoons can sell translated physical copies of the top performing featured webtoons. - Finally, Webtoons should promote more contests available to readers where they can receive free merchandise in exchange for engaging with creators.
Webtoons for Featured Creators:
- As my grandpa use to say, "Your health is your wealth." So take care of yourselves! Your webtoons bring joy to readers and inspire fellow creators. Every season finished I would suggest creators to take time off, relax, and enjoy new experiences. Creativity is stifled in a vacuum.
Webtoons for Discover Creators:
- Try out different styles. I've been noticing a lot of content drifting towards the "Unordinary" and "I Love Yoo" look. These are two amazing webtoons but they are also pioneers of the style. If you really want to stand out, try something different, and if that doesn't work, try again.
- Don't give up hope! If your content isn't picking up traction after a few weeks or a month, that is fine. It takes people time to find your work and connect with it. If after a few months you're still not building much of an audience and you've tried marketing on social media and building connections with other creators, I would suggest asking friends for helpful criticism on both your story and art. This always helps me determine whether i'm tunnel visioned for a chapter or two and if revisions need to be made.
- Art should hook the reader, not impale them. The story should reel them in nice and slow, not slam them against the side of the boat.
- Keep a consistent schedule. I post my episodes every two weeks and I always make sure that I have finished the writing for multiple episodes so I leave time for storyboards, line art, and inking & coloring. If you aren't following a schedule, people will still read your content but their interest will feign. Not to mention that you, as a creator, will suffer without discipline. Remember, motivation is what gets you started but discipline is what keeps you going.
- Nightmode (of which I already made an applied below for my own use):
What Webtoons SHOULD avoid:
- Excessive Ads. Really Ads in general. Especially on Mobile.
- Repetitive styles of both storytelling and artwork in featured webtoons.
- From what I've read and researched I've come to the conclusion that Webtoons doesn't earn much since they are funded by LINE NAVER as a means of promoting the LINE app and NAVER search engine. So I'm afraid if funding were to be cut by a large percentage that a handful of featured creators would have to be let go. Thus, to avoid such a scenario, Webtoons should strengthen the knot between readers and creators - leveraging both their social media presence and ties with Patreon - by asking readers to become Patrons of featured creators. This leaves a safety cushion if things go south. However, if my suggestions above are heeded, I doubt these problems will occur.
What Webtoons should NOT avoid:
- Webtoons relating to current events and issues in society. Of course each country has their own laws and culture and morals but that shouldn't stop Webtoons from promoting say, LGBTQ comics.
- Minimalist website and app design. I love it and i'm a UX/UI Designer.
- Don't bury old webtoons! Promote them every so often. There are so many good comics that only a few people are reading since they aren't promoted enough.