What You Don't Get

What You Don't Get is a long-form autobio graphic novel about (in varying degrees) life, death, and cats.
Anne Thalheimer
1,154 Facebook Friends
Holyoke, Massachusetts
United States
1 Team Member

So...you're doing a book? What's it about?

My name's Anne and I'm an artist based in Western MA. I started an autobio comic in 1995 called booty to document my day-to-day life after finishing college, going to work in the woods for a little while, and then on to graduate school.
The twist in the story, because there's always a twist in the story, is that I did all of these things before I turned 21. I dropped out of high school in 1991 to start at a tiny college in the woods in Great Barrington called Simon's Rock College of Bard, where for the first time in my life someone told me I was smart, where I met people who were like me, where I learned and fell in love and finally saw possibility in my life.
You might or might not know that school for other reasons. The next year, in December of 1992, a classmate of mine bought an AK-47, got bullets in the mail, and shot his way through the snowy campus. He murdered two people, injured more, and changed the arc of my life.

What You Don't Get is my first long-form comic work and it's a vastly different project for me for a few reasons. It's a project I've planned to undertake for a number of years, but the timing wasn't right, or the story wasn't done, or I just wasn't ready to write it.

I'm ready now.

What's with the title?

There's a long tradition of professional mourners. In Ireland, they were women called "keeners" who were paid to mourn over a body. One story involves a priest and a particularly loud keening woman who made her living by mourning the dead.

At one point in the story, the priest turns to her and says, unkindly, "You'd cry over a dead dog if they paid you enough."

"There's no need to be so bitter, Father," she apparently fired back. "What you don't get from the living you get from the dead."

And that's something I think about a great deal: what do I get from my dead? How are they present in my living? What You Don't Get is basically about both of those questions. In the months after the shootings I became a relentless journaller, writing everything down instead of speaking to other people. Reading back though those journals, it's like someone else wrote them. In the years since, I've written comics about those same questions -- not only on anniversaries or birthdays, or some other day that always felt too bittersweet-- but every time there was some new terrifying news report about some other mass shooting somewhere, more murders in schools. This project is a way to tie these disconnected experiences together as part of a longer, larger story about life and grief and losing people you love, but also about living and surviving and what those things mean.

What I Need & What You Get

Otherwise known as the money stuff...

After research and discussion with many other artists, I decided to publish with Lulu.com because of their flexible publication options. My goal is to do a signed and numbered first printing of between 150 and 200 books, to have stock to bring to various shows and distribution networks and also to get the books to my backers. Each book will likely cost about $6 to produce -- about $900 to about $1200 depending on final page counts (between 100 and 128 digest-size pages is my projection) and total final copies.

$400 of this campaign will cover the cost of the lengthy and tedious process of converting the 100+ drawn pages into a digital format. In the interest of finishing in a timely fashion, I'm getting some help from a fellow artist on this one, because I just don't have enough technical know-how yet and I want to support another working artist while I learn.

The last $400 of this proposal covers the assorted shipping costs of getting books to me and then getting the books to you (postage will cost about $3 per copy in the US) and various other expenses (mailers, promotional material, sample copies, fundraising fees, etc.) associated with printing a long form book and crowdsourcing the funding.


Everyone loves perks. I wanted to do a combination of cool things and essential things. A hand made card isn't essential, but it's important -- and even though this project is going to be hard and heartbreaking and difficult, it's exciting to be able to actually be in a place where I can do it and I want to celebrate that -- so the perks are both practical and quirky.

What if...

I want to finish this book no matter what happens with the fundraising. So even if I don't hit my minimum needed, which is probably about $700, there will still be something in your mailbox. I want to use this opportunity as a way to force me to finish this project and quit stalling; that accountability is a major part of why I chose the flexible funding option rather than the fixed all-or-nothing funding option.

The Impact

This project is something I intend to complete within the next 45 days, which is also the duration of my fundraising campaign. As part of one of the perks, I'm completing a panel-a-day minicomic basically about the experience of getting the project going. What You Don't Get is also going to be my full-time project for the next 45 days and my intent is to come out of the end of that 45 days with a finished book, no matter what happens with the funding.

But I'd be really, really excited if it got fully funded. I have some ideas where money raised beyond what I need might go (most specifically a Best of Booty book collection), but we can talk about those things when we get there.

EDIT: Well, we're there!

In the works is a best of booty collection. Booty's my autobio comic that I've been writing since 1995; I did one collection covering issues 10 through 17 some time ago, but I've been looking to get something more recent together (and if I sell through those last 18 pre-order copies, it's gonna happen for sure).
I'm working up some cool odds & ends, including some small things to add into everyone's perks. Once the final copy is done, I'm going to scan through and pick out some images to put on 1-inch pins and little vinyl stickers -- fun perks for everyone!

Other Ways You Can Help

Even if you can't donate, you can still help. Sharing the link among your social networks to get the word out is incredibly helpful. Reading this far is helpful too; it's a new experience for me to talk this openly not just about my work but also about my past and my process. I'll update this site with sketches and news as the project moves forward so you can stay in touch and watch how it goes.

thanks, folks.



raised by 152 people in 1 month
252% funded
No time left
$2,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on February 17, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    thank you card

    I will make and mail you a card thanking you for your support, because getting mail that isn't a bill is generally awesome.

    1 out of 100 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • $13USD

    The project is about life, death, and cats -- and we've had a lot of the first two, but not as much of the latter. So this perk will change that! You'll get an original drawing of a kitty sent to your home, office, or loved one (even your cat, or your cat's cat, possibly). $13 because there are 13 hours left in the campaign. Lucky #13!

    1 out of 25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • $15USD
    thank you card + drawing

    as above, a handmade thank you card plus a little original drawing (probably a monster, but who knows...).

    6 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013

    book pre-order

    Congratulations! You have just pre-ordered a copy of What You Don't Get (and you're helping me defray the cost of printing additional copies.) It'll be signed and numbered as well. I might even smooch it before I send it.

    100 out of 100 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013


    Last minute, limited availability: You get a pre-ordered signed, numbered, and smooched copy of What You Don't Get (plus you're helping me defray the cost of printing additional copies--thank you!) along with a sticker and two 1-inch pins of original art.

    11 out of 11 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $35USD

    Super, super last minute, under the wire, very limited availability: You get a pre-ordered signed, numbered, and smooched copy of What You Don't Get (plus you're helping me defray the cost of printing additional copies--thank you!) along with a sticker and four 1-inch pins of original art.

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $50USD
    pre-order + minicomic

    You get a published and probably smooched copy of What You Don't Get that is signed + numbered and has an original drawing in it. You'll also get a copy of the 45 Days minicomic -- a drawing per day for the length of this project.

    17 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $75USD
    Three Word Drawing

    You get a published (signed, numbered, drawn, smooched) copy of What You Don't Get, the 45 Days minicomic, and an original color drawing -- you send me three words, and I send you original art that incorporates them!

    6 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $100USD
    You're My Micron!

    What You Don't Get (signed, numbered, smooched, drawn!), the 45 Days minicomic, plus a Minicomics pack (one 8-page original art minicomic plus a Micron and a minicomics tutorial so that you can make your own rad comics!)

    3 out of 15 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $400USD
    Digital Superstar

    You total superstar! You just covered the cost to convert this book into a digital format, so I'll hand-make you a one-of-a-kind advance copy of What You Don't Get. It'll be bound and annotated by me, with extra original drawings, various notes on production, and other such things. It's going to be the only one of these that I ever make. You also get a 45 Days minicomic, and an original Three Words Drawing.

    0 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • $500USD
    A Flurry Of Art

    You get a published (and smooched, etc) copy of What You Don't Get, the 45 Days minicomic, an original Three Word Drawing, an original 8-page minicomic, and two original pages from the final book. I've never before parted with original pages.

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
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