Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Doctor Who Cures Cancer, the back story

It's been a long, strange road to #5 on the best seller list.

Let me start out by saying that in every generation there is at least one book that changes the world. The Doctor Who Cures Cancer is such a book. To me the story could have a greater impact than Rachel Carson's Silent Spring...for obvious reasons. In her case, her enemies fought against her.

So why has The Doctor Who Cures Cancer had so little impact over the last decade, especially since the book snagged incredible publicity early on?

Twelve years ago, the Washington Post put a big photo of me and The Man Who Cures Cancer (the self published version) along with a big article about me, the book, and the bus I was driving, on the front page of their Metro section. Major book publishers would kill to get that kind of publicity for one of their bigtime authors.

I was no bigtime publisher, nor was I well connected. In other words, it had to be the power of the book. It was destined to sweep the country. So things were looking pretty rosie for me at that point.

The book was my dream. A Congressman from Oregon, Peter DeFazio, had led me to this story during an interview held in his office on Capitol Hill. I toiled and traveled for two years to put the story down on paper...rewriting and revising it numerous times.

Still, I was a lowly Ride-On bus operator/writer who had previously been published on the Washington Post op-ed page. The management of Ride-On made sure I had the newest, best looking, shiniest bus in the fleet on the day the Washington Post photographer took my picture.

As an aside, you've probably heard of Ride-On of Montgomery County before without realizing it. The last murder victim of the "D.C. snipers" was Ride-On bus operator Conrad Johnson. I had gotten to know Conrad - he was a class act. But really, it was no act...he was the real deal.

Shortly after the article in the Post appeared, my book was selected by a local Border's book employee to go on the "We recommend" table. The books sales took off. With the article's appearance and the sharp jump in readers, I was on my way, or so I thought.

Nope. Not even close.

My dream crashes

An event that should have made my dream a reality turned into a crushing disaster. A co-author of the book The G-Spot introduced me to a man in the book business in Manhattan who wanted to republish my book. His name is Elliot. He wanted to pick up what was then my self-published book, The Man Who Cures Cancer and republish it under the new name The Doctor Who Cures Cancer.

I had wanted this to happen all along. Two other publishers had wanted my book earlier. But I wanted to have the book out before Dr. Revici's birthday, an impossibility with the publishers. So I self published it with the goal that someone else would pick up the second edition.

Once again, my dream came true. Elliot promptly sent me an advance check.

Ironically, Elliot did more to keep the story from you than anyone else in the world.

Three weeks after he sent me the advance, he decided on his own that the royalty agreement was too high. He came up with what was in his mind the 'perfect' solution. He wanted to reduce my royalties by 65%!

Call me dumb, but I wouldn't go for it.

Elliot's crazy plan

After a dozen failed attempts on his part to get me to go along with his attempted thievery, he devised another option I couldn't stop. Instead of selling the books through the major book distributors, such as Ingram, he'd sell the books out of his back office for the retail price.

He also supplied a few local outlets, including Dr. Revici's office, selling directly to them. Needless to say, his plan was a flop.

And my dream was destroyed. The story was, and still is, a passion of mine. My steadfast belief is that you and your loved ones can be cured without pain. But that can't happen if you've never had the chance to hear about the book.

The price of the book multiplies

To shorten a long story, for 10 years The Doctor Who Cures Cancer was held prisoner in a back office until the books finally sold out.

That's when the prices for a single used copy shot through the roof. One used copy apparently sold on for $285 British pounds ($570 at the time.)

The suffering continues unabated

In the intervening years, five to six million cancer patients in the US needlessly suffered and died. It's as if all the people in the Commonwealth of Virginia dropped dead after long suffering, including former presidential press secretary Tony Snow.

The years passed ever so slowly. It's hard to describe what it is like to have a solution for another deep person's suffering multiplied by six million, and yet feel helpless to do anything about it.

But I never gave up hope, despite having to file for bankruptcy due to the expenses that arose from writing the book, and falling into poverty. During this time, I was victorious over my own Stage 4 cancer. It took all of two weeks, and was as easy as pie.

A new chapter for The Doctor Who Cures Cancer

Finally, I decided that I'd had enough of the waiting. So I put the book online in an eBook format. I didn't know much about promoting the book, but the hunger was great enough that word kept spreading from reader to reader.

10,000 Russian copies

In March of this year (2008) I got a big surprise. Little did I know that 10,000 copies of my book had been translated into Russian and sold. A clinic opened in Kiev as a result. Back in 1998, Elliot had told me he was going to a Russian book fair. But he never told me he'd come to an agreement. Nor was I paid for them.

That became the straw that broke my back. I complained on an internet forum about this latest episode of bad luck. Thankfully a reply recommended print on demand (POD).

That's when I learned about a print-on-demand (POD) service that didn't require any money up front. (Meanwhile, Elliot was out of business.) Through the gracious help of Alan Barnett, a Manhattan book designer, the book got formatted in the proper way for the print-on-demand provider.


Although I like to say that I've written "The Second Greatest Story Ever Told" I'm still a dummy when it comes to advertising. No matter...the new edition of The Doctor Who Cures Cancer has climbed to #5 on cafepress with well over 16,000 titles being offered.

Hundreds of people are learning about the book's existence every day and many are seeing the x-ray evidence with their own eyes - impressing an indelible memory upon them.

Public awareness still has a long way to go. For instance a book that gives instructions on how to make graffiti is still outselling mine. In other words, a book promoting public vandalism has a bigger following at the moment.

Where do we go from here

But The Doctor Who Cures Cancer has a secret weapon. Some of my readers have gone back to cafepress after reading my book and ordered an additional copy. One reader, liked the book so much he overnighted it to actor Paul Newman upon hearing that the actor had lung cancer.

In a way, I've come to terms with saving all six million, but not quite. I can't do it alone. But together we can cure cancer - one person at a time!

And then we will start to cure all six million without pain, starting with you or a loved one.

The best to you.

Kelley Eidem
Together we can cure cancer - one person at a time!
William Kelley Eidem is the author of The Doctor Who Cures Cancer and It's Not Just For Sex, based on a Nobel Prize Discovery.