Hilary Crowley has been writing a book on healing for many years. In this interview you can learn about Hilary’s writing process for The Power of Energy Medicine, as well as tips for:
- Incorporating powerful case studies that bring a book to life
- Imagining your readers
- Landing on the right chapter length
- The role of stops and starts (and how your book benefits)
- Working with a publisher
- Insights into specifically writing a book on healing
- Why you might need more time to write a book on healing
- Networking to find a publisher
Motivation for Writing a Book on Healing
Simon: I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book, The Power of Energy Medicine: Your Natural Prescription for Resilient Health. What motivated you to write a book on healing?
Hilary: Thank you for reading my book and I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it! My original working title was “Not Mine to Keep” based on the notion that I experienced so many incredible stories through my energy healing work. The insights and lessons were extraordinary. I wanted to share the wisdom I discovered through the energy work with my clients. I’m excited to share it with the world.
Making Exercises Interactive and Engaging
Simon: At the end of each chapter in The Power of Energy Medicine, you offer an exercise for the reader in which you ask them to respond to questions, such as “take a moment to list four ways you can connect more earnestly and spend time listening to your own needs, hopes, and desires.” Each exercise corresponds with a new medicine bottle. How did you come up with the creative idea of having each exercise appear with a new medicine bottle?
Hilary: This idea was inspired by my editor at Skyhorse who wanted my book to be more interactive for the reader. She liked my narrative and all the stories I’d compiled, but she really hoped for one more element to bring the reader closer to the energy medicine the book describes. We decided that my real-life experience of finding old medicine bottles in my grandmother’s medical bag was the perfect metaphor to express how we hold a powerful medicine within and around us.
Writing Excellent Case Studies
Simon: You incorporate some incredible case examples of patients who you treated. They are interesting, compelling, and provide credibility for your holistic approach to healing. What advice might you give to authors who are hoping to incorporate case examples into their books?
Hilary: First of all, I’d suggest taking detailed notes and keeping a journal. Not only will this secure the accuracy of your memories of each case, but it will also serve to keep a valuable inventory of creative material as you craft your first few drafts. I wrote in my journal and wrote with a group. Many of my chapters were first drafts accounts written down the very same day that they occurred. The details and nuances provide an authenticity through every draft thereafter right through to the published work.
Discovering the Ideal Chapter Length
Simon: Each chapter in The Power of Energy Medicine is refreshingly short and succinct, with a total of 34 chapters in the book. What made you decide to go for short chapters vs. longer ones?
Hilary: Funny thing is that I didn’t plan for the chapters to be short. I planned for succinct, honest, well-crafted chapters that hold the reader’s attention. I imagined my readers were healthcare workers on a coffee break, or a patient in a hospital bed, or a caregiver reading to a patient in bed, or a commuter on a subway, or someone like me who enjoys a bit of reading before I sleep. In this busy age of twitter, Instagram, and tik-tok, I knew that my writing needed to be respectful of the reader’s time. I knew I needed to be efficient with words to graciously get to the point of each story.
Lessons Learned After Writing a First Book Tweet This
Simon: After completing the book writing process, what is one thing you would do differently the next time you write a book?
Hilary: That’s a great question and one that I’m asking myself these days as I embark on my next book project. Honestly, the biggest change I would make is how I take care of my whole body while I write. Literally, I’m referring to body mechanics. During the last year of edits and rewrites, my hands, wrists, and shoulders were in pain due to poor habits and poor posture as I got lost in my writing.
For example, I wrote on my smartphone while waiting in carpool lines for my kids. I:
- Typed with my thumbs.
- Wrote on my laptop in bed in the early hours with my neck crooked and back twisted.
- Wrote in hard chairs at my kitchen table.
- Kept writing paragraphs even when my arms felt numb.
- Ignored my discomfort because I was in the writing zone with my plot and my characters in charge of me.
It was exhilarating, but it was also too harsh on my body. This next time, I’m going to take good care of my body mechanics, my posture, and set up my desk so that I won’t be an injured writer again.
Lisa Tener’s Bring Your Book to Life® Program
Hilary: I loved every time we were together. Lisa Tener is gifted at bringing authors together who are serious about bringing their message into the world. Her program is well-titled; she truly brings books to life. Many of my chapters were reviewed and improved in her program. Lisa herself has a keen editorial talent that helps authors become better writers. I learned this from watching other authors create their manuscripts.
Moreover, by joining Lisa’s program, I signaled to myself that I took this book project seriously. I committed to getting this book done, and Lisa Tener surrounded me with other like-minded authors ready to grow and become better at their writing craft, too.
The Importance of Finding a Book Coach
Simon: In The Power of Energy Medicine, you acknowledge professionals who helped you complete your book. Who were some of these professionals and how did they help you specifically in completing your book and making it great?
Hilary: Through Lisa Tener, I met Jane Bernstein who is my book coach, a life coach and a writing coach combined to offer accountability, support, and a healthy mindset right through to publication. Jane is wonderful and I plan to keep working with her. And through my publisher, I also was truly blessed to work with Abigail Gehring, a much published author herself who provided incredible feedback as we prepared my manuscript for press.
Experiences with a Traditional Publisher
Simon: You published this book with Skyhorse Publishing. What was it like working with Skyhorse publishing? Can you share what you most enjoyed? What surprises were there?
Hilary: Skyhorse Publishing is a great fit for me. I tend to be an author that loves my region, my era, my community, and my setting. Skyhorse has a particularly deep commitment to freedom of the press. I find that to be very American in the best sense. My topic of energy healing in an integrative healthcare setting is pioneering in many ways. I’ve enjoyed the people that are working with me. I mention in my acknowledgements that Abigail Gehring was the best possible editor to bring good energy to my book, The Power of Energy Medicine. It’s true.
And my biggest surprise happened right at the moment when I got an offer from Skyhorse, I discovered that they had aligned in contract with Simon & Schuster for distribution. That was a wonderful surprise for sure!
The Benefits of Taking Your Time
Simon: Your journey of writing a book on healing took time. How did taking time affect your book? What changes happened over time and how did the book evolve and grow? Any advice for readers who feel frustrated with stops and starts or taking a long time for writing a book, but seem to need long stretches to regroup?
Hilary: Time works in your favor for the quality of your material. When you are not rushed or pushed to meet an unreasonable deadline, you create better. Accountability matters too. So set your goals for a timely process. But in the meantime, every experience I had that delayed me, actually enriched the content of my book. I had more to learn by the life experiences that happened in the time I wrote and edited.
Stops and starts are part of the normal process of writing a book, they are not disruptive, they are indicators that you’re on the right path because the author always returns to the manuscript. And that “right” path is a new path, nobody has ever written “your book” before. This path is not paved by others, so we may as well expect obstacles and divots along the way. In fact, welcome them. Your book will be better for it.
Simon: Do you think it would have been harder to get a book deal if you’d tried to publish the book seven or more years ago when you first worked on it?
Hilary: I think it would have been impossible. My book wasn’t ready until some of the stories in real life unfolded. It wasn’t ready even when I thought I was on my “final” draft. I know my publisher appreciated that I presented a completed manuscript that had been reviewed by my beta readers and crafted carefully over time. It was ready for the next level of professional editing when I finally got the book deal.
Understanding the Experience of Crafting a Book Proposal
Simon: Did you write a book proposal to attract an agent and publisher? What tips do you have for writing a successful proposal?
Hilary: Yes, I took a year to write my book proposal. The chapter summaries are the most challenging part of writing a proposal (by far) but they helped me hone my messages and even sharpen up my chapter titles. With a good proposal, you can confidently feel ready to get your manuscript out into the industry.
Simon: Can you share a bit about your process of finding an agent and publisher after writing a book on healing?
Hilary: I have one word for this: Networking. Talk about your book as you’re writing it. Share your excitement with others. I knew I would self-publish if I didn’t get a traditional book deal. That confidence led me to people in my network asking to show my work to their publishing world contacts. That’s how Skyhorse found me.
Simon: Do you have any tips or advice for our readers about working with an agent and a publisher, how to get the best fit, and how to make the relationship work well?
Hilary: I’d say this relates to a major theme in my book too: Collaboration. Writing is often a solo effort, but when it comes time to step-up and publish, remember to welcome all feedback. Collaborate with a publishing company that also wants your book to be successful and help you find your audience. Joining a writing group is a great way to get accustomed to outside feedback. In fact, you’ll soon discover that, as a writer, you crave feedback and you’ll enjoy making changes based on constructive editorial suggestions. One of the first things an agent or publisher will test you on is how you work with feedback and change. My tip is to be ready for that test and you’ll have a great working advantage to get the agent or deal you desire.
Using In-Person Events to Promote Your Book
Simon: You released The Power of Energy Medicine in February during the pandemic. While you initially participated in online events to promote the book, more recently you have been finding opportunities to promote your book in bookstores. Describe a little bit about these bookstore events and how they have helped you to promote the book.
Hilary: I’m looking at October and onward into 2022 for in-store book events. My publicist is not in charge of this part of the promotional work, so I have the task of finding bookstores looking to fill their event programming. I was warmly welcomed by bookstore managers to come into the stores during Covid and sign stacks of books for the store to sell.
Bookstores love to see authors succeed, especially in this time of history. I’ve been impressed by the kindness of the independent bookstores and by Barnes and Noble, too. Of course Amazon is dominating the data-driven sales market and book sales are thriving online. Soon I’ll have a full schedule of upcoming in-store book events. It’s going to be a busy but festive time.
Simon: What other in-person events have you used to market The Power of Energy Medicine? Have these other events been effective in promoting the book?
Hilary: Yes! Workshops and seminars are a perfect fit for my book. I teach all the time in-person and online. Yoga studios, retreat centers, and corporate seminars are all ideal places to share the stories in my book with an audience.
Simon: There are starting to be more in-person opportunities available for authors to promote the book. What tips would you give to authors who are hoping to market their books using in-person events?
Hilary: This answer is going to sound a bit light-hearted and intuitive but I actually think my approach is a good plan for mapping my book tour. I’m looking at cities and towns where I have people who I love and want to visit. From Seattle to Philly to Miami to LA to Boston and of course, NYC, there are people in my life that deepen my connection with each of those communities.
I’m sure the book tour plan will only grow from there. I’m looking forward to book readings in person. I don’t plan to miss these moments to travel, share, and celebrate together when it comes around again.
ABOUT HILARY CROWLEY
Born into a family of doctors, Hilary Crowley grew at home in medical and healthcare settings. In 2008, Hilary joined the integrative general medicine center, Whole Life Health Care in Portsmouth, New Hampshire as their Natural Health Intuitive. With clients recommended by surgeons, nurses, physicians, psychotherapists, acupuncturists, and other holistic medical practitioners, Hilary accesses energy healing to identify root issues of disease and stress. Her hands-on work involves balancing and interpreting the subtle energy field of the human body to bring wellness and restored health to her clients. You can find out more about Hilary’s work on her energy healing website. The Power of Energy Medicine is her first book.