The New Age movement has faced many obituaries over the past few decades, but if anything, this movement of disparate spiritual therapies, techniques and teachings is becoming more consolidated thanks to a unique publishing strategy.
One publisher is rarely that influential in the fortunes of a religious movement, but Hay House has managed to create a platform where many New Age-oriented groups, teachings and personalities are finding a unified audience, reports an article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine (May 4). Psychic healer Louise Hay started the publishing company in 1987 to publish and distribute her own writings, largely involving her work with AIDS patients, but gradually she expanded its offerings to include other New Age and self-help authors.
Today the company turns out an array of “Mind/Body/ Spirit” products that embrace psychics/intuitives, angel therapy, positive thinking, New Thought and motivational speaking, including such prominent personalities as Wayne Dyer, Suze Orman, Deepak Chopra, and Marianne Williamson. Last year Hay House sold 6.3 million products, taking in $100 million. Many of the big names in New Age, such as Wayne Dyer, came to Hay House first for ancillary products, such as audio tapes, but then later abandoned mainstream publishers to publish their books with the specialty publisher.
With each product helping to drive the sales for other products, Hay House authors are less dependent on the “whims of book-review editors and the buyers for megastores,” writes Mark Oppenheimer. The publishing company provides a unique platform for multiple authors through its large group events, offering a cornucopia of readings, book signings and lectures. The 2005 launching of Hay House Radio on the Web offers 30 hours a week of original programming hosted by Hay House authors.
This united publishing platform links different authors and schools of thought together in readers’ minds, even if “the descendents of New Thought, theosophy and other metaphysical movements are distant cousins, but cousins nonetheless.” Hay House is hosting regular family reunions, helping to renew ties among relatives. Such publishing influence allows Hay House to start trends as well as to spot them; self-help books for young people are being targeted as the next frontier.