Temping Fate: My Prediction for Tonoharu: Part Three’s Release Date

 I’m too lazy to create a header image for this blog entry so here’s a barking dog from Sazae-san

Just this week, I finished the last page of the appendices for Tonoharu: Part Three, leaving only the epilogue left to draw. Needless to say, I’m excited to pass this milestone. As I do whenever I finish a page, I tweeted about it. The standard format for these update tweets looks like this:

Tonoharu Part 3, page 159 is done!
Approx. 22 pages left to go!

I always feel a little sheepish tweeting these countdown micro-updates, because I’m afraid they’re a bit misleading. At the rate I’m going, all of the pages should be “done” by this summer. One could (reasonably) assume that the book would come out soon after that. But unfortunately, that’s not going to be the case.

So when do I expect the book to come out? We’ll see if my hubris bites me in the ass, but I feel confident projecting that Tonoharu: Part Three will be released in October…2016.

So why, if I expect to be “done” with all the pages by Summer 2015, do I project a release more than a year after that?

There are a couple of reasons.

First off, my micro-update tweets aren’t entirely accurate. Twitter’s 140 character limit doesn’t allow for disclaimers, but if it did, I might note that I’m defining a page as being “done” when it exists in an acceptable, readable state. The text and artwork are in place, and nothing strictly essential is missing.

What I’m not including when I call a page “done” are the inevitable post-production edits. Most of these edits will be small, like fixing spelling mistakes and tweaking dialogue. Less often I’ll edit the actual artwork, or maybe even redraw entire panels.  But even though most of these edits will be small, I’ll have more 700 panels to go through, and that will take time. I expect this stage to take a few months to complete.

In addition to that, I have the front and back covers left to draw. That probably seems like a weird thing to single out as a time sink, but as with previous installments, the cover will be extremely intricate, so I expect that to take a few weeks to complete.

Taking all that into consideration, I expect to be completely, unequivocally done with Tonoharu: Part Three by late 2015 / early 2016.

In spite of that, I’m still planning for a late 2016 release. The main reason for this is strategic.

I’m currently working a full-time day job. My contract will wrap up late-July 2016. After that, I intend to live off my savings and devote myself to comics exclusively for at least a year.

By delaying Tonoharu: Part Three’s release a few months, I’ll push its release into this “no day job” period. This will allow me to devote much more time to marketing it during the critical release period.

I’m invested in the success of every book I put out of course, but it seems especially important at this stage in my artistic career. I don’t want to be melodramatic here, but I’d say there’s at least a fair chance that Tonoharu: Part Three could be the last book I ever put out if things go particularly poorly.

In any event, the more money Tonoharu brings in, the better position I’ll be in for future artistic projects.

I could write more, but this entry is already pretty long so I think I’ll save further ramblings for another time. But for now, I’ll say it again, with an uncharacteristic lack of equivocation: Tonoharu: Part Three will come out in October 2016. Get hyped!