IndieView with Crystal Hope Reed, author of How to Live with a Psychic

I like telling people what to do so the advice giving came really easily. Maybe more easily than I should admit.

Crystal Hope Reed – 18 July 2017

The Back Flap

The emergence of psychic or healing abilities in one partner often causes anxiety, stress, or confusion for the other. How to Live with a Psychic teaches you not only how to survive this shift but how to thrive and strengthen your relationship when your life has detoured down this unfamiliar path.

Crystal has already figured out what works and what doesn’t. Follow her practical advice, designed to help you take command of your situation and achieve the best possible results for your unique circumstances.

About the book

What is the book about?

More and more people are experiencing a psychic awakening. This can take the form of clairvoyance, mediumship, healing, precognitive dreams, communicating with animals, or lots of other phenomena, like just knowing things and not being able to explain how you know them.  When this is happening to someone it may change their behavior and worldview and it’s often difficult for their partner to cope. Maybe it conflicts with established belief systems or upsets their equilibrium as a couple.  There are so many possibilities.

This book, the only one currently on the market addressing this particular issue, is written for the partner of the emerging psychic. I walk people through every aspect of the scenario and teach them how to manage their partner’s instability, when applicable, as well as their own discomfort and confusion. I give information about how psychics experience the world differently than most other people and thorough explanations about psychic phenomena in general.  The book also contains lots of relationship advice that can benefit anyone, even if they’re not living with a psychic.

There’s a chapter on how to tell the difference between psychosis and psychic ability, and another that is just firsthand accounts from developing psychics, where they explain what they wish their families and partners had done to support them. It’s really quite comprehensive and at the same time, to the point. Practical. Concrete. And hopefully not too serious even though it’s a serious subject.

When did you start writing the book?

I wrote about 40 pages in July of 2014 and then set it down for about a year and a half. During that time I felt as if I was actively “in the process of writing a book” but honestly, I didn’t do anything but think about it.

How long did it take you to write it?

Once I started writing again, it took much longer than I expected. In early 2016 I thought I could get it out during the summer. Then I set a “firm” deadline for myself for Thanksgiving weekend. Around the turn of 2017 I was polishing yet another draft, creating the cover, etc.  At some point after Thanksgiving I had finally given in to the idea that this process has a life of its own and that helped me relax and focus on doing the work instead of wasting my energy being upset about missing my self-imposed deadlines.

Where did you get the idea from?

You know how they say, “Write what you know”? That pretty much sums this book up. It’s based on my experience of having to figure out how to support my husband through the early, tumultuous phase of his explosion of psychic ability, combined with my counseling background and my own resulting fascination with the paranormal and metaphysics.

I was quite surprised to find there weren’t any books on this subject on Amazon because it seems like there are no new ideas left at this point, right? There were lots of books for people who are becoming or who want to be psychic, but none that focused on the issues that arise for/with their loved ones in the process.

I knew I was the right person to write the book, based on my unique combination of experience and training, and that I should do it as quickly as possible because Brett and I were meeting more and more people all the time who were struggling with this. For example, we’ve visited support groups for developing psychics around Los Angeles and they’re full of people who go to the meetings because they can’t talk to their significant others or family about what’s happening. And I’ve heard about several separations or divorces due to this relationship challenge in just the past year and a half. So it’s a real thing that’s affecting more people than you’d probably imagine.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Brett did the editing and a lot of the red marks came back in the form of “Explain!” and long passages crossed out in their entirety. So I guess the struggle was the same as most authors experience: being pleased with myself but then hearing from an editor or reader that the parts where I felt especially clever just came off as confusing or contrived.

What came easily?

I like telling people what to do so the advice giving came really easily. Maybe more easily than I should admit.

I’m half joking about that but honestly, it was fairly easy for me to flesh out the parts that focused on relationship issues. I’ve lived everything I talked about, and I’ve coached others through it, too, so those parts almost wrote themselves.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

My “characters” are 100% real since this is a non-fiction book. All names were removed to protect the identities of people I used as examples, and even the firsthand accounts in chapter 10 are unattributed, but everybody I refer to is an actual person and every anecdote I use is a truthful retelling.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

This is the kind of question where one might be tempted to make something up because we’re supposed to be able to talk about our influences, right? But I don’t. I can’t think of anyone who influences my writing style for non-fiction.

Do you have a target reader?

For this particular book, my target readers are: a) anyone who’s living with a developing psychic and would like some suggestions for making that easier; b) developing psychics who want to be able to ask for the support they need from their loved ones; and c) anyone who is newly interested in the psychic realm. My reviews on Amazon have also revealed that a people are reading it even though they have no interest in or experience with psychic phenomena and they’re still getting a lot of value from the advice that can be generalized to any relationship.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I shy away from ritual or routine so I don’t have a writing process in that sense. I write when the mood strikes mostly, and then once a project is in the editing and revision phases I’ll discipline myself more. Other days I work on book promotion and business, but not necessarily writing. Sometimes I even take a full day off, if you can imagine. How unorthodox.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I outline extensively. You could say compulsively.

Since I write non-fiction, this makes sense, right? I need to have a very thorough list of all of the topics and details that I want to cover to make sure I feel I’m doing justice to the subject matter.

I start by listing everything I can think of, in no particular order. With pen and paper. I let this take at least a few days because “sleeping on it” actually works. (Always trust those instincts you have first thing when you wake up. Not just about writing, but about any area of life.) Then I start to organize and categorize, and I move it to a Word document.

By the time I’m done with this extensive brainstorming process, I practically just have to fill in some blanks. That’s an exaggeration, because of course there’s a lot of writing to do. And editing. And re-writing. But it leaves me with just these little blocks to focus on one at a time, instead of worrying about the arc or big picture, because I’ve already planned that to my satisfaction beforehand.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

Both. Obviously I don’t turn out drafts that I feel are poorly written, but there’s always a lot more work to do after every revision. I think we did 14 drafts of “How to Live with a Psychic.” I had four different intros. Not just three revisions of the same intro, but four entirely different approaches until one seemed to fit with the rest of the book.

One of the challenges of being an author is that a piece of work is never really done so at some point you just have to stop and let it be what it is. There are a ton of small things to consider first, though, like looking for words you tend to use too frequently and replacing those with alternatives—which sometimes requires rewriting the whole sentence or even more. It’s a balance between creating something that’s good enough for consumption and realizing that if you wrote the passage today it would come out differently than how you wrote it yesterday, so revising could potentially be a never-ending process.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Brett, my husband, has been my editor. I know having a family member or friend as one’s editor is advised against in pretty much every list of “do’s and don’t’s” for authors and in general I would agree with that proscription. However, our relationship dynamics have coalesced in such a way that being each others’ editors is actually probably the best idea for us. At least for now, during our self-publishing phase. Once we have books picked up by publishers there will be other editors involved in those projects whether we like it or not.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I don’t listen to music while writing. If I had my choice, I would have only the ambient noise of our neighborhood, which is so familiar to me that it’s like the pulsing of my own blood through my veins. But since we don’t live in an ideal world, I have learned to mostly block out the constant household noise and to recover quickly from the frequent interruptions by people and dogs who seem quite certain that whatever they want from me at the moment is more important than whatever silly thing I’m doing on the computer.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

Not for this first book. My plan is to submit the next one to agents.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

A little bit of the decision was based on feeling discouraged by the high rejection rate from agencies and publishers for first-time authors. Also, there was an element of impatience. I didn’t want to wait to get this particular book out since I’d discovered there wasn’t one on this topic on the market yet and I didn’t want to miss my window.

And then a lot of the decision was based on the fact that we like to do things ourselves. We like to know how things work. I didn’t know anything about this industry at all so I felt it was important to get my hands dirty with every single aspect.

There’s more work to it than I expected so in a way I’m glad I didn’t realize that before getting started. For example, almost every place one can post their ebook wants it in a different format.  These things are not necessarily hard, but they are all time consuming, so be sure you have the time and interest and organizational skills to make it happen if you’re considering that route.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

In keeping with our self-sufficiency model, Brett designed my cover. He’s a great artist and spent a lot of time analyzing successful book covers in terms of color schemes, fonts, and imagery in order to make the book look appropriate for my genre. Just out of curiosity I paid a few Fiverr vendors to create covers just to see what they could come up with and everything looked like a template. Practically the same design from each person. I’ve used Fiverr for other things and was satisfied but your book’s cover is too important, don’t skimp on that.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

Totally just winging it. Not recommended.

Here’s what I can say about marketing in a nutshell: When I am actively marketing, I get sales. When I am not actively marketing because I’m focusing on writing the next book or non-marketing business tasks, sales taper off.

I went with KDP Select for the first 90 days so I could do a free period on Amazon. I got almost exactly 500 downloads in one long weekend so that was pretty good for a niche book like mine. Making that happen took a lot of prep work, though, because I had to submit to dozens of free-ebook promotion sites, well in advance so they had time to list me on the appropriate days, and then a bunch of Facebook pages on the day of. Once I switched back to not-free, there wasn’t the momentum I’d expected or hoped for but at least it was valuable for getting some reviews, which are very important in attracting future readers.

Now I’ve switched my attention to making my book available more places. When I first put it on Amazon I didn’t realize that bookstores and libraries don’t typically buy from them (even with the reseller discount through CreateSpace Direct), partly because they want returnability. That means as self-publishers we have to put our print books up on other sites like Ingram and get it listed with wholesalers. (Check into the differences between a wholesaler and a distributor for you own edification.) So I went through the long process of being accepted by New Leaf Distributing and have paid to be placed in a couple catalogs that specialize in metaphysical books, as well as buying a display spot for this year’s BookExpo through Combined Book Exhibit. When I become aware of other opportunities or avenues for marketing I will pursue those as well. But I’m really just making it up as I go along.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

I will paraphrase some advice I heard on a webinar about being a successful indie author:

“If you choose to self-publish your books, you are not an author. You are an entrepreneur and your product just happens to be a book.”

I can’t emphasize enough how true this is. If you don’t have the time or the stomach for handling ALL of the production aspects and ALL of the sales aspects for your book then maybe consider sending your manuscript out to agents.

And you have to make that decision ahead of time. I’ve been told by every agent I’ve talked to that once a book is self-published they don’t want anything to do with it because the publishers don’t want anything to do with it.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Santa Monica, California. While it’s now considered Silicon Beach, when I was growing up in the ‘70s and early ‘80s it was literally Dogtown and Z Boys.

Where do you live now?

I still live in Santa Monica. While in the Navy I lived in the south and on the east coast, but as soon as my enlistment was over I zipped right back here. I know a lot of people don’t like our area—even some who’ve never even been here!—but for some of us there’s just no other place that feels comfortable and open enough to be home.

What are you working on now?

My next book is about animal communication. A combination of how-to and case studies. Releasing a workbook and audio book of How to Live with a Psychic are obvious next steps, too.  Other things I’ll be writing soon are some YA non-fiction and probably something heady about soul evolution. Pretty much everything will be psi related.

End of Interview:

For more from Crystal visit her website or like her Facebook page.

Get your copy of How to Live with a Psychic from Amazon US or Amazon UK.


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