Are you interested in writing a book for the Patient-Centered
If you are thinking about writing a book on a medical topic, here
is what we're looking for as publishers.
For topics, we're interested in:
For writers, we're interested in:
- Life-threatening or life-changing conditions that
- Have an unmet need for information and
- Preferably have an active patient community.
In more detail, these can be described as follows.
- Current/former patients, who have been active in their own treatment
and in the wider patient community,
- Have respect for Western medicine,
- Look for other kinds of healing: psychologic, nutritional,
spiritual, etc., and
- Have good writing skills.
Life-threatening or life-changing conditions
We're interested in conditions or diseases that people have to learn to
deal with. For example, we'd be interested in a book on lung cancer or
Naturally, we're interested in demographics. (If a condition
applies to 250,000 people in the US, we have a better chance of
making back development costs than if the condition applies to
only 25,000 people.) However, that's not our sole criteria.
An unmet need for information
An unmet need might be a disease/condition that no one has written
about in depth for patients, where participation in medical care
is difficult because of lack of access to information from
professionals, other patients, and print sources. The disease might
have previously been thought of as terminal, but is now manageable
for longer and longer periods as a chronic disease. The disease
might have once been considered as rare, but is now affecting
larger groups of people. The only information available on a
condition might be the "medical party line" where it doesn't
begin to match the entire experience of patients.
Whatever the description of the disease, an unmet need means
that there is "information pain." (We don't want to publish in an
area where there are a number of perfectly serviceable books, just
so that we can have a title there.)
An active (or emerging) patient community
An active patient community means that there is an association
for patients, conferences and seminars, a scattering of
in-person support groups, perhaps an online discussion list.
This gives us a chanceparticularly for conditions that don't
affect millionsto work with the community and build some
Writers who have been patients active in their own treatment
and in the wider patient community
We'd like someone who has "been there, done that" as well as
someone who is interested in other people's experiences. We want
the book to describe what has happened with a large group of people;
your contacts with other patients will help you find a range of
We'd like authors to be interested in their subject for the
long-term. As much as possible, we'd like to find authors who
are interested in speaking at seminars, answering questions, and
promoting awareness in living with the condition. We'd like you to
help market the book: know who wants the information and why, and
help us get the word out. We plan for our books to be in print
for many years. Instead of just having a single splashy launch,
we want an author who will be a partner in a long-term marketing
and awareness effort.
With respect for Western medicine
Books in this series start with the premise that Western
medicine has valuable things to offer, particularly for acute
care of conditions and symptoms. For some diseases, such as
childhood leukemia, Western medicine has a high rate of success.
For some diseasesespecially chronic conditionsWestern
medicine is less of a total answer; Western medicine might not be
able to offer longer life or more quality of life than another,
less invasive, treatment.
However, we start from the point that Western medicine is the
prevailing paradigm and that we'll first look for what it can
contribute to healing. (Conspiracy theorists need not apply.)
Who look for other kinds of healing
We do want authors who think of healing more broadly than x-rays
and surgery. Complementary therapies are a part of any healing.
Therapies like counseling, support groups, nutrition, or psychologic
pain relief are used to help people cope with life changes or side
effects of treatments. If therapies are not "proven" in the medical
research to be effectivee.g., acupuncture to releive chemotherapy
nauseawe can still give helpful information anecdotally through
We applaud the approach and philosophy of Michael Lerner's Choices
We are not looking for the latest "magic bullet" claims for a
particular herb or therapy. There are other publishers who
are. We want to reflect the importance of healing the whole
person while taking into account the current medical landscape.
And who have good writing skills
We expect that you have writing experience and familiarity with
managing a project schedule. Although formal experience isn't
necessaryyou don't have to be a journalist or published author
we do expect to see writing samples. (The samples would be
explanatory text, preferably of the same general tone and complexity
of material that you'd use in a book.) We'll also want to see signs
that you know how to manage the structure of an extended work (e.g.,
can envision a detailed outline) and that you can manage a complex
project over time.
The kinds of things that we'd want to see in a formal proposal
are listed in our
Guide. This was written for authors
of our technical (computer) books. However, it gives you a good
idea of the components of a formal proposal for the book, and
our philosophy of working with the author throughout the
developmental process. We don't solicit completed manuscripts.
We like to work with an author throughout the development of a
proposal and of the book. We want the book to fit well into an
established editorial program and series of books.
The next step
If you have a solid idea, where do you go from here? Send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org stating what kind of project you're
The first questions we'll discuss are what you'd like to do and how that
might fit into our publishing program. If we both are still interested,
we'll ask you for a more detailed proposal.
We look forward to hearing your ideas about a book that is needed
by other patients.
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