The Alternative Medicine Cabinet: A Conversation with Kathy Gruver
This month, we’re interviewing talented women authors from all over the world and asking them about their writing process. We had the privilege of speaking with Kathy Gruver about The Alternative Medicine Cabinet. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation.
Have you written a book? What is it about?
Yes, I have written five books. My first, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet, is a collection of natural health and wellness advice and resources. It was actually turned into a TV series, which I host. Body Mind Therapies for the Bodyworker was written specifically for other massage therapists and health professionals about how to incorporate stress reducing mind-body therapies into their practice to help their clients and patients. Conquer your Stress is a buffet of stress busting options for the general public. I co-wrote a great book called Market my Practice to help other practitioners really succeed in their healthcare business. And my latest, Journey of Healing is not only a great compendium of alternative medicine techniques but also how I have use them throughout the years to help not only my clients heal but myself as well. It is peppered with personal stories of growth, evolution and learning.
What gave you the courage/motivation to start?
I really wanted to reach more people. I love sharing my knowledge with clients one-on-one in my office, And I felt myself writing more and more articles to reach the public. I started doing more public speaking, which came naturally to me since I have a background as an actress and several people asked me when my book was coming out. I decided to finally take the leap and put together Alternative Medicine Cabinet. It not only allowed me to reach more people to educate them about health and wellness but also helped establish me an expert. I found I got more radio shows and speaking gigs from having a book and saw benefits all around.
Did you encounter any problems such as writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome them?
I didn’t really experience writer’s block because in writing nonfiction books it’s more assembling information than creating information. One of the biggest challenges was how to arrange the information. A lot of what I put in the book came from articles and research papers I wrote during my PhD. Trying to design a cover and assemble the book really was the biggest issue. And then once it’s out trying to sell is always a challenge.
How did you go about finding a publisher/getting the book self-published?
I decided to self publish my books. For several reasons. First of all I’m a bit of a control freak and wanted to make sure that everything turned out the way I wanted it to. I have heard horror stories about covers being changed and footnotes being deleted and by the end of it it doesn’t even seem like your book anymore.
So all of mine are self-published. Now, having said that, I just signed with a fabulous publisher who is going to redo some of my works and then look to my future books as well. If you want to self publish there are so many options. Just make sure you read the contract fully to know that you retain the rights if you only ISBN number and what happens if you want to pull it from that self-publishing to do it somewhere else.
Amazon has a program I went through a company called Infinity for four books and Book Patch for the co-written work. I knew about Infinity from talking with a gentleman who had worked there at one of my husband’s business conferences. And my co-writer found Book Patch.
Did anything surprise you about the whole process?
It was actually a pretty easy process. I know it is much harder to go the traditional route where you look for an agent and look for publisher. Though I have to be honest when I decided to go that route recently it was pretty easy as well. I think I just picked the right publishers to contact at the right time. And being that I already had five books, I think that was appealing to them. Marketing is really the key to any book. Making sure you tell people it’s out there and asking them to buy it is really important and challenging. I honestly thought I’d sell more, that it would be easier to get into people’s hands but it has oftentimes been a challenge.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book, or starting to write one?
You really just have to go for it. Put pen to paper and start to write. Don’t think about it as trying to write an entire book as that seems pretty overwhelming, think about it as writing one sentence, then one paragraph. A book is really just a string of sentences. Sentences are easy to write. Decide if you want to go the self-publishing route or find a traditional publisher. Do your research and make sure what you choose jives with what you want to accomplish. And again go for it!