After having written 12 chiropractic books (with a 13th book waiting in the wings), I've learned a thing or two about writing books for chiropractors. Some of them have even been required reading for chiropractors who have yet to graduate.
Granted, all of my books have been self-published, and using a vanity press is not considered to confer the same level of recognition or prestige as having a commercial publisher. But no matter. I already have access to the chiropractic profession through my patient education resources, and that tends to reduce the marketing burden for my books.
In my library, I probably have 20–30 chiropractic books by chiropractors, each of whom shared a complimentary copy with me, perhaps in the hope that I would promote it. As you will come to see, this is actually more difficult than writing a book!
Why Write a Chiropractic Book?
If you think you have a chiropractic book in you, and many think they do, it's important to know your purpose for writing it. There are several motives to consider:
Prestige – Being an author makes you an authority. It's a way to show off your expertise and position yourself as an influencer.
Document – Are you attempting to provide a rationale for the chiropractic point of view? Are you promoting a particular worldview or practice approach that would help patients choose or justify chiropractic care?
Inform – Maybe your motive is to illuminate the chiropractic paradigm attractively so as to convince more people to engage with you or other chiropractors. There's no question that the general public has been misled as to what chiropractic is or why one would consult a chiropractor.
Rescue – Do you have a special insight into chiropractic or a way of doing it that could reduce other chiropractors' suffering? Excellent. A book might be just the thing to get under the skin and into the brain of a suffering chiropractor.
Motivate – Perhaps your ministry is to inspire fellow chiropractors and share the truth about chiropractic's principles. Or maybe you have a special way of doing things that others could benefit from. A book designed for chiropractors could be just the vehicle for that.
Are You Ready to Be Rejected?
There is a myth, or at least a common belief, that the way to increase the number of new patients seeking care from your practice is to appear as beige and inoffensive as possible. If you're going to write a book for chiropractors, this unhelpful notion may have infected you. Avoid it.
The way to attract is to risk repelling. Counterintuitive, I know. The way to attract is to have a charge. This doesn't happen if you're writing with the intent of being accepted. Frankly, we don't need more ballast to support the status quo. What's needed now is fresh thinking—outside the box. Can you offer some out-of-the-box thinking?
Great! Be prepared for rejection and ridicule.
Still want to write a book for chiropractors?
Should Your Book Even Be a Book?
Maybe your book doesn't need to be a book. Someone recently observed, "Books are where words go to die."
Ouch. That bruised a little.
But there's some truth to it. Bookstores are having a hard time these days. That's partly because there are other ways to publish one's message that don't involve cutting down trees. Give some thought to other ways of delivering your message that could be more effective, cheaper and quicker to market.
Video – Thanks to platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, you can have your own video channel. Would your message lend itself to one long video? What about a series of bite-sized messages?
Blog posts – Blogging is now a well-accepted channel for publishing content. You can get your own personal Wordpress blog in mere moments. It's fast and well suited for publishing in installments and inviting readers to comment. Granted, it took several years of blog posts, but that's how I wrote my book, "Recalculating!"
Podcasts – Perhaps your message lends itself to an audio recording. The equipment and software necessary to record and edit the spoken word are inexpensive and widely available.
Emails – You might provide a subscription to installments of your content. That's what I did with Monday Morning Motivation. After I had sent about a thousand emails week after week for almost 20 years, I collected my favorites into my book, Thank God It's Monday.
Paywall – If the content you offer is especially valuable to a certain constituency, you might consider placing your video, blog posts or podcasts behind a paywall and charging for access to a one-time download or a subscription.
Online course – If your content has a teaching component, there are platforms such as Teachable.com that allow you to deliver content, provide testing and even charge for access to your courseware.
You should consider channels other than a book for your book idea. That's why it's so important to know your motive for writing your book. There could be other ways of distributing and monetizing your intellectual property.
Begin Your Book with the End in Mind
If you're still convinced that writing a chiropractic book is the way to go, there's one other important question to consider before you put a single word to paper: How will your book get to buyers?
Marketing won't be a major issue if you've been able to secure a publisher for your book. They'll take care of those details. Granted, your publisher will also take the lion's share of the profits and risk.
However, if you're like most of us who write books in the chiropractic space, you'll choose self publishing. That means you'll have much more to do than simply write. Here's a thought experiment you should conduct before getting started.
Imagine you've just taken delivery of 25 boxes of your newly printed book. They're filling up a sizable portion of your garage. Now what?
Make sure you have a detailed strategy for what happens next because, for most authors, marketing books is far more difficult than writing them. Tragically, without a plan, you'll have to replace your dream of pocketing $10 or more for each book you sell with the reality of giving it away to whoever will take one. Even if you have no interest in making a profit, you still have the challenge of finding interested readers. Figure that out before publishing your book.
Then there's the issue of fulfillment. In other words, if your marketing overtures work and orders for your book manifest, you must get the book to your buyer. Putting each copy in a padded envelope, applying an address label and handing the package over to FedEx is exciting, at least at first. You must think through your supply chain and consider all the moving parts that are necessary to get your book into the hands of readers or distributors.
The Mechanics of Producing Your Book
With a book-marketing strategy in place that has a reasonable chance of succeeding, you're ready to dig into some of the finer details of bringing your book to market.
Editor – Most of us who profess to be writers can benefit mightily from having an editor look over our work. Editing is a specialized skill that can make an average writer appear brilliant. And it's not just about keeping an eye on grammar. Someone without an emotional attachment to your words can provide much need clarity and objectivity.
Proofing – After using your spellchecker and going through your manuscript with a fine-tooth comb, you'll still miss things. There are several online services that offer valuable proofing. I've used proofreadingservices.com for years.
ISBN – You'll want to secure an International Standard Book Number. It's a 10- or 13-digit identification number that allows libraries, publishers and book dealers to locate and identify specific books. You can find out about the process of getting an ISBN and bar code for your back cover with a quick online search.
Cover – This is the fun part. Resist the urge to do it yourself. Find a local graphic designer, and get a fixed-price bid on three designs. Or go online. These days you can secure a designer from resources such as fiver.com or 99designs.com and get an inexpensive, fresh and eye-catching design. Be prepared to offer a brief synopsis of the key points in your book for inclusion in your design brief.
Printer – Once you have an idea of the number of pages in your book, you'll want to bid your project with printers who specialize in printing short-run titles. Every printer is a little different. Some will have the capacity to do the typesetting, pagination and layout. Others will want you to submit complete PDF galleys of your book.
How to Write a Chiropractic Book
I've tried to make the case that writing a book is actually the easy part, especially if you know your purpose for doing so and have clarity regarding how to market it once you're done.
To engage in any big project, like writing a book, do it the way you eat an elephant—one bite at a time.