Melissa Stangl releases first book on consciousness

Author case study: Roots of Consciousness #book

Lee Constantine


Melissa Stangl entered her book proposal into the psychedelics contest on Publishizer, called Up The Rabbit Hole. To her, the connection between psychedelics, consciousness, well-being, and spirituality was very important, but she hadn’t imagined it would appeal to a large audience and gain so much traction in such a short amount of time.

The opportunity to share her passion for plant medicine seemed too good to pass up. Even though she had never actively grown her platform or following, she quickly climbed her pre-orders through personal outreach on Facebook and email and used her campaign video to describe her book and invite people to contribute. Melissa also set up unique book packages that appealed to various segments of her personal contacts, including discounts to her ayahuasca retreats in Peru.

The small, close-knit community of plant medicine enthusiasts responded positively to her individualized messages, buying up pre-orders and spreading the word through online communities. The result? A flood of pre-orders totaling over $15,000 in funds and fulfilling her dream of spreading knowledge and awareness on a topic she’s deeply passionate about.

  • Email contacts: 221
  • Facebook friends/followers: 1,167
  • Time spent on personal messages: 40 hours
  • Result: Funding totaled $15,702 with 608 preorders.
  • Traditional publisher: Sunbury Press

Campaign url:

Here’s what Melissa Stangl had to say:

Q: What inspired you to publish a book for the first time?

In my case, it sort of happened by accident! I went from working for corporate America in New Jersey to managing operations for an ayahuasca retreat center in Peru. My boss Daniel Cleland, founder of Pulse Tours, ran his campaign with Publishizer and then told me about the MAPS-sponsored Publishizer contest Up the Rabbit Hole.

I wanted to better understand how consciousness affects disease and physical health (something that working with plant medicines really helped me see), and how we can use that knowledge to really heal, both inside and out. This book is the result of that.

Q: What factors led to your decision to take the crowdfunding route?

My initial motivation for this was the contest through Publishizer, so that pointed the way for me. I also knew there were many authors who had been successful with the Publishizer platform, which was reassuring.

Q: Did you have a plan for selling the book before you discovered Publishizer?

No — I didn’t even have a plan for writing one!

Q: What was your pre-order goal and how did you go about reaching it?

My initial goal was simply to either win the contest or at least see if there was enough interest in the idea for me to make a real go at writing about it — from readers and from publishers.

I didn’t have a specific number in mind as I wasn’t sure how much was even feasible for me to expect. But one of the things I’m most grateful for in my work with the plants is the amazingly beautiful community that’s been building around it. When I reached out to my very small tribe, I was overwhelmed by the love and support I received from them.

In most cases, I sent personal messages to everyone letting them know what I was doing and asking them to help me do it. I wanted each of them to know how they played a part in getting me here and inspiring me to go for this, whether it was a stimulating conversation about the nature of reality and a probabilistic universe, a thought-provoking discussion about different paradigms of spirituality, or their own inspiring story of healing and transformation. I feel like I am simply pulling together everything they’ve taught me and seeing where it leads, that this is how I can give back for all the gifts of knowledge I’ve received.

Q: How much time did this process take you? On a daily basis?

If I’m honest, the proposal itself (outline, sample chapter, audience/market analysis, promotion strategy, competition research, video, etc.) was done in concentrated chunks. Writing personal messages to almost anyone I knew who might have an interest in supporting the campaign took quite a few more hours, maybe 5–6 hours per week. The cool thing is that I got back in touch with many old friends as a result!

Q: What was the biggest challenge in the publishing process?

The biggest challenge is synthesizing and distilling the vast amount of research that’s out there now.

Q: What do you envision as the next step for you and your book?

Once it’s out there, my hope is that it will provide opportunities to raise awareness and better understand the role of consciousness in physical health, where psychoactive medicines and spiritual practices fit, and how can we use these findings to achieve overall well-being.

Q: Are you happy you chose Publishizer?

Oh yes! Everyone who works there has been extremely helpful, supportive, and professional throughout the entire process. They’ve answered any questions I have, helped me hone in on choosing a publisher, and the platform itself ensures a high quality and cohesive proposal, audience, and publisher interaction.

Q: Any plans for more books in the future? If so, will it be through Publishizer?

Let me get through this one first =] but I would certainly recommend Publishizer to a friend!

Q: Are you happy with the number of publishers who have expressed interest in your campaign?

Extremely happy — quite pleasantly surprised! It’s exciting to discover there is a real interest in the topics I want to write about. I will be working with Sunbury Press, a great indie publisher whose mission statement I resonate with very strongly — “Continue the Enlightenment”. I had a great conversation with the owner, Lawrence, who has a lot of knowledge and experience in the field. I’m excited to work with the whole team to get this message out in the most effective and productive way possible.

You can check out my fancy new website, subscribe for updates, contact me, and/or preorder my book at!