Yes, this is the year for you to write a book about issues that occur in your practice. You’ve thought about it for a while and now is the time.
Why write a book?
There are several good reasons to write a book. First, a book establishes you as an authority in your field. Second, a book introduces your clients and potential clients to the basic issues involved in their situation so they'll have a better understanding of their case when they come to you. Finally, it is a tangible item clients can take home and refer to periodically. It places your name and contact information in their hands.
How to Put a Book Together
- Your book doesn't need to be a 250-page hardcover tome. It can be 40 to 75 pages, or 10,000 to 20,000 words. You’ve probably already written briefs that long or longer. If you’ve written regular blog posts for the past year, you’re on your way. Twenty weeks of 500-word posts gives you 10,000 words, or enough for a 40-page book.
- You know your clients. You know their concerns. You’ve answered the same questions repeatedly, so make a list of those questions. Find patterns of commonality for that could be the theme of your book. For example, a criminal defense attorney could write a book on the methods available to keep your privilege to drive. Or an elder law lawyer could write about nursing home abuse.
- Briefly outline your book. You can use some blog posts from the past and write new ones that can be scheduled for the future. For example, if writing about nursing home abuse, you could review possible types of abuse, the remedies, and how to file a lawsuit.
- Compile your chosen blog posts into one document. Add a cover, an introduction, a table of contents, and a conclusion. Using Amazon Kindle for an e-book or their Create Space service for a print-on-demand book takes time to set up, but it's also free. Other services such as Lulu, Blurb, BookBaby, or iUniverse are available to help with the formatting, cover, and printing processes for a fee.
Once the book is available, put copies in your lobby, link to it on your website, promote it on social media, and list it under publications in your SBM member profile page. You now have a book that helps clients and colleagues and establishes you as a leader in your area of practice.
After years practicing law, Roberta Gubbins served as editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides writing services to lawyers ghostwriting content for websites, blogs, and articles. She is editor of The Mentor, the SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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