Who knew? Writing a book seemed like a good idea at the time…
When I disappeared down the rabbit hole of researching cancer metabolism and then emerged again with a plan to impact on my chemotherapy response using nutrition interventions, I knew that I had a passion to share this powerful strategy with others. If I, a Registered Dietitian and lifelong health nerd, hadn’t been aware of the metabolism of cancer and the power of metabolic manipulation to impact on it, then surely to goodness it was my duty to tell others and get the news out there. I started this blog and a supporting Facebook page, set up my website, developed an online course, and became a guest speaker in several online conferences.
Then Covid hit and my dreams of attending Low Carb Denver, the largest low carb conference in North America, as a poster presenter were scuttled. All of my big plans to network with the movers and shakers of the low carb world were dashed. Many of the foundational people in the low carb movement, giants on whose shoulders I stood, made the same difficult decision that I did to not attend. The conference was going to be the jumping off point for my book – an opportunity to put it out into the wider world and start promotion. At that point, I figured that the book would be published by late spring 2020.
My manuscript was finished just the week before Denver, the week before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic. I sent it off to several people for review, thinking that I would get it back after my week away and then off to the publishing process I would go, armed with YouTube tutorials and Amazon’s KDP Publishing templates.
There’s so much more to creating a book than just putting your ideas down in some semblance of order. I soon became overwhelmed and bogged down in the processes of self-publishing and self-marketing a book. I knew that I wanted the book to be easy to understand and implement, but very professional, evidence-based and referenced, and well-designed – something that I could be proud of. And I became increasingly aware that I did not have the skills to do it myself, nor the ability to climb that steep learning curve alone.
Enter Book Launchers (https://booklaunchers.com/), a self-publishing coaching company with extensive experience helping non-fiction writers to publish and promote their own books in the Canadian and US markets. They have been wonderful in helping me to polish and craft my manuscript into a much better book. We have just finished four rounds of editing, of three different kinds. One of the things that they offered (rather tactfully) was the possibility that they could review my title and make suggestions for improvement. This is kind of a big deal, as the title is the first thing that comes into one’s mind when starting the process of writing a book, and can be very personal. But one of the main things that I have come to realize through this whole process is that the book (including the title) is not just for me – it’s for my reader. A title that has personal meaning for me might not connect with my ideal reader and an opportunity to share my story and my knowledge would be lost.
So the brain trust at Book Launchers came up with five suggestions for titles. AGGGHH! What a hard decision! So, when faced with a hard decision, I did the most sensible thing – I outsourced it. I sent out the five titles, plus my original title to about 20 of my friends and family that are in my ideal reader demographic, namely women of my vintage… I asked for a 1-2-3 ranking and which one was the worst stinker of the bunch. I got 14 replies within 24 hours.
My son and daughter-in-law were instrumental in helping me to clear away the confusion and focus on what really mattered. Here’s what they said in their email that was so helpful:
“When it comes down to it though, neither of us felt that we loved any of the titles. We talked for a while about why that is and I think our issue is that none of them quite get across all the ideas that we think are important for the reader to immediately understand. We came up with a list of those ideas:
- That this is specifically about using nutrition to augment and manage symptoms of chemotherapy. We’re worried that the wrong title will give off the false idea that you’re advocating an alternative to traditional cancer therapy which would turn a lot of people away.
- That the focus is on ketogenic diets and fasting specifically.
- Establishing your credentials so the reader trusts that you’re educated and knowledgeable (registered dietitian).
- That this is also a personal journey. This is about something you experienced yourself, rather than something you just decided to write as an academic exercise.”
I also did an evening of internet research, looking for other book titles that were already published, making sure that my title would stand out and wasn’t used already. By the end of that night, I had my title roughed out. I slept on it, then sent it back out to see what others thought. The response was positive, so I sent it back to the brain trust at Book Launchers. They loved it!
So, my book, which I have referred to as Powerful Beyond Measure: Using Nutrition and Spirit to Journey Through Cancer since its inception, now has a new name. And here it is:
Hacking Chemo: Using Ketogenic Diet, Therapeutic Fasting and a Kickass Attitude to Power Through Cancer
I’m excited to be moving forward with Hacking Chemo. The next stage is design and layout. Front cover, back cover, author photo, author bio, publishing logo, ISBN numbers, interior layout and font choices. So many more important decisions – what a ride!