Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Earning Money as an “Expert Who Speaks”

By Janet Switzer (Guest blogger)

How would you like to travel to the world's most exciting places, help others with business advice and personal development, earn thousands per day selling your services, and hear the applause of a crowd sitting on the edge of their seats?

If your answer is "Yes!" you should consider adding professional speaking to your medical writing business.

How to Market Yourself as an International Expert Who Speaks

On any given day, thousands of conferences, workshops, meetings and other training events take place -- most of which need experts to deliver information the group can use. There are a number of different types of individuals and groups which hire speakers:

• Independent Meeting Planners are hired by companies to organize events including conventions, trade shows, workshops and conferences. They are also responsible for hiring the speakers for those events. Corporate meeting planners, on the other hand, are employees of a company who've been given the job of putting together the annual sales meeting, executive retreat or other event.

• Trade associations also hire speakers. They hold annual conferences and training events and want to bring good, solid information to their members in order to provide value for the association dues members pay every year. Trade associations look not only for high-profile motivational speakers, but also for experts who speak on their subject matter.

• Non-profit organizations, educator's organizations and charities also conduct a lot of training, hold conferences and have a need for speakers.

• One of the biggest buyers of speaker's services are network marketing and direct sales organizations -- not only the parent companies, but also individual "leaders" with large downlines of distributors or direct sellers.

• Other trainers, training companies and seminar promoters can also be customers for your speaking and training services, especially if you can deliver expertise they’re not able to provide.

Two Ways to Get Paid Speaking…

There are two ways to get paid when you speak -- either by being paid a fee to deliver a speech or by speaking for free in order to sell products at the back of the room. Typically, fee-based engagements require a lot of outbound telemarketing -- either by you or by your commissioned salesperson, which may include any speaker's bureaus that represent you. Speaking for free, on the other hand, makes "getting hired" much easier because you simply need to offer your services by phone -- or perhaps via a short written proposal letter -- to the person or organization holding the event.

If you're willing to speak for free or for low fees, a resource called can help connect you with hundreds of companies and organizations who are holding meetings and looking for speakers. You get to communicate directly with the person doing the hiring, so it's a lot easier to provide the organization exactly what it wants or needs.

There's no dishonor in speaking for free, by the way. This is particularly true if you can speak at a trade association meeting where everyone sitting in the audience represents a company who could buy your information product or pay for your advice.

Janet Switzer is the marketing strategist behind some of the best known celebrity authors in the world: Jack Canfield of The Secret and Chicken Soup for the Soul, One Minute Millionaire author Mark Victor Hansen, personal finance guru David Bach, motivational speaker Les Brown and others. Subscribe to her FREE series of info-marketing special reports here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Away for the Week

I'm in Colorado at a Writer's Conference. Coming back next week.

Webinar: Changing Regulatory Environment and its Effect on Biomedical Writing

Free live webinar on Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 8:00PM EST: Changing regulatory environment and its effect on biomedical writing, with Dan Benau, Program Director of University of the Sciences in Philadelphia's graduate programs in Biomedical Writing.

Click here to register.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Health Communications Internship Program

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the largest of the 27 institutes and centers comprising the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research and training. The NCI coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients.

The NCI recognizes that health information dissemination is key to raising public awareness about new cancer treatments, support for cancer patients and their families, and prevention strategies. To that end, in 1975 the NCI established the Health Communications Internship Program (HCIP) to attract individuals interested in careers in health communications and science writing.

The HCIP gives highly qualified graduate students and recent graduate school graduates the opportunity to participate in vital health and science communications projects in one of the many offices that make up the NCI. Interns will select an area of emphasis: health communications or science writing. Six-month and one-year internship terms are offered.

Successful health communications applicants have some science background as well as experience and/or education in any of the following areas: public health, epidemiology, public relations, health education, communications, science writing, statistics, social marketing, or journalism. Health communications interns:

* Plan, develop, and promote cancer education programs and materials (including Web-based) for the public, cancer patients, or health professionals
* Gain experience in pre-testing and evaluating cancer prevention and treatment messages, publications, materials, and programs that reach the American public
* Participate in professional meetings and training seminars

Successful science writing applicants have a science background plus experience in public relations and/or news writing with the ability to translate technical information into copy suitable for a lay audience. Science writing interns:

* Write fact sheets and press releases
* Answer inquiries from the press
* Attend and report on scientific meetings
* Participate in professional meetings and training seminars

The NIH main campus is located in Bethesda, Maryland. HCIP interns are placed in offices located in Bethesda or Rockville, Maryland. Both locations are accessible via public transportation.

More details here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Medical Writing Position in San Francisco

The Director of Medical Writing will be responsible for develop strategy for the content of documents to support clinical development and applicable sections of submissions to regulatory agencies (e.g., Protocols, Amendments, Investigator' s Brochure, Clinical Study Reports, IND Annual Reports, Briefing Documents, CMC updates, etc). Key responsibilities will include the management of the medical writing team, leading the Medical Writing function and overseeing the writing, preparation and editing of documents, ensuring that methods, results, and conclusions are appropriate.

The ideal candidate will have proven skills in writing and editing documents for regulatory submissions and publications, including interpretation and summarization of complex clinical data across multiple studies and phases. As well as proven management and organizational skills, including ability to understand, organize and supervise staff to work concurrently on several projects. Strong interpersonal skills and computer literacy are a must.

Preferred skill set includes a BS/MS/PhD in a life science discipline; 3-5 years in the pharmaceutical and/or biotechnology industries in regulatory medical writing including prior MAA / NDA. ECTD experience is preferred.

If you have any interest in further information regarding this opportunity, please forward your resume along with contact information to:

Lisa Madden
Associate Director, Recruitment
Delta Pharma, a Randstad company
Four Parkway North, Suite 120
Deerfield, IL 60015
T 262 302 0352
F 847 317 9543 or

Monday, February 9, 2009

Medical Writers and Readers

It is said that to become a good writer, you have to read a lot. I agree.

Medical writers must keep abreast of what's going on in the biomedical field by reading journals, books on the trade and on science writing in general. One of my first models of what a medical/science writer could accomplish was Richard Preston with books like The Hot Zone and The Demon in the Freezer. These books got me hooked with the field of infectious diseases (in which I work now).

People often ask me what are some good books for medical writers. I recommend two: News and Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Other Fields and Health Writer's Handbook (and my ebook, of course!).

Anyway, because I'm preparing to move pretty soon, I've had to pack all my books. Ten boxes of books only so far. That's a lot to carry. There has to be a better way.

I haven't tried the Kindle yet, but I've heard good things about it. One option that I do like a lot is to listen to audio books on my iPhone. For that I got a subscription to

The format doesn't matter as long as you keep feeding your brain with good books. You'll be a better writer by the end of the day. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Expanding Your Medical Writing Portfolio

New medical writers interested in breaking into consumer health writing often face the challenge of obtaining good writing samples to showcase their writing skills. This is necessary to get an assignment at a top consumer health magazine.

One legitimate way of expanding your medical writing portfolio is by submitting articles to online health magazines or related Web sites. I just came across one such publication that accepts articles from freelance medical writers:

America's Medical Magazine

This is a web-based medical magazine dedicated to bringing the most compelling stories about the human side of any kind of medical condition to its readers. Accepted stories cover surgery, psychiatry, medicine etc from a provider, family, caregiver or individual perspective. You do not have to be an established writer to contribute to this magazine. Articles are non-fiction stories. Information articles are not solicited.

One time rights or reprints for electronic rights are bought as agreed with writers. Having your work accepted has more to do with the needs of the magazine than how good your write up is. The initial step is for you to send an email query with enough enough information about your proposed story. All initial communication is via email. You can send email to

Your email should describe the nature of your story, how long it will take to complete and any other detail you feel is important. The magazine pays 5 cent per word. Payment is made on acceptance. Listing source here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Interesting Seminar on Another Type of Medical Writing

It's not unheard of medical writers who venture into fiction land, or physicians who become poets or novelists. In fact, there is a physician here on our campus who recently published a medical thriller, The Blood Notes of Peter Mallow.

What I hadn't heard of yet was that there are special seminars for MDs with literary inclinations. Well, it seems like SEAK has been doing such a thing for a decade. In 2009, they will hold the 10th Annual Fiction Writing for Physicians Conference, featuring two best-selling physician authors. Check their site here.