Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: As the Vice President of Marketing for Tapas Media, what drew you to the organization and its progress in digital publishing?
April Kim: Before joining Tapas, I worked over 10 years as a marketer in the IT business world to the gaming industry. As a marketer, it's a great luxury working in entertainment, especially for a service that has a great number of diehard fans.
Tapas is particularly fascinating to me, because it’s a platform that connects people who have a talent with people who consume it. They need each other, and Tapas makes a business when they appreciate each other.
Also, as a creator myself, and a person who has experience in both traditional and digital publishing, I am very excited for this new medium that encourages creative people to create more and have a better access to meet their supporters (readers).
BD: Tapas recently announced the launch of the Tapas Ink Shop which will allow fans to support comic and novel creators on the platform. What was the impetus for launching this new interactive way for fans to support creators, and how will this replace the Tapas Coins function?
AK: When I joined Tapas in July, we went through an intensive brainstorming session and decided to redefine who we are - going back to our roots as a creator-first platforms. We conducted two surveys, one for most recent readers, and another for creators. The survey surprised me in many ways; first of all, the participation rate was shocking. 6% of our new readers and 12% of our creators responded to our survey. I read over 4,000 responses specifically paying close attention to how we can make Tapas a better experience for them. Then, I began having extensive conversations with our CEO and team who have worked at Tapas from its genesis. This culminated in my conclusion that Tapas is and wants to be a true creators-first platform.
The Inkshop is not really a new idea at Tapas. But Tapas needed a marketer who could orchestrate the transition in the community’s mind. We started with a “Got Ink?” campaign in late October.
This centered around the concept of what is Ink? For us, we saw it as being symbolic of a creator’s talent, enthusiasm, and passion. For readers, it’s their imagination, love, and appreciation. Tapas Ink helps readers connect with creators and help bring their stories to life.
On a functional level, Ink is exactly the same as coins. Same value, but a different look and feel.
BD: How will readers utilize the new Ink Shop service?
AK: Again, on a functional level, the Ink Shop is exactly same as the Coin Shop. But we also added some cool new features that really expand on the theme of Ink. When you “Support (tip)” your favorite creators, you can now leave a message of encouragement or appreciation.
This helps connect readers and creators more closely together, and once readers are connected with their favorite creators, we believe the stories become more interesting and engaging.
We also added a feature to the Tapas app that notifies the reader when they have a new comment or a new like.
BD: What are the best ways for interested readers to access Tapas and the growing catalog of titles?
AK: If you are a new reader, download our app from the Google Play or Apple App Store. Our Home Screen on the mobile apps have been streamlined to help newer readers discover popular and trending series on Tapas. With over 40,000 series, there’s something for everyone and our goal is help you find it with ease.
In a couple of weeks, we’ll be launching a brand new Home Screen that shows more relevant comics and novels to readers along with a quick preview similar to Netflix. With a preview, the readers will get a better glimpse of the story to see if it’s the right one for them. In addition, we’ll also be making gradual improvements to our recommendation system to bolster a new reader’s ability to find similar stories to ones they’re already enjoying.
BD: Are there any other developments that you have in the works at Tapas for 2019?
AK: Our product team is constantly trying to build better pathways for readers to discover their next favorite comic or novel. We’ll also be focusing on making a better recommendation system and improvements to our search function.
More importantly, a lot of changes in 2019 will focus on becoming a creators-first platform. These include features where creators can customize their profile page and help smaller creators to meet new readers, and more. 2019 is shaping up to be quite an exciting year for us.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about Tapas Ink Shop and Tapas?
AK: Tapas is committed to becoming a true creator-first platform. One symbolic change we’ve made for this was launching the new “Ink Shop.” Ink isn’t just a new name for coins, it represents our hopes to connect readers and creators closer together.
If you love comics, then join Tapas! It’s a place where you can be part of the comic ecosystem and support your favorite creators, helping them bring their stories to life!