While the most cynical observe that “books are where words go to die,” the fact is we’re publishing (and buying) more acim than at any time in history. If you’re involved in the chiropractic profession and considering writing a chiropractic book, here are some tips from someone who has written ten chiropractic books. So far.
The chiropractic profession has a history of book writing. D.D. Palmer himself started things off with his 1910 The Chiropractic Adjuster. His son, B.J. Palmer, pecked away at the typewriter throughout his career and wrote 41 books about chiropractic (‘Tic) and the chiropractor (‘Tor) that have become known as the “green books,” because the hardcover books featured dark green bindings. My favorite is The Bigness of the Fellow Within.
With the advent of word processing programs, desktop publishing resources, digital printing technologies and electronic “eBooks,” expressing yourself with the printed word has never been easier. Which, like many opportunities has an upside and a downside. Consider these suggestions as you write and publish your chiropractic book.
Begin With the End in Mind
If your chiropractic book is going to be anything more than a private expression, it’s important that you have clarity about what happens when your book is written, edited and proofed. Now what? Start there. Otherwise you’ll join the ranks of countless others who have slaved over their manuscript, sometimes for years, but never see it published.
When it comes to publishing your book, you have several choices: securing an independent publisher or self-publishing. Both have their pros and cons and the better choice depends upon your resources and your motives for publishing your chiropractic book. Getting a publisher can be difficult and in the process you surrender most of the profits. If there are any. Self publishing is easier and in some ways more profitable, but you need to have a clear marketing strategy to sell your book when it’s ready for market. Otherwise your car will sit in the driveway as your garage is used to store your inventory of books.
Break It Up Into Smaller Pieces
I’m reminded of the old adage, ‘How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time.” When writing as something as large as a book, it helps to break it up into parts. Many call them chapters. Write enough chapters and you have a book!
When I started writing about chiropractic in 1987, I was given the opportunity of contributing to a chiropractic newsletter published by Renaissance International. The assignment? A 1200-1300 word essay about some aspect of chiropractic from a patient’s point of view.
Those who bristle at the thought of such a restriction of 1200 words overlook the fact that having a constraint can help bring order, discipline and precision to writing. Or at least it did for me. Write one such essay a week, and in about a year, you have the makings of a respectable-sized book.
Write With Passion
If you’re going to make it for the long haul, you’re going to need to be passionate about some aspect of chiropractic. Wanting to see your name on a physical book probably won’t be enough to sustain you. An irrational passion; a cause greater than yourself can be helpful in giving you the motivation to write when no one is watching or cheering you on. You’ve got to want to right a wrong, expose the truth, save lives or have some other cause bigger than just surviving to make the solitary sacrifice of getting your thoughts down. Without this essential ingredient, few will be interested. With so many competing demands on our time, your writing has to be crisp, focused and purposeful-something only possible when you are passionate and have a cause to advance.