“Tonoharu: Part Three” Winter 2012 Progress Report

Above: Progress, one baby step at a time.

With 62 out of 124 pages completed, Tonoharu: Part Three is finally HALFWAY DONE! Yay!

So I figured it was high time to write an update entry to give you a sense of where I’m at in terms finishing the last half of the Tonoharu story. And we’ll throw in projected release date, as is tradition. Unfortunately, this time around, that projection is particularly distant.

Why, you ask? To answer that question I need to give you a little background info:
Originally, I conceived of Tonoharu as a story told in a single volume. I decided to split it into multiple volumes for two reasons:

1) The page count kept going up (originally projected the whole thing to be 200 pages, and now it looks like it’ll be more than double that), and
2) Tonoharu: Part One took so damn long to draw, I didn’t really have the luxury to wait until the whole thing was finished before I published (some of) it.

Once I resigned myself to multiple volumes, I figured four books, each being about 128-160 pages in length, would be the right way to go. Part One, Part Two and Part Three would each get their own respective volume, and then the appendices and epilogue would get the fourth and final volume.

For the past year or so, I’ve been reevaluating the four volume plan, particularly in light of Tonoharu: Part Two‘s sales.

Tonoharu: Part Two has sold *okay*, but it’s not flying off the shelves. This makes sense, of course; no one’s going to buy Part Two if they haven’t read Part One, so my potential audience is a lot smaller. The potential audience for a third book will be smaller still, and the potential audience for a fourth book would be positively minuscule; probably less than the smallest viable print run. Since Tonoharu isn’t exactly selling like Harry Potter, it’d be best to finish it up in as few volumes as possible.

This is why I’ve recently been considering eliminating the fourth volume by having Part Three, the appendices, and the epilogue all into one, final book.

For readers, this approach would have both positive and negative consequences. On one hand, it would mean I could sell the last half of the story at a cheaper price: one medium-lengthed book is cheaper than two thin books. On the other hand, it would push the release date back even further, since there’d be more for me to draw before I could release it.

Like I said, Part Three is about 124 pages. I’ve already written the epilogue, so I know that’ll be about 24 pages. The big wild card is the appendices. Without giving anything away, the appendices give me a lot of flexibility. I could easily devote 200 pages to them, or *almost* could get rid of them entirely. For the longest time I figured they’d fall somewhere in between those two extremes, or about 100 pages. Recently, I’ve started to wonder if 50 pages would do the job. Guess I won’t know until I really get into scripting it and seeing how it reads…

Regardless, unless sales of Tonoharu magically skyrocket, I think finishing the story with one more book is the best way to go. SO, the million dollar question: what’s this mean for a projected release date?

Well, for the past few months, I’ve managed to finish a page a week. That probably sounds absurdly slow, but since I’m working full time and the artwork in Tonoharu is so damn labor-intensive, it’s about the best I can do. A page a week has proven to be an ambitious (but realistic) target.

So I have 62 pages of Part Three left, then maybe (hopefully) about 50 pages of appendices, and then 24 pages of epilogue. 62+50+24=136 pages. That translates to 136 weeks, or a little over two and a half years. Add on another year for edits/book design/book production/unexpected delays. So we’re looking at a projected release date of three and a half years from now. So like… Summer 2016?
0_o

Holy shit. It’s sort of sad to see it and black and white like that… but there ya go. And the sad thing is, I can’t really imagine anything changing that would significantly speed things up, unless I won the lottery or something and could devote myself to comics full time. *Cough*

BUT, like I say, all this talk about projected release dates is sort of premature until I really nail down just how long the appendices need to be. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to get them down to 30 pages. Or maybe I’ll decide they need to be 70 pages. Hopefully I’ll be able to give you a more accurate page count for the next Tonoharu update entry sometime in 2013.

Or, for people who like their updates more incessant and less meaningful, I update my twitter account every time I finish a page, so feel free to follow me there if you want.

*************

Just to end this on a slightly more positive note: like I mentioned before, the second printing of Tonoharu: Part One is all but sold out. (Personally I only have SIX signed copies left, and amazon.com is showing they have less than ten left.) I’m currently prepping a 3rd printing. I figure the hardcover has run its course, so I’m going to do a cheaper paperback with a redesigned cover. Who knows, maybe that’ll drum up sales. Also, in case there’s any doubt, I WILL finish Tonoharu, come what may. Maybe it’s just my natural stubbornness, but nothing will make me abandon the project. It’ll be a while yet, but it will get finished and released. So hey, that’s something.

There’s still a bit more I want to write, but this entry is already plenty long, so I’ll leave it at this for now. I’ll write about the other stuff for a “year in review” blog entry in a week or two.

  • http://twitter.com/ianfitzpat Ian Fitzpatrick

    Respect the honesty on the release date. Must have been hard to admit that to yourself even. Love Tonoharu, and I look forward to reading part three in my self-driving hover car in 2016.

  • Trollmouse

    That should work out well form. I can spend my retirement reading and rereading my favorite graphic novel!

  • http://gregmoore.me/ Greg Moore

    I hate to see such an epically long release date but its understandable when you add in the full-time job.

    Have you considered trying a Kickstarter to allow you to work on it full-time? I don’t know what going full-time on the comic looks like financially for you but I’m sure a lot of us would pitch in to see the series completed in our lifetimes.

    • http://larsmartinson.com/ Lars Martinson

      Unfortunately I don’t think I have a big enough fan base to drum up a living wage through Kickstarter (and ironically, if I did I’d probably be making a living wage anyway, making the whole thing moot). But I have been considering doing a Kickstarter to help cover the printing bill for “Tonoharu”; that might work. Maybe when “Tonoharu” is a little further along I’ll do a bit more research into the whole crowd funding thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Edison-Victor/100003261284175 Edison Victor

    2016?! (泣) If it’s even half as good as the previous two I’m sure it will be worth the wait. However, it pains my heart to think I’m not going to see any new comics from you until then. Hopefully you can make time for some more side projects like Kameoka dairies etc. Have you looked into quantum physics? I think it might be possible to bend the space time continuum to allow you more time to complete these comics faster… or maybe cloning technology? There might be a solution there somewhere…? I’m assuming you’ve already given up any hope of ever having a social life… Anyway…
    頑張ってください!!応援してます!

    • http://larsmartinson.com/ Lars Martinson

      I think “Kameoka Diaries” (and comics of its ilk) will be put on hold until “Tonoharu” is done (or at least, put on hold until I burn out on “Tonoharu” and need to recharge my batteries with something different. But I actually have several “Kameoka Diary” style comics I want to do, so I’ll definitely return to that style of comic at some point!

  • http://twitter.com/lectio Heather

    I’m happy to wait for volume three, too. I’ve really enjoyed one and two.

  • http://larsmartinson.com/ Lars Martinson

    Thanks for all the comments/words of encouragement all! I’ll just keep plugging away at the book!

  • j

    any chance of them appearing digitally? love the diaries by the way.

    • http://larsmartinson.com/ Lars Martinson

      Cheers! Yes, I plan on eventually offering a digital version; *possibly* as early as this year (don’t hold me to that). Finishing “Tonoharu: Part Three” is my top priority, so it sort of depends on how well I’m able to meet/exceed my “page-a-week” goal for that in the coming months…

      • j

        fantastic!!! I am waiting (impatiently) for them!!!

  • Gleydson

    In order to minimize the “not-selling-like-Harry-Potter-effect”, maybe you could re-release Part I and Part II right before Part III.

    About the 2016 deadline, at least you are keeping us posted. :-)

    Thanks!