Whether you call it New Age or Mind/Body/Spirit, one mission is common to all publishers in this ever widening category—finding titles that will challenge, intrigue, and nourish both devoted longtime readers and the growing number of readers who are open to exploring everything from alternative medicine to Eastern philosophies.
One surefire way is to have a true believer on staff,” says Viva Editions’ associate publisher, Brenda Knight. “I go to workshops, retreat centers, and start each new year with a week at Esalen. We talk to booksellers who know and attend PantheaCon, a veritable incubator of new thought. And we have a crystal ball in the office... not kidding.” Inner Traditions’ acquisitions editor Jon Graham believes, “If you work with the people who are in the avant-garde of this movement rather than trying to duplicate what’s already successful, chances are good the material you publish will always be sought after.” One book Graham believes to be in the forefront is P.M.H. Atwater’s Children of the Fifth World (Dec.), which explains how the increase in the intuitive, creative, and abstract-thinking abilities of children as well as incidences of ADHD, dyslexia, and autism signal evolutionary changes at work in humanity.
Atria publisher Judith Curr notes that books like The Secret—now approaching 200 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list—“show that when an idea takes form in this category, it stays new for a long time. After a while marketing becomes irrelevant and success will itself spawn new directions.” But Rainbow Ridge president Bob Friedman cautions, “If the amount of shelf space and the number of New Age stores is any barometer, then New Age publishing is on the decline. What will keep the category fresh is more books that deal with the practical use of so-called metaphysical abilities, such as PK, channeling, telepathy, intuition, manifesting, healing, communication with the dead, out-of-body experiences.”
Finding the tools needed to lead a spiritually aware and compassionate life has long been the focus of books exploring the mind/body/spirit connection. Quest’s The Power of the New Spirituality: How to Live a Life of Compassion and Personal Fulfillment by William Bloom (Nov.) is from the U.K.’s leading mind/body/spirit educator; it’s a hands-on guide that straddles mainstream and alternative forms of belief to teach readers how to integrate spirituality into all aspects of daily life. Wabi Sabi: Timeless Wisdom for a Stress-Free Life by Agneta Nyholm Winqvist (Skyhorse, Nov.) explores the 5,000-year-old Eastern philosophy derived from Buddhism that has guided millions to a more fulfilling and stress-free lifestyle. And Viva Editions’ Imperfect Spirituality: Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People by Polly Campbell (Nov.) shows readers how to integrate traditional spiritual techniques into everyday moments.
For Turner executive editor Diane Gedymin, Dr. Judith and Dr. Bob Wright’s Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living (Jan.) “stood out from the countless same-old, same-old proposals because the authors asked pointed questions that made me actually stop and think... and they back up their program with cutting-edge research and an institute to help get the message out.” In True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart (Bantam Jan.), psychotherapist and meditation teacher Dr. Tara Brach shows how we can tap into an inner refuge of peace and acceptance even when confronted with life’s most difficult challenges. The tenet of Get What You Want: The Art of Making and Manifesting Your Intentions by Tony Burroughs (Viva Editions, Oct.) is simple yet powerful—“that which you are reaching toward is also reaching out toward you.”
How to Create Sacred Water by Rev. Kathryn Ravenwood (Inner Traditions, Nov.) combines crystal tuning with the work of entrepreneur Masaru Emoto and details how to create a personal altar in your home, the most suitable crystals, and how to program them with your healing intentions. Path of the Sacred Pipe: Journey of Love, Power, and Healing by Jay Cleve (Quest, Dec.) is the first book to fully incorporate the history, meaning, philosophy, relevance, and current rise in popularity of the sacred pipe, along with instructions for obtaining, caring for, and using it in ceremonies. And from Rainbow Ridge comes Joseph Gallenberger’s Inner Vegas: Creating Miracles, Abundance, and Health (Feb.), “a guide,” says Rainbow Ridge’s president Friedman, “to using scientifically proven psychic abilities to create miracles in your life.”
The pairing of angels and Irish writer Lorna Byrne continues to be one of the category’s most successful. Her memoir, Angels in My Hair, has been translated into 26 languages and is on the shelves of bookstores in more than 50 countries. In November, Atria will publish A Message of Hope from the Angels, already an international bestseller. Each chapter is themed to provide hope in relation to a specific issue—loneliness, feeling unloved, being depressed, or facing financial difficulties. A companion e-book, A Message of Hope for the Holiday Season, is due from Byrne in December. And Tarcher has Donna Eden, whose Energy Medicine and Energy Medicine for Women have sold more than 200,000 copies. She’s distilled many of her most essential practices into The Little Book of Energy Medicine: The Essential Guide to Balancing Your Body’s Energies (Jan.), a user-friendly pocket guide that offers readers quick tools to improve their health and well-being.
“We’re finding strong women’s interest in fun and approachable practice books,” says Red Wheel/Weiser Publisher Jan Johnson. “They not only want to learn about an esoteric art or New Age topic but they want to integrate the practice into their lives.” Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery: Everyday Magic, Spells, and Recipes (Weiser, Oct.) by Kris Bradley, a pagan soccer mom, speaks to 30-something women who want to spice up their lives with a dash of magic. Tammy Strobel’s You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too (New World, Sept.) chronicles how Strobel and her husband smart-sized their lives and fulfilled a dream by moving into a tiny house. And Beyond Soul Mates: Open Yourself to Higher Love Through the Energy of Attraction by Cyndi Dale (Llewellyn, Jan.) offers practical guidance and inspiring real-life stories that teach readers how to meet (and marry) their true mate or reignite the flame of true love in their current relationship.
Regular yoga practice has become an integral part of life for an ever increasing number of Americans. But, notes Skyhorse associate publisher Bill Wolfsthal, “What’s the point of all the yoga exercises, meditation, and deep breathing if you’re still loading up on heavy, greasy, processed food? We think our new yoga cookbook mashup, Yoga Food by Anna Gidgard [Nov.] will be our bestselling yoga book this year.” Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness (New World Library, Oct.) details author Brian Leaf’s trials and triumphs as he navigates his way through the world of yoga and holistic health.
Eva Herr’s Consciousness: Bridging the Gap Between Conventional Science and the New Super Science of Quantum Mechanics (Rainbow Ridge, Sept.) examines the nature of consciousness and offers a new understanding of human and cosmic reality at its most fundamental level. From Bantam this month is The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling by Stephen Cope, director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living—the largest yoga research institute in the Western world; Cope explores the ways in which the Bhagavad Gita has powerfully influenced countless ordinary and not so ordinary people, from Beethoven, Walt Whitman, and Harriet Tubman to Jane Goodall, Robert Frost, and Gandhi. And just in time for the upcoming election, Richard G. Geldard’s Emerson and the Dream of America: Finding Our Way to a New and Exceptional Age (Larson, Sept.) shows how Emerson’s dream of America—in contrast to “the American dream”—evokes something deeper, more fundamental, and much more appropriate to our immediate problems as a nation.
Developing a successful meditation practice is the focus of Robert Butera’s Meditation for Your Life: Creating a Plan that Suits Your Style (Llewellyn, Sept.), which explains the six basic forms of meditation and guides readers in identifying the ones that best suit them. Quest publisher Nicole Smoley promises “more than a visual delight” in Soul of Light: Works of Illumination (Nov.), a collection of more than 100 works of full-color visionary art by Portuguese artist Joma Sipe; “these beautiful works of sacred geometry act as vehicles of meditation, inviting the reader into a higher state of consciousness,” says Smoley. Viva Editions’ Living Life as a Thank You: My Journal (Nov.) by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammon helps people incorporate gratefulness into their daily life with prompts, meditations, and practices. And Joseph Emet’s Buddha’s Book of Sleep (Tarcher, Jan.) is the first book to treat sleep disorders from the perspective of mindfulness meditation, with a combination of wisdom and practical meditation exercises.
While 2012 has so far dodged ancient Mayan predictions of the end of the world, books on the paranormal and psychic phenomena are enjoying continued popularity. “We’re seeing strong interest in the science of New Age,” says Red Wheel/Weiser’s Johnson, “possibly as a result of all the cable shows where credible evidence is presented by scholars and serious investigators.” Impossible Realities by Maureen Caudill (Red Wheel/Weiser/Hampton Roads, Sept.) “speaks directly to this audience as [Caudill] looks at the science behind such topics as energy healing, telepathy, reincarnation, precognition, and what she calls Black Swans, after the theory that all it takes is one instance of something that we think doesn’t exist to prove that it does, indeed, exist.” In The Mayan Ouroboros: The Cosmic Cycles Come Full Circle (Weiser, Nov.), Drunvalo Melchizedek reveals what Mayan elders have told him about this period and explains how to prepare for this transition to a new 13,000-year cycle. And Michael Tellinger’s Slave Species of the Gods (Inner Traditions, Oct.) reveals new archeological and genetic evidence in support of Zecharia Sitchin’s work with prebiblical Sumerian clay tablets and shows how extraterrestrials called the Anunnaki created us using pieces of their own DNA.
So what does the future hold for readers and publishers in this ever changing and expanding category? Editor-in-chief Mitch Horowitz at Tarcher sees hidden spiritual masters as “a concept that’s re-emerging. The notion of mysterious, unseen teachers was popularized in Western culture in the 1870s and in the 1960s and ’70s; author Carlos Castaneda imported the concept of hidden mentors into his Don Juan books. Every generation reinterprets this idea.” Due from Tarcher this November is Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality by Gary Lachman, a biography of the renowned 19th-century mystic-occultist. Viva Editions’ Knight sees readers “returning to classic and even ancient theories on cycles such as astrology, both East and West.” She also looks for books that will “leap into the new physics of personal growth using quantum theory and neuropsychology—rather than navel-gazing, a look to the stars and the universe to understand our place in it.”
Healing and Contemplative Care
While books on alternative methods of healing have always been at the core of New Age publishing, titles that address end of life and contemplative care are finding a significant place as well. Bringing the ancient healing art of Reiki into the 21st century is the focus of Raven Keyes’s The Healing Power of Reiki (Llewellyn, Oct.), which features a foreword by Dr. Mehmet C. Oz. Keyes, the first Reiki Master to practice in a hospital operating room, shares stories from her nearly two decades of giving Reiki to rescue workers at ground zero, PTSD survivors, professional athletes, trauma patients, and breast cancer patients at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Two new books from Wisdom reach out to the burgeoning field of contemplative care and Buddhist chaplaincy, and offer complementary glimpses into what Buddhist contemplative works have to offer chaplains and volunteers of all faiths. “They speak,” says editor Josh Bartok, “to a new generation of Buddhist practitioners who are using their faith to help others along life’s journey. Buddhism specializes in turning toward the realities of sickness, old age, and death, and using those very experiences as delivery systems for wisdom and liberating compassion.” The Arts of Contemplative Care (Oct.), edited by Cheryl A. Giles and Willa B. Miller, shows how a variety of new forms of pastoral work and chaplaincy are taking shape as Buddhism in America matures in its second half-century. And Buddhist Care for the Dying and Bereaved (Dec.), edited by Jonathan S. Watts and Yoshiharu Tomatsu, offers perspectives from people within countries where these contemplative traditions have flourished for centuries.