My New Textbook: the first 90 days

I have written several blog posts about the task of writing a comprehensive cosmetic facial surgery textbook.  The first post was written as I was mid way into the project

http://niamtu.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/on-writing-my-textbook/

and the second entry was written after it was finished and I realized what I did.

http://niamtu.wordpress.com/2009/07/05/writing-a-textbook-the-hardest-thing-i-have-ever-done/

Again, writing a sole author text of 17 chapters for the best known medical publishing house (Elsevier)  is a task of awesome proportions.  I did get help with a single chapter where my friend Angelo Cuzalina, M.D. wrote the rhinoplasty chapter, but I wrote the other 17 chapters.

So after all this hard work of writing, taking and editing 3,300 images, proofing your won work, fighting the editor and publisher about content and then after 2 years finally signing off on the book……what happens?  Well, for a long time nothing happens as a 1,000 page text with 3,300 images is sent out to another country to print.  So, the data has to get there, get printed and get shipped back to the U.S.  All of this took many months and finally in September of this year, I got my hands on an advanced copy.  It was a very strange but rewarding sensation to finally see a physical copy of something that has been only seen on a computer screen for the last several years.  It was decided by the publisher that the book would retail for $269 but Amazon introduced a pre release special that was discounted.

The book has done unbelievably well as it has sold over 1,000 copies in the first 90 days.  I am told by the publisher that this is exceptional for a large book with a large price tag.  The book has sold well in numerous specialties including plastic surgery, facial plastic surgery, ENT, oral and maxillofacial surgery, ophthalmology, oculoplastic surgery, dermatology and even at some dental meetings.  Obviously this makes me proud as this book is a representation of my 30 years of doing and teaching facial surgery.  I feel that it is a true accomplishment and although it took several years to produce, I am so glad I did it as many surgeons vow to publish a comprehensive text but few pull it off.

I am told that the book will be reprinted and that this is an honor as the company obviously feels it will continue to sell.  Many books only make it through a single printing because they simply don’t sell.  Again, I am very humbled by the entire experience.  I have done book signings at several medical meetings and it is a true honor, although I sometimes feel embarrassed, but truly humbled when a doc purchases the book and requests a signature.

We will most likely write a second edition in the future and I have begun documenting new procedures or material that was not in the first printing as I know that  this daunting task will rear its head in several years.  It is amazing how fast technology changes where you write the latest material and by the time the book gets to the market, some things have changed.  I would hate to write computer books!  Interestingly we have only found 3 mistakes so far and I am sure more will surface.  These too will be corrected in the second edition.

Finally I was pleased to find out from the publisher that the book is selling well on the international market as well.  In this sour economy it has done well here and abroad.  Although I have written several smaller texts and over 20 textbooks chapters in other author’s books, this one was special and I won’t be able to top this academically in my lifetime, but again, that was my goal.

To find out more about cosmetic facial surgery by Dr. Joe Niamtu, III in Richmond, Virginia visit www.lovethatface.com

Joe Niamtu, III