Indie Author’s Writers’ Conferences and Resources

There are hundreds of writers’ conferences each year, each with a different point of view. But what if you’re an Independent Author? It may be harder to find a conference with a specific Indie Author POV. I find that even though Indie Authors are rapidly growing in numbers, most writers’ conferences still focus primarily on the traditional “agent-publisher” business model of writing.

In late 2017, I came across a writers’ conference that had a specific focus targeted towards Indie Authors. The conference was sponsored by Bookbaby, which is full-service publishing company that provides a wide range of services to Indie Authors that include editing, cover design, ebook and print book formatting, promotion and more. {Full disclosure: I use Bookbaby to publish and sell my books, but this article is not to be considered an endorsement.}

In November 2017 Bookbaby kicked off the first of what they hope to be an annual Indie Authors’ conference in Philadelphia. A team of successful self-published authors and industry leaders conducted over 20 workshops, presentations, and panels focused on publishing and marketing books as an independent author. There were over 400 attendees.

We heard talks on how to research your target audience. There were talks on the use of new technology for authors, for example manuscript-editing software such as Autocrit or Grammerly. There were several talks on the business-side of Indie Authorship, which most traditional conferences skip over. Some speakers focused on how to maximize tools such as Goodreads and Amazon Kindle or how to identify target readers and use of social media.

My key take-aways from the Bookbaby Independent Authors Conference:

  • As an Indie Author – it’s all on you. The writing, the editing, the research, the formatting, the publishing, the marketing, the selling – everything!
  • You can’t do it all yourself. Focus on what you do well (hopefully at least the writing) and find ways to get help with other parts of the job. You can barter for services, find low cost services, hire contractors, etc.
  • At a conference that focuses on Indie Authors, you will be able to network with other authors and also venders who can provide assistance in developing your product – your book!
  • The most important take away for me – to be successful as an Indie Author, you have to make your book look like, feel like and read like it came out of a traditional publishing outfit. In other words, it has to look professional.
  • You’re the boss! There is no gatekeeper. You have the key to the Gate!
Posted in Author, Conferences, Indie Author Day | Leave a comment

How To Get The Most Out Of Writers Conferences

 

Are you considering attending a writer’s conference? Overwhelmed with how to choose? If you are a novice, take your time to do some research about what you want to achieve. Conferences or workshops can be a great way to help you throughout your writing career, whether you are a beginner or have several books under your belt; there is something out there for you. Because there is always something you can learn.

  1. 1.Set a budget and stick to it. You should budget for all your author-related activities. Your writing is your business – treat it like one. Never spend money you do not have.
  2. 2.Identify your goals. What do you want to achieve by attending a writers conference? Talk to other authors. Read about what different conferences offer. Do you want to focus on the craft of writing, pitching to agents or editors or the business side of writing? Do you want to actually write and get feedback? In that case, a writing retreat may be what you need.
  3. 3.Local vs national or international: If your travel funds are limited, always look local. Chances are some organization will sponsor a conference in or near your state. Consider just attending part of a conference. Many conferences breakup into modules. Think about only attending a portion most relevant for you.
  4. 4.Resources: Writer’s Digest (magazine & website http://www.writersdigest.com ); Publishers Weekly  https://www.publishersweekly.com  writers groups, other authors and of course, Google.
  5. 5.Genre Specific vs General: Do you write thrillers, romance, mystery, science fiction? There are genre-specific conferences available. I write thrillers and find ThrillerFest http://thrillerfest.com sponsored by the International  Thriller Writers http://thrillerwriters.org to be an incredible conference. Some of the top thriller writers in the world teach sessions and are very approachable and helpful to new authors.

To help you get started, here is a good listing of 30 Writers’ Conferences that you can take a look at https://thewritelife.com/writers-conferences/  I have attended two, ThrillerFest and Writer’s Digest Conference – both I can highly recommend, however they are very different in focus.

There are a wide variety of writers’ conferences out there. Do your research and choose wisely. There are hundreds of writing conferences each year. Use Google to research your interest and look for testimonials from writers who have attended. Conferences are a great opportunity for you to learn, get critiques, meet professionals and make writer-friends. It can be a way to take your writing to the next level. Good Luck!

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The Winter Palace- St. Petersburg

The Viking Ingvar arrives at its final port early the morning of October 19th and we awaken in St. Petersburg. It’s not quite as cold as it was in Moscow, maybe 45° F, but there is something we have seen very little of in Russia – sunshine! It’s a lovely day, and it’s going to be a long one as well.

We had opted for a “Behind Closed Doors” tour of the Hermitage museum, which is housed in the Tsar’s former Winter Palace. It was a long day – the tour lasting 8 hours. Our guide informed us that if one were to spend one minute in front of each item in the Hermitage, it would take 11 years to complete your visit! But if you ever find yourself in St. Petersburg, go for it!

 

One of the many gilded staircases inside the main building of the Hermitage.

 

 

 

 

 

My daughter and me standing in front of the main building, keep in mind that this was once a palace – a home for the Tsar’s family!

 

 

 

 

After touring the main building that is open to all the public, we walk across the courtyard to the annex/archive and are shown into numerous vaults to see items that are not on regular display; such as dozens of royal carriages that were used during coronations, gifts that were given to Catherine The Great that she had put into storage, clothing, weapons and more.

 

We were exhausted by the end of the day, but there was more. That evening we had arranged to attend the ballet in St. Petersburg, a performance of Swan Lake at a small private theatre inside the Hermitage (formerly a private theatre for the Tsar’s family). Note the double-headed eagle on the Russian great seal on the curtain – so it could protect Russia from it’s enemies coming from both the east and west.

 

 

Two nights later, we went to see another ballet – La Sylphide at the Mariinsky Theatre.

A great experience, but there’s more – the last couple of days were even better!

Posted in Author Bill Powers, Bill Powers, History, Russia, St. Petersburg, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Snow in St. Petersburg!

We only have a couple of more days in St. Petersburg. As a young boy, I started reading Russian history and fell in love with the city of St. Petersburg. I read of the last Tsar Nicholas II and the Tsarina Alexandra and their children the Grand Duchesses Olga, Maria, Tatiana, Anastasia and the Tsarevich Alexi and their fate after the Bolshevik revolution. Now, I was to see where much of this history had occurred.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above:  The Peter and Paul Cathedral located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia is the first and oldest landmark in St. Petersburg, built 1712 and 1733 by Peter the Great. The cathedral houses the remains of almost all Russian emperors and empresses including those of Nicholas II and his family. The above photos show the tombs of Nicholas II, his wife and children.

If you are familiar with your Russian history, you may have heard of Felix Yusupov and his role in killing Rasputin.

The Yusupov family was said to be as wealthy as the Tsar. We visited the St. Petersburg Yusupov palace  (and the term palace is an understatement in this case), where Felix is alleged to have killed Rasputin. The St. Petersburg Yusupov palace was only one of 57 such palaces that the family owned.

The above photo is a scene that has been setup in the palace basement to reenact the events of Rasputin’s death.

 

The Catherine Palace in Pushkin – outside St. Petersburg – The Summer Palace at Tsarskoe Selo.

The Amber Room, created in 1701, was inside the Catherine Palace. It was looted and lost during World War II, but has since been recreated. Unfortunately photos are not allowed.

 

This is what the recreated Amber Room looks like today

 

 

 

 

Next a quick stop at the Fabergé Museum – Eggs anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

I have always wanted to visit St. Petersburg in the snow. It is said to resemble a “fairy-tale city”. On our last night, coming back to the hotel, it snowed! Not enough to stick, but I did get to see “snow in St. Petersburg” and make a dream come true!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our journey was coming to an end, but WOW! A Trip of A Lifetime! Our last dinner in St. Petersburg was in a restaurant across the street from St. Isaac’s Cathedral, which you see illuminated in the background.

My daughter, in her Fox shirt, making one last toast to Russia!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Author Bill Powers, Bill Powers, History, Russia, St. Petersburg, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Storm on the Volga River

Our next stop was Kirillo-Belozersky, where we saw a monastery set on the shores of scenic Lake Siverskoye and toured a local school. Some of the students sang Russian folk songs (see first photo below) and one young man who was 14 and spoke excellent English was our guide. The Viking Ingvar was docked on Lake Siverskoye.

The next stop for the Ingvar was to be the Kizhi Island, however there was a large storm and we were not allowed to cross the lake. The boat moved to another small town – Vytegra Vologda, where we had free time to roam the town. Some grumbled because it was an unscheduled stop, but my daughter and I decided to make the most of it and see what was there.

There were no tours, so we decided to wander around the town in small groups. There was a 1950s era Soviet Submarine museum. It was in excellent condition both inside and outside – and surprisingly roomy inside

We saw log cabins under construction and went inside some. It was a tad cool and overcast. The locals were friendly, though no one spoke English.

When we were finally allowed to cross the lake that night, the waves were still high enough that we could feel the boat moving as we crossed the lake. But then, I liked that too!

Next stop – Saint Petersburg!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1950s era Soviet Submarine

 

 

 

 

My daughter taking “command” of the Soviet era Submarine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bridge across a canal in Vytegra Vologda

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Kirillo-Belozersky, Kizhi Island, Lake Siverskoye, St. Petersburg, Volga River | Leave a comment

Cruising Up the Volga River

After four days seeing the sights of Moscow (in the cold drizzle), the Viking Ingvar cast off. We were to spend the next four days cruising up the Volga River and through various lakes and smaller tributaries and canal locks. Each day we stopped in one of the small towns along the river, such as Uglich.

The big cities of Russia, e.g., Moscow are essentially like any other big metropolitan city.  If you were dropped off in the city of Moscow and could not see the Kremlin, you would be hard pressed to know what city you were in. But the daily stops along the river gave us a chance to contrast rural Russian life with metropolitan Russian life. In Uglich, we broke into small groups of maybe 10 passengers and a guide and then we were taken to the home of a host in the town for a meal. We were able to see how rural Russians live.

We were served a light Russian lunch of fresh and pickled vegetables, bread and a Russian “moonshine” – a homemade, strong adult beverage, emphasis on strong. In the picture below, the two large flasks on the table are the moonshine. There three toasts (lots of toasts in Russia) with three shots of moonshine. Fortunately, I poured three small shots.

Host family in Uglich.

Most of our cruising was done in the evenings or at night. The Volga River does not run directly from Moscow to Saint Petersburg and before the 1930s, there was no direct waterway from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. By linking the Volga with several large lakes and smaller rivers, the Stalin government created a waterway between Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Unfortunately several small towns were in the way and were flooded to create the waterway.

In the photo below, you see the Kalyazin Bell Tower over the waters of the Uglich Reservoir on the Volga. The surrounding town was flooded and the 244 ft tower remains above the waters. When Stalin ordered the construction of the Uglich Dam in 1939 to form the Reservoir, several medieval structures were submerged under the reservoir’s waters.

We saw several similar structures during our four-day waterway cruise; towns now underwater with only tall church steeples remaining to mark their location.

Kalyazin Bell Tower

Posted in Moscow, Russia, The Kremlin, Uglich, Volga River | Leave a comment

Moscow – Hmn, It’s Cold Here!

We arrived in Moscow Tuesday October 10, 2017. It was about 46° F and cloudy – not too bad. Viking is exceptionally organized – they get us and our luggage on the boat and to our rooms. The first day is a series of welcoming briefs and information on excursions, followed by entertainment.

Wednesday was our first full day and we did a shore excursion – Moscow Up Close. Viking provided Russian guides for all our tours. Moscow is a large urban metropolitan city. It holds about 15 million people. We were told that some people can spend up to six hours a day in traffic. But it does have a very efficient subway.

Moscow was the capital of Tsarist Russia until Peter the Great moved the capital to Saint Petersburg in 1712. After the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, fearing invasion, Lenin moved the capital back to Moscow. Consequently outside of the Kremlin, the Bolsheviks destroyed much of the old Tsarist architecture in Moscow, whereas in Saint Petersburg much of the old architecture was spared and survives today.

The Kremlin is a 66 acre complex and inside, several of the buildings were destroyed by the Bolsheviks, but many still survive. There were dozens of Russian Orthodox churches inside the Kremlin walls. Some remain. But if you were to take someone and drop them in the city of Moscow where they could not see the Kremlin, they could be in any large global, modern metropolitan city. We got to take a Moscow by Night tour by bus and small river boat – the city is magnificent at night!

We got to ride on the Moscow subway. The architecture of some of the stations is beautiful. The trains are also very efficient – a train runs every 45 seconds.
One of the excursions was Sergiev Posad – the most famous Monastery of Russia. Another was a Treasures of the Kremlin Armory tour where we say literally acres of priceless relics and treasures of the Tsars and Tsarinas – think of the attic or basement of royalty!

The excursions kept us busy – we were usually out for most of the day and some evenings. One of the onboard activities I enjoyed was daily talks by the tour guides on Russian history. And I must say, you get a very different perspective on Russian history when you hear it from Russians!

On Friday October 13th, we cast off from Moscow for Uglich, a small historical town on the Volga River. More about being on the rivers next time…

Moscow Subway

Posted in Bolsheviks, Moscow, Russia, Sergiev Posad, The Kremlin, Uglich | 1 Comment

You’re going where? Off to Russia!

When I was a kid, I read Boris Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago” and as a young teen “Nicholas and Alexandra: The Classic Account of the Fall of the Romanov Dynasty” by Robert K. Massie. Note – There was no YA Genre in those days. You either read kid’s books or “real books”. I chose real ones. But these two books started me on a lifelong love affair with late 19th/early 20th century Tsarist Russian history. I was fascinated by the stories of the last two Tsars of Russia, Alexander III and his ill-fated son Nicholas II along with his wife Alexandra Feodorovna and their children, the five Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia and the young hemophilic Tsarevich Alexei.

Over the years I have collected and read numerous books on this era. And even though I have traveled all over Western Europe and Asia, I had never been to this place of fascination for me – Russia. A couple of years ago, I decided to do something about this and started planning a trip to Russia. I’m comfortable wandering around Western European cities on my own, but was apprehensive about doing so in a country where I couldn’t even pronounce half the Cyrillic alphabet! My solution was do see Russia using a River Cruise. After a couple of months research, I decided to go with Viking River Cruise on the Viking Ingvar. In hindsight, it was an excellent choice.

My wife and daughter were joining me on the trip and it took some planning – we had to book almost one year ahead of the cruise. One of the most surprising pre-trip occurrences was the response I got here in the USA when I told friends and family that I was going to visit Russia – people looked at me like I had two heads. Most people just couldn’t understand why I would want to visit Russia for pleasure. My usual response was “why not?” I knew that many parts of Russia were beautiful and steeped in history and couldn’t wait!

Our itinerary had us fly out of JFK to Moscow (with a short stop in Paris). In Moscow, we boarded the Viking Ingvar. We stayed in port in Moscow for four days, then cruised up the Volga River and other tributaries for another four days, stopping each day in a small Russian town before arriving in Saint Petersburg where we again stayed on the Ingvar for four days, then spent an additional two days in a hotel in Saint Petersburg. It was a jam-packed two weeks. Also, we went in mid October. First, I wanted to avoid the big summer tourist crowds and second I wanted to see Saint Petersburg in cool or cold weather. Actually, I wanted to see Saint Petersburg in the snow. I hear it looks like a fairy tale city in the snow. I’ll tell you later whether I got to see that…

At the end of our two weeks, we flew out of Saint Petersburg (again through Paris) back to JFK. I’ll blog more about the details of the trip in the coming weeks. I hope you’ll enjoy!

 

Bill Powers

www.authorBillPowers.com

Saint Basil’s Cathedral, is a church in the Red Square (Kremlin) in Moscow. The building, now a museum, is officially known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat or Pokrovsky Cathedral. It was built from 1555–61 on orders from Ivan the Terrible and commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan.

 

Our first day in Moscow, my daughter in Red Square! Kremlin means “fortress” in Russian and almost all towns have a Kremlin. The Kremlin in Moscow is a 66 acre complex. She is standing in front of St. Basil’s and to her right is GUM department store.

 

Posted in Alexander III, Moscow, Russia, St. Petersburg | Leave a comment

The Torch is Passed – Reviews!

This is a composition of several (six!) book reviews for The Torch is Passed in 2016.

MURDER AND INTRIGUE: GREAT SUMMER READING – RECOMMENDED BY Z’SCOOP by Hampton Rhodes

Treat yourself to some great summer reading with these two books available in both print and e-books by Bill Powers   – “The Pharm House” and “The Torch Is Passed.” These page-turners will keep you firmly planted on your beach towel at the shore, or your sleeping sofa on the back porch of your mountain cabin for hours – but it will only seem like a minute!

Almost three years ago, Powers burst onto the fictional writing scene with his first and highly acclaimed novel, “The Pharm House,” which was a finalist in the Medical Thriller category of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards. “The Pharm House” introduced readers to the Dr. Nicholas Harding family and a mystery involving malpractice, greed, murder and corruption. A re-edited version was re-issued in September of 2015.

This past year, in 2015, a sequel to the Harding family saga continues in “The Torch Is Passed,” with the challenges of Nicholas’s daughter Andrea who has inherited the family business through the murder of her family. Having just graduated college, Andrea not only has to run the family business, she must also solve the mystery of who would want to kill both her father and her uncle – and why.

In “The Torch is Passed,” emboldened by intriguing new friends and allies, Andrea sets off on an onerous undertaking to find answers – the true answers – of who and why her family has been so viciously attacked as she struggles to preserve the family business.

Mystery, intrigue, big business protectionism, murder, espionage and, yes – even historical politics – are woven into this masterfully told, emotional vortex of action, adventure, redemption and revenge.

 According to online book critic Patricia Day’s review of “The Torch Is Passed,” which she gave 5 stars, “This is a fast-paced story of greed, murder, and ambition. Thrown into the mix are characters from the Russian mob, whose cold, calculated methods to annihilate anyone crossing their path leave you breathless, and you have a book that will grab you from the very first page. It is a tale of corporate greed and misguided trust and broken trust. I enjoyed this book very much. There’s a lot of detail, but the characters are strong and you quickly determine whose side you are on. Well written.”

Bill Powers came to authorship from 26 years in pharmaceutical research with the Johnson & Johnson Company in north-central New Jersey. Both his parents were teachers and had great influence on his love of language, communication and story telling. With a Doctorate degree in Toxicology, and this wealth of experience in pharmaceutical research, Powers has morphed himself into a substantial writer of mystery and intrigue adeptly and forcefully crafting well-told stories rife with cunning and the art of the surprise reveal.

Z’Scoop recommends you read both books in order of publication – first “The Pharm House” and then “The Torch Is Passed.” You’ll be glad you did!

 

Reviewed by Patricia Day for Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars) 3-17-16

The Torch is Passed: A Harding Family Story is written by Bill Powers. Having just graduated college, Andrea finds her world ripped apart when two family members are shot. Her father is one and, with his life hanging in the balance, she must take control of the family business until he recovers. Business partners, Carlton and Jefferson of Oakes Industries make a play to not only take over but own Harding Industries. They offer a staggering amount of money in an attempt to obtain control, but fail despite the amount offered. Why would they be prepared to pay so much for a company worth much less?

Andrea is fast-tracked to adulthood as the world she once knew vanishes. An attempt on her own life leads her to find trusted support in Beth and Riva. Both women are powerfully able to defend and protect not only Andrea, but also those she holds dear. Her determination to keep Harding Industries intact for future growth, takes her along violent pathways, meeting very disagreeable, volatile people.

This is a fast-paced story of greed, murder, and ambition. Thrown into the mix are characters from the Russian mob, whose cold, calculated methods to annihilate anyone crossing their path leave you breathless, and you have a book that will grab you from the very first page. It is a tale of corporate greed and misguided trust and broken trust. I enjoyed this book very much. There’s a lot of detail, but the characters are strong and you quickly determine whose side you are on. Well written.

 

Reviewed by Angela Campbell – https://addictedtoreviews.wordpress.com/ 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars  *****  

Full Text: I absolutely loved this book. Most books you can tell by at least halfway through, who done it. On this one, not so much. Through the whole book, you are given bread crumbs, but not enough to find your way home. It is steady, solid, and well-paced. History buffs will love this story, there is quite a bit to it, with a lot of big names making an appearance. John D. Rockefeller to name one off the top of my head, along with some very crucial events in our nation’s history, the appearance of locomotives, the rise of the oil industry, etc. There is a lot of meat to this story which I enjoyed very much. I cannot wait to see more from Bill Powers, and would love to read Deirdre’s story. I am sure that one has an amazing tale to share.

 

Reviewed by Susan Roberts

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ****

Full Text: This is the first book that I’ve read by Bill Powers but I plan to go back and read the first book in this trilogy and am anxiously waiting for the third book. This is a suspense thriller with lots of mystery and intrigue and really bad guys who are targeting the Harding family. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was not sure who the person was that started the chain of events that led to the shooting until the very end of the book. It was a difficult book to put down once I got started. I enjoyed the dynamic between Andrea and her friends who acted as her extended family after her father and uncle got shot and she was attacked in her own home. She started out the book as a student on her way to law school and ended up as a woman with attitude. My favorite two characters were Beth and her daughter Riva – the interplay between the two of them was so snarky that I looked forward to their scenes together. Overall it’s a great book full of interesting characters working together to solve the mystery of who wanted to wipe out the entire Harding family. (Thanks to the author and the publisher for a copy of this book for a fair and honest opinion)

 

Reviewed by Virginia Winfield

Rating:      5 out of 5 stars

 Full Text: I so enjoyed this story. It would not be easy to get a couple of police at your door in the middle of the night telling you that your father and uncle had been shot and were in critical condition. Then when you think things have settled a little, you are then attacked in your own home. What do you do? Andrea Harding turns to her few friends and family members to help her find out why her father and uncle were shot. This was a great thriller and I loved the characters. I received this book from Smith publicity for a fair and honest opinion.

 

Reviewed by Zee Mondee

Rating:      4 out of 5 stars

 

Full Text: I didn’t read the first book in this series, so I will admit I felt rather lost when this story began and I was like ‘who’s this?’ and ‘why’s that?’ – really felt like being plunged into an established world and I’d missed all the introductions. But little by little (it required some plodding), I was able to make sense of what’s what and who’s who, and the intrigue picked up and it was smooth sailing from there – well, as smooth sailing as a thrilling intrigue can be *grin* Lots of twists and turns; lots of things you won’t see coming…and then totally slap your face because the clues were right there and you figure out the author had been leading you there along. If you can get past the jarring start, then you’re in for a good ride. Best still to read the first book, I suppose, and get the real lay and feel of the tale.

 

 

The Torch is Passed: A Harding Family Story” by Bill Powers

The Pharm House: A Harding Family Storydebut suspense/thriller by Bill Powers

Now available in both print and ebook

 

Posted in Amazon, Andrea Harding, Author Bill Powers, Bill Powers, Deirdre Southington, Fiction - Medical Mystery, Fiction - Suspense, Fiction - Thriller, Medical Suspense/Thriller, Medical Suspense/Thriller Novel, Suspense/Thriller Novel, The Pharm House, The Torch is Passed | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do Drugs Come From?

WHAT IT REALLY TAKES TO BRING A DRUG TO MARKET

August 12, 2016         BILL POWERS, Ph.D.

Managed Healthcare Connect

http://www.managedhealthcareconnect.com/blog/what-it-really-takes-bring-drug-market

I still recall the chill, clean, antiseptic smell of the doctor’s office as a child — I found it reassuring. Feeling horrible after the exam, the doctor would scribble something onto a pad that my parents would take to the local pharmacy. And voila! After a few days of following his precise instructions, I was better. Even at a young age, I began to wonder where that magic in the little brown bottles came from. Little did I know that I would eventually become one of the ‘magicians’ who helped to put the magic in the bottle as a toxicologist for a pharmaceutical company.

The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics reported that the US economy spent approximately $425 billion on medicine in 2015 and is estimated to reach $610 billion by 2020. Global pharmaceutical sales in 2014, on the other hand, were $1 trillion and are estimated to expand to $1.3 trillion by 2018, according to the 2015 CMR Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook. Clearly big pharma is, well, big.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are more than 295,000 pharmacists in the United States.1 In the US, the pharma industry directly employs 810,000 people, including employees of big, medium, and small pharma companies, as well as ancillary support businesses. This represents a miniscule 0.00026% of the American population. Contrast this with the auto industry, which directly employees 1.55 million and up to 7.25 million when ancillary businesses are included.

The point is that big pharma is a big business in terms of sales that have a global impact. It is relatively small and insular, however, in terms of the people that it employs who have intimate knowledge of the industry. Because of this, most Americans, even those in medical fields, have little understanding of just where drugs come from. As a pharmacist, do you ever wonder how drugs get into those little brown bottles or what is in the injections you are dispensing?

Here is just a small bit of that information. According to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, it can cost up to $2.8 billion to get a new drug to market today!2 And according to California Biomedical Research Association, it can take an average of 12 years for a drug to go from starting at the research lab, to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration, to being prescribed to patients.3 The success rate for new drugs starting preclinical testing is estimated to be less than 10%. In order to get one new small molecule drug to market today, you would need to start with about 10,000 lead molecules in the discovery phase of research.

For that perspective, contrast the low pharma ‘hit’ or success rate with that of today’s oil and gas drilling industry. With accurate geological surveys, the success rate of hitting oil or gas can be in the 70%–80% range. This is a far cry from the 0.01% success rate in today’s big pharma industry!

To summarize, if one wanted to produce one innovative, small molecule drug, they would need to start with 10,000 drug candidate molecules and work on them for 12 years at a cost of $2.8 billion in order to get one new drug. Also, keep in mind that the new molecule has to be patented when it is discovered, and US utility patents last for 20 years. The industry burns most of its valuable patent life in the research and discovery phase, not the marketing phase.

So, the next time you provide a prescription for your patient, give a quick thought to all the time, money, and scientists who have worked to get your drug into its little brown bottle.

Bill Powers worked in pharmaceutical Research & Development (Johnson & Johnson) for 26 years, rising to the position of Vice President of Global Preclinical Development. Bill has a PhD in toxicology from the University of Cincinnati and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology. He is now a suspense/thriller author. His first novel, The Pharm House: A Harding Family Story, was named a Finalist in the Medical Thriller category of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards. Bill’s second novel, The Torch is Passed: A Harding Family Story, was named Best Book in the Category of Thriller of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Winter 2016.

 

References:

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational employment and wages, May 2015. www.bls.gov. Accessed August 15, 2016.
  2. Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. Cost to develop and win marketing approval for a new drug is $2.6 billion. www.tufts.edu. November 18, 2014.
  3. California Biomedical Research Association. Fact sheet – new drug development process. www.ca-biomed.org. Accessed August 15, 2016.

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“The Torch is Passed: A Harding Family Story” by Bill Powers

Now available in both print and ebook:

http://store.bookbaby.com/book/The-Torch-Is-Passed or Amazon

ebook $0.99 until end December 2016

 

Re-release of The Pharm House, debut suspense/thriller by Bill Powers –ebook $0.99 until end December 2016

http://my.bookbaby.com/book/the-pharm-house or Amazon

 

Posted in Amazon, Author Bill Powers, Bill Powers, debut novel, Fiction - Medical Mystery, Fiction - Suspense, Fiction - Thriller, Johnson & Johnson, Medical Mystery, Medical Mystery Thriller, Medical Suspense/Thriller, Medical Suspense/Thriller Novel, Medical Thriller, medicine, National Indie Excellence Award Finalist, New Jersey, Pharmaceutical Industry, Pharmaceuticals, suspense, Suspense/Thriller, Suspense/Thriller Novel, The Pharm House, The Torch is Passed, Thriller | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment