Lissa Wheeler’s how to book Engaging Resilience is a recent Amazon bestseller in its category. Here Norelis interviews Lissa on her book writing and publishing journey, including how she used videos in her book to connect to readers, help create a successful launch and fuel book sales.

Writing a How-To Book for Bodywork Practitioners

Photo © Kathy Chapman 2017.

Norelis: Were you clear about audience for your how to book from the beginning or how did you get clarity on that?

Lissa: At first I wanted to write the book for both practitioners and clients.  Early feedback from readers said it was too confusing. Lisa Tener suggested I focus on practitioners and separately make an e-book for clients.

Norelis: How do you hope this book will impact readers?

Lissa: I hope that people in the bodywork field will be less intimidated by traumatized people’s behaviors. When our patients have strong emotional reactions or states, I hope professionals can take them less personally, and be able to be present.

How to Become A Best Seller Tweet This

Norelis: How did Engaging Resilience become a #1 amazon bestseller in its category?

Lissa: I built a list of people I thought would be interested in supporting my launch.  I contacted each person and got their permission to include them on my mailchimp list to let them know when to buy the book.  Tamara guided me in what to say and when to send the emails out.  In each email, I was to include 3 different interesting things from my book: how I appreciated and needed their help in making my book a best seller, to tell as many people possible about the book and to wait until the launch date.  A few people did buy the book before the launch date.   I sent out daily emails the week before the launch and then a morning, noon, and evening email on launch day.

Norelis: You did a VIP day with Lisa Tener at one point when writing. What made you decide on a VIP day, what did you do in your VIP day and how did it help you and what did you leave with?

Lissa: As soon as I saw her email about it, I knew I needed it.  The book was nearing its completion and I had no idea what next steps to take.  She went over the entire book with me and gave me wonderful editing feedback.  We talked about social media and building my “platform.”  These concepts completely overwhelmed me at first but she helped me start to understand this essential piece. She taught me about what kind of website I needed to have and making it “mobile friendly.” Most of all she was very gracious and supportive and gave me confidence to move forward.

Norelis: How did the Bring Your Book to Life® Program help you?

Lissa: I first had an idea to write a book, and then realized I had no idea how to get started. I searched the internet and found Lisa’s program. I felt an intuition that she could help me, and joined the Bring Your Book to Life® program. Lisa and the group helped me get started. It was good hearing how other people organized their time to write. I also loved the meditations with “the muse” to get guidance.

Chapter By Chapter

Norelis: Chapter 5 is all about Tuning into the Right Brain, can you give us a glimpse of what you mean by this?

Lissa: The right brain is the less linear part of our brain and associated with the more intuitive ability to attune. When a practitioner has sufficient attunement with their client, the client feels seen and will trust being lead into unfamiliar parts of their experience that they are afraid to experience.  Developing this ability in the right brain is a fundamental step of a therapeutic relationship

Norelis: You give real life stories with patients throughout this book; how have those stories influenced the tone of Engaging Resilience?

Lissa: I hope it brings the material to life and gives readers an experiential process rather than just a cerebral one.

Norelis: They are three parts in this book; The Physiology of Defense, Developing a Regulated Nervous System and Working with Different Types of Trauma. How did you decide on these three categories? Did you have to sacrifice any specific parts from putting them in the book?

Lissa: My goal was to keep the book simple enough to not intimidate readers while imparting fundamental concepts.  This field is complex and and can quickly become overwhelming with information. I chose three basic areas to focus on that I thought would make readers curious enough to want to learn more.

Overcoming Obstacles & Challenges Tweet This

Norelis: What were some of the biggest challenges you had in writing the book?

Lissa: Getting the rough draft finished was the biggest challenge. Having faith in the project was difficult, too. Another difficulty was adapting to the differences in writing styles with each writer helping me.

Norelis: How did you address those challenges?

Lissa: For the rough draft, I just plowed through and did my best  not to censor myself.  My desire to write the book was always strong and kept me putting one foot in front of the other.  I asked for feedback, and every person  I asked loved my project, and gave me confidence to keep going.  Once I started working with professional writers it became easier as they helped me shape the book.  Lisa Tener and Tamara Monosoff  especially helped me figure out how to publish. I just did whatever they told me to do.

Norelis: What are some tips that you may have?

Lissa: Get lots of help.

Norelis: Were there ways that you needed to “grow into” your book or expand your perspective in order to write the book? What was that like?

Lissa: In a way the book wrote itself.  The right people kept showing up when I needed them to help me with the next step.  The growing part was me believing in myself, that I could do it.

Using Video in a Self Help Book to Connect Tweet This

Norelis: How did you end up putting videos in your book?

Lissa: That was Tamara Monosoff’s idea. Lisa Tener referred me to her to help me get my book published.

Norelis: What kind of feedback are you hearing about the videos?

Lissa: People love them. One person said, “The book has cool links to helpful video clips which seamlessly tie the academic elements with clinical pearls gleaned from Lissa’s 40+ years experience helping patients overcome trauma.”

Norelis: What are you hearing from readers?

Lissa: So far it’s been very positive.  Even though the book is meant for professionals, many lay people are buying it and saying it is very easy to read and they are enjoying learning about the neuro-biology of trauma.  One of my main goals was to make this technical material accessible.


Steps to Self-Publishing and the How-ToTweet This

Norelis: What were the steps you took to self publishing?

Lissa: Lisa convinced me that self publishing was the way to go and that I could do it. Tamara guided me through that process. She helped me enroll the book onto Amazon and set up my account.

Norelis: What are some benefits of self publishing?

Lissa: I have nothing else to compare this to as this is my first book. From what I’ve been told I have more creative control over the publishing process and distribution and retain control of my book.

Tips in the Writing and Publishing Process Tweet This

Norelis: Any tips for our readers about self publishing?

Lissa: Get support from people who know how to do this.  Tamara guided me through each step and made it fun.  She educated me about the pitfalls in self publishing such as losing control of your product.

Norelis: What are some tips you would give to individuals wanting to write a book? What are some good first steps?

Lissa: I virtually knew nothing about writing a book, but I  didn’t give up.  Joining a group like Lisa Tener’s book writing course was helpful for getting support and guidance.

Norelis: What was your writing experience prior to writing a book? Did you have to “unlearn” anything in order to write for a lay audience, as opposed to an academic one?

Lissa: I definitely had to simplify my language.  My editors continually asked me about what I was trying to say. I had to learn to think like someone who never knew anything about my subject.

Accomplishing a Life Long Dream 

Norelis: What are your hopes/dreams/visions for the book?

Lissa: I hope that the book reaches the larger bodywork community throughout the world. I would also love to see it as part of the massage school curriculum.

Norelis: Has writing a book always been something you wanted to do?  Had you considered other stories?

Lissa: I’ve had a dream to write about this material for about 25 years.  I’ve written magazine articles but a book is a totally different experience.

Norelis: Did your personal experiences play a role in writing this book? How so?

Lissa: The book is inspired by my personal transformation from this work.  I tell my own story of my healing at the beginning of the book. The book is also full of stories of experiences I had with clients.

Norelis: What feedback/responses have you received from early readers about Engaging Resilience?

Lissa: The response has been very positive.  I’ve been surprised that not only professionals in the field like the book but lay people who have no experience with trauma or bodywork are liking it, too.crowsourced editing service

 Lissa Wheeler is a certified practitioner of Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) and Self Regulation Therapy (SRT), who has been a practicing bodywork professional for more than 40 years. She holds a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Leslie University. Purchase her book, Engaging Resilience, on Amazon.

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