Robert J. Marckin is the top-selling author of You Can Beat Prostate Cancer, a survival guide that he wishes had been available when he was diagnosed. Bob has generously shared his insight into what has helped his book become a best seller.
What was your inspiration for sharing your story?
When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer 8 years ago I was extremely frightened. The more research I did, the more books I read, and the more doctors I spoke with… the more frightened I became. Books on the market at that time were all written by physicians with their own biases. I vowed to write a book from the patient’s point of view, a book that puts prostate cancer in proper perspective.
What made you decide on using Lulu to self-publish your book?
A friend who had heard of Lulu and who knew that I planned to self-publish told me that Lulu was the best in the business.
You’ve been selling your book through Lulu for almost a year. What were your first sales like and how do they compare to your sales today?
Sales are increasing. Just last week we crossed the 23,000 mark. That’s about five times as many books as I thought I’d sell in that period of time.
Do you feel like there was one breakthrough moment when your success jumped? If so, what do you think caused that jump to happen? If not, what do you think has been the key to a sustained success?
I founded and now run a 4,000 member international prostate cancer support group. I promote my book through my website (protonbob.com) and my monthly newsletters. I have also been asked to do several interviews on radio, TV and the Internet. Some of these are archived and linked on my website home page.
Some other events caused my sales to spike. Both Loma Linda University Medical Center and University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute now send my book to patients who make inquiries into proton therapy for prostate cancer. Also, Senior NBC TV News Correspondent George Lewis ran a story on the Today Show and NBC Nightly News about his prostate cancer journey. I had helped him on that journey, and my book was part of his journey. George interviewed me and showed my book on both TV pieces. Sales spiked after that.
Do you advertise your book?
Just on my website and in my newsletters.
How did you arrive at your book’s visual design and layout?
My daughter and son-in-law are graphic designers. The entire cover design and layout was their idea. I had a professional photographer take the picture, but everything was “choreographed” by my daughter and son-in-law.