Posts Tagged ‘Book Publishing’

Want to be an Author? (Call for Articles)

Monday, June 11th, 2012

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Taylor Elwood, managing non-fiction editor at Immanion Press and fellow blogger on Magical Experiments, is putting together an anthology, Magic on the Edge 2.0. I have an article in it on the healing work for my friend with chronic hives, and how I reprogrammed ethereal software. If you’ve ever wanted to be a published author (in a real dead-tree book), this is a great way to do it.

Articles should be 3-6k words long. To put that in context, an average print page is 250 words, and most of my technical how-to-do-magick posts are 1,000 words. Even if your practice doesn’t fit into one of his categories, email him anyway, since he’s pretty open to new approaches to magick.

Remember, no one makes money on magick books. But this is a great way to get your ideas out there, get your work in a printed book, and get some great professional editing from Taylor, which helped me improve as a writer, and I’m sure will help you, too.

Here’s the details:

Magic on the Edge 2.0 is an anthology of experimental occultism, testing the cutting edges of magical practice to reveal intriguing experiments and new ideas, to push the future of magical practice forward and provide further inspiration for other practitioners. It is edited by Taylor Ellwood, the managing non-fiction editor of Immanion Press. It is a sequel to Magick on the Edge, which was published in 2006 by Immanion Press

We are looking for articles 3k to 6k words in length on topics that can include the following:
•    Innovative explorations of magical traditions
•    Experimental techniques with contemporary disciplines such as space/time magic, internal alchemy, laboratory alchemy, ceremonial magic, neoshamanism, etc.,
•    Creative meditation practices
•    Unconventional approaches to ceremonial magic and other traditional practices of magic
•    The blending of art or science with magic.
•    Each article needs to include a practical exercise for readers
•    Got an idea? Run it by me and I’ll give you feedback (see contact info below).

The deadline for articles has been pushed back to October 15th. We are looking to publish this anthology in 2013.

For more information or questions contact Taylor at magicalexperiments [at] yahoo [ dot] com

Please share this with anyone you know who might be interested in participating in this anthology.

Taylor Ellwood
Managing Non-Fiction Editor at Immanion Press
Occult Author and Spiritual coach

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Software to Draw Sigils?

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

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I just worked with an Enochian spirit to make a sigil for the ethereal software I’m shipping with my book. He sent me 6 symbols (similar look to Enochian letters), told me to tie each of them individually to my software, and then construct a sigil (any sigil) out of them. Presumably, you could tie different sigils to different commands, like you do for the different Enochian angels, but that’s more advanced than I need right now.

Before tying the symbols to the software, I want to computerize them*. Which brings me to my question:

What computer software do you use to draw sigils? The symbols consist of curves, lines and dots. I’ll also need to combine the symbols into a sigil. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I’m on a mac, but can get access to a windows box.

*Why computerize the symbols first? Right now they’re arbitrary, so it doesn’t matter if I transcribe them poorly. After I tie a symbol to my ethereal software, then it becomes important to reproduce it faithfully, but until then, it’s just lines on paper.

If the symbols are arbitrary, why did I bother asking the Enochian spirit for help? Because I have zero experience here, and any symbols I made would probably look like English letters, which wouldn’t work well because, well, those symbols are everywhere.



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Final-ish Book Outline

Monday, April 30th, 2012

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I’d thought writing a book would be like writing a long blog series, but there is a ton of work to organize your material upfront. Thanks for bearing with me as I figure this out.

My first couple outlines weren’t bad, but they didn’t really captured what I wanted to discuss. But third time’s the charm, and at this point, I have a structure that feels good enough to start writing (though I’ll probably change it as I go). It’s divided into five sections, plus an intro and conclusion:


Who I am, what direct magick is, and the layout of the book. Standard stuff, taken from my front page and about page. I’ll probably write this last.

Part 1: Connecting My Terms to Your Terms

This idea came from Ananael, who asked me to step him through the LBRP in my model. That’s a great way to introduce people to my style. I’ll cover one style per chapter: Hermeticism (with the LBRP), channeled energy healing, psychic intuitions, and a few more. For each, I’ll explain their magick in my model, with a couple of tips to get better results based on my model. (It’s important to have a reward early, to get people to read, and to show that my models have some value.) For anyone who’s never done any magick, I’ll have an energy meditation, followed by the same explanation of what it is you’re feeling.

The styles should be widespread and standardized. Enochian is a match, prayers to superman is not. The goal is that everyone is familiar with at least one styles I cover. Readers would probably only read about styles they are familiar with. The goal isn’t to cover all the magick of that style, just one common practice so they have a concrete way to connect to my terms.

Got a recommendation for a style or particular practice to cover? Let me know.

A lot of these models will be quite contrary to the conventional explanation, so I’ll need a quick introduction to this section, too. It will suggest that you only read the chapters for styles you practice, and suggesting that you just treat this as a speculative model for the moment, with a promise to show you why I believe these things later in the book. I can’t convince readers of my model up front, but at least I can acknowledge that I’d be skeptical, too, and ask them to bear with me.

By the end of part one, readers should have a passing familiarity with the major pieces of my models: Ethereal software, connections, energy, signatures, mental muscles, etc. They might not know how to work with each of those, but they should at least know what the words mean.

Part 2: Using Ethereal Software More Effectively

Since most styles of magick use ethereal software, the biggest bang for your buck comes from learning to use ethereal software better. This section is about getting better results from the magick you already do. (Faster, more precise, etc.) It will follow the outline of what I taught Lisa, up to the point where she had to learn to awaken her mental muscles.

I’ll include some new ethereal software, tied to a sigil, for you to experiment with. You would use it along with any ethereal software you already use.

Part 3: A Tour of Direct Magick

Before, we were focused on getting you immediately useful techniques. Now, it’s time to explore the model, and for me to show you the things I saw that lead me to this model. I’ll give you exercises to find all the different parts of direct magick, along with a useful technique for each. The focus of this section, though, is on exploring magick and seeing the parts of the model for yourself, so you can make up your own mind about it.

I’ll write each chapter independently — mental muscles, ethereal software, connections, energy, etc — then see which chapters depend on which others, and organize it based on that.

Part 4: Techniques Unique to Direct Magick

Most readers will already know at least one traditional style of magick. So, rather than replicating skills you already have, we’ll focus on the parts of direct magick that you won’t find in most styles: Awakening mental muscles, techniques for sensory connections, and so on. The focus will be on using these techniques to complement the magick you do already. I’ll figure out the exact list of techniques after getting through the other sections, but broadly, sections 4 and 5 will cover the earlier list of techniques I’d made.

Part 5: Creating New Techniques

This is the real point for me: Using direct magick to understand how your ethereal software implements your instructions, and improving on what it does. I’ll cover techniques I’ve already developed, but the focus will be on how I developed them (and how you can develop your own techniques), rather than just having you copy my techniques.


What to do next with your direct magick practice, where I see magick going, and other closing thoughts.

That’s a Big Book

After putting this outline together, I read it and felt intimidated. This is a much larger book that I initially imagined writing, and I wasn’t sure I could do it. But then I made a plan: Blog each chapter. (There’s nothing in here I can’t blog as a one-off post.) Paste them all into a word doc. (I’m good at ctrl-c.) Then edit the whole thing into something cohesive afterward. (Editing an already-written book takes a lot of time, but it’s not intimidating.)

Depending on how long sections 1 and 2 are, I might pause there to turn those sections into a book before moving on. I’ll distribute it as a free PDF first, then turn it into a paper book after everything is done.


Next, I’m going to write section 2, on using ethereal software more effectively. This will also answer a lot of recent questions from my comments, so it works well.

Why not start with section 1? I want my report on each style to grow from direct observation, rather than speculation based on my model. Which means I’ll need to attend some rituals. Shouldn’t be too hard to do over the next six months, but I don’t want it to delay the rest of the book.

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Who is My Book For?

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

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As I was putting together the outline, I realized I haven’t answered the first question: Who is my book for?

I had a particular organization in mind, where each skill would be useful for a ritual mage or psychic, and it gradually builds up from what you’re doing now to what I want to share with you. It seems like a sensible strategy, but as I think about writing in a more personal voice, it also feels kind of dry, or corporate.

Also, I don’t think I need to encourage people quite that much to try my exercises. Most readers will either already know me from the blog or be getting the book from a friend. In both cases, I need to be interesting, but I have a bit of leeway to get you through a few exercises. So, I think it’s more important to engage my reader as a person, rather than have an immediate payoff in technical magick skill.

Of course, once I figure out my basic plan, I’ll see about adding some immediate payoffs. But that should be a bonus, not the centerpiece.

Potential Audiences

The first thing that comes to mind is to write the book for myself, when I was starting out with magick. What are the things I wish I knew? I’ve tried this before, though, and there are a few problems: I don’t remember that time my life all that clearly (I was 11); I tend to focus too much on technical exercises, and not enough on the reasons behind them; and it might be the wrong tone for adult readers with previous experience in magick.

I could write for Lisa. Really, a lot of my writing is for her already. (Most of the advanced topics.) The first few sections would be for her when I first met her, and the later sections might even be for her now. She did psychic work, and has recently learned ethereal-software-based energy healing, so that might leave ritual mages out in the cold, but it’s a good option.

The other option I see is to write for the readers who give me feedback. (I’ll be blogging each section as I write it.) That way, it’s interactive, and I’m focusing on my most engaged readers. And it would let Ananael (who I’m sure will call me on things I miss) represent the ritual mages.

So, I think that’s the plan: Write for Lisa, plus readers who ask questions and send me feedback. And I’ll put in a thank you page for any readers who help me with this (your name and website, under whatever pseudonym you want).

Thoughts? Comments? It’s never too early to get on the thank you page :)

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The Main Skills for Direct Magick

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

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I’m blogging the process of writing my book, so you can see what goes into it and maybe get inspiration for your own book.

I’d planned to start my book with an outline, but most skills build on earlier skills, so the order matters as much as the list of topics. Rather than trying to organize everything in one go, I’m going to list the main skills for direct magick today — those are also the main topics of my book — and figure out the order later.

How can you help? Let me know what I missed, or anything you were hoping to see that’s not there.

Getting Started

Energy meditation and a basic ritual (LBRP?), for readers who’ve never done any magick before. Using quartz to make your energy more obvious. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll skip these pages.


How to send each concept accurately. This could be words, images, or something else, but how to send each unit of your message clearly and reliably.

Sub-topics: Quieting your thoughts. Placing thoughts in one part of your mind. Preparing that part of your mind for a particular signature. Placing your thoughts on a connection. (Maybe I’ll cover how to package your thoughts into a message, but that’s probably for a later, more advanced book.)

Personal-Growth Type Enlightenment

Magick techniques to overcome petty emotions so you are driven by a desire to create, not a drive for power. The technique will probably be based on consciousness integration, but needs to be simplified.

Sensory Connections

A set of skills to watch all the moving parts that make your magick work. This will be interspersed throughout the book, so you’ll improve your sensory connections a bit, then use them to do something else (which also gets you practice time with that sensory technique), then learn the next level.

Sub-topics: Quieting your energy (cover that with communication?). Quieting your connections. Sensing smaller signatures. Using multiple connections to sense an area, tracing a path. Sensing energy vs sensing structures, and how to notice low-power structures.


How to prevent magick attacks from spirits trying to drain your energy, or other malicious spirits and mages. Not enough to make you an expert, (that’s its own book), but enough to make you an unappealing target.

Sub-topics: Shielding. Noticing a connection. Breaking or removing a connection (and what to do if the spirit is actively using the connection). Tracing the connection to its source. A basic attack to cause a headache (in case they don’t give up).

Using Ethereal Software

How to recognize it, find it, and communicate with it. Most of the techniques are in the communication section. This will focus on finding it, and on common useful commands.

Sub-topics: Recognizing the spot in your mind where the ethereal software wants to connect, and recognizing the software’s signature. Aligning your communication to the software’s signature so it responds to you as though you were initiated. Asking the ethereal software to communicate in words, rather than intents. Common useful commands.

Awakening Your Mental Muscles

This starts with using energy to speed up the natural awakening of your mental muscles. Later, you’ll directly activate the muscles and the paths that provide them power.

Sub-topics: Finding your mental muscles. Recognizing which ones are awakening. A general map of common mental muscles. Finding the mental muscles that your current muscles want to work with. Awakening hibernating muscles, along with the paths that provide them power. What the fatigue feels like when a new mental muscle starts awakening, and how to help it so you don’t get tired.

Mental Posture

How to engage your mental muscles, particularly after awakening new ones. Also, how to keep your mental muscles passively engage, so you’re always paying attention to the magickal world.

Sub-topics: Developing a single mental posture for all your magick. Specializing your mental posture for each task. Dynamic posture, where you engage whatever you need for the current task, without practicing it beforehand. Making it all conscious.

Energy Healing

Both using ethereal software, and doing it directly. It will address energy layer, and at least one step down the path from energy to cells. I’ll probably return to practical topics like energy healing multiple times, teaching a new better version after you’ve learned new core skills. Include some case studies.


This is really an application of the techniques for using ethereal software. Mostly a list of commands, and tips on how to phrase questions. It will be a short chapter, or possibly the motivation for some of the exercises.

How You Can Help

It’s so, so easy for me to forget something, because once you’ve practiced these skills for a year or more, most of them become second nature, and you forget you’re even doing them.

So, let me ask you: Did I miss anything? Are there any skills you’d hoped for that aren’t here?


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How I’m Self-Publishing a Magick Book

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

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I’m self-publishing a magick book. And I’m going to blog as I do it, to give you some ideas on self-publishing your book. I’m no expert on this, so take this as one guy’s experience figuring all this out, not necessarily the way you should do it.

I’m also going to blog each chapter as I write it, and continue posting answers to your emails and comments several days a week.

Today, step 1: Start blogging. Do this 2-3 years before you bother with the book, for two reasons.

First, your blog will be your main marketing platform, and it takes time to get traffic. (If you want details on how to market a blog, I recommend Problogger.)

Let me show you what I mean about “It takes a while to get traffic.” Here are the stats for my first month blogging, from Feb-March 2010 (click to enlarge):

The graph maxes out at 11 visits a day. Not gonna sell many books that way.

Here are my stats after 1 year of blogging:

Unique visitors are way up (from 37 in 2010 to 144 in 2011), but pageviews and total visits didn’t change much. I’m getting some search traffic, but not really connecting with people, and most visitors never return.

And for this past month, after 2 years blogging:

Between 50 and 100 visits most days, and over 8,000 pageviews* for the month. No idea how this compares to other magick bloggers, but I’m pretty happy. Certainly worth a halfway-subtle horn tooting in a blog post. And I think it’s good enough to warrant starting a book.

*Pageviews is a good measure of how involved your readers are — getting 1,000 visitors is great, but if they each only viewed one page, you aren’t selling a lot of books.

But there’s a more important reason to start a blog: The only way to become a non-bad writer is to write. And that takes time. For me, it took a little over a year. And that’s why I didn’t network much until mid-2011: I just wasn’t happy with my writing yet.

I stole the term “non-bad” writer from Study Hacks. Here’s a great section from that post on landing a book deal, which applies equally to self-publishing something worth reading:

You don’t have to be a good writer to land a book deal. I’ve been writing seriously for 7 years and am still trying to figure out how to become good. You can’t, however, be a bad writer. Your writing has to be tolerable for 200 pages. In other words, you have to shake off the stench of amateurism before you start talking to people in the publishing world. Trust me, one of the first things a potential agent or editor will want from you is writing samples, writing samples, and more writing samples.

How do you know if you’re bad? If your only writing experience is e-mails and school papers then assume you’re bad.

How do you become non-bad? My rough rule: spend at least one year writing for edited publications.

I don’t know many edited publications for magick. My best advice is to (1) get friends to review your posts and tell you what works and what doesn’t, and (2) read your posts out loud, to a friend if possible, and try to hear which parts aren’t up to snuff.

So, that’s step 1 for writing a book: Start blogging, become a non-bad writer, then build up your blog’s readership. Future steps coming as I get to them.

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Why Reprogram Ethereal Software? (Titling My Article)

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

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I’m working on an article for a printed anthology. The first draft is done, and now comes the most important part: The title. Because if the title is bad, the rest of the article never gets read.

The article has 2 sections: The case study on energy healing for Lisa’s hives, and a discussion of how and why to reprogram ethereal software. I’ll post excerpts soon, particularly on the “how,” but today I want to figure out the title.

My working title was: Reprogramming the Forces Behind Your Magick

Descriptive. But not great. No one wakes up and says, “I want to learn to reprogram the forces I use.” Most people probably don’t even think about them, or perhaps don’t even realize they’re there. It won’t get a lot of readers.

Which brings us back to the why. Why do that? What’s the impact? Just keep asking until you get to something that pretty much everyone cares about.

So, why reprogram ethereal software? Because it was programmed poorly the first time. Well, not poorly, but without a knowledge of modern science. The point is, we can make better algorithms for better results.

That’s the real reason: The healing force didn’t know the proper energy for hives. Then we reprogrammed it, and afterward, it’s been quite effective. That’s something I think a lot of people would be interested in.

I was thinking it would be nice to capture how this generalizes to other skills. I discuss that in the article, and indeed it would be nice, but if you only have enough words for either a concrete image or a general idea, go for the concrete image. It’s much more powerful and easier to understand.

So, something about energy healing for hives, and reprogramming the healing force to do it better.

“Reprogramming a channeled force to do energy healing for chronic hives, and how to apply it to your own magick.” Yeah, that’s the gist, but way too long, and it sounds like a scholarly article. (Again, zero readers.)

Let’s start with a blurb:

Spirits programmed the forces behind most magick. They did it without knowing modern medicine, physics, chemistry, or any other modern science. Which means they never saw some of the best solutions.

I’ll show you how I reprogrammed one of those forces to do energy healing for chronic hives, and give you concrete exercises to find and reprogram the forces behind your magick (not just energy healing) to solve currently-impossible problems.

Now we’re closer to a decent title: Energy Healing for Chronic Hives by Injecting Modern Medical Knowledge into the Forces I Channel

Still too long, but no longer terrible. Another attempt:

Energy Healing for Chronic Hives: How Modern Medicine Lets Us Program Smarter Magick

Or slightly better:

Energy Healing for Chronic Hives: Programming Smarter Magick with Modern Medical Research

I’ll call it a working title, and iterate with the editor. But first, let me ask: What do you think?

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The Down-Side of Publishing Houses

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

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Last post, we talked about how publishing houses really sell convenience. They provide an editor, artist, and all the other parts you need to turn your words into a book.

But there’s a downside to that convenience. The editor and the artist don’t work for you. They work for the publisher, who ultimately decides on the cover of the book, and to some extent, the text, too.

In other words: It’s not your book anymore. It’s theirs. You are a contractor who provides the words on their project, and they allow you to consult on the other parts.

I realize that that makes it sound sinister. It’s not. The publisher is the one fronting the money for the book (which used to be a lot more than $1000), and they’re the ones with experience selling books, so it’s perfectly reasonable that they’d want final decision to protect their investment. And the fact is, if your goal is to sell lots of books, their input will probably help.

But for me, success is measured in how many people try the techniques and add them to their routine practice. Which isn’t the same as selling lots of books. It might mean a different audience, a different cover, or different words. It’ll probably mean offering the book as a free PDF, in addition to print. In other words, my goals don’t exactly align with a book publisher’s.

Might some publishers let me make a book true to my vision? Sure. But there’s no way to know if any particular one will when I sign a book deal.

Some endeavors are about maximizing the average case’s results. Others are about maximizing convenience. And some are about avoiding bad outcomes.

For me, for this book, I want to avoid bad outcomes. So, at least for now, I’m going to proceed assuming I’ll self-publish.

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How Expensive is Self-Publishing?

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

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Short answer: $1,000 for a professional job.

I’ve been weighing self-publishing vs going with a small occult publishing house. I’m writing up my research / thinking in this series, in case it’s useful to someone else.

Today: Costs.

Self-publishing itself has zero up-front costs. You submit your book as a PDF, pay a few bucks per book when someone buys it, and that’s it.

But if you do everything yourself, you wind up with a lot of headaches and a lousy book. Here’s the cost for a high-quality book (I’m figuring around 100 pages, which is around 30 long blog posts):

  • Editor: Around $500. Price is per word or page, so a 500-pager will be 5x as expensive.
  • Artist, for cover art: Incredibly variable, but Createspace charges $350, which seems like a good ballpark.
  • Layout: $250 on Createspace, not tied to length.

Tip: Have an independent artist do the cover. Print on demand publishers make very little per book sold, so they have little incentive to produce something great. They sell convenience, not exceptional books.

For this $1k, you can then sell your book for, let’s say, $10-20. Once Amazon and the printer take their cut, you get about 1/2 of the cover price. So, you’ll recoup that $1k investment after 100-200 sales.

If you’re not an author, that probably sounds easy. It’s not. Over the lifetime of a book? Sure, 30 years from now I’ll have my thousand bucks back, plus a few hundred profits. But I’d do better buying a government bond. Publishing a book loses money, and it only makes sense as an investment in teaching / speaking / a healing practice / etc.

To put those numbers in perspective, a standard publishing house deal gets you about 10% royalties per book ($1-2), with zero costs up front. But again, if we’re talking 100-200 books, $1-2 per book isn’t even worth considering.

So, the end message is: Don’t publish to make money. (Which I already knew). Publish to establish yourself as an expert and drive the rest of your career.

But there’s a second message: The costs and profits are so small that you should totally ignore the money — both the up-front costs and the royalty rate — when considering self-publishing vs a publishing house. Instead, go with whatever will accomplish your career goals the best (energy healing, teaching, etc).

So next, I’ll look at publicity.

Aside: How do book publishers make any money? Sure, their editors and artists and everyone are staff, so they cost probably half what a freelancer does, but there are also lawyers and managers and other overhead. I’m getting the feeling that the answer is: Publishers don’t make much money, at least in the occult world.

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