Wind the clock back to two Thursdays ago.
That day, I was in this groove for my book launch. I was e-mailing the first four chapters, along with the artwork that was going to be turned into an HTML file that would link to these chapters, to friends.
(I liked sending these chapters because they showed how the opening murder segues into Fearkiller’s beginning thought: that we humanfolk have been thrown off course by the years leading up to Y2K.)
It’s always cool when people offer me a peek into their creative endeavors. So I wanted to send along these files to people I knew.
I had some other marketing efforts that were going to start up that next Monday. Send more personal e-mails on Friday, work on other fronts over the weekend.
That Thursday, this was the game plan. I had the momentum, and I was riding it.
And then I woke up Friday morning. Book marketing went on hold.
When a tragedy like the one in Aurora occurs and your book contains a murder, you suspend efforts to sell this story for a while. However long is necessary, whatever length of time is respectful and compassionate, that’s how long you hold off.
A rush of thoughts raced through my head in the aftermath. I thought about those whose lives were forever changed. Besides the victims and family, those who weren’t physically injured in the theater were never going to be the same. And here I was, launching my book.
I knew the context of what I wanted to say—and that my story is a positive one—but still. My book contained a murder, and was told from the view of the murderer.
In those first days, I considered donating a percentage of each book sale to a victims’ fund. I nixed this. When the time is right, I will donate. But putting a percentage on my book’s price didn’t feel like the correct thing to do. If I were famous, this would make sense.
“The Dark Knight Rises” also played into my book launch. There was a thematic tie-in. I had yet to nail down details when the shootings happened, but a promotional idea was to use Facebook to put together a hang-out night. The writer of Fearkiller would treat a Facebook friend (or a few) to a night of food, drinks and Batman. Putting this together was on my list of tasks for that weekend.
My thematic tie-in for this movie night pertained to how when a world loses its way to feelings of powerlessness, it needs to believe in superheroes.
I want to resume marketing because Fearkiller is about peace. Negativity leads to this discovery, but my ultimate story is about appreciating the power of those emotional states that are the antithesis of fear. Riffing off of the title, once you “kill” fear, you open your eyes to hope, positivity—believing in yourself.
In a society where negativity is prevalent, a person’s first thought upon hearing a title like Fearkiller is that this must be a story about some type of being brandishing a weapon. This being would most likely be male, right?
But take a minute and think about those states of mind that are the opposite of fear.
A central theme of my book is finding positives within the negatives.
A fearkiller is a positive, optimistic new word that is created by combining two overused, negative words.
I didn’t want to offer this definition before, considered it a major spoiler. But in light of everything, I wanted to share it with you.
My book’s theory is that a healthier society, upon hearing a word like fearkiller, wouldn’t be as inclined to think of a being brandishing a weapon. They would be more apt to think of some entity akin to a source of inspiration or a ray of light.
In the aftermath of the shootings, those who were affected more closely need time and love and support to heal as well as make peace with all of this. And they will. That isn’t just my faith talking, that’s a historical fact. One thing about negative events: sooner or later we start to hear survivor stories. Uplifting stories about recuperating and refusing to let an experience hold somebody back.
We’re already starting to read those stories. Survivors will still encounter setbacks, but the positive stories are only beginning.
Those of us who weren’t as closely affected possess the power to regain our lives sooner. We each figure out what the tragedy was meant to teach us by having an internal conversation with those deep parts of the psyche, then it’s best to tell those evil forces that we have things to do, people to love, dreams to make happen.
You know another thing writing this book taught me? It taught me to watch out for that numb feeling, the one that comes from creating a shield against the negativity of the world. The other extreme is letting those forces consume you—which obviously isn’t desired, either—but beware of that tendency to shut down. Sometimes, especially in the year 2012, creating this barrier a logical move. But for the short term only. This feeling can’t become your sense of normalcy.
If anything, I hope you have spent the last two weeks doing what I’ve been doing: thinking about life. Your own life, the lives of the over seven billion others on this Earth, life on this Earth besides human life, and that larger concept called “life”.
And I hope the tragedy has helped you discover some valuable new insights about your own.
I’m posting this because I would like to resume marketing efforts for Fearkiller, mid next week. But I wanted to post here first. If you would like to speak to me further about my book launch, please contact me.