FANS TALK BACK: GATHERING FEEDBACK AND CONNECTING WITH READERS
Q: You've been mentioning how important feedback is to the Shonen Jump editors, and how it will help determine what you will do with Shonen Jump Magazine and ShonenJump.com next. How can readers send you comments and ideas?
Joel Enos: That was one of the things we talked about at San Diego Comic-Con — opening things up to have more direct communication with our fans and readers.
Christopher (Boily), our Editor-in-chief has been really good about making his email address available to readers to send comments. (firstname.lastname@example.org) He put that out there at Comic-Con, and it's in our magazine. I think that has really changed the tone of the magazine, when readers know that the guy at the top is willing to talk to fans directly. Fans can always send us email to our Shonen Jump feedback address or send us letters. (SHONEN JUMP c/o VIZ Media, LLC, P.O. Box 77010, San Francisco, CA 94107)
But there's nothing that can compare to meeting people in person. So we'll be making a stronger effort to be available to fans at events. Not necessarily just the standard comics-type events like Comic-Con, but also smaller, more local, fan-based events. My whole philosophy is that we're only really doing this for fans. If we just sit here in our office and just try to guess what fans want, we may miss the mark.
We're trying to listen to what these fans are telling us. Shonen Jump as a magazine, as an imprint, and VIZ Media as a company knows that we wouldn't exist without our fans. We're going to keep trying to give fans what they want.
Q: I've noticed that VIZ has cut down on their appearances at comic and anime conventions in the past few years. Could you elaborate on what you mean by getting closer to the fans at events?
Joel Enos: Everyone on our team is getting much better about attending local events at say, Isotope Comics Lounge in San Francisco, and Cartoon Art Museum, which is also an amazing resource. Those are just local events, but we have translators and letterers who live all over the world.
In the past, I think we've had a much more restrictive policy that made it harder for, say a translator for Naruto to tell people, 'Hey, I'm going to be at Aki-Con in Seattle. Come on down and talk with me.' We can do more of that sort of thing. I think this is important, because it reminds us about why we're doing this, and reminds the fans that yes, we are here for you.
Q: So you'll be announcing more of these events and meet-ups through ShonenJump.com?
Joel Enos: We hope so. We're working on that kind of thing. As far as the bigger events… I wouldn't say that we aren't at them, but I think we'll still be doing panels and such. We're still trying to figure out what's the best way to actually connect with fans at these events, rather than saying that we've pulled out of doing cons.
Q: Have you considered doing online chats with Shonen Jump editors, where you could make announcements, and fans could talk with you directly and ask questions?
Joel Enos: I don't know how we could do that, but I think that's a really good idea. That's the kind of thing I'd totally be into doing.
In our January 2011 issue, we're also launching the The Shonen Jump Super Survey Sweepstakes, where we'll be asking our readers to fill out our online readers' survey for a chance to win prizes from Namco Bandai Games America, Tomy, Great Eastern, and Viz Media. Anyone can enter, subscribers or not, but the survey will be about the January issue.
Fans will have a chance to win prizes, such as Naruto Shippuden: Ninja Storm 2 for PS3 and for Xbox 360, Naruto Shippuden: Dragon Blade Chronicles for Nintendo Wii, Bleach Play Arts Kai action figures and Bleach wall scrolls.
Q: So when does the first issue of this newly revamped Shonen Jump Magazine come out?
Joel Enos: Well, that's a tricky thing. It says January 2011 on the cover, but it will actually come out on December 7 for our subscribers. So they'll get it before the holidays, but technically, it's the first issue of the coming year.
Q: When this new issue comes out, will you be offering anything to entice new readers to come on board and subscribe?
Joel Enos: We are. We'll be offering our lowest discount prices ever through the subscription cards in the magazine. We'll also be offering some special deals through our website, like offering more issues for lower prices.
We'll be offering a new Yu-Gi-Oh card in this issue, Winged Dragon of Ra, and it's signed by (Kazuki) Takahashi (the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!) (Note: well, it's a printed signature, but still.)
A NEW LOOK FOR A NEW EDITORIAL STYLE
Q: Can you give an example of the changes readers will see? Have you added or removed features?
Joel Enos: We haven't gotten rid of anything. If anything, we expanded. We're trying to tailor our features to the right audiences. So for example, I've been asked a lot, 'Are you shifting away emphasis from the print edition to digital or online publishing?' and the answer to that is no.
We are looking at our online and our print readers to see if they are different, and if we could offer them separate, maybe more tailored content. Now, whether that's more manga or more editorial content, we'll be watching to see what these readers are looking for.
Q: As far as the exclusive online content for Shonen Jump subscribers, will it just be those chapters of Nura, or will other content be available to subscribers?
Joel Enos: There will be other content, for sure. When the website launches in December, there will be different areas of content that will be for subscribers only. So this is different approach. Instead of treating the website as an addition to the magazine, we'll be treating it as an extension of the print magazine. This is a very important distinction. We want to give readers their money's worth.
So for example, we're thinking of shifting our video game reviews and our Yu-Gi-Oh tips to online, since they're more time-sensitive. We'll still have Yu-Gi-Oh tips in our print magazine, but readers will be able to read more of them online.