Last weekend I blew $2,000 on the Hay House Writing From Your Soul Conference on Maui. Happy Birthday to me. Tropical breezes, flamingos, waterfalls, stunning sunsets and Wayne Dyer. Worth every penny.
Hay House is a major publisher of spiritual and self-help books. When Louise L. Hay couldn’t find a publisher for the book she’d developed helping AIDS patients, she published YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE independently. Reid Tracy came on board as chief financial officer and brought a canny business sense to structure Louise’s passion and vision. And the rest is history. Now every spiritual author holds Hay House as their dream publisher. Well, except me. More on that later.
This weekend brought 550 authors and wannabe authors to Maui to soak in the bliss of Hawaii and the wisdom of Tracy, Dyer, and other Hay House luminaries, including all-things-angelic, Doreen Virtue. She lead off on Friday evening, speaking for three hours about her career path. She’s not the top selling Hay House author by accident. The woman works hard. Writing, speaking, traveling. Non-stop for the last twenty-five years. Her degrees in counseling began with a more traditional path of self-help books. She fought the inward nudging to write about her angel messages until a terrifying carjacking incident rocked her world. Being true to herself became more important than potential ridicule. Virtue’s angel books are a global sensation. She is lovely in person. Friendly and generous.
Saturday and Sunday featured a cozy fireside chat with Reid Tracy and Wayne Dyer, minus the fireplace. No special effects, graphics, bells or whistles. Just experience and wisdom. Tracy shared the harsh realities of what it takes to be a Hay House author. Great books and a great following. Like love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other. Tracy’s points:
- Build Your Platform–an author must be social media savvy in today’s publishing scene. Thousands of Facebook followers, a dynamite blog site, a huge email list.
- Define Your Message–what are you saying to the world. What makes you unique?
- Marketing–authors sell the books, not the publishers. Have a plan and execute it.
- Write a great word-of-mouth book–Last, but not least. Building the biggest platform in the world won’t do much good if the book is a bore. Of course, that’s the elusive mystery. What makes a great “must read” book? Nobody can define it, but we know it when we see.
While Tracy was instructive, Wayne Dyer was inspirational. Spell-binding even. At age seventy-five, he has reached a guru status that is well-deserved. I’ve admired the few Dyer books I’ve read through the years. He brings esoteric thinking to the common man. In 2003 when I was drowning in despair taking care of my stroke-affected father, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, pulled me out of the emotional flood waters.
Seeing Dyer in person feels like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. His rags-to-riches personal story is compelling. His brilliance is surprising, though it shouldn’t be. Quotes from Nietzsche, the Tao, Melville, Rumi, the Bible, Shakespeare and more comes trippingly off his tongue. He weaves a tale, meandering until you wonder if he forgot what he was talking about about, then he pulls it all together into a great life lesson. He is humble, grateful and giving. He is simply a Great Teacher.
I went for the weekend because I could, living a short puddle jump away. I admire Hay House and what they bring to the world. I thought Wayne Dyer would be good. I hoped to network with some local writers. And of course, there was Maui itself. Paradise. I enjoyed it all.
As for my writing career, I don’t see myself getting The Call from Reid Tracy. I’d rather watch a beautiful sunset than attract another thousand followers on Facebook or jump in a pool with my grand kids than agonize over a book proposal. I want to meet new people and listen to their stories rather than pushing my agenda on them.
But, mostly, I want to write beautiful books that come from my creative heart. They may come fast; they may come slow. I’ll love them first and hope others love them later. That’s what Writing From The Soul means to me.
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