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Weekly webtoon updates are stupid and should be stopped


Ryan Dave Jimenez

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I may be 70% done with the first chapter on my webtoon. Which is called "Geisha Epic" by the way. So it means I'm close to uploading this on webtoons.com and Tapas.

Which brings up the question, when will I upload chapter 2? How often will I update?

 

And most webtoon artists will say, weekly is the best. It's a good rule of thumb or is the industry standard.

 

And I don't agree with that.

 

The one chapter a week thing started in Japan with Shonen Jump. A magazine containing manga.

Any Japanese manga artist who wants to succeed needs to be published in Shonen Jump. That's the only way their manga will get popular.

This was before the Internet age.

Since Japanese manga artists needed Shonen Jump more than the other way around they had no choice but to follow the rules of Shonen Jump.

And that is to release a chapter a week because it's a weekly magazine.

 

And that is the only reason why one chapter a week became the industry standard for Asian comics. There is no other reason.

 

It's not like Shonen Jump did a scientific study that showed one chapter a week is the optimal schedule for human beings to read manga. It's just because they're a weekly magazine.

So why release a chapter a week? Why not every two weeks? Or every month? There are manga out there that update monthly.

 

Why do webtoon artists outside Japan who don't need Shonen Jump, who don't need a big publisher anymore because it's the Internet age and you can self-publish, why are you still following that rule? When you don't have to?

 

You can publish anytime you want. Every day, every week, every two weeks, every month, every year, it doesn't matter.

Just don't think that it has to be every week because that's the best practice or whatever.

Now I know webtoons.com pretty much copied this from Shonen Jump. They also give out contracts to good artists where they get paid a lot of money but have to make one chapter a week. Which is fine. I actually have no problem with that because you get paid.

And that's the thing, it's okay if you're getting paid.

 

So you who is probably a part-time webtoon artist, who is just doing this on the side and is not making money from it, why are you following this one chapter a week rule? At least get paid for it right? Stop making it hard for yourself.

 

But why is a week not enough to make one chapter? How many weeks is needed to make a chapter?

Actually, seven days is enough to make one chapter. But seven days is not enough to make one QUALITY chapter.

Any comic artist can put out a chapter a week. It's easy. Just cut corners. Lower the quality for one. Make it black and white. Don't draw backgrounds anymore. Stop adding details to drawings. Cut down the page count and so on.

The problem is when you want a quality chapter in one week.

It's like wanting a big house that is also cheap. The fastest car but it has to be cheap. The best smartphone but it has to be cheap. It's not possible. You usually get what you pay for.

 

It's like this, a great story, good looking art, updates twice a week. Choose two. You can only choose two. You can't have all three.

 

So you have a webtoon that updates twice a week and has a great story but bad art or a webtoon with a great story, great art, but doesn't update regularly. You can't have it all in life.

I will admit though that nowadays readers are expecting one chapter a week whether it be manga, webtoons, manhua, whatever. They demand weekly chapters.

 

Again it's Shonen Jump who drilled this into our heads that comics should come out weekly. But it doesn't.

 

To answer the question, what will be my update schedule for "Geisha Epic"? Every two weeks or every four weeks. I think that suits my lifestyle, schedule, and art style just fine.

Because that's the point of self-publishing right? You call the shots.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on this. Comment them below.

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Its perfectly reasonable, as an independent artist, to break the one week release schedule. There's too many creators that burn themselves out like that, trying to meet arbitrary expectations.

Engaging with fan communities seems more effective at retaining audiences than keeping up with rigid release schedules, so its unfortunate that this is still standard practice.

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That's true. I cringe whenever I see a webtoon artist trying to release a chapter every week. When they're not paid for it. If that's the case, then take your time. Upload it when it's done.

Spot on. Comic creators should focus on building a fanbase. Because they don't mind waiting (assuming they're true fans). Kinda like how people are still waiting for Hunter x Hunter to update. Even though it's been years.

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I engage with a handful of webtoon canvas artists via tumblr, and there are two things they all do; first they ensure they have a buffer, and second they know when to call a break or hiatus with enough time to refill the buffer.

When they need to, they’re not shy to call for a hiatus with a clear date when they will return. If they’re getting burned out, have things irl to handle, or because they simply want to. It’s as you say, unless you’re getting paid a full income, you have full authority over your own schedule. These artists all have a patreon tied to their comic so there is some measure of expectations to release a comic, while understanding that a little patreon cash isn’t sustainable and the artist still needs time to make ends meet.

A buffer comes in handy to ensure there is a safety net if the artist can’t quite pump out a new comic in their normal time frame, if there is a delay beyond their control, and helps ensure time for quality. They’re always working a few chapters ahead of their readers and the hiatus normally comes when that buffer runs out and the artist needs a break. Often the buffer may come in the form of a mini “bonus” chapter containing OOC goodies or a qna with fans. 

Ultimately it is up to the artist to determine what the comfortable schedule is for themselves and work efficiently within it. But regardless of what that release schedule is, I think these are both smart strategies to employ if you’re looking to keep a solid baseline of readers interested in the story.

On 7/22/2021 at 10:07 PM, Ryan Dave Jimenez said:

I cringe whenever I see a webtoon artist trying to release a chapter every week. When they're not paid for it.

One more comment while it’s fresh in mind; perhaps these artists don’t realise many high quality weekly formats have a bit of a staff behind them. One artist sets up frames and linearts, another fills in the colours, and another person might fill in speech bubbles and text. Much more realistic to release in one week when you only have one job! But you’d be in over your head to take that on alone.

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