If you are interested in health, wellness or medical writing as a career or as a supplement to a career, it is important to work on your writing to make it as good as possible. Even established writers who have written many publications continue to improve writing skills to be able to communicate more effectively with readers.
Getting Started as a Health Writer
Doctors, nurses, physician assistants and therapists, among other health care providers, are often interested in health writing. Given the abundance of websites and articles on the Internet, many professionals interested in educating the public about wellness are looking towards authoring magazine articles and online articles to help educate the public about health issues. That is certainly an achievable goal that can be rewarding and enjoyable. Here are questions to the most frequently asked questions about jobs for health writers.
Are there jobs for physician medical or health writers?
There certainly are jobs for health and medical writers. Writing positions for healthcare professionals include textbook writing and editing, authoring test prep materials, professionally editing articles for peer reviewed journals, scientific writing for pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies, technical writing for health regulators, and writing health articles for online websites, magazines, and newspapers.
What are the qualifications to become a medical writer?
The majority of these jobs do not specifically require a medical degree, but they often require subject matter expertise, such as a graduate level or undergraduate degree in the health sciences. Subject matter proficiency beyond the stated job requirement is not necessarily an advantage.
The most important criterion that you will be evaluated on when you apply for a job as a medical writer is the demonstration that you can write for the publication’s target audience. If you want to get a paid job as a health or wellness writer for a public audience, you will be asked to submit writing samples that have already been published in order to show your writing skills. Getting your first few writing samples published is a crucial step in this process because your written pieces are the most important part of your application.
If you are considering applying for a medical writing job at some point in the future, it is worthwhile to work on building a portfolio that includes at least a few published writing samples in advance.
If you want a job editing scientific manuscripts or medical textbooks or journals, you should begin by authoring several peer-reviewed articles as the lead author. If you envision yourself writing health articles for a general audience, you can start by submitting articles to blogs, websites and magazines.
How can I get a job as a medical writer?
There are 2 ways to get a paid position as a medical writer.
1. Applying for a job
2. Being recruited for a job
Most professional publications use recruiters to find prospective authors who have experience in writing. Some publications list job openings for medical writers and editors on their websites under ‘employment’ or ‘jobs' or other similarly worded links. Another method of finding job openings is by searching job sites. Publishers who hire health writers are typically flooded with applications for the positions they list on job sites, and therefore they screen for the best applicants by evaluating applicants’ published work.
How should I send my writing samples?
It is a good idea to construct a CV than you can use when you apply for writing jobs. Even if you have published strong articles that prompt a recruiter to initiate contact with you, you will be asked to submit a CV if you are interested in pursuing the job offer. You can place links to your writing samples right on your CV under a heading ‘selected publications’ or ‘writing samples,’ along with the title of the article. This makes it easy for senior editors to see your articles and to get a feel for your writing style. Because there are so many applicants for medical writing jobs, positions fill quickly. Therefore, it is best to have your CV ready and waiting for an opening so you can send it right away when you see a posting for a writing job.
Building your writing sample library
A number of websites accept submissions for consideration. The health and wellness websites and blogs that you read might accept submissions from health care professionals.
You can submit an article to the Tips from Your Doctor page of nonclinicaldoctors.com, send your article here. Some popular guest written articles include How to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain and Hiding Veggies in Your Kids Food.
See tips about how to write health and wellness articles here.
You can also submit an article to the Physician Career Strategies page here.
Popular guest written articles include Physician Contract Negotiation Tips and The Dual MD/MBA.
Writing a Book
One of the most frequent comments that I hear from doctors is, “I really want to write a book.”
I had the same feeling a few years ago when I wanted to write a book for doctors about the subject of non-clinical careers. But I did not know where to begin. When I was starting something completely new to me, I was fortunate enough to receive some great advice and guidance from trustworthy people in the publishing industry along the way. If you are thinking about writing a book, here are several points you need to think about.
When you self-publish a book, you are creating something that you want to be proud of. You took the time to contemplate, to organize, to write and to rewrite. Once you are finished and you see your book title on the cover and your name as a published author, it would be great if all you had to do was sit back, relax and enjoy the royalties.
While self-publishing a book is certainty easier than ever before, marketing your book is a different story. With self-publishing, you can enjoy the benefit of keeping a higher percentage of your royalties than you would with a traditional publisher. However, unless you are already an established author, you probably don't have the same clout or visibility as a traditional publisher when it comes to publicity and marketing for your book.
Do you know how to market your book to drive book sales? Here are 7 important tips for marketing your self-published book.