• Dorothy Thompson
  • Book Publishing Secrets: A Conversation with Dr. Gabrielle Francis, Author of The Rockstar Remedy
Book Publishing Secrets: A Conversation with Dr. Gabrielle Francis, Author of The Rockstar Remedy

We’re talking to authors from all walks of life about their experiences in publishing their book.  Some have smooth paths, some rocky, but they all share a common goal – to see their name on the cover of their creation.  It’s interesting to read what path they decided to take to get there and my guest today is here to tell everyone what he/she did in order to make it all happen so that other writers will learn a little something from the experience. 


Today we are talking to Dr. Gabrielle Francis author of the health book, The Rockstar Remedy


Dr. Gabrielle Francis has been practicing natural medicine for more than thirty years.

She is a Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, and Licensed Massage therapist. Dr. Francis currently practices in New York City as The Herban Alchemist.  She also operates Backstage Alternative, which is her natural medicine road show that provides chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, nutrition and herbal remedies to performing artists on tour. 


Dr. Francis received her formal medical training at National College of Chiropractic and at Bastyr University. She has extensive training in Alternative Cancer Therapies, Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Mind-Body medicine, and Bio-Identical Hormone therapies. Following her formal medical education, Dr. Francis travelled extensively to various parts of the world studying medicine with indigenous healers in countries such as China, India, Thailand, Bali, Brazil, Morocco, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico, Egypt, and Mali. 


Stacy Baker Masand is a health, fitness and lifestyle editor whose work has appeared in magazines such as In StyleMarie ClaireSelfShapeFitnessDuJour and Women's Health. She's co-author of New York Times bestseller Your Best Body Now. Stacy is currently developing projects for both small and big screen.

Their latest book is the health/wellness/rocknroll book, The Rocstar Remedy.


Thank you for your time in answering our questions, Dr. Francis.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to write a book?


I have been practicing alternative medicine for nearly 30 years.  I love what I do.  However, I had been feeling for sometime that I would like to take my message to a wider audience as I felt I had much to share from many years of working with Rock musicians and keeping them healthy through lives of excess and indulgence


Is this your first book?


Yes.  But it won’t be my last!


Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

I was asked to write a book by a literary agent, the Godfather of Celebrity doctors.  He said that I needed to write a book that would appeal to the “health book reader” target audience who were primarily women between the ages of 25 and 55… and they were interested in beauty, weight loss and depression.

 I found this kind of sad and boring.  After all, there are 1000s of books on the shelves like that and most are so boring that I don’t even read them and I am in the business. 

Then one day I was having an adventure in NYC, just walking through the city and enjoying the people watching.  I had one of those “I have a great idea moments” that I should write my story about working in the music business and how all these rock stars are getting healthy. It would be the alternative to sex, drugs and rock n roll.   I could use the Rock stars as the ambassadors for my health message and take the message to a new audience.  I wanted to inspire people that were not so interested in health to “join the church” not to just “preach to the choir”.

 I was elated with my wonderful idea.  But this agent thought it was a terrible idea.  His comment was “Where would we put it on the bookshelves?  Health or Rock n Roll?”  I said to him, “How about the best sellers section?  Anyway, there aren’t so many bookstores any more!”  So we parted ways, as he did not feel that I had a viable idea.

 I sat on my idea for a while until another agent, Peter McGuiggan, the founder and owner of Foundry Media serendipitously came to my practice.  Peter specializes in Rock n Roll Autobiographies and his partner Yfat specializes in Health and Wellness.  They ate it all up!  So from there, they helped me to develop “The Rockstar Remedy”.  I sold it to Harper Collins Wave.  The publisher, Karen Rinaldi, is known for publishing health books with an edge to them.  And this one definitely has an edge. 


What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?


I learned how important it is to have a great relationship with your agent.  You agent must really know the person that you are so that they can sell the book appropriately.  And so they can guide you with integrity in creating your book.


I also learned the publishers are very conservative in thinking and do not like books that don’t have a clear target audience.  With my book, the target audience that I had in mind was different than what the publishers wanted.


I also learned that you MUST get your own publicist to sell you book for you.  And you must have them working your book 6 months before it is released.  Never rely on the PR of the Publisher to sell your book. 


If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?


I wouldn’t change anything.  I learned too many lessons that will help me for years to come.  That is not to say I would do the same things again, though. 


Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?


I am grateful to Richard Pine for the idea to write the book, Peter Mc Guiggan for thinking that I had a viable idea, and Karen Rinaldi for buying it. 


What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

I learned that publishing a book is a difficult process that involves a lot of negotiating.  But that when you have an idea and belief that you can “feel in your gut”… You have to fight for it and not budge.  The “gut feelings” and “intuitions” always rule over the logic and reason.  Then, the other things you have to just let go of and not look back. 

I would also recommend that you hire a publicist to help you sell your book and have that lined up months before the release date.  The publisher was very engaged during the writing but you really have to sell your own book.  Social media and other clever online strategies such as Book Blog tours are essential in this changing market.  Especially since there aren’t too many bookstores anymore. 

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