June 25, 2024



Writing A Book – How Physicans Can Get It Right

Consumers to have an insatiable appetite for information about cosmetic procedures and age management. Many well known medical authors have used the power of print to effectively grow their practices and expand their profile in the specialty. A professionally published acim can be the ideal jumpstart for expanding your cosmetic practice. Being an author gives you instant recognition among consumers, the media, and your peers, and adds to your credibility in the field. It also gives a physician a venue to get his message across in a professional way.

To write a successful book takes time and perseverance. In most casts, for busy physicians, that means enlisting professional help in the form of a ghost writer to begin the process. First you will have to zero in on a hot topic and target your reader. Book topics should neither be too broad or too specific, but designed to reach a large audience. You also have to understand the book marketplace, which is often a new world for physicians who are more accustomed to writing papers and articles for peer-reviewed medical journals, rather than for the lay public.

The best reason to write a book is because you believe you have something to say that hasn’t been said a hundred times before, or to establish yourself as an expert. The market has become saturated with books written by cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists, so many well established publishers are not inclined to pay advances for manuscripts unless the author has a nationally recognized name with a big budget for marketing.

Working with a Writer

Writing a book is always more work than it would appear at first glance. Most doctors simply don’t have the time in their busy schedules to devote to developing a book concept, doing the research, getting the writing done, fact checking, and organizing the elements required to have a book published. Consumer books have to readable and entertaining to hold the reader’s interest.

In view of the time constraints of contemporary practice, many physician authors need assistance translating complex theories into consumer friendly terms. Doctors are accustomed to communicating with other medical professionals, and often struggle with expressing their opinions in lay terms. Writing for the general public requires establishing a voice of authority while keeping the reader interested and entertained. A consumer book should be simple, informative and educational. Books that are overly technical or complicated and resemble textbooks are not suitable for a consumer audience. Working with an editor who understands the specialized needs of doctors will be able to represent your professional image in an appropriate manner.

One basic rule of writing is to stick with what you know. Write about a topic that you are passionate about so you can draw on your longtime experience with patients. Your book should also reflect your own personality and specialized approach. Choosing a great title that has flair and is memorable will go far to create a buzz around your book. The final key element is to optimize the front and back cover for maximum effectiveness. Covers that pop will lead prospective book buyers to pick them up from the crowded shelves in bookstores.

Your book title should be attention-grabbing and memorable. It is helpful to survey the market to see what other titles are out there, check for books in print, and run your prospective title through internet searches to determine its availability. In preparation, visit Amazon.com or your local Barnes & Noble to see what books are in the category now, and how they are positioned. Your topic should be broad enough to appeal to a sufficient number of readers to make it viable for booksellers. The title should convey what the book is about in a concise manner. The subtitle can explain the book’s content in greater detail. Along with the importance of a catchy title, the cover design is what the bookseller is looking at to determine the book’s marketability, and what consumer sees first on bookstore shelves.

Allen D. Rosen, M.D., is a board certified plastic surgeon in Montclair, N.J. and co-author of BEAUTY IN BALANCE (MDPUBLISH, 2006). As he says, “Consumers have never been as confused as they are now about what they can and cannot expect from aesthetic surgery. The excessive media hype of cosmetic procedures, guerrilla marketing by physicians with limited formal training, and the unreality of popularized television programs have contributed to this confusion. Plastic surgeons writing consumer books containing reliable information on aesthetic surgery will help to dispel some of the current misinformation for consumers.”