Readers have been eagerly anticipating my new book and asking, “When will it be available?” So I thought I’d give you a quick update. Right now—literally right now—I am working on the final FINAL edit for the book. Yes, it really is the final edit before the book goes to the printer, so this is my last chance to catch any errors.
Surprisingly, even though six people have proofread the book, there can still be small errors. I just found a misplaced hyphen for lower backache (where the word breaks at the end of the line), and I have a question about whether one other word should be capitalized.
My publisher, Hay House has done a fantastic job of guiding me through the editing process to make the book the best that it can be. I thoroughly enjoyed the editing process. It was like getting paid (through the book advance I won) to learn how to be a better author.
Sole Guidance will be released this summer, and I’m so excited! The first thing I want to do when it comes out is visit a bookstore, find my book on the shelf, and get my husband to take a picture of me holding the book in the store :). I’ll post more details about the book at the bottom of this article. But first, here are some fun and interesting facts about the book and the writing process:
1. How I Got Published
I won a publishing contract with Hay House thorough one of their Writer’s Workshops. Hay House runs these events each year and they now offer an online version. Participants have the opportunity to submit a book proposal, and one person from each event wins a publishing contract with Hay House.
When Hay House called to tell me I won, I was out shopping for groceries at Whole Foods, so they left a voicemail. In the message, they said they were “very excited” and had some “exciting news” for me.
Before I got back in touch with them, I was talking with my husband and I wondered if Hay House was maybe calling to tell me that I had won second or third prize in the contest—which did not include a publishing contract. My husband replied, “You won! Nobody gets ‘very excited’ about winning bronze.”
He was right! We celebrated that evening by going out to our favourite Japanese restaurant for sushi.
2. Something Funny About the Anus
The funniest comment my Editor at Hay House wrote was: “And when readers stumble on the rectum and anus, it’ll be like a bonus! (Oh my gosh, I just reread that last sentence. Lol.)”
We had changed where to put the reflexology point for the anus/rectum in Chapter 12. We had moved it under a sub-category. Thus when readers came across the sub-category and the anus/rectum point, it would be like a bonus point!
3. Dozens of Readings
I must have read the book in its entirety at least 20 times—probably closer to 30. In all honesty, I have enjoyed reading it every time until this final final round. Now, I know the book is finally done because I need a break from it!
P.S. I still like reading it, but I definitely could use a break of a few months. I’m sure when I see the actual physical book, I’ll fall in love with it all over again!
4. Word Count: 71, 638
In the last draft of the manuscript before it was typeset, the book had 71,638 words. I must have written between 80,000 to 90,000 words in total. However, through my multiple edits, I whittled down the word count.
5. More Numbers: 8 Months, 2 Houses, and 1 Summer Vacation
It took about eight months to write the book. I began in January 2015 and was writing until the end of August. I actually missed two deadlines for the manuscript, but not by very much. I figured moving was a good excuse to be late.
During the time I was working on the book, summer vacation came along and my son was off school for two months, so I lost two month’s worth of prime writing time—I’m most productive in the mornings. We also visited family in Canada for a few weeks. And, we sold our house, bought a new one, and moved to a new city.
6. I’m a Planner, Not a Pantser
The way I was able to juggle all of the stuff going on in my life while being a full-time mom, and writing a book was to be very focused with my time and writing. There are two types of authors: planners and pantsers. Stephen King is a renowned pantser. He just starts writing and keeps on going until the book is done. So it’s like he flies by the seat of his pants—hence, he’s a pantser.
The other type of writer is a planner. They plan everything out in advance. I am definitely a planner. I outlined everything in the book in advance. Of course, I did change things as I went along, but the overall structure was very helpful for keeping me on track in the writing process.
I tell my friends that the secret to my writing is the hamburger paragraph. This is a writing structure that I learned in elementary school. The top bun is the introductory line stating what your paragraph will be about. Then, you include three sentences (hamburger filling) to support the first line. Finally, you end the paragraph with the bottom bun, which is your concluding sentence.
- I love cats. They are funny, cute, and loving. My cat is very friendly. He is beautiful and can jump very high. Cats make great pets.
Essentially, the book was a very elaborate hamburger paragraph. Fortunately, my writing skills have advanced since third grade.
7. Head to Heart to Save LOTS of Time
To help me write the book, I also used my Head to Heart exercise. This is a technique I made up that lets me cut through the clutter and indecision of my mind to figure out what my heart wants. I find when I use this exercise, it takes me just a few seconds to come up with a decision that I feel good about.
It saves me HOURS of indecisiveness, overthinking and overanalyzing, and also helps me let go of the desire to be perfect. This exercise helped me quickly outline the chapters and sections of my book. In fact, I even included it in the book. In Chapter 17, I share how you can use the Head to Heart exercise to help you follow your soul’s calling.
8. Many Hats
Not only did I write the book, I drew all of the foot diagrams in the book using Adobe Illustrator. I also made the charts and tables that appear in the book. For those, I used Microsoft Word. I had to size them correctly for the print version, and then convert the charts into PDF files. In the front of the book—you know where all the copyright info is—I get a credit for the illustrations.
Now I know why most books don’t include many diagrams or charts. It’s because the author is responsible for providing them—the publisher does not create these for you. Maybe when I become a famous fancy pants author, my publisher will make the charts for me ;).
9. This Baby Had a Different Name
The original title for my book was, Amazing Health, Amazing Life. That’s the title that I submitted to Hay House when I entered their Writer’s Workshop contest. This title actually came to me while I was showering.
Later, I decided to rename the book and came up with a shortlist of different options that I shared with readers and asked them to vote for their favourite book title. Two titles ended up being favourites, and the Hay House editorial team picked the final title.
I also asked readers to vote on which “mugshot” I should use for the book cover. So the smiling face you’ll see on the back cover is the one chosen by readers!
Speaking of Babies. . .
Speaking of babies, the book writing process did remind me a lot of giving birth. Eight months is almost a full-term pregnancy. There was still a little back and forth in the ninth month, so I’d say I carried this book for the full-term!
I also have to say that I’m really pleased with how the book turned out. Sole Guidance is a really really good book. I wanted to write the book from my heart, and create the masterpiece that my soul wanted to create. And I succeeded.
Being Chinese, it’s hard for me to not be overly critical of my work. It’s also ingrained in me to be modest and to aim for perfection. Despite my best efforts to temper these tendencies, I still hold extraordinarily high standards for myself, and I held them for the book, too.
I was continually surprised at the positive feedback I received. A professional editor at Hay House!!! LOVED my book and thought I was a great writer. And despite my mind’s insistence to downplay my accomplishment, my heart knows that Sole Guidance surpasses my high standards. It truly is a brilliant book.
However, what excites me most, is knowing that this book is going to change lives. It’s going to empower people to take command of their health. It’s going to reawaken their power to heal themselves, and inspire them to reach higher and dream bigger. That’s what really excites me.
Sole Guidance will be released on July 26, 2016, and will be available in paperback and Kindle versions. You can even pre-order it right now on Amazon.com in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
P.S. My friends keep asking me if I’m going to go on a book tour. Unfortunately, publishing has changed so much that publishers really don’t do book tours anymore. But, we can still have fun! I’ll always thinking of fun ways to share Chinese Reflexology with you so sign up for my newsletter to hear the latest!