In the past five years, some niche magazines that were favorites among publishers of Mind-Body-Spirit (MBS) books have disappeared—Green Egg, Magical Blend, Common Boundaries and Organic Style are all gone. Meanwhile, mainstream magazines have tapped into MBS, with O, Ladies' Home Journal and Real Simple hitting the yoga mat or lighting an aromatherapy candle. But editorial space in those magazines is limited, making it difficult for small or midsize publishers to land a review or a mention. And their advertising rates are too high for all but the biggest houses.

So what's a publisher with a new book on reiki, tonal therapy or shamanic teachings to do? Blow the budget on the big mags? Dig deep for the ever more focused e-zine or supermarket freebie? Or does the publisher move away from print to stake out a larger claim in the growing field of online marketing?

The answer is: all of the above. "As Mind-Body-Spirit publishers, we need to continue to feed the general media that does accept this topic now," says Joel Fotinos, director of religious publishing for the Penguin Group and publisher of its Tarcher imprint. "But we also need to find the customers in the specific genres in other ways."

Shifting Dollars

At DeVorss Publications, the loss of niche publications brought a shuffle of advertising dollars. "We have had to cut back," says Gary Peattie, DeVorss president. But DeVorss continues to focus on the niche publication. "We get more pound for our punch in the small magazines," he says. Still, there is no harm in sending the big guys a book. "I'll send them a review copy and cross my fingers, but I am realistic."

At Inner Traditions, v-p of sales and marketing Rob Meadows says he now looks harder for smaller print venues, such as front-of-store freebies. "They might have a circulation of as little as 10,000, but people take them home," he says.

Meanwhile, Inner Traditions keeps its focus on direct mail. Meadows says the company receives about 14,000 individual requests for catalogues a year. "A customer we please once is going to be a repeat customer," Meadows says. "That evidence is borne out when we get feedback at consumer book shows. Our fans are crazy for us." Meadows says the company has grown 56% since 2001.

Although advertising in the mainstream magazines might be out of reach, capitalizing on what the mainstream takes up is cheap and can really pay off. When Rhonda Byrne named The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles—published by Inner Traditions under the title Financial Success since 1976—as an inspiration on Oprah and elsewhere, the press repackaged it under the original title for a March release, complete with a sticker touting "The secret behind The Secret." Meadows has 38,000 orders for the new version. (The marketplace will see competing editions of the Wattles book—Tarcher is publishing its version in April, which Fotinos says contains additional material and will have simultaneous release in audio.)

Munro Magruder, associate publisher of New World Library, says mainstream ad rates are too high, and when those publications do write about a book, "it's two sentences, that's all the space they are allotted" (although two sentences in O did great things for The Power of Now). Publicity and merchandising, such as in-store displays and events, are the two largest components of NWL's strategy; advertising is a much smaller component.

"Yoga Journal has become more mainstream and their ad rates have gone up dramatically," Magruder says. "That used to be a place we always looked to advertise first, but now we can only do it with our biggest books." NWL did so in 2006 for Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman, but only because a movie based on the book was being released. Instead, NWL is doing more online marketing. With last year's Imagining Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women, edited by Paula Goldman, the house hired an outside firm to target Internet marketing opportunities. The book sold its first printing of 10,000 and went back for another 3,000.

Bloggers, Ploggers and Podcasts

Publishers of all sizes are looking to online marketing, with many excited about's plogging opportunities. Throw in podcasts, which can attract subscribers with narrow interests, and you have what publishers say will be the triple threat of online marketing.

Llewellyn is growing into the MBS category with the hiring of a new acquisitions editor, Carrie Obry. Her first titles will be published this year, including Sail into Your Dreams by Karen Mehringer (May) and Unlocking the Healing Code by Bruce Forciea (Dec.). Niche magazines will be a major part of marketing, but the Internet is where the company will put more energy. "The space is infinite and the cost is nominal," says Alison Aten, Llewellyn's publicity manager. The press is also marketing to bloggers, treating them as potential reviewers, and looking to do more podcasts. Llewellyn will also market MBS books via its house-generated e-newsletters. "Subscribers can forward it on, a kind of viral marketing. You get more exposure by having your customers market for you," says Aten.

At Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari Press, president Michael Kerber says, "While we have lost some of the specialty magazines, we've been able to expand our online marketing, and that has been proving effective," pointing to sites such as, and as good places to promote their books.

But for the right book, he keeps his eye on the mainstream magazines, too. The Yoga Facelift by Marie V. Nadeau (April) will be featured in an upcoming Elle. For the New Age memoir When Fear Falls Away: The Story of a Sudden Awakening by Jan Frazier (May), the push is to magazines like Spirituality & Health. "How could we get O Magazine to pay attention when Frazier is not well known?" Kerber says. "Some of the more metaphysical magazines could appreciate her journey more."

Tarcher, too, is also looking harder at the Internet. Fotinos says, "If I can advertise on somebody's blog that gets thousands of hits, those ads are not expensive and they are effective." Tarcher works with authors to identify Web sites and blogs for their audience, develop podcasts and create their own blogs. Reaching the author's own platform through e-mail, direct marketing or newsletters also is important. The tactics are working, Fotinos says—Tarcher is "double digits" above sales forecasts.

Ani Chamichian markets books for Inner Ocean, Duncan Baird and Watkins. After 22 years in the business, "the one thing that I do differently now is post parts of books on internet sites," Chamichian says. "That is where the true believer goes." And the "fringier the book," she says, the better it will do. Civilization One by Christopher Knight and Alan Butler (Duncan Baird, 2006) was picked up by bloggers and sites devoted to ancient civilizations. Now she has authors give her content she can post somewhere long before the book is published.

Margarete Nielsen, Hay House's marketing director, says, "Rather than spend $100,000 on one ad in O Magazine, we'd rather use that budget where we know we can measure results, and that's in online marketing." Hay House has an advantage, with numerous MBS-oriented Web sites in its own family: and, to name just two. Hay House expanded its budget for pay-per-click advertising, Internet banner ads and e-mail marketing. Two books that will get a big Internet push are Your Destiny Switch (May) by Peggy McColl (herself an online marketer through her company, Dynamic Destinies) and Wayne Dyer's Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao (Aug.).

Sometimes nothing can replace good old-fashioned legwork. At Himalayan Institute Press, marketing manager Laura Brownell never goes to the dentist or doctor without taking the company's magazine, Yoga + Joyful Living, with reply cards, flyers and blow-ins. Himalayan does no podcasts, no viral marketing, no blogging, and it only e-mails people who ask for info—a low-tech approach Brownell says makes sense for the MBS reader. "New Age clientele do not want to get e-mailed," she says. "It is becoming increasingly common that people are saying no. So we try to get [ads and coverage] in magazines that we know our clientele read."

What will future MBS marketing plans look like? Less paper, more ether, most publishers say. But don't count the magazines—big or small—out yet. "They will still be there, and we will still have a relationship with them," says Red Wheel/Weiser's Kerber. "But more people today get information online, and clearly our marketing has to move in that direction. I don't see it as an either/or—I see it as an increase in opportunities to get to those consumers who have an affinity for our books."