Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Looking for...Health & Fitness et. al.

The wife and I have been trying to get back in shape. It’s a sad story. Couple meets when boy has been riding his bike 150 miles per week. He convinces girl to get a bike and join him on a short jaunt of 109.3 miles in Tucson, AZ, and to raise thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Girl does it and boy rewards her with a marriage proposal and a diamond ring. No, that’s not the sad part. The sad part is that boy and girl pretty much stop riding. Sure, girl goes crazy whipping herself into shape for that wedding, but not much riding happens.

Boy and girl get married and girl decides they must spend the anniversary weekend of their proposal doing the ride again. So, they do. They train and train and get back in good shape. All this is good. But then they come back to reality and the stress of buying a house and doing all that a new house requires. The bikes gather dust and the boy gets, well, fat. Well, in his mind, fat. Girl still thinks he looks good (or so she says).

So boy and girl start going to yoga, which is great, but not exactly burning a lot of calories. Which brings me to the point of this blog: I’m looking for more….

  • Health & Wellness
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Fitness & Exercise
  • Yoga & Meditation
  • Mind/Body/Spirit
  • Alternative Medicine
As always, you must be qualified to write such a book. Preferably you will be a doctor, trained fitness specialist, or certified yoga instructor. And by “certified,” I don’t mean by your local yoga teacher; I mean by years of study culminating in national or international certification. For example, look at this site and all that it takes to become a “certified Iyengar instructor:” As a fitness specialist without a medical degree or other university degree, you should be at least ACE Certified.

If you want to write about meditation or mind/body/spirit, you should have similar qualifications, be they from a university, college, or national certification body. I am looking for years of expertise and an established platform on which to build with your book.

When it comes to alternative medicine, I’d like to see a DO (osteopathic doctor) or MD who has expanded beyond the strict sciences. The important thing here is to have the training to recognize the benefits of alternative medicine, but also the harm. Someone not really trained might advise a person to drink gallons of water a day to rid themselves of toxins. Yet a DO or MD would know that you can do as much harm over-hydrating as you can by becoming dehydrated. Hence, if you are going to write about alternative medicine, you should know about medicine to begin with, and then explore alternatives.

As always, it’s not just about what you write or how you write, but also about “Why would anyone want to read something you’ve written?” Do you have an existing platform? Are you the official doctor of the NY Knicks? Are you the Iyengar instructor to the stars? Is Oprah a personal training client? Are you the Chief of Medicine at Massachusetts General? Who are you to be writing this book and why will anyone else be interested?

That last question is a tough one and I think one that nearly every author fails to consider fully. It’s an unfortunate reality that some of what makes a book in these areas successful is not “what you know” but “who you know.” Someone like Oprah could have a personal trainer with little or no formal education or certification, but if he helped her lose twenty pounds and she put him on the show, publishers would want a book by him. Valerie Bertinelli is famous only for being a semi-successful actress who married a rock star. Yet Jennie Craig hired her and she’s on television losing weight. If she doesn’t already have a deal for some kind of diet and fitness book, I’m sure she will soon. (And, Valerie, if you don’t yet have a deal, please call. We can do lunch!)

So ask yourself the important questions:

  • Do you have the education or certification or experience to be writing a book?
    Will anyone not related to you want to read such a book?
  • Are there not already plenty of books on the subject by people better qualified than you?
  • Is there really a need in the marketplace for your book?
  • Do you have a platform on which your book will build? Or are you hoping the book will build your platform? (If the latter is the case, the reality is that most publishers want the platform first and the book second.)

More soon….


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