The Idea to Write a Book
Reilly: How did you come up with the idea of writing The Soul Path Way?
Kay: I had started writing a book about intuitive development many years ago and never finished it. Over the years as I developed my practice to be known more as an astrologer and psychosynthesis counselor, I wanted to write a book that included a synthesis of the various streams of healing wisdom that I offer.
Clarifying Target Audience
Reilly: What was your main purpose for writing this book? What do you hope your readers walk away with?
Kay: I wanted my readers to receive what they might experience in a series of private sessions or workshops with me: to understand their soul path through astrology and inner reflection, to break through blockages, and to live an authentic life.
Reilly: Who is the intended audience? Someone with some astrology background or a newbie? How did you decide upon the audience?
Kay: The challenge for me was to write a book that someone newly interested in evolving (and with no understanding of astrology at all) could easily understand and relate to, but also that advanced seekers would enjoy the writing, feel validated and reminded and maybe even learn a few new things.
So far I’ve received good validation from readers that I hit the mark. Initially, I thought my audience was ‘everyone’ but after looking at my first pages of writing, Lisa Tener pointed out I actually was writing toward a niche market of people who were at least already open to spirituality and metaphysics. This was true. I wasn’t necessarily trying to convert anyone. Openness was the prerequisite.
Clarifying the Book Topic
Reilly: Did the title—Soul Path Way—come early on or was it something you had to work out? How did you come up with the title?
Kay: My original working title was How Life Works. Lisa and I then talked about how I could possibly bring so many streams of information into one book with a sense of cohesion.
We’re talking about astrology, intuitive development, manifestation & co-creation, yoga philosophy, deep spirituality and psychosynthesis theory. That’s a lot! Her (wise) advice was to narrow one’s book topic rather than be general and broad. I agreed in principle, but I didn’t want to leave any one segment of my work out. It would be like writing an autobiography and only including two of my four children.
As I pondered this for some months, I realized a connection to one’s soul, and the purpose for being alive, was in fact the underlying theme in all of my work. Once I grasped that fact the writing flowed. I knew I wanted ‘Soul Path’ as part of the book title and that the original title was no longer right. In a private session, Lisa and I brainstormed and the word ‘Way’ was her idea. I am grateful.
Reilly: When and how did you become interested in astrology?
Kay: I was interested as a teenager in the 60’s. I read Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs when it came out and then found a small paperback with tables in the back from which I could calculate people’s charts. I had my first professional reading when I was 27.
At that time I was in the corporate world… I had an MBA in Finance. The astrologer was trying so hard to tell me I was in the wrong field and I was hard-headed about it, blinders on.
The Book Writing Process Tweet This
Reilly: You mentioned in Soul Path Way that your writing process for this book was long. How long did it take you to write this book? What are some of the factors that made it take a long time? Do you feel it’s a better book because of the process? Was there a lot of research needed?
Kay: It took a long time because I began writing in my thirties when my understandings were not yet grounded in experience. I am SO glad I didn’t publish anything then because my views have changed over the years. I have been seeing clients for 32 years and teaching almost as long. With each decade my wisdom deepens.
Also, in the first versions of parts of this book, I would write and then think no one would want to read it. Lots of self-doubt. I’d put it away for years at a time. In retrospect, I realize there was much less competition for spiritual/metaphysical books at the time and that might have been easier, but I would no longer fully agree with my early writings. I was more dogmatic and less nuanced.
Reilly: Do you have any particular tips that helped you in writing the book?
Kay: Lisa had so many good ideas in the Bring Your Book to Life Program. Even though some I’d heard or some didn’t relate to me, each one that was significant for me was extremely helpful.
Everyone tells you to define your target audience, yet my conversation with Lisa helped me define my audience precisely. I went through my appointment calendar and wrote down the names of many of my clients from beginners to spiritual/astrology teachers. I imagined writing to them.
I had tried to find my ‘writing groove’ for years. First thing in the morning, middle of the night when I woke up, 3 pm… I tried them all. Lisa’s advice to find just small spaces of time if that’s all you have worked for me perfectly.
Once I had a chapter structure in place (also very important for my writing success), I could find 15-30 minutes during the day, between clients, and write. I was less pressured when I thought all I needed to do was write for 30 minutes. When I scheduled two hours in my day I often froze. I also gave myself an absolute deadline of a chapter a week.
Reilly: You’ve written many pieces of work including intuitive development training materials, as well as many articles on meditation, manifestation, and spiritual development. Were these helpful to you when writing Soul Path Way? If so, can you provide an example of how they were helpful in learning the process of writing?
Kay: Writing articles and blogs over the years helped a lot. I wrote a professional blog for astrology.com for six years which helped me get over my fear of what people would think of my writing. I had to write and publish three times a week at first. No time to agonize over it the perfection of the writing nor the response.
Reilly: You talk about seeing the world not in “black and white.” Was it ever hard to write your teachings down, find the right words?
Kay: Yes, it was very hard to find the words. Here, my yoga teaching mentor offered me wise advice. She was a professor and wrote academically. She said if you are uncomfortable with the subtle nuance of these concepts, write about that. You don’t have to choose black or white. This advice freed me and the book deepened as a result.
Reilly: I was surprised by how much content you included about meditation. Would you say that is a key component in gaining a deep understanding from Soul Path Way? If so why? Is that part of what sets this book apart from most other astrology books?
Kay: Yes, as you can see from the reviews from well known astrologers, this is a unique astrology book. It provides a practical application of astrology in a spiritual context. Meditation is not part of astrology.
The astrology I offer in this book is to help people understand their soul path goals for this life; the meditation is to contemplate their unique path and to develop spiritually. Meditation also enhances intuitive development, which I consider an important part of living a conscious life.
Reilly: What challenges did you encounter and how did you get past them?
How to Find Time to Write Tweet This
Kay: My greatest challenge was finding the time to write. I see a lot of clients and teach many classes each week, supporting my family. I couldn’t afford to go off to a beautiful location and write for a month, which was always kind of my fantasy.
By structuring a 12 week/12 chapter outline, I was willing to give up my yoga class practice, my free time, housework, friends and my date nights with my partner (who willingly agreed to take care of all housework, family tending and errands).
That freed up a lot of hours each week. It didn’t seem so hard because there was a time limit to it. My other major challenge was self doubt. Each week that I wrote a chapter I sent it to a group of students as part of a course offering. Their enthusiastic validation and feedback was very encouraging.
Reilly: There are many well-placed quotes within your writing; was it hard to find the right ones to go along with your messages? How did you go about picking these quotes?
Kay: Some quotes I already knew and wanted to use. Others I searched for online. Toward the end there were quotes still needed and they came to me in day-to-day life. I would be reading something or listening to a lecture and the perfect quote was given to me.
Reilly: What do you hope your readers gain from in the reflection pages between chapters?
Kay: If a person reads the book, I imagine they’ll learn and be inspired. If they take the time to do the journaling exercises and guided meditations in the reflections, I imagine they will change and transform. Certainly that’s been the experience of people who have done the course this book was drawn from. I have launched a companion website so it will be easier for readers to do the reflections; the guided meditations are all organized and downloadable.
Reilly: How did you determine the structure of the book? Did it change at all as you worked on the book?
Kay: I started with the premise that the Nodes of the Moon are a significant astrological determinant of one’s soul path; so, after an introduction, I started with that.
I wanted to include the four pillars of healing: body, mind (mental & emotional) and spirit so that came next. Manifestation was next and then I had a couple of ‘spiritual life’ ending chapters.
That was pretty much my twelve initial chapters. The book evolved as I worked on it and then I offered another twelve week course on the material while I was editing the first course to be a book. By request of the students, I added chapters for Saturn and Pluto. I also realized a couple of my chapters were way too long and needed to be broken down. I ended up with nineteen chapters.
Reilly: Have you ever found it hard to make people understand the teachings of astrology without their minds first going to stereotypes? How have you taught people to understand beyond those barriers?
Kay: The astrology I have studied and teach tends to be deeper than the personality characteristics often seen in Sun sign columns. Not that they’re a bad thing; they expose people to astrology; most of us started out with Sun sign astrology. The problem is these columns tend to talk about the midlevel sign characteristics.
I see each sign and planet operating through an entire range, from the dysfunctional ‘shadow’ perspective, through the midlevel expressions, and also to highly evolved potentials of each sign. Each sign has a beautiful strength and integrated expression. We need to know what we’re aiming for, what it looks like when it’s truly healthy.
Finding a Publisher
Reilly: Did you need to write a book proposal for Raven Dreams Press or how did you get a publishing contract?
Kay: I knew the owner of Raven Dreams Press through the astrology world. They specialize in astrology, spiritual and yoga books. He knew my work and had read articles I’d written. He had mentioned to me a few years ago that if I ever wanted to publish a book, he’d be interested. It was relatively easy. I sent him a chapter summary and the first half of the manuscript before I started serious editing. It wasn’t as formal as a full book proposal. He read it within two months and agreed to publish it.
Reilly: That’s terrific! What are some of the reasons you decided to publish with Raven Dreams Press?
Kay: I thought about it a lot. My choices were self publishing, Raven Dreams, or sending my manuscript to a publisher like Hay House or New World. My book was not mainstream enough for most large publishers and my mailing list wouldn’t be considered large enough from what I’d heard, even for Hay House.
I knew the owner of RDP and trusted them. I had great respect for their other authors. I didn’t want to take the time to seek and wait for a large publisher and honestly I didn’t want to give up that kind of control. If Raven Dreams hadn’t been interested I probably would have self published.
The Publishing Process
Reilly: Can you share a bit about the publishing process?
Kay: I noticed how I thought for months that I was in the “final editing process.” I’d be finished and send it in and then there would be more, and more… Most of it was self-generated; I once woke up in the night knowing I didn’t like the word “got” and did a find and replace edit for more interesting words. Overall it went smoothly for me.
Lisa’s helpful hints about things writers needed to avoid, like too many exclamation points, had helped me in the writing process. Plus I was grateful for my Canadian education and the focus on the English language. My manuscript was pretty clean. Once we were within range of completion I picked an astrologically auspicious day for a pre-sale release of the book and the publisher submitted it to Amazon two days later.
Spreading the Word and Promoting a Book
Reilly: How are you promoting Soul Path Way?
Kay: A mailing to my client/student list plus Facebook came first. I did a launch party at the yoga studio where I teach, a virtual webinar book signing, and have some other interviews and book signings set up.
Reilly: In promoting Soul Path Way what aspects of the book are you highlighting to help encourage sales?
Kay: I’m highlighting the fact that it helps people figure out what they’re here for. Everyone wants to feel they’re on their correct path. I also point out that you don’t have to know astrology or any other metaphysical concepts to benefit from the book. An openness to the eternal question “Why am I here?” is all one needs.
Reilly: What are some of the most exciting opportunities that came out of publishing your book?
Kay: It’s still very early; mostly I’ve received speaking and teaching offers that might come to me anyway but a book solidifies my reputation.
Reilly: What is your hope or dream for Soul Path Way long-term?
Kay: My wish is that many people will discover it and be led to achieve their dreams… or to realize they are already on their path and then relax into enjoying the flow. For me, I’d like to be able to take those dream writing trips where I go off to France for a few months each year.
Reilly: Are there any tips you would want to give to readers?
Kay: I encourage readers to let their intuition guide them. Soul Path Way is designed to lead the reader through an awakening journey, with reflections and meditations to do to deepen their experience of each section. They can do that, or they can also jump around and read different bits and come back to the Reflections later. Like our soul path in general, there’s a direct path to follow and there’s also the free choice to meander around in life.
Kay Taylor is an astrologer, intuitive and healer who offers astrological readings and healing process work sessions, in-person in the San Francisco Bay Area or anywhere in the world through phone or Skype.