Hey Tapas forum users!
So as some of you may have seen already, after a lot of hinting and waiting, Tapas has finally released their open platform for their novels feature!
As a quick reminder, up until now, Tapas only allowed novels to be published through accepted submissions. This meant that if you were looking to publish your personal prose to the website - even with novels already visible on the app - you would have to submit it and have it accepted by the Tapas media team. Before the open platform was made available, the Tapas novel program was very similar to that of Webtoon's Featured program, or Tapas' own Premium comic program - works written by paid writers, hand-picked by Tapas' staff to appeal to their target demographic.
With Tapas' new open platform, this now allows anybody to submit their written works to the site, without having to be accepted by Tapas' staff. Of course, this puts it into the same territory as comics - you won't be paid for your work, but you'll still be able to post it here on Tapas for your readers to see, without the worry of not being accepted. You can, however, look into getting your work monetized through tipping and Ad Revenue (though it must follow the same rules as for comics - meaning fanfiction cannot be monetized, and you must be 18 years or older.)
With all that nitty-gritty stuff out of the way, let's get to the good stuff, shall we?
So far, submitting work to the novel portion of the site is pretty simple, but I'm still gonna drop some screenshots for you guys because it can be a little weird to find if you're new to navigating the website.
As you can see, both comics and novels can be accessed in the Creator Dashboard, same as always. But when submitting a new series, a dropdown menu will now appear, with the options "Comic" and "Novel". Simply click your desired submission (for the sake of context, this will be "Novel) and you will be taken to the submission menu, which is fitted very similarly to the Comics submission page.
Here, you can fill out the Title, Description, Thumbnail, Banner, Custom Ad Banner, etc. etc. (though note that the banner and custom ad banner are both optional and not required).
Once your series is submitted, you can then add episodes. Tapas' writing platform is built very similarly to that of Wattpad and Fanfiction.Net - all the writing happens on-site.
Though, I would recommend writing in an actual program like Microsoft Word or LibreOffice (the latter which is free for those of you who don't want to fish out money for Microsoft products) so that you can back up your files, as Tapas has no way to save your documents besides publishing them outright.
Once your episode is written up, the rest follows the same formula as uploading comic pages - title, description, tags; even music uploads from Soundcloud are still available to use! You can also still schedule your episodes to upload on certain days.
The final product is . . . not bad! It has a very simple design, which works very well with Tapas' general aesthetic. As you can see in my example below (an excerpt from the in-progress novelization version of Time Gate: Reaper) it's pretty cut-and-dry in terms of simplicity.
Now, I must add a disclaimer before going into this - this is still the first version of this open platform. Which means there are still a lot of things missing from it that Tapas has already stated they will be adding in the future. For now, this is basically just to give us some testing grounds for when the full application becomes available.
The biggest drawback to the program so far is its formatting - or rather, lack thereof. So far, this program is the equivalent of Notepad - there are no bolding, italicizing, font, or text alignment tools available, among other things. So if your story uses a lot of these things (my own series uses a lot of spacing for visual and narrative purposes) you might want to think about how to factor that in if you're planning on uploading it here.
Second is the tool itself. Because it's all built in, the only way to get your pre-written work onto the program is through copying and pasting, or just re-typing it outright. Copying and pasting worked okay for me, but because of the lack of formatting, and because it doesn't directly copy the formatting from the original writing, I still had to go back and make sure everything was spaced correctly, and nothing had been thrown off by its rigid standards.
Finally, though this is something that was probably expected, the spacing between the app and the desktop version is, of course, a little more cramped. So you might notice some spacing differences between the two. This is more a matter of screen resolution and really can't be helped without the text becoming too small to read on a phone screen. So ima let that one slide.
Other than that, this is a great start, and I'm really just happy to FINALLY see the novel platform become open to the public. In the future, I'd love to see more formatting options become available, as well as perhaps some way to upload document files to the site, much like uploading JPG's and GIF's the way we do now for our comics.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start writing!