BOOKS, MONEY & SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES
The Bigger Picture On "Selling" Books About One's Spiritual Experiences
A COMMON QUESTION I GET AFTER interviewing guests on Afterlife TV is this (an actual question from a viewer with a little editing for clarity):
"Hi Bob - You do great work, and this was a great interview. I went to your guest’s website and noticed that she has a lot of products for sale, including the book that you mentioned in the interview. That aroused my suspicion a little bit.
"As a former skeptic yourself, how do you justify in your mind that it’s okay that people turn their near-death experience into a business? On one hand, I suppose it allows them to be able to spread their message full-time and not have to have another job. But on the other hand, it could look like they came up with the story to sell products to gullible people.
"The insights your NDE guest learned are Universal and don’t necessarily belong to her (aside from her personal story of course), and it seems like the more people that could have access to them, the better. Isn’t charging money for a book about her story and insights a barrier to that? I’m pretty sure her experience was real, but I just wondered what your thoughts are on this." ~ Written by an audience member in an Afterlife TV comment
I'VE RECEIVED SO MANY SIMILAR VERSIONS of this question that I thought it warranted a thorough response that needs to be shared with everyone. So here it is.
So much of this question seems to be rooted in people’s beliefs around spirituality and money, many which are actually religious based around the idea that poverty is holy, even for those who are not religious. Countless folks believe that it’s unspiritual to ask for money relating to a spiritual gift or experience. But we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and the reality is that humans need money–-money for both necessities and enjoyment, as well as money to spread important news like the story of a near-death experience.
I view this subject from a different perspective. I view poverty as limiting and abundance as empowering. Thus, in the context of this question, people who earn money doing spiritual work (or spreading a spiritual message) are able to reach (and therefore positively affect) more people with their story by getting a financial return for their efforts of writing their book, as well as teaching about it and promoting it.
I know many people who offer free ebooks about their spiritual experience. I’ll bet you’ve never heard of most of them. Few people know of these authors because they don’t have the resources (financial or otherwise) to promote themselves. The result is that only dozens (or at best hundreds) of people have received the benefit of that person’s message rather than thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions.
Furthermore, and just as the question above suggested, many people who offer free ebooks and lectures don’t have the time to share their wisdom and experience because they’re working full-time jobs doing something entirely unrelated. In this case, the question we should be asking is what is worse: having a message and sharing it with only a few people because we’re too busy working a full-time job OR earning a living as an author and speaker on a full-time basis--thereby reaching a much larger audience with our spiritual message—and receiving a fee in exchange for that work or message?
One important reason people write a book to share their message is that a book can tell a much fuller story (and share a lot more wisdom) than if the author merely spread their message in radio and TV interviews. Interviews are too brief to tell the whole story. Even my 45-to-60 minute interviews on Afterlife TV (with no commercial interruptions) can’t tell the whole story. Consequently, and lucky for us, these people take months or years out of their life to write their story down into a book. And they deserve to be compensated for their time and effort.
The fact is that since most new authors have no idea how to 1) write a book, 2) package a book, and 3) promote a book (which means tell the world about it so that people have the opportunity to read it), book publishers provide these invaluable services. In other words, publishers help people who have life-changing stories and messages get that information out to the masses. And publishers are in the business of making profits so that they too can pay their bills, compensate their employees, and spread positive messages around the world.
What fascinates me about this subject is that so many people are quick to judge, criticize, or be suspicious of authors who sell a book about their spiritual experience, yet they don’t think the same of musicians, singers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, or even other nonspiritual-based authors. Are these not God-given gifts, as well? Is the artist and musician not also channeling Universal Energy? Of course they are, as are the filmmakers, photographers, and nonspiritual-based authors. If God/Source owns the creative rights of the near-death experiencers, the same is true for every experience, talent and insight that exists in the physical world.
What’s most ironic about this subject is that the suspicion that people throw at people who write books about their near-death experiences, for example, is based on a lack of insight about how much authors earn per book. Most authors earn $1.00 to $1.50 per book at most. While that might seem like a lot to some, what most people don’t know is that most new authors will never sell more than 5000 copies of their book, and more than half will never sell 1000 copies. Worse, fifty percent of self-published authors won't earn more than $500 from their book.
For at least 90 percent of authors, not only are they NOT earning a living from their book, most actually spend more on costs to promote it than they will ever earn back in royalties. And this includes costs like hiring a publicist or speaking coach, purchasing clothes for interviews and speaking engagements, paying for their website design and hosting, and hiring a virtual assistant.
So many people erroneously believe that authorship is a lucrative gig by default. Sure it’s lucrative for celebrities who get a million-dollar royalty for their autobiography, or for the tiny percentage who make the New York Times Bestseller list. But for most full-time nonfiction authors, they earn most of their money giving workshops, lectures, and offering private sessions of some sort to pay the bills while teaching–-all services that further educate and empower their audiences. And the book is merely a marketing tool, not a primary income-earner.
So what about the argument that writing and selling a book about your spiritual experience might cast suspicion upon your message? If I’ve learned anything about life from investigating the afterlife, I’ve learned that it is not anyone’s responsibility to worry about what other people “might” think. If people lean toward skepticism, they will find reasons to be skeptical in one way or another. If we, as teachers, were to avoid avenues that “might bring suspicion upon us,” we’d end up doing nothing. We cannot control what others think about us, nor should we try. Other people’s skepticism is about those other people, not us. What we, as individuals, must focus upon is our own integrity and intent. If our values are in check, we will have the effect of our intent through our work, while understanding that we cannot possibly carry everyone over the chasm that separates skepticism and knowing. Those whom we are meant to affect will be affected, and that’s more than enough.
There’s one more small-but-important aspect of this subject that I should mention, which is that people typically place value on things according the value it’s been given. There are a lot of people who would never read a free ebook because the author gave it no value–-it’s free. But take that same ebook and charge $20 for it, and now that information has value. This is been proven in business time and time again.
But that’s not all. What’s even more important than this is that by you or I purchasing that ebook for $20, we are much more likely to read it. If it were free, we might throw it on our computer and never look at it (I have free ebooks on my computer right now that I never opened). But pay for them and we’ll be sure to gain the most benefit out of it as possible, because we made a commitment when turning over our money for it that it was something of value to us. It’s psychological, yes, but it’s also energetic. Moreover, when you recognize that the $20 you paid for it now goes toward helping that author reach an even larger audience with his/her message, you recognize how abundance is empowering.
I could say a lot more on this subject, but I’ll leave you with what I’ve written. I’m grateful to those who asked me this question, as it has allowed me to provide you and anyone who finds this with this important alternative insight. And keep in mind that everything I’ve written above is as true for CDs, DVDs, membership sites, workshops, and lectures, as it is for books and ebooks.
Thank you for time and attention. And God bless the authors and teachers of spirituality. May the abundance of the universe flow through them so that they enlighten the world with their insights.
©2013 Written By Bob Olson
Bob Olson hosts Afterlife TV http://www.afterlifetv.com Bob's other sites include:
Best Psychic Directory: http://BestPsychicDirectory.com
Instant Psychic & Medium Readings: http://bestpsychicdirectory.com/instantreadings.php
Best Psychic Mediums: http://BestPsychicMediums.com
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