This morning, I heard from a Family Practice Physician who’s been planning to attend Harvard Medical School’s CME Publishing Course for the past two years. She started on her book idea five years ago and feels ready to dive in. Helping her clarify what she’ll get out of the course—and how to make the most of it—reminded me of some of the ways this course is so effective for physicians and other healthcare professionals:
In-depth knowledge in health and self-help genres: The faculty have a deep understanding of the many aspects of writing, publishing, promoting and selling health related books.
Ability to meet and get feedback from literary agents, publishers, book coaches and book proposal coaches, independent editors and others who can help you refine your ideas—and choose the best one.
An immersion in publishing, so you can see what it takes and expose yourself to a variety of strategies for getting your knowledge and wisdom to the people who need it—from writing a health related book to penning articles to blogging and podcasting.
Guidance and coaching to develop a pitch: I always recommend participants sign up for the optional book pitching sessions. It’s an important step in refining your ideas and sometimes new, highly marketable book ideas emerge in the process.
Advanced Workshops: The final day of the course, participants can take more specialized and in-depth workshops on social media, writing a book proposal, creativity, memoir writing and podcasting, for example.
Over the years, publishing has transformed, medicine has changed and the ways we reach people are almost unrecognizable from the how these fields operated 20 years ago. In today’s blog post, Julie Silver, MD, the course director and founder, shares how the course has changed over the years and what participants can expect in 2020.
What to Expect from Harvard Medical School’s CME Publishing Course in 2020
Lisa: How has the Harvard Medical School publishing course—Writing, Publishing, and Social Media for Healthcare Professionals—evolved over the past 20 years?
Dr. Silver: When I first started directing the course, most of the content was focused on publishing books. Although the course still covers how to publish a book, there is also a lot of other content such as how to ramp up your speaking career or start a new podcast. Physicians and other healthcare professionals have a lot of creative interests, and so we aim to provide them with the training and networking contacts that they will need to be successful.
Lisa: Anyone who wants to write a health related book needs to have ways of reaching their intended audience, and so all of these arenas from social media to podcasting to speaking also greatly support the tribe-building that an aspiring author needs to do. Being exposed to this variety of areas also helps aspiring authors think about how they’ll reach their readers and get a sense of what’s involved in each one. And some participants may even find that they prefer their newfound medium to a book. What are some of the skills and knowledge that participants leave with?
Lisa: That’s a powerful list! Some amazing things have come out of this course. For example, Jon Lieff, MD was inspired to blog after taking a workshop with Rusty Shelton and myself on the subject.
Rusty continued to mentor Dr. Lieff, and Dr. Lieff’s blog, Searching for the Mind (http://jonlieffmd.com/) was chosen by Best World Wide Online Universities in “Neuronal Plasticity”: The Science of Learning – Resources on How Our Brains Work Best. along with large, distinguished institutions including Stanford and MIT. His blog has attracted researchers and armchair scientists across disciplines, translating the latest research on communication among cells. Dr. Lieff went on to sign a book contract with BenBella Books.
Can you share some more examples of the kinds of projects and accomplishments coming out of the course? What are some of your favorite “success stories”?
Dr. Silver: I have so many favorites that it’s hard to choose. Literally thousands of past participants have gone on to do some really incredible things.
This year we had Dr. Connie Mariano come back and talk about what it was like to be the first military woman to become the White House Physician to the President the first woman Director of the White House Medical Unit the first Filipino American in US history to become a Navy Rear Admiral. She explained how she published her book titled The White House Doctor and the road to this book becoming a television series.
Dr. Silver: We will have more content on publishing articles including op-eds, social media, and turning content into products and services. We’re excited to bring all of these creative and intelligent people in the same room to make some magic happen!
Lisa: Dear Reader, do you need any more to know this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity?! If you’re working with me on a health-related or self-help book, I encourage you to attend, even if you’ve attended before. There is so much to get out of this publishing course, year after year!
Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.