The Road to Publication

        My book is not signed yet, but I see clear signs it is close and will get there.   In the meantime, I want you to know I now have an article in a national publication with the Kent State University Press. 

        It is a long story.  A couple years ago my agent had something come across his desk that caught his eye.  It was a call for articles on the life of a country doctor.  Talk about being in the right place at the right time! 

        He sifted through his files.  I can see the scene.  “Let’s see now, here’s the vampire writer, no, no that won’t do,  hmm, cookbooks…I don’t think so…where did I put that….uh…that resume from that doctor who plays bluegrass music…. I wonder ….”

        He sent me an e-mail.  “No promises, but send me a draft on this and I’ll consider it.”

       I was like a dog with a bone.  My wife was gone to a meeting that weekend so I spent the whole time on the draft.  I sent it off Sunday night at midnight.  Monday morning I got an e-mail from him.  “Needs work, but has potential.”  

        Let me tell you if you want unconditional love find a good spouse or call your mama, but don’t sign on with an agent.  These guys know more about rejection than Charlie Brown, and have seen it all twice.

         I will say one thing for my man though.  He’s as persistent as I am.  He helped me with it over a few weeks, and we sent it on.  (Since then I have added editor Dorrie to my list of co-dependents; wish I’d known ‘ya back then Sis.)  We waited.

        Months went by.  Then one day there it was.  They were interested.  I recall the word ‘charming.’  They also felt it needed a bit more work, but wanted to use it in the publication.  Ecstatic wouldn’t cover the emotion I felt.  I was so taken by the fact that anyone as smart as Dr. Therese Zink would find anything about this old country doctor’s words charming that I ’bout had a near falling out spell.      

         You see, Dr. Zink has been published in JAMA.  I always found her work clear, honest, and to the point.  She knows all the big words, but never uses them to cover up the truth.  Just my kind of writer.  If I’m thought to be half as good as her, it would be more than enough.  Heck it’d be like if somebody said I play the mandolin like Darin or Wayne.  (Wish I could, but it ain’t true.  I don’t.)

          So there you have it.  Dr. Tommy Bibey, who in real life ain’t nothing but a slightly above average country doctor and second-rate mandolin picker, mixes it up in the world of medical journalism and borders on one foot in the door of Literature.  Next thing ‘ya know I’m gonna be playing my mandolin for English Professors.  

        Along with my wife and kids, agent, and editor, I owe the most of it to my far-flung bluegrass and blog pals around the world.  It seems to me as improbable as if Walter Mitty was to be voted King of the World. 

        So today I’d like to refer you over to Dr. Zink’s website.  The link is below and I’ve added it to my blogroll.  I’m listed on the biography page along with the other docs around the country who contributed to the compilation. 

        Go check it out.  Tell Dr. Zink some old mandolin picking doctor sent you.  She’ll likely have the same reaction as my wife, my nurses, my editor Dorrie, and all my old English teachers had.  “Lord have mercy, what am I gonna do with this boy?”

Dr. B

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20 Comments on “The Road to Publication”

  1. Kathy Says:

    I don’t think there’s any such thing as a “slightly above average country doctor.” You’re all the best. Mine, Dr. F.C. Luckett, worked his way through Tulane playing the organ in theaters for silent movies and then set up practice in Texas in time to deliver my youngest uncle in 1919, me in 1951, and about a zillion others, until the mid-’60s. When his babies grew up, he played the organ at their weddings. He occasionally performed one of his piano compositions, “Hospital Rag,” but, unfortunately never put it on paper. Good memories.

    Congratulations on your article. I look forward to reading both books.

    • drtombibey Says:


      You make a good point. I like to think in my office, for my patients, no one in the world will care more or be a better doc. Dr. Luckett sounds like he was that kind of doc too. I bet he was one more cool country doc; just the kind of fellow Dr. Zink hopes to honor with her compilation.

      Dr. B

  2. mwgriffith Says:

    The long winding road to publication doesn’t seem as long to those who actually have agents.

    I agree with Kathy, there’s no such thing as a slightly above average country doctor. At least in the eyes of the patient. 🙂

    “Let me tell you if you want unconditional love find a good spouse or call your mama, but don’t sign on with an agent. These guys know more about rejection than Charlie Brown, and have seen it all twice.” That is a beautiful, logical, and painful thing to say. I’ve been dreaming of acquiring an agent, and after six science fiction novels, I think it’s time to start looking.

    • drtombibey Says:


      Hey thanks for your visit. When my book gets out there, a lot of credit goes to my agent and my editor Dorrie. Also I think it helped that my genre was so odd. (physician bluegrass fiction) No one else was doing what I did. If I were writing sci-fi I wouldn’t know where to start.

      I believe everyone’s voice should be heard, and I hope you have good luck on your projects.

      Dr. B

  3. Congratulations, Dr. B! I’m so pleased for you :). You definitely deserve to have your words out there in the world, and this kind of article sounds like it’s right up your alley.
    I’m also *very* excited to hear that your book is getting closer and closer to being signed!

    • drtombibey Says:


      When it is in between covers I’m gonna send you one first thing, and it’ll be professional courtesy. You are one more loyal kid.

      Dr. B

  4. Billy Says:

    Cannot wait to get a copy of Dr. Zink’s book. I always like quoting articles from JAMA to my personal doctor. I guess now I can really start saying: “As Dr. Bibey said in Dr. Zink’s book…..” Cannot wait to read what you and the other Docs say.

    • drtombibey Says:


      I don’t think it is in the compilation, but sometime you ought to write Dr. Zink and ask her for the article on ‘The Christmas Donkey that Saved my Ass.’

      When a fellow reads that title in the distinguished publicaton of JAMA he knows that is one more brave writer. (It might be the property of JAMA now, I have no idea)

      Dr. B

  5. junebugger Says:

    Wow! What an accomplishment. I wonder what you wrote about….. You should post that article up one day for us to read 😀

    • drtombibey Says:


      My article lamented the injection of business into medical practice. I thought it should have remained a healing art, but no listened to me, esp the politicians and business guys.

      I don’t know all the rules in this publishing thing, but my guess it Kent State University press will have to approve any reproduction of the article. (At least ’till it is a million seller, ha!)

      Dr. B

  6. Kim Justesen Says:

    Hey Doc,

    In the crazy (and crazy-making) business of publishing, we celebrate all the milestones! This one is a dandy, and you should be proud. Congrats to you, and keep on keeping on!

    Kim J

    • drtombibey Says:


      I do appreciate it so much. You are a lady who knows. When your book makes a movie you let me know and I’ll tell my world here on wordpress and over at FaceBook too.

      Dr. B

  7. danny fulks Says:

    Ohio. My state of birth, good place to start with professionals. The editor of the Educational Forum was at Ohio State when I first started writing and he helped me a lot with an essay on James Agee’s thoughts on education in the South in the 30s.

    • drtombibey Says:


      I am not sure where my road is going, but one thing I know for a fact is when I get there it will be because I did not travel it alone.

      Dr. B

  8. Ted Lehmann Says:

    What I like best about the list of authors is the word (pseudonym) by your name. It makes you seem even more real than if you had published it under any kind of established name. – Ted

    • drtombibey Says:


      I am confused. Everyone in Harvey County calls me Dr. B. That’s who I’ve always been and always will be ’cause I don’t know how to be anything but what I am.

      I just pinched myself to be certain, but I am sure enough real.

      A doctor’s life is strange, though. All that I write has to be encrypted to insure privacy for my patients, stay out of trouble, and also to protect the guilty.

      Dr. B

  9. pied type Says:

    It just occurred to me that your book would make a great gift for my brother, now in medical school, who hopes to practice in a rural, under-served area. Do you have a scheduled pub date, title, etc.? (Sorry, I’ve not been keeping up with that info.)

    • drtombibey Says:

      pied type,

      All I can say for sure right now is my agent just told me he is 99% sure it be ready for IBMA convention in the fall, and very likely will be ready before that. The title is “The Mandolin Case.”

      Tell your brother he still has time to be a musician. (just kidding) Also, be sure he understands even though it is fiction it is still true.

      The info on the Kent State compilation release is on Dr. Zink’s site. This is site at the end of the post. Her book, which has two of my essays, can be pre-ordered now.

      Dr. B

  10. drtombibey Says:

    Thanks piedtype, I feel like all us artists seek the truth to the best of our ability. At times it’s like approaching infinity though, and seems just out of our reach.

    Dr. B

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