Is There a Book in Your Future?

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"I think we should write a book," Linda said to her brother, Lance, and their associate, Jason, sitting across from her at the mahogany conference table of L&L Law, LLC.

Both men lifted their heads and stared at her.

"Yes, a book," she said. "A book about elder law. A book will establish us as leaders in our field, encourage the right clients to call, and provide helpful information to our clients and colleagues."

Linda is right. A book written by you for the benefit of your clients and colleagues is an innovative marketing tool. Your book can be given to attendees at your next seminar, displayed in your lobby, and featured on your website. It is a tangible item prospective clients take home and refer to periodically. It helps put your name and contact information in their hands.

Six Easy Steps to Put a Book Together

First, consider that a book doesn't have to be a 300-page tome. It can be about 40 to 75 pages (10,000 to 20,000 words). If your firm has written weekly blog posts on your practice for several months, you have a good start on content for a book. Twenty weeks of 500-word posts gives you 10,000 words, or enough for a 40-page book.

Second, know your ideal clients and what they need. Most blogs are too far-reaching. They try to do too much in too little space. To be effective, narrow the topic to one issue that is the greatest concern to your clients.

For example, L&L Law's elder law practice handles a wide range of legal matters affecting older or disabled persons such as health care, planning for long-term care, housing, guardianship, retirement, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, etc. They need to narrow the focus of the book to one topic they care about. They select housing as their topic.

Third, create a working title and theme for the book. If your topic is housing, a title—Nine Steps to Finding the Right Housing for You—might work. Your theme could be: Help seniors make good housing decisions.

Fourth, outline your book. You can probably use some of your blog posts from the past and create new ones for the coming months. For example, L&L could focus on the various types of housing available in relation to the various physical and mental needs, financial status, and geographic location of their clients.

Fifth, compile your chosen blog posts into one document. Add a cover, an introduction, a table of contents, a conclusion, and you're done. Using Amazon Kindle for an e-book or their Create Space for a print-on-demand book takes time to set up, but it's free. Other services are available to do the formatting and printing processes for a fee.

Sixth, 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 Directory profile page.

You now have a book that helps prospective clients and colleagues and can establish you as a leader in your area of practice.

Roberta GubbinsRoberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.

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