It was last November when we first heard of The 17 Day Diet. If you happened to catch The Doctors on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 then you were among the first people who learned about the book with the pink cover that would soon take over the diet industry. People immediately turned to the Internet to find out more about Dr. Mike Moreno‘s new diet and couldn’t get their hands on it fast enough.
As we arrive on the anniversary of The 17 Day Diet, easily the most popular diet of 2011, we spoke with Dr. Moreno about how it all started and what’s next for the brand.
The 17 Day Diet was practically an overnight success, and the broad appeal was bigger than Dr. Moreno and his team anticipated. “It’s been great,” he told us in an interview about the book’s anniversary. “What really caused it to take off… once the diet got out there was people started doing it and getting excited about it and realized this thing works.”
Many people aren’t aware that The 17 Day Diet was a self-published title by Dr. Moreno, meaning there wasn’t any publisher support. It could very well be one of the best case studies for successful self publishing. A random meeting a few years ago with the team at The Doctors lead to guest appearances on the show, where he would discuss his “Walk with the Doc” program. He told us that he “Never knew down the road they would be such a strong push in terms of helping me out.” The relationship he’d built in the previous three years lead to a guest appearance to introduce his book. The rest is history, history that involved Internet searches that crashed servers and demand for a book his self-published supply struggled to fulfill.
In spring 2011 Dr. Moreno was fielding multiple offers from publishing houses, and he decided to go with publishing leader Simon and Schuster. He says it seemed odd that less than three months after the book’s initial debut to find himself in such negotiations, but it seemed to be the best thing for his brand. He calls Simon and Schuster a powerhouse and “a force in pushing this to the next level.” In March the publisher ran a second printing of the book and re-released the title to national booksellers.
The numbers speak for themselves. The book sold 320,000 self-published copies in the first four months. Then, sales tripled. “When S and S took over, which is about 8 months, another 950,000 [copies sold]. Should be at a million by year end,” Dr. Moreno told us. It’s no surprise that 17 Day Diet has appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list, Amazon.com’s Bestseller list, and USA Today’s Bestseller list, among others. The DietsInReview.com community has given it a 93 percent approval rating.
“We’re estimating there are well over a million people on this diet right now,” Dr. Moreno told us, and he enjoys hearing from the followers of the book who share their weight loss success. He’s spoken with people who’ve lost anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds or more since starting The 17 Day Diet, and many even note that they’re off all of their medications because of the weight loss. “The beauty of this is they’re not having surgery, they’re not spending thousands of dollars on supplements and pills, and they aren’t starving themselves. They’re losing this weight at a good rate and sustaining it.” He’s proud of the fact that people embraced his ideas of lifestyle change over quick and easy fad techniques.
At this rate, we’ll likely be celebrating a second anniversary for The 17 Day Diet. In August a Spanish version of the book was printed. The 17 Day Diet Workbook was also released in August, and Dr. Moreno says it’s ideal for “obsessive compulsives like myself who really like to look back and be reflective on what they have or haven’t done.” The workbook creates accountability, he says.
He’s really excited about The 17 Day Diet Cookbook coming out in March 2012. “It’s packed with tons of new recipes, has a brief overview of the diet and how it works, and then divides in to each cycle with a number of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snack ideas that give people a lot of flexibility.”
Dr. Moreno is still trying to balance his private practice while keeping the book’s momentum going. It sounds like it’s worth it though. “It’s not just about selling a diet book, it’s about selling a lifestyle, and five years from now looking back saying ‘this program had a big part of changing the health of this country.'”