The Web-Savvy Patient: Jane Brody and Me

October 5, 2011
94 Views

There must be 100,000 or more non-fiction books that come out every year. You never hear about most of them. The New York publishers bet on a few when the author is well known. They won’t invest in someone they have never heard of – like yours truly. So when I self-published The Web-Savvy Patient a few months ago through great services provided by a division of Amazon that got the book out. Now there’s an audio book version coming out any day on audible.com.

There must be 100,000 or more non-fiction books that come out every year. You never hear about most of them. The New York publishers bet on a few when the author is well known. They won’t invest in someone they have never heard of – like yours truly. So when I self-published The Web-Savvy Patient a few months ago through great services provided by a division of Amazon that got the book out. Now there’s an audio book version coming out any day on audible.com. But getting published meant many traditional channels for book promotion were not open to me. There were no publisher representatives talking it up to book stores and media outlets.

Jane Brody

Jane Brody

But, as you know, I am a resourceful guy. A former co-worker, Bill Geddie, is executive producer of ABC TV’s daytime talk show,The View. He featured the book on his show even though it had been scheduled on the day after Osama Bin Laden was killed, one of the biggest news days of this decade. They devoted six minutes to it right after a segment with L.L. Cool Jay and his new line of jewelry. We gave copies of the book to all the people in the audience. Sales spiked on Amazon.

After that, in and around my “day job” as host and executive producer at Patient Power, I did my best to promote the book: a couple of Seattle book signings, a Seattle TV segment and one in Charlotte, some radio interviews. NPR had no interest but Australian Public Radio did, go figure! I sent review copies off to some important folks. One copy went to the famous Jane Brody, author, and New York Times personal health columnist. She said she’d take a look. And then, well over a month later the phone rang.

Jane was on the phone calling me, journalist to journalist. She was enjoying the book and wanted to interview me. We schmoozed more than had an interview. It was fun. And then a few days later I alerted her to another story idea, one that she says will come out in a column in a week or so. But, in the meantime, there was the waiting game. What would Jane write about me and my book (written with colleague Mary Adam Thomas)? And when would it come? Finally the grand day came yesterday afternoon as Twitter started tweeting. Susannah Fox, the health Internet guru at the Pew Foundation, spotted the column online first. Then the print version came out today. It was terrific. I guess Jane liked what she read and enjoyed our conversation too! I am gratified.

Now publishers seem to have me on their radar. One just emailed me a few minutes ago. How about a Web-Savvy Patient series? What do you think? Maybe a segment on the Today Show or Good Morning America? I wrote Don Lemon at CNN on Facebook and I would be floored if he writes back. But just putting it out there is fun.

What I know for sure is that this is an important topic that the media does not cover as much as it should. The vast majority of American adults – and many people in other countries – are using the Web to find health information and to make health decisions. How do you know what’s reliable? And how do you act effectively on what you learn? I love helping people with that, just as people helped me.

So thanks Jane! Maybe this will be the start of something big. Or maybe not. It could just be my “15 minutes of fame.” No matter what, my mom and dad would have been proud.

Wishing you and your family the best of health!

Andrew

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