Women of Power & Grace
... the Story Behind the Book
Regarding this book, Women of Power and Grace: Nine Astonishing, Inspiring Luminaries of Our Time (Wake Up Press, 1995)—Why did a male author write a book about women spiritual adepts? Here's the backstory...
In the late 1980s I (Timothy) read an anthology on enlightenment (no names here) which had an appendix wondering "who are the great enlightened women?" Very few names were given, just a dozen or less, by the editor of that book, and it was immediately obvious to me that our major religious traditions had hosted at least a thousand women acclaimed as saints, sages, adepts, incarnations, bodhisattvas, prophetesses, wise teachers, healers, et al.
So that all these women's names and deeds and teachings not be lost to "history" (which, unfortunately, is never "her-story"), I began to draft a "narrative encyclopedia" tentatively entitled Women of Spirit: A Sourcebook of Saints, Teachers, Goddesses and Sisterhoods East and West. Within 2 years of work, the manuscript soon amounted to the equivalent of a 900 page book, including a long (approx. 400 pages) Part 2 section consisting of these women's rich spiritual teachings. And I realized two things: a) I needed another year or more to finish the project; and b) this book was mainly going to be a "special interest" title probably more suitable for the reference sections of libraries, and as a textbook for certain college/university classes on women in religion, and maybe for a very limited number of avid readers of such weighty reference books.
And so I switched tracks: I selected nine of the women of the modern era, expanded their biographies, and brought in more extensive teachings and aphorisms from these great women, and within one year had the manuscript for Women of Power & Grace.
Back around that time (1993-4), I heard a fascinating talk by Dan Poynter, the nation's chief mentor on self-publishing, on how to bypass the increasingly harried and hapless major publishers and produce a book oneself. So I was inspired to keep complete creative control over WPG by self-publishing it, a major undertaking, but an eye-opener on how the publishing industry really operates. (Writers do well to learn some of the pressures and expenses faced by this not-very-profitable industry. Whereas the average book will only net $1-$2 for its author per copy sold, the publisher gets very little extra, maybe $1.50 to $2.50.)
From the outset, Women of Power & Grace and the Wake Up Press attracted the interest of Atrium, the largest distributor of spiritual books in the USA and fourth largest book-distributor overall, and was put into the stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. Unfortunately, our distributor Atrium went bankrupt that very first Christmas season and, in the ensuing chaos, the book's chances of major sales were dashed (it had to be pulled from all the shelves nationwide and assigned to a new distributor that had its own, even newer titles to promote).
Nevertheless, my friends in the industry tell me that Women of Power & Grace was a major success for a first-time self-published book with such an unfortunate distributor failure in the crucial first year, for within 3 years it had already sold over 8,000 copies, and by 2006 had sold over 14,000 copies, primarily by positive word-of-mouth "buzz", since we never had enough funds to properly market it and my schedule began to be seriously challenged by more teaching work and ongoing serious family health issues.
One of the most rewarding aspects of creating the Wake Up Press and writing and publishing WPG was receiving all the letters and emails from readers around the country and around the world who were so delighted to have the chance to read about these amazing women, women who so inspired me in the first place to try to write about them and represent their spiritual teachings. These women are very powerfully connected with the Divine, and the "blessing-power" that manifested in their lives is quite evidently still manifesting today for anyone who tunes into God through these women as saintly intercessories. So many readers have told us that this book "changed my life" and, moreover, that one or more of the women have "especially spoken to me" or "touched my heart/soul in the most profound way," like meeting a dearly beloved Friend or Kinswoman.