Two years after starting my health coaching business, I knew I wanted to get a message about natural healing out to a larger audience.
Many well-educated doctors told me that my thyroid condition was “incurable” but, I healed it using natural methods, regardless.
Inspired by my body’s ability to heal, I knew I needed to share that information with the world!
And, one of the best ways I could do this was by writing a book.
But, I pushed that thought away and said, “I’m not a writer. Who am I to write a book? I can’t possibly do that.”
Eleanor Roosevelt wisely stated, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
I had to move beyond my fear and write my story because playing small wouldn’t help anyone.
I woke up every morning at 5:30am, sat my butt down in front of my computer and wrote one page at a time. Approximately, four months later it was finished.
After typing the last sentence on that final page, I immediately went to my bookshelf and grabbed the first book I saw. The publishing company noted on the inside cover was Putnam Publishing.
I did what any excited new author would do… I found their number and phoned them.
I said, “Hi I’m Andrea Beaman and I just finished writing my book. I want to know who I can send it to at Putnam so it can get published.”
There was silence on the other end of the phone.
I said, “Hello? Is anyone there?”
A woman replied, “Uhm, I’m sorry, but we don’t take unsolicited material from authors.”
“Unsolicited? What does that mean?”
She said, “It means you have to get a book agent, and then the book agent sends us the book so we can review it, and then we will decide whether or not we want to publish it.”
I said, “Well… I don’t have a book agent, but I’m right here, right now with you on the phone. Can’t I just send this book directly to your company myself?”
Another awkward silence.
She said, “I’m sorry, but that’s not the way it works in the publishing industry. Your book needs to be sent to us by an agent.”
So, I went on a mission to get a book agent.
I sent out one-hundred and sixty proposals and received three responses back.
One response was from the biggest book agent in the industry, Mel Berger, at William Morris. I thought I had died and gone to book heaven! His assistant called me directly and said they wanted to see my manuscript immediately. I printed it out and sent it off.
Two weeks later I received a letter, “Thank you for sending us you’re manuscript. After reviewing you’re work, we do not believe this is the right material for us. Good luck with you’re book. Please keep us in mind for other projects.”
I thought to myself, “What a horrible injustice! I just got rejected by a book agent who let his assistant use the wrong word three times in one paragraph!”
The second agent (I forgot her name!) asked to see the first three chapters of my manuscript. She called a few days later, and said she LOVED those chapters! She couldn’t put it down, and wanted to see the rest of it ASAP!
I sent her the remaining chapters and waited to hear back. After a few weeks of radio silence, I called and asked if she enjoyed reading my book.
She said, “Well…the first few chapters were great. Your story is compelling and moving. The experience with your mother’s breast cancer, and then improving your own diet when you were diagnosed with thyroid disease, and taking out animal-based foods, and how that helped change your health was inspiring! But, in chapter 5 you wrote about adding animal-based foods back into your diet and that just didn’t work for me. If you could rewrite chapter 5 and just talk about the benefits of eating more vegetables, and not add meat back in, I would gladly take this project on.”
I said, “That’s an interesting thought, but the name of my book is The Whole Truth, so I don’t think that would work, because it wouldn’t really be the Whole Truth. It would only be a partial truth.”
The third agent, Rita Rosenkranz, also wanted to see a copy of my book. Two weeks after I sent my manuscript, I received a phone call from her. She told me she wanted to call me personally to let me that she enjoyed my work. She said she loved my story. It was a page-turner, and it inspired her to take action on her own health.
“Great!!” I said. “That’s why I wrote it!”
“But,” she said, “you do NOT have a platform, and without a platform, no publisher will pick this up. So, I can’t take it on.”
I said, “What the heck is a platform?”
She explained that a platform is the space you stand on (so to speak) from where you can get seen and heard and sell your work. It’s your people, connections and affiliations. For example, movie actors have a platform because they are famous, doctors have a platform because of their association with the AMA and hospitals, a chef connected to a popular restaurant has a platform. All of those things are considered valid platforms, and I had none.
It was just me, my little cooking classes and lectures in New York City, and my new book.
I said, “I believe in my work. I am passionate about what I wrote, and I think it’ll help many people in the world. So, if you like my work and I am standing behind what I wrote, then the platform will surely grow as I continue to grow. Right?”
She was very apologetic and said, “I’m sorry. That’s just not the way it works in the publishing world. You already need to have an established platform before a publisher will take you on.”
I was grateful for her honesty.
When I finally did get a book agent (the sister of one of my clients), she sent my book proposal to some major publishing companies. Below is the feedback we received.
- “She’s not a doctor she can’t say that about the pharmaceutical industry.”
- “She’s doesn’t have a television show. No one knows who she is.”
- “She doesn’t own a restaurant.”
- “She’s not affiliated with any organizations.”
- “She’s a nobody.”
The publishing companies focused on all of the things that I wasn’t, instead of all of the things that I was, and still am; passionate about teaching people how to naturally heal their conditions to feel their best.
Since I wasn’t getting any action in the publishing world, I put my book on the back burner and went back to my business of teaching. Regardless of what mainstream media thought of me and my message, I was still going to share my content with as many people as I could.
Fortunately, one day as I was standing in line at the post office, and a tall fella with blonde dreadlocks got in line behind me. I immediately recognized him.
“Hey, I’ve seen you shopping at the health food store around the corner.”
He said, “Yeah, I’ve seen you there, too.”
I noticed he was holding a large stack of packages. I said, “Whattya doing with all those packages?”
He said, “I’m sending these manuscripts to a printing company to get these books published.”
He said, “Yeah it’s really easy.“
“Yeah, you either download your manuscript directly to their website or you send in hard copies and they scan it for you. Then they bind it, create a book, and print it up. It’s print on demand. You can purchase one copy or two thousand copies.”
Within two weeks of that conversation, I published my first book, The Whole Truth, without the approval of the book publishing industry.
When I wrote my second book, The Eating and Recipe Guide, I went direct to print on demand. My third book, Health is Wealth was ready to roll in 2012 and I self-published that one too. My fourth book, Happy Healthy Thyroid – The Essential Steps to Healing Naturally came out in 2015 and is also self-published.
My platform grows bigger every day and I receive emails from people all around the world who have been inspired by something they read in one of my books.
I’m grateful for the struggles I’ve encountered, and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to share my voice and my work with the world.
I believe the biggest obstacle to success is getting beyond your own fears. Once you do that… no-one can stop you from achieving your goals. You will always find a way.
If you are a health coach or wellness practitioner that has been struggling to get your voice and your content out into the world, don’t let any one or anything stop you – especially, your own fears!
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It’s time to do the thing you think you cannot do!
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.