So You Want to Write a Book

Friday, September 21st, 2012

When I decided that my story might help other women striving to overcome their own circumstances, I worried that my expertise as a physician wouldn’t exactly translate to the process of writing a great book.  Instead of giving up right there though, I decided to look into hiring a writer to help me out.  Luckily, I found talented freelance writer and editor, Anita Bartholomew who truly is a book doctor.

After reading my first best-selling memoir, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, Anita saw potential in the next chapter of my life as a professional woman trying to balance career and family.  Her writing skill and knowledge of the changing publishing industry allowed me to get exposure to a much bigger audience than I would have been able to do on my own.  With her collaboration, my newest memoir, “SOMETHING TO PROVE” won the Grand Prize in the New York Book Festival.  On my radio show, Inside Information for Women, Anita and discussed this process and how the publishing industry is shifting in a way that actually benefits small publishers and unknown authors.

As the cost of print media slowly begins to outweigh its profits, many publishers are scaling down and moving to digital publishing.  You’ve no doubt noticed the increase in e-books and e-readers, but many are unaware how this is changing the popularity of what it is we’re reading as well.  Before, you needed a book with surefire potential for big profits or a name that already had clout in the genre in order to get the attention of publishers.  Now though, many people are partnering with smaller publishing companies or even publishing and promoting their own work through digital formats.  This has allowed new authors to sell a lot more of their work, and this time, without losing the percentage a publishing company would have taken.  It has also, surprisingly, shifted what people are reading altogether; as steamy romance titles are easily concealed on e-readers and nobody knows whether someone is reading about politics or pop stars.  These digital authors and publishers have also increased competition in the publishing world in general, driving prices down to much more easily consumed costs for their audience, which translates into more sales for more writers.

Even though it is easier to get e-published these days, you’ll still need great writing in order to sell a lot of books.  I’m thankful I found Anita so that my book could have that chance.  If you too are dying to get your story told, whether fact or fiction, you don’t have to be the next great author, you just need a great idea and a partnership with a talented freelance writer like Anita Bartholomew.


– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.


Reversing the Biological Clock with Someone Else’s

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Because so many women hold giving birth as one of their ultimate lifetime experiences, they don’t want to miss out on it because of infertility or the aging process.  Unfortunately though, as women get older, their ability to reproduce decreases.  With so many American women waiting until later in life to start their families, these upwardly mobile women are finding problems with fertility issues to be more common than they had expected.  For this reason, doctors have been working on adding to their various fertility treatments to help these older women give birth.  In vitro fertilization is one method that has gained a new strategy that seems to be reversing the biological clock of women over 40 years of age.

For women who are 43 years or older, the likelihood of getting pregnant, even with the help of three cycles of in vitro fertilization, is only 10 percent.  This is because a woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have and over time, the number of eggs of a woman significantly decreases from 1 million at her birth down to 34,000 at 36 years of age.  Not only are there less in numbers but the likelihood of the remaining eggs to function normally in the reproductive process becomes less.  However, researchers have found that when one uses a “donor” egg, i.e.,  when a young woman’s eggs are donated and in vitro fertilization is used in combination with these younger eggs, the chances of pregnancy increase to 60 or even 80%.   Nearly 250,000 women participated in this reproductive study by researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine and what they found was quite promising.  Even infertile, older women using donated eggs and in vitro fertilization had the same chances of getting pregnant as fertile young women using natural means.

Although these findings are exciting for those desperate to have a baby later in life, the process is not as easy as it sounds.  It is an expensive, unpleasant process, and not without its drawbacks.  It’s important to remember that the baby is not genetically related to the mother.  Some women find that less appealing (to be carrying a child that does not have her DNA).  Moreover, sometimes infertility is a sign of other reproductive problems that can cause issues during a pregnancy and long-term concerns for a child born in this manner.  For this reason, it is extremely important to consult with your OB/GYN before proceeding with such a program.  Many “older” celebrities have become mothers in this fashion.  But, keep in mind, healthy babies come from healthy mothers, so one should consider all other options before traveling down this path to motherhood.

You can read more about infertility in the chapter, “I’m not pregnant—and I want to be” in my health book, “INSIDE INFORMATION FOR WOMEN”.


– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.