Do you contract with a third-party biller, stick with a fee-for-service model, or hire a medical biller? You make a few calls, and all the billing companies provide different info, and they all say they’re numero uno.

Finally, one of the companies claims to possess the golden ticket to getting zillionaire reimbursement with minimal hassle. Their fees seem pricey, but if they really do hold the secret, it’s a small investment for a huge return. And if it’s really a turnkey solution, it’s worth every dime. You’re assured that they’ve seen it all, and they’ll do all the heavy lifting for you. The appeal is strong. Their confidence is infectious. These guys provide clarity in a landscape of uncertainty. Unfortunately, that path is more like the OG game Pitfall. Snakes, alligators, scorpions, and frustration.

I’m not a dentist, but I know what you’re going through. Let me explain. I’m no Stephen King, but I can craft a sentence. I published my first book in May 2023. It was not a smooth process.

While writing the book, I also had to decide which platform I should use to publish the book. That decision tree branched into questions about cover artists, designs, page size, paper color, keywords, pricing strategies, review processes, copyediting—the list goes on.

Every one of these questions sparked more decisions until, finally, it felt like a decision tree forest fire. This caused starts, stops, and pauses, which I falsely attributed to my day job and family life. I didn’t want to make the wrong decisions, and so I made the worst decision of all: doing nothing.

The page-count didn’t add up, but the excuses did. Each time I sat down to write, it got harder. There had to be an easier way—a better way. This quest led me to discover that the turnkey quackery isn’t unique to dental sleep medicine. When searching for accomplished, trustworthy cover designers, I uncovered those who claimed they could also do the page layout and even the editing. This last one was laughable given the artist’s English skills evidenced in our email correspondence. “I edit book 4 u and do cover of book no worries you will so happy five stars.”

“GEEZ LOUISE,” I thought, “these charlatans hoodwink authors, too.”

I ran and ran on the publishing treadmill, trying to figure everything out. Instead of writing, I researched how to do all the ancillary tasks associated with publishing a book that looked increasingly less likely ever to get finished because of the pitfalls of researching how to publish a damn book. It’s a vicious cycle. Sound familiar?

Eureka! Just like DSM, the book publishing world hosts a ring of hell, featuring slick marketers, pronouncing that they can do it all for you. It costs a sizable chunk of change, but it’s worth the investment, they claim. Remember, it’ll all be done for you. There are lots of these companies, and they sound so promising. I watched their “Simple Steps for Your First Book” webinars, downloaded their free e-books, and subscribed to their email newsletters. I got some pointers from their content and appreciated their pearls. I even liked some of the presenters. I’d read some of their books, but the closer I got to making a purchase, the clearer the pattern became.

It’s the exact same in DSM. We’re told they’ll do it all for us, and it gives us a sense of solace until the credit card is swiped. Then it’s more like the scene from National Lampoon’s Vacation, when the Griswolds stop to ask for directions while rolling the Family Truckster through the notoriously blighted streets of East St. Louis.

CLARK. We’re from out of town.

GROVER. No shit?

CLARK. Listen, I’d really appreciate it if you could give me directions back onto the expressway.

GROVER. What? For free? Five dollars.

CLARK. I’m not going to give you money for directions!

ELLEN. I think that’s fair, Clark.

CLARK. OK. Here’s five dollars. Keep the change.

GROVER. You see which way you’re pointing? You see that place? Do you see the sign, “Rib Tips?” Well, f*ck that, you don’t want to go that way. You go half a block down the street, and you’ll see a Torino with no wheels on it. Inside that Torino is my cousin, Jackie. Tell him that you’re my boy and that you’re lost. He’ll make sure you get where you’re going. You don’t want to know from me. I’m not from this neighborhood. I’m from the west side of Chicago, here on vacation.

There are no shortcuts to success. There are no discounts. You have to do the work. That’s the price you pay.

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If you want more no-nonsense advice and actionable tips on Dental Sleep Medicine practice growth, order your copy of my book Transform Dental Sleep here.

If you want a good time with hundreds of your Dental Sleep Medicine colleagues, then register here for the Transform Dental Sleep Symposium in Scottsdale, AZ on February 2-3, 2024. You’ll learn. You’ll laugh. You’ll grow.

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