Author Insights: Elaine La Joie on Making Peace with the Possibility of Bad Reviews (+ an Autographed Book Giveaway)

And we’re back! It’s time for the next installment of our “Author Insights” series. In this series, I’m introducing you to writers who’ve taken their writing all the way to the finish line of publication, and they share their “lessons learned” with you. There’s nothing quite like learning from a writer who has made to the other side.

Plus, if you leave a comment at the end of the post before Friday, May 12th at 5 p.m. Pacific Time, you’ll be entered to win an autographed copy of the author’s book in a random drawing. Please note that you must be located in the United States to win.

Meet Elaine La Joie, author of The Empath as Archetype

I’m thrilled to introduce you to Elaine La Joie. Elaine and I have worked together in various ways over the past 15 years since we first met after attending the same coach training program. Elaine has gone on to become not only a coach but is now also a shaman, who specializes in working with empaths. Elaine has chosen the self-publishing path and has put out five books, now bundled into one in the The Empath as Archetype. Her books are particularly valuable for sensitives and empaths who find themselves stuck in challenging relationship situations. Being a shaman and an expert in the Enneagram Four, Elaine always brings a higher view of relationship interactions I find illuminating and freeing. 

I asked Elaine to share her insights about writing her books with us. 

Elaine La Joie on Writing The Empath as Archetype

Elaine La Joie

I had wanted to write ever since I was a child, but I always thought I’d write fiction. However, after coaching empaths for a few years I found myself writing non-fiction.

At first I wrote short essays for my blog about topics that came up during client sessions that I thought most empaths would appreciate.

Then, as I expanded my knowledge base from plain coaching to the Enneagram to shamanic energy work, I found myself explaining these concepts to new clients, which took too much time away from diving into the healing work, so I decided to write a guide that clients could read before they started working with me.

Structuring a Complicated, Massive Topic

However, the book I imagined was complicated. I was bringing together topics from the Enneagram, shamanic energy work, and archetypes, and then writing specifically for the empath archetype. It was overwhelming.

Instead of writing I found myself spending time thinking about how to arrange this massive treatise, which led to frustration and procrastination. I solved this by going back to observing my clients and what we needed to unravel and work on first before major progress could be made.

This helped me see the three disparate topics my clients needed to understand before they could achieve deep healing and shift their ingrained patterns, and I organized my work accordingly. I wrote three books about the archetypal drama triangle, which is particularly problematic for the sensitive empath, shamanic energy work, and the enneagram archetype of the empath. I published these on my website.

Navigating Expanding My Reach with Amazon

Once I had self-published the books on my site, I had a few sales, mostly from new clients and others curious about my work. The feedback was good, but small. I kept writing, this time shifting to major case studies with the assumption that the reader had absorbed the concepts in the first three little books.

Because I wanted to expand my reach, I started looking into how to upload my books to Amazon. Luckily by the time I was ready to publish on Amazon, they had made the process relatively straightforward and free with both their digital system (Kindle) and their softcover publisher (CreateSpace).

But I noticed that I was procrastinating again—the thought of having my books reviewed by the general public was for the most part scary and unappealing.

Making Peace With the Possibility of Bad Reviews

My books were written for a very specific audience, an empath who wants to change his or her life. A non-empath would not understand these books. An empath that was interested but not ready to look at the shadow work required to heal themselves would most definitely find my books upsetting. They might leave rotten reviews. In many ways I felt like I was setting myself up to be misunderstood and misrepresented.

At the same time, I knew this work would be helpful to that segment of the population of empaths who were ready to dive in and do the deep healing work.

So, I had to prepare to get bad reviews. I made two shifts with my thinking that helped tremendously:

  1. I made a conscious decision not to take any reviews personally and to trust the work would reach the audience for whom it was intended. Because I am an empath, and empaths tend to take everything personally, I had to remind myself that my feelings in the moment would pass; I should honor my feelings, but not take them too seriously, even the happy feelings around good reviews. This helped me be both less attached to good reviews and less fearful of bad reviews.
  2. I reminded myself that personal work for anyone is very difficult, and that it is a common human behavior to shoot the messenger. My work is all about being the messenger for people who are hurting and wanting to heal themselves. In doing one-on-one work with clients, it is relatively easy to match my client and maintain a relationship that works for both of us, but every once in a while a client tries to shoot the messenger. It doesn’t happen often because we have built up a relationship of acceptance and trust, but when it does, I don’t take it personally because I understand the nature of healing work and the role of the shaman. Once I started thinking of my writing as working one-on-one with my favorite clients as my audience, it was easier and less scary to move forward. However, because I wasn’t really working one-on-one with each reader, it was guaranteed that I would be shot down at least one time out of ten.

Luckily for me, most of my readers so far have wanted to do the work, so most of my reviews on Amazon have been very good. Many empaths can be shy, so I receive much more positive feedback through emails than through reviews, which is also heartening. There are awful reviews as well, such as one from a reader who gave my last book one star after starting with it first instead of last. This person did not to read the other books, but gave them all one star reviews anyway. This was both amusing and upsetting at the same time, but in the grand scheme of things, the work is out there, and people can take it or leave it, just as they take or leave one-on-one session work.

Overall my writing experience has been a very good one. I have been very lucky to have a niche in which to write. I also entered self-publishing right when the process became easy and straight forward.

As it turned out, the literal process of self-publishing was easy—the hardest step was moving past my fears and putting the work out there.

About The Empath as Archetype

The Empath as Archetype by Elaine La JoieThe Empath as Archetype contains the first five volumes of The Empath as Archetype series by Elaine La Joie, including:

  • The Empath and the Archetypal Drama Triangle
  • The Empath and Shamanic Energy Work
  • Motivations of the Empath
  • The Empath and Shadow Work
  • The Empath and the Fan-Hero Family System

These books, written over seven years, are a compilation of case studies of Elaine’s clients, and are now available in this collected edition.

Elaine begins with the Archetypal Drama Triangle, explaining the most common archetypal system humans can be caught in, but gives examples particular to empaths. She moves on to describing shamanic techniques including Soul Retrieval and Underworld Work, used in her practice to help her clients heal wounds common to empaths. Next comes a description of the most typical blindspots and faulty beliefs for empaths as described by the Enneagram Type Four and how to change to more productive beliefs and behaviors. In the final two volumes she explains particularly troublesome relationships in which empaths can become entangled, including the common family system that can produce the narcissistic personality.

The Empath as Archetype is available on*

About Elaine

Elaine La Joie, shaman and certified life coach, has worked with empaths and highly sensitive intuitives for more than ten years. During that time she has helped empaths understand themselves and their relationships while using shamanic energy healing to resolve past traumas, including severe abuse. These books offer empaths insight into their relationship and into the hidden motivations of themselves and others so that they can understand their loved ones and create the lives they truly desire.

Please visit Elaine’s website at for more resources for empaths.

Enter to Win an Autographed Copy of The Empath as Archetype

Elaine has graciously offered to give away three autographed copies of her book to my readers. Leave a comment on the blog about one of your own writing lessons or something you learned from Elaine’s insights before Friday, May 12th at 5 p.m. Pacific Time and you’ll be entered in the random drawing. Please note, you must be located in the United States to win.


* This is an affiliate link, which means my Called to Write business receives a small commission from any purchases you make using this link, and which I deeply appreciate.



  1. Amber Milnes says:

    I love that you wrote this book and are dedicated to teaching people about their abilities. I’m just learning about your book but would love to read it. Thank you again, light and love.

  2. Elaine, I’m following your blog with interest and draw strength from what you write. It is motivating so keep writing the good stuff!

  3. Charlotte Warrender says:

    Dear Elaine La Joie,
    I myself have flat lined twice while I was enduring a terrible car crash. I came back seeing spirit, but I asked for God to make it stop. It was scaring me to death. I wish now that I hadn’t done that. Because they were only coming to me for help. I do still have connection with my angels. They show me symbols and signs, then sometimes I get messages. I have even heard audible voices when they want my attention badly enough. I would love to win one of your books. I think it would help me greatly. Peace and light.

    • Charlotte, what an amazing and terrifying experience all at once. Thanks for commenting and entering.

    • Dear Charlotte, Wow, it sounds like you had quite a traumatic psychic awakening. I can totally understand being scared to death, especially if you had lost souls coming to you for help. I’m glad that you still have a relationship with your guides. Thank you for your interest in my book!

  4. First off I am not a writer but am an empath. The relationships empaths get into and why sounds very informative. I am just realizing that is probably why I close myself off in intimate relationships. Hope to win a signed copy! Good luck !

    • Maggie, thanks for entering. I bet Elaine’s books will be helpful to you. Good luck!

    • Hi Maggie. Thank you for your interest in my book. Relationships can be sticky and confusing for Empaths–it would make sense for you to close yourself off. I hope you’ll find the book helpful!

  5. Susan Kaplan says:

    I am definitely an empath and I review books. Some books are just not my cup of tea, and if that’s the case, I will either not post a review or say this book is about … and while it was not for me but I’m sure other readers will find something that resonates with them. There are ways to critique things, be they books, pieces of music, works of art, etc. that are not destructive.

    I have learned in my own journey as an empath what it feels like to be me. Reading this post has given me additional insight into the remarkable beings that we are.

    • Susan, I love your comments about how you review things. I agree! So many reviews are destructive, but they don’t have to be. I’m so glad you posted your comment and entered the drawing.

    • Hi Susan, Thank you for being a kind and considerate reviewer!

  6. Sheila Polhemus says:

    Hi! I’ve always been confused about what an empath is exactly and whether I’m one or not. I’m definitely HSP and have had some moments where I can just look at a person and know what they’re about but that doesn’t happen often. I would love to read this book and see if I fit in anywhere. Thanks for posting this!

    • Hi Sheila, Thanks for commenting and entering the drawing! I’ve always thought of an empath as an untrained clairsentient. Someone who picks up on other people’s feelings but doesn’t necessarily know they are not their feelings. Elaine will probably have a better definition. :)

    • Hi Sheila, Yes, Jenna has a good definition of an Empath. I would add that Empaths tend to be extra responsive to others’ emotional state. We also are able to go deep into our own dark emotions and further our personal growth. When we are healthy we can support others in doing the same. We also tend to be artists or creative in some way.

  7. I’m only just coming to understand that I’m an empath even though my mother has been trying to persuade to look into it for some time. I know that if I get a little more knowledgeable about being a HSP that I could process and interpret my emotions better. I’m a writing teacher at a middle school which sometimes makes it difficult to be so sensitive. In getting more info on the subject, I think I could really relay this information to the younger people because we already discuss various archetypes that are present in their understanding of the culture.

    • Macey, that’s such a great idea to pass along what you learn to the younger people. I was just thinking last night about doing a talk about high sensitivity for my son’s elementary schools. Still so many of the teachers have no idea what it even is, and 15 to 20% of the population is highly sensitive, let alone being empaths.

    • Hi Macey, that is wonderful that your students already understand archetypes! I think that understanding these patterns frees us to live a more creative, individualized life so we aren’t so run by the worst part of the archtype in play. What a great gift you are passing to the next generation.

  8. Gena Koelker says:

    I have dealt with empathy my entire life and it would be interesting to understand why I find myself in the situations that I end up in at times and ways to avoid them. Closing off feelings is not the answer, even though that happens a lot. As a person who works in sales, I come into contact with people daily and have to withstand a constant barrage of other people’s emotions. Finding a better way to channel that would be amazing and I would also like to more purposely use my gift for good. I try to help people when I can. This book sounds like a definitel must read for me.

    • Gena, that’s so much to deal with! I don’t know if you’ve seen the energy skills product I have on my other site but you might benefit from it. I’d be happy to send you the link if you’re interested. Thanks so much for commenting and entering. See my note at the end of the comments thread about a way to get Elaine’s first book for free, too.

    • Hi Gena. Yes, a job in sales would be hard on an empath! I agree, Jenna’s tools would really help you. One thing I do is keep some water (with flowers) nearby to absorb some of the emotional energy. I think you might enjoy my book. It deals mostly with empaths in relationships, the common traps we tend to fall into, and how to avoid them.

  9. merril lynn says:

    Elaine, that was an excellent article on Jenna’s site and made me want to read your book (I believe I am an empath and an intuitive); it also gave me some publishing insight since I will be helping my friend get her book on child abuse ‘out there’, hopefully, soon.
    Thank you, Merril Lynn

    • Merril, how neat to see your name on my site. It’s been too long! I hope you are well and I appercsi t that you commented and entered so much. I’m sure Elaine’s book would be of interest to you. At the end of these comments are some notes about how to get her first book for free. And I think you are an empath and intuitive too! Good luck to you and your friend getting her book out. xo

    • Hi Merril, I’m so glad the article was helpful! Good luck to you and your friend on publishing her book, too. I hope you enjoy my book. It’s definitely written for the intuitive empath.

  10. Monica Bye says:

    Elaine-good for you for overcoming your fears and stepping out as a writer. You cannot please or reach​ everyone in this world, but the audience that understands your work will appreciate it!! I look forward to enlightening myself!!

  11. Brenda Boughman says:

    It seems that many things are more difficult for empaths. Especially “putting yourself out there”, therefore leaving yourself more open to criticism. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • I agree, Brenda! There are many challenges along with gifts with empathy. Thank you so much for commenting and entering.

      • Hi Brenda, yes, making ourselves vulnerable to criticism is definitely uncomfortable. Thank you for your kind support!

  12. I’m looking forward to reading Elaine’s book as both a writer and an empath. I want to figure how being an empath affects how I choose relationships in my life. Since I was a child I knew I was different and had certain abilities when it came to intuition and reading other people’s energy but I didn’t have a name for it. Highly sensitive and emotional I, at times, wonder if these are my emotions or someone else’s. Doing the work will assist me with passion of writing fiction and poetry.,

    • Towanna, Elaine’s book does sound like a good fit for you, especially because so much of what she addressses has to do with empaths in relationships. You might be interested in the information I posted below about getting her first book for free at the end of the comments. Thank you so much for commmetning and entering!

    • Hi Towanna, You sound like my perfect audience. I hope you enjoy my books!

  13. Judy Hamilton says:

    I really appreciate this wisdom from Elaine: I made a conscious decision not to take any reviews personally and to trust the work would reach the audience for whom it was intended. Thank you for this. We all need to remember to trust that the positive we are putting out into the universe will reach the right person at the right time.

    • Judy, that was my favorite part too. It’s easy to forget that, when all the resistance and fear around writing gets so strong. Thank you so much for commenting and entering.

    • Hi Judy, Yes, trusting the work and for me, trusting that it would reach the right audience was key. Thank you for commenting!

  14. Both my son and I are empaths, but as HSPs as well, very difficult to explore things such as soul retrieval and shadow work without guides. I’m so hoping this book can help and hope to win a copy.

    • Kelly, yes, me too! Elaine and I are both HSPs as well as empaths too, and I have been particularly glad for her guidance and wisdom in the exact areas you mentioned. I wish you and your son all the best, and be sure to check out the information below about how to get Elaine’s first book for free! Thank you so much for commenting and entering.

      • Hi Kelly, I think you’d enjoy my second book in the big book on shamanic energy work. Also, there’s quite a few essays posted on my website on soul retrieval. Thank you for commenting!

  15. My biggest writing lesson has been to read widely and wildly. So inspiring.

    All the best,

    • Raquel, YES! So important and yet so easy to overlook, especially when it comes to the widely part. Thank you so much for commenting and entering. And congrats on being one of our winners!

    • HI Raquel, I hope you enjoy the book! Thank you so much for entering.

  16. I’m definitely interested to read this book, as I identify as an HSP and empath. I’ve thought about writing, but always think I’ll do it under a pseudonym ;)
    (On the East coast but hope I made the drawing deadline ) Thank you for writing your book!

    • Annie, I’m so glad you commented and entered! I did include you in the drawing. A pseudonym is a great way to crate some space between a public persona and your private self. Go for it!

  17. Hi everyone, thank you so much for entering! The winners of our autographed copies of Elaine’s five book volume are Charlotte, Macey, and Raquel. We will be in touch via email to get your mailing address information soon.

    The rest of you may be interested in getting Elaine’s first book for free on her website at or on Amazon. The first book in the series is free in both locations.

    Thank you again for entering, everyone!


  1. […] It’s been a while since my last blog post.  My life has undergone some upheaval in a good way in the past year, but it has left me little time to focus on writing, except to my email support clients.  However, I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in Jenna Avery’s Author Insights this past month.   Jenna has been featuring authors who have made it all the way to the finish line and published their work.  Back in 2012 I had the pleasure of joining one of Jenna’s Writing Circles, which helped me complete my books.  If you are an aspiring writer, you may enjoy my article about dealing bad reviews for my book series.  You can see the article here.     […]

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.