It depends on what you consider "readership". Views are wah-wah-way up. May is already our best month ever and its only the 19th. The thing is, despite all the views, it doesn't translate into a lot of subs. We're not sure why. Maybe readers just don't like what they see? Is the box that pops up asking for someone to "Join Tapas" to continue to read too much of a barrier?
If you consider readership as subs only, it's only being mildly effective. This is certainly not like getting a Spotlight / Daily Snack / Staff Pick. Those things give you 500 to 2000+ subs in a 24 hour period, based on our observations. We've never received one ourselves and given our format (gray scale, right-to-left, long form, updates one page at a time) we don't expect to. So like the 95% that aren't featured, we're have to bring in a following on our own.
We've done Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Project Wonderful, and live convention tabling to promote our series. Nothing really has much response at generating subs. The tabling worked primarily because it got enough subs in a short amount of time that we made Trending, but the cost of that between transportation, hotel, fliers, and table setup costs made those the most expensive subs we've ever acquired, other than Facebook. We didn't have anything to balance the expense because our table was all about featuring underappreciated Tapastic series. Instead of selling we put out art on the table for different series that really deserve some attention like Centralia 2050 and Apricot Cookies!. We're not sure how those 7 other series we featured did. No one reported back with their results other than one gave us a fan art.
Facebook ads just suck. Don't do them. We figured it was $30/sub. Twitter ads aren't worth it either. $5 CPM and the engagement rate is sad. In perspective you can get Project Wonderful ads for $.01 CPM with an equivalent response rate.
We've spoken to several creators about how they are doing on TopWebComics and their feedback is encouraging. We've gotten pricing from TWC and Marty seems like a really nice guy so we look forward to working with them in the future. Right now that campaign is on hold because we're doing the 10 bonus art pieces for the voting portal there and that's taking some time to complete given it has to happen at the same time as our regular page updates.
The prizes we post on Amazon cost us money but in comparison to the above mentioned, its actually less expensive that route vs. all the above mentioned.
The difficult reality is that with so much free content out there readers are overwhelmed with choices. Your series has to not only compete with the other 35,000 on Tapas but with LINE Webtoons, Crunchyroll, YouTube, etc. Unfortunately there's no "easy" button. You just have to work and invest in your series like it is a business and have a five year outlook.