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What It's Like to Collaborate on a Book

A common denominator among my books is that most have been collaborations with established experts, usually a physician. These are true literary partnerships with us sharing every aspect of the book-making process, from developing a proposal to splitting royalty checks.

While I do the bulk of the writing, my co-authors direct the research and provide an invaluable safety net and source of expertise. And they’re front-and-center at publishing time when marketing and promotion are most important.

Would-be collaborators often wonder what the process is like. Here's a glimpse into it in the voices of some of the people I have partnered with:

"I still remember the day that I met with my agent to talk about writing an evidence-based book for the lay audience linking neuropathways with human behavior. At that moment, I had the painful realization that I did not have the ability to make the book come alive for the general public. Fortunately, my agent compassionately told me to 'get over it' and put me in contact with Lisa Berger. Lisa never had writer’s cramp and gave me a real run for my money keeping up with her. Her writing skills, knowledge of science and ability to capture my voice make for an unbeatable combination. I am proud to say I wrote my book with Lisa Berger." Ted George, M.D.

"I couldn't have done this book without Lisa Berger's help. She showed me how to shape a broad, neurological concept into an idea that would appeal to a large readership. The proposal process alone was an education. With her guidance, I was able to craft a proposal that attracted interest from a dozen New York publishers." Barry Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.

"Lisa Berger is a widely accomplished, nationally recognized medical writer with a gift for taking complex medical concepts and making them accessible to non-technical readers. She is able to accomplish this without 'dumbing down' the product, arriving at a rare product that maintains accuracy and human compassion, and to which the average lay reader will gravitate and become immersed. She is a master interpreter and communicator of health science." Scott M. Fishman, M.D.

"A few years ago, a 60-hour-a-week lunchpail physician was approached about co-authoring a book. Despite fears that the time he would need for the project would make him even more of a stranger to his wife and child, he jumped in. Two years later, their book hit the bookstores, the physician still had the acquaintance and affection of his family and he had just had the time of his life . . . Lisa has been pulling off minor (and major) miracles of this sort for physician/collaborator/semiskilled authors throughout her career. Except for the absence of a couple of initials after her name, her medical expertise is at the level of full Clinical Professor. Moreover, the lady can write! Attend to her well: the lady's GOOD!" Alex Vuckovic, M.D.

"I was accustomed to writing essays for medical journals and it was a challenge to make topics accessible to non-medical readers. Lisa taught me the meaning of the phrase, 'Show 'em, Don't tell 'em' and ways to frame complex concepts in non-technical language without losing important nuances." Ira Byock, M.D.

"Lisa Berger is a writer-partner genius. Not only is she one of the country's medical experts, she is a great collaborator. She is a quick study and wonderful writing teacher. Her mind is organized, her style focused and pragmatic, her voice is clear and concise and her personality is worth fighting for." Bob Rosen, CEO, Healthy Companies International