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