Autopsy of a Dead Project (With a Chance of Frankenstein)
For some time, I’ve toyed with the idea of setting up an online anthology featuring OEL manga. I’ve since fallen out with the idea. A number of factors came together to question the viability of the project. But, I think there are some good bits from the carcass of this project that can be useful in other projects.
What Was the Idea?
My idea took inspiration from Viz’s Shonen Jump (and by extension the source Japanese magazines like Weekly Shonen Jump and Weekly Shonen Magazine among others). What I wanted to do was gather manga inspired artists and writers together in a similar format. I know that Eigomanga (I think that is the publisher) had something similar with Rumble Park and Sakura Park. But I don’t know if those magazines are still in active publication. And I know of others that have failed.
I think (and this is where things get nebulous) I would have gone with a donation model of funding like Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, etc. The actual making things work never got much past the idea stage. Certainly not into the research phase.
What Went Wrong?
As I mention above (and in several other posts), OEL manga in the United States is not very popular or viable economically. Readers just don’t want it, except in very rare cases, and none of them are even remotely as popular as authentic Japanese manga (baring tie-ins or adaptations like Twilight). So many attempts have been made to promote OEL and none have succeeded. So, it begs the question, why bother?
That said, to edit and publish an online magazine or anthology takes a passion for the material. But I personally have been ambivalent about OEL manga (what I’ve read have been largely terrible- Jason Thompson’s work comes to mind). And, to be honest, I’ve gradually lost my passion for reading manga, anyway. Baring Fairy Tail and a few others, that is.
Besides my fickle nature, I don’t know the first thing about setting up an online magazine. I can research and learn what I need to do. Unfortunately, I’m not the most tech savy person. When I took a course on website construction, I remember struggling mightily. And I doubt I’ll have any better success now.
Furthermore, I don’t know the first thing about editing a magazine. I guess I could learn by trial and error. But seriously, that seems to be a recipe for disaster. How would I attract talent? How would I keep everyone happy? And would I have to sacrifice my own creative ambitions?
Cobbling Together a Monster
While I no longer have any interest in setting up an online OEL manga anthology, I do believe that there are some elements worth keeping and incorporating into other ideas. Perhaps just not a magazine. Seems to be enough of them, to be honest.
I can just transition between comics forms. Instead of working on OEL, I can work on American style comic books. It could be fun playing with a web comic series. And likely easier.
Another idea I’ve had is to experiment with an online strictly prose serial. One that aims to mimic comics and television. This could be very fun and interesting. Although I did make a statement at some point that I did not want to write a very long series. But hey, I don’t remember making a promise.
All this said, it will call for quite a bit of research. It’s been years since I worked on constructing websites. So, I’ll need to read up on the subject. I also need to gather more research on self publishing and epublishing. Plus, there are a few other issues that require research.
Finally. . .
In the end, it kind of sucks that my original plan went nowhere. But I can be glad that something of the project will survive. Even if it is cobbled together. However, if anyone reading this is inspired to try an online OEL manga anthology, please feel free to do so. Good luck.
Next time: Learning from the library.
Posted on January 14, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged e-publishing, failed projects, manga, OEL manga, online serials, self publishing, web comics, Why OELs are not successful. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.