After twenty years of studying parapsycology, I had collected over two hundred terms and no dictionary to seek out the meanings for these words I continually encountered. So, I decided to write a book
of my own to help out other travelers who were beginning to walk their own spiritual path.
Writing the book was the easy part. Finding a publisher was the difficult
task. Self-publishing was out of the question. A credited publishing house was
my desire. In the end, I chose something in between.
Narrowing Down the Choices
The Canadian market was an abysmal disappointment. I studied the
Writer's Digest Market and honed in on small publishing companies who
might be interested in my new age/spiritual material. Large publishing houses
won't read your manuscript unless you have an agent. It is tough to
acquire an agent unless you are published, and so begins the vicious circle.
I selected five publishers and mailed a query letter to each of them.
Sometimes I included samples. Blue Dolphin Publishing, in California
particularly attracted my attention, due to my love for dolphins and whales.
It was Blue Dolphin who showed an interest in my manuscript and published my book. However, the company asked me if I would be interested in being an investor because they had no reserve funds at that point in time. I thought about the proposition
long and hard before agreeing to the proposal. Consequently, I signed two
contracts: one as an investor, and one as an author.
Originally, my book was to
be called "A New Age & Spiritual Lexicon" and was advertised as
such in their catalogue. I still wonder if the name change in mid-stream
affected the sales of my book. In any case, before it went to press, the editor
convinced me to change the title. I refused to have the word "dictionary" in the title,
so we compromised and A Layman's Guide To New Age & Spiritual Terms was born.
It was fun doing our final editing conference by telephone from California, USA to
Ontario, Canada. You always had to keep in mind a three hour time difference. I
still remember my editor saying "I think we will use the ampersand in the
title." I agreed, but did not have a clue what he was talking about...and I
did not want to show my ignorance by asking. Of course I immediately consulted
the closest dictionary. Consequently, I often ask students in elementary school workshops to tell me what an ampersand (&) is. Many of my fellow teachers did not know the meaning either.
Hindsight is 20-20
How do I feel five years later? As an author I feel very rewarded and have
cashed small royalty cheques. My book has sold over 2000 copies to date. Five
thousand were printed. As an investor, I am thousands of dollars in the red. If
you cannot afford the losses, never go this route, and seriously think twice
- I never went on a book tour, and should have. Live and learn.
- Sales increase whenever I do meditation workshops.
- Another tid-bit: I will never choose such a long title again.
- If an American firm publishes my next book, I will insist that both Canadian
and American prices appear on the cover. Try explaining to a
Canadian buyer that the book will cost him/her $18.95 instead of the $12.95
displayed on the cover.