Toonbarn Feature: Interview with MangaMagazine.net’s Victor Chu
Toonbarn has recently had the honor of talking to MangaMagazine.net co-founder Victor Chu over their successful digital publishing startup, which uses a crowdsourcing model for the comics industry, letting the fans directly decide which projects will and won’t succeed.
Founded by Mr. Chu and his friend Bancha Dhammarungruang, MangaMagazine.net allows creators to promote and monetize their content – what this means is that fans will have access to the content that they want, while creators will be able to earn a living off their works without being mired in the machinations of a highly commercialized market.
The site has only been around for a year, but has already amassed more than 40 thousand registered users consisting of artists, writers, and comic fans who are passionate about the medium and willing to build a community around their shared love for everything related to comics.
TBR: What is MangaMagazine.net and who are your readers/fans?
VC: MangaMagazine.net is an open ecosystem of creators and readers who are passionate about manga and comics. We act as a platform 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 to providea curated experience – highlighting high quality series in our Featured and Premium tiers and providingcorresponding monetary, merchandise and marketing support to our top performers. Our goal is to become a self-sustaining platformwhere creators and readers can work together to find, develop, launch and monetize promising new series on a global scale,without leaving the site.
TBR: How did you come up with the idea for the website?
VC: My co-founderBancha and I grew up loving comics, but found it difficult to engage with authors, read their content and buy their merchandise. There are a million and one obstacles a comic artists needs to successfully navigate to get their story out there, and we want to help eliminate as many as possible while consolidating it under one roof. It doesn’t make any sense to sell your books in one place, merchandise in another and publish your comic somewhere else, all while engaging with your fans through a different platform. This issue is equally frustrating for both the artists and readers. Bancha and I came up with the idea to help both the reader and author consolidate their presence to make it easier for both parties.
TBR: How does the community work? What are the benefits for the artists and users?
VC: We are an open community to anyone that wants to sign up for an account,upload work or read. From there we let user behavior and interaction help us curate and identify the top performers to recommend and support. This also means that as a reader, we recommend what other fans like and what comics havegenerated satisfactory feedback, enablingthe user to discover new, exciting, and unique content faster and easier.
VC: For all our artists, they can immediately participate and engage with the community through our commenting system, blog and forum. We have seen authors use these different channels to arrange competitions, online hangouts, provide feedback or schedule meet ups. Our top performing artists receive monetary rewards for their performance, advertising and marketing support and merchandise assistance in printing their books.
TBR: Can the users and fans purchase comics or other materials from your site?
VC: As of right now, the top content on our site is subject to a subscription wall for the most recent two months. In terms of physical goods or e-commerce, we do not support this yet, but are working full steam on this project. We are making several exciting announcements over the next few months,so keep checking our site.
TBR: How does a new artist get started with MangaMagazine.net? What is the process?
VC: All they have to do is go tohttps://www.mangamagazine.net/join-mangamagazine.net and register for an account. From there, an artist should only need a few minutes to upload their content and make it available on the site.
TBR: What is the future of MangaMagazine.net?
VC: Our goal is to offer MangaMagazine.net as both a crowdsourcing and viewing service to the publishing industry. What we are trying to accomplish for comics could potentially be expanded to children’s books, fantasy novels and niche magazines. We believe if you get comics right, not only is this an amazing market that we can grow in, but there are endless future expansion options.
For more details, and to experience the site for yourself (whether as a creator or a reader), you can visit the official site: www.mangamagazine.net