Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Writing a Book to Build Your Medical Practice -- PART I

Reasons for Doctors to Write a Book

By Susan Kendrick
See all book and book website links at the end of this article.

Instead of focusing on book cover text and book cover design in this post, I am backing up a step to show what writing a book can do for particular group of author/experts. While this post is for physicians writing books, this information can apply to other areas of expertise as well.

I was encouraged to write this series of articles by my client, Dr. Kenneth Cohn, a board-certified general surgeon/MBA. Dr. Cohn reaches out to physicians in innovative ways through his physician websites, the Health Care Collaboration Blog,"Improving Physician-Hospital Relations" and The Doctorpreneur"A complete resource for physicians interested in pursuing non-clinical career opportunities."

What Writing a Book Can Do for You

Physicians regularly write and publish books for a variety of professional and personal reasons. The following are some of the most common incentives: 
  • Revive your passion for your practice and/or your life if you are transitioning to a non-clinical career
  • Create uniqueness that differentiates your services 
  • Stand out in your field as an expert
  • Expand your reputation in a specific area of expertise
  • Attract patients and others who are eager to work with you
  • Discover and develop other parts of yourself
  • Generate additional streams of revenue, such as speaking and information products

[We helped develop the book covers for the following five books by self-publishing physicians.]

What Kind of Book Should You Write?

Can you reap the benefits of being a published author only by writing about something related to your medical practice? Not at all. Professionals in many industries find that writing a book about a personal interest can also be a great way to connect with existing and prospective clients. Telling people something about you as a person builds trust, which goes a long way toward creating and cementing relationships that build your practice.

Create a Lead-Generating Brand

Building a professional or personal brand is a great way to improve your medical practice, and writing a book has long been recognized as the best way to build a brand. According to Alan Weiss, international consultant and bestselling author of How to Establish a Unique Brand in the Consulting Profession, writing a book is, "the best branding technique of them all."

Ask Yourself These Four Questions to Get Started:

- What energizes you—either in your practice or your personal life?
- What do you like to do and what are you good at?
- What would you like to learn more about?
- What would you like to be known for 3-5 years from now?

Depending on what you want the book to do for you, you can choose to write about something related to your medical expertise, or you can focus on a more personal topic. Or, you can do both. Again, the reason that writing a book or a series of books is such a good outlet for physicians is that it does very positive things for your reputation, your practice, and your personal well-being.

Professional, Personal, or a Blend: 

Writing a book gives you a way to reach into yourself and out to others in an extremely rewarding way. It begins to bridge what may have become a wide gap between who you are as a physician and who you are as a person.
You can even write a book for other physicians about how to survive and thrive in your professional. Based on your own experience and interviews with colleagues, you can cover a number of areas, such as how to reduce stress, find time to get to the gym, spend time with family when you’re on call, or just relax and recharge.

Expand Your Practice or Expertise: There are many books on the market that demonstrate the success of books written by doctors on some aspect of their medical expertise. We have worked with many doctors who use that expertise to delve into an alternative approach they have developed to a common health challenge.
Take a more personal route: On a more completely personal level, you can write a book about your passion for gardening and describe the health benefits of eating food you grow yourself. Do you like to travel? You can write a book about how travel helps relieve stress and renews your body, mind, and spirit.

Do you love to spend time with your kids? Outline some of your favorite suggestions for activities, road trips, or “vacations” in your home town when you don’t have a lot of time but still want to create family memories. Describe how doing things together builds relationships that benefit the emotional and physical health of your family.

Depending on what you care about and what excites you, the possibilities are endless. One important guiding principle to keep in mind is that the topic should be one that will hold your interest for a long time, both in the creation of the book and in promoting it.

Next in This Series:
Part II -- "Organizing and Starting Your Book"

All Book and Book Website Links for This Article:

© 2010, Susan Kendrick, Write To Your Market. All Rights Reserved.

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