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Demonstrating Expertise

Why Lawyers Should Self-Publish Books

By Allen Taylor

Lawyers writing books is certainly no grand innovation on the marketing front. If you can write a legal brief, you can write a book. But why should you?

There are a number of reasons:

1. Authority. A book on a subject you practice daily with your name listed as the author creates a perception of authority in the eyes of potential clients.

2. An introduction. A book can often serve as a way to introduce your clients, or potential clients, to the important matters regarding their legal challenges. Rather than pay you hundreds of dollars to educate them, a potential client can pick up (or download) your book, learn the basics of the issues pertinent to their situation, and then have a firmer grasp of where to start when it comes time to hire you as their attorney.

3. A lead magnet. A book is a great lead magnet. Whether you offer the book on your own website as a free download or for sale, or whether you sell your book through third-party outlets, the product itself can lead clients to your door.

Still, even if you’re convinced that a book can be a good way to attract new business, you might wonder why you should publish your book yourself.

Why Self-Publish? The Paradigm Shift

In the past 20 years, there has been a huge paradigm shift in book publishing. At one time, self-publishing carried such a stigma that only the most daring would venture into it. Today, it has become the norm. But that’s no reason to jump on the bandwagon. Consider these reasons instead:

  • Traditional publishing is slow. By the time you prepare a book proposal, send it to a publisher or agent, have your idea accepted for publication, write the manuscript, and wait for the publisher to produce your book and place it on bookshelves, much of what you have written could be obsolete.
  • You have no control. The publisher has all the control. That includes your book cover, the editing process, and the manufacturing of your book from start to finish.
  • You have to do your own marketing. First-time authors are expected to promote themselves. Your publisher will list your book in their catalog, but publishers today only invest their marketing dollars in proven authors with a platform and a following. Since you’ll have to do your own marketing, you might as well do your own publishing.
  • Direct link to consumers. By publishing your own book, you can build a direct relationship with your readers yourself and use that relationship as leverage to gain new business for your law practice.

Format Means Everything: A Publishing Primer

Of course, there’s more to publishing a book than why. The how is equally important. The best format for your book is the format that will establish you as an authority in your legal specialty and attract new business to your practice. Here are some ways other lawyers have achieved those goals with self-publishing:

  • Downloadable free reports on their own website.
  • PDF books available through various channels that include their own website, Scribd, and other publishing platforms.
  • Amazon Kindle.
  • ePub, iBooks, and other digital formats distributed through services like Smashwords and Draft2Digital.
  • POD (print on demand) services like CreateSpace and Lulu.
  • Hybrid publishing through services like Authority Publishing and Infinity Publishing, which act like traditional publishing houses but give authors more control over elements of publishing than traditional publishers.

It doesn’t matter what area of law you practice, you can boost your business with a book that you write and publish yourself. The first step is getting started.

Allen Taylor is a ghostwriter, content marketer, and author of “E-book Publishing: Create Your Own Brand of Digital Books.” As a journalist, he’s been recognized by the Dallas Bar Association for excellence in legal reporting. He moves mountains through Taylored Content.

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