Home Flying Publisher Guides

Flying Publisher   

PDF, 94 pages

1. Doctor = Publisher

2. One hundred doctors

3. Train on the track

4. Behind the scenes

5. Home stretch

6. Playground

7. The seventh day

8. Appendix

We'll inform you



Download Statistics
since 13 May 2005


6. Playground, creativity
Download PDF

Pocket edition - Expansion of the website - Payment of authors' fees - English edition - Removal of copyright - Blogs

Pocket edition

Medical textbooks are often heavy and unwieldy, because they soon consist of 500 to 800 pages. Everything in these books is important, but some chapters are more important for day-to-day practice than others. It therefore makes sense to think about issuing a shortened pocket version.

The advantages of pocket versions:

  • The shortened version isn't left on the bookshelf but is kept - as its name suggests - in the doctor's coat pocket, where it is consulted frequently.
  • Once the original text is finished, the pocket version can be completed with very little further work - in one or two days.
  • The shortened version can increase the budget limitations of your project, as long as you are able to find sponsors.

So you should see if it is possible to find prospective sponsors for a pocket edition. With just a little work, you can achieve an amazing amount - and your readers will thank you for it.

Expansion of the websites

Remember that your website is an advertising medium for your book. Surf on the internet for a while to see if other websites on the same subject - whatever language they are in - offer information or services which could be of interest to you.

A website is brought to life by being up-to-date, so the following supplements to your internet range are to be recommended:

  • News
  • Conference reports
  • Diary of events

Find out beforehand how much work is required for these additions, and in particular if you are able to maintain and update these new offers over a period of years. Ask colleagues with experience of these problems for advice.

Authors' fees

Your enthusiasm for follow-up projects should not let you forget the most important thing: the payment of authors' fees. Clear agreements and absolute transparency must be the rule. Complete and utter openness is essential, especially if you have chosen a financing scheme where the author only receives a fee if the printing costs are covered. Do not risk the good relationship you have with your authors for mere money.


At the end of the year, offset the expenditure against the income. What's left is the profit. But don't rejoice too soon. The tax office is looking over your shoulder and wants its share. This may vary from 20 to 50%.

The English version

If you write your text in English, it will be read by tens of thousands. If you write it in another language, it will be read by just thousands. In this case, you have to to ask yourself: "Why write for a provincial backwater? Why choose to play for a third-division team?" On a global level, even a language area covering 100 million people is merely on the periphery.

Another good reason for translating a text into English is that this might be the only way to benefit from the copyright removal idea (see next section): Who speaks your language if it is not English? A book which is not translated into English is - globally speaking - being kept in a strait jacket. And that is a pity, isn't it?

Removal of the copyright

If you remove the copyright of your book, this is roughly what you tell the world:

"My dear colleagues, translate our book into any language of your choice except English and your mother tongue, and publish the translation. If you want, you can even publish it under your own name (of course, you must state the source clearly and visibly!). Sell the translation, go ahead and earn money with it. Whatever you do, we don't want a cent."

This idea is as successful as it is unusual. HIV Medicine, which was released in 2003 under the conditions drafted at http://www.HIVMedicine.com/textbook/cr.htm, had been translated into the following languages by the end of 2004 (http://hivmedicine.com/textbook/lang.htm):

  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian

Same procedure, same success story: SARS Reference was published three times in 2003 - in May, July and October (see also Page 21). After removal of the copyright, the text was translated into eight languages (http://sarsreference.com/sarsref/lang.htm):

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

SARS Reference was reviewed in Science (Fig. 1) and in the British Medical Journal (Fig. 2), among others.

How did we manage to get 5 translations of HIV Medicine and 8 translations of SARS Reference? The mailing lists of our various internet activities were crucial here: Amedeo (www.amedeo.com) had 90,000 participants in the year 2003, 25,000 participants were registered with Free Medical Journals and FreeBooks4Doctors. We wrote to them all and referred to the free copyright. So the yield was actually meagre: a dozen translations for more than 100,000 e-mails sent.

Figure 1: Science 2004; 303: 9th January. Not fancy...


It would be a pity if the idea of copyright removal only failed because most people don't have mailing lists of 100,000 or more e-mail addresses. For this reason, we plan to set up a website by the name of www.FreeMedicalCopyright.com before the year is out. The term is not quite correct linguistically, but everyone understands what it is about: we are bringing together those who release the books with those who want to translate them. Once again, we are using our mailing lists, which in March 2005 contained more than 170,000 e-mail addresses.

Figure 2: BMJ 2003; 326: 21st June



Lately, there has been a lot of talk about so-called blogs . A blog - also known as a weblog - is a website which is updated daily or several times a day. New entries are at the top, older ones follow in reverse chronological order. The articles have a date and time and can be openly commented on.

In the early days of blogs - at the end of the 90s - the authors (the bloggers) told tales of their surfing tours through the internet and wrote "internet diaries". Here, they wrote down whatever they had noticed on their journey. In addition, bloggers like to refer to the blogs of other bloggers, so that blogs are closely connected to each other. Blogs in their entirety are known as the blogosphere.

Nowadays, it is easy and costs nothing to create and maintain blogs directly on the internet. The result is blog inflation, and most blogs today are simply personally coloured depictions of life with more or less racy details from the blogger's private life. There are very few things in the world that are less interesting.

However : we need to check out every new kind of technology in the world to see if it can be of use to us. What information could be contained in a reputable project blog? For example:

  • We document the development process of our project: Why are we writing? Which people have influenced the development of the project? What is our motivation, which chapters are being edited at present?
  • What did we do wrong? Not every section of text makes it into the book. This paragraph repeats something which has already been said, that one is incomprehensible or too long-winded, in a third paragraph the linguistic standards have slipped. It is allowed to talk about your mistakes.
  • We draw attention to coming publications: "On 25th February at 12 PM, the second chapter of Free Medical Information will be pre-published on our website."

The coming months and years will show how blogs can be integrated into the project work of doctors. Are blogs

  • Logbooks for our own professional activities?
  • Showcases for activities and services?
  • A problems page for students and colleagues?
  • Promoters of relationships between authors and readers?
  • Supplements to existing websites?

In the weeks before publication of this book, we gave daily accounts of everything about the project in an experimental blog. We experimented with the medium. The question which we occasionally asked was: why, in addition to pre-publication (free online version) and publication (a book available for a fee), pre-pre-publication in a blog?

Maybe because that is the way new books will be introduced in the future?

  1. The blog discusses finished text elements.
  2. Weeks later, the first finished chapters are pre-published on the website.
  3. And finally, months later, the finished book appears.


Whereas for some people a book is completed after the last sentence, for others the adventure begins at this point. The advertising and marketing of books alone is an experience from which doctors can learn a lot. Even more exciting are the additional projects we have just mentioned. Today, doctors can be publishers. Computer technology and the internet make it possible. You should not delegate a task if you can do it better yourself.



  • Produce a pocket edition - it will be consulted more often than a book weighing a kilogram. The pocket version can also help to balance the budget of your project.
  • Expand your internet site.
  • Pay your authors' fees punctually. Absolute transparency is obligatory.
  • If English is not your mother tongue: look into whether you will publish an English version. Something you have written in English will be read 10 to 100 times more often than a text which does not exist in English.
  • Remove the copyright for all languages except for English and your mother tongue.
  • Keep track of the development of the "blogosphere".


  • Ask yourself if you can contribute to the expansion of the website.
  • Are you a blogger? Do you have any ideas as to how the website of the project can be supplemented by an intelligent blog?


  • A pocket edition is a practical supplement to a medical textbook. You always have the most important chapters handy.


  • If English is not your mother tongue: get used to the idea that information is only circulated on a global level if it is written in English. Even if you prefer other languages: perfect your knowledge of English!


  • The removal of copyright was one of the creative contributions of the internet towards spreading medical knowledge more quickly. This concept can probably be applied to other fields.
  • Thank you for watching!





General Disclaimer | Mailing List