At the end of a jury trial, the defense lawyer asks to meet privately with the Judge (my wife). In the Judge’s chambers, the defense lawyer tells the Judge: “Now that the trial is over, I’ve got to tell you something. I’ve read your husband’s book [The Power of a System] and I make every lawyer in my firm read the book. Oh, yeah, I also read his newsletters [weekly email newsletter and monthly print newsletter].”
Nice feedback, but not exactly earth-shattering except for a small detail: I don’t know this lawyer and his law firm is located halfway across the state in a town I’ve never heard of. A total stranger feels like he’s got a personal relationship with the author of a book who he’s never met and the relationship is nurtured through newsletters that he reads every week.
The book and newsletters will keep you “top of mind” with a total stranger. You can’t be everywhere—there’s only so many ways that you can reach out to your prospective referral partners. But there is no more powerful way to expand your influence among potential referral partners than a book. A book is the ultimate business card that will live for the rest of your career.
Why You Should Write a Book
When your friends and referral partners know that you’ve written a book, you become the “expert”. You have instant credibility and mini-celebrity status. How many people do you know who’ve written a book? Probably none, and that’s exactly why you should.
Big-time lawyers in your area of law ask to interview you about your book or speak at their trial lawyers’ convention. Bloggers, podcasters and national and state lawyer organizations seek you out and it’s not hard to figure out why– you’re the person who “wrote the book”.
“Very few things will have a bigger impact on your life and career than writing a real book.”
The beauty of a book is that it’s not a one-time event. You use the book as your ticket to speak at national and state marketing or trial lawyer conventions and you build the momentum from your book with a weekly email newsletter and a monthly print newsletter with your best practice tips and advice. Slowly, but surely, you’re becoming a rock star!
Myths about Writing a Book
If you just have a book and do nothing else, the book will do nothing for you. Just having a book is a waste of your time unless you promote and market the book in everything you do. The book is just the beginning of your marketing campaign—everything that you do, i.e., blogs, podcasts, email newsletters, are tools for the promotion of your book.
A quality book cannot be written in a few hours. It takes time and hard work to write a book—it took 2 ½ years to write the book, The Power of a System. But once you’re finished, you’ve got a book that you can use to promote your law practice forever.
“Using a book to market and grow your business is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Adam Witty, Book the Business
You don’t need a traditional publishing house, i.e., Simon & Schuster or HarperCollins, to publish a book. For your first book, hire a self-publisher (Word Association published my first book, The 7 Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims). The editing, graphic design and publishing will cost $1,500-$2,000 and you’ll have a finished product in 3 months.
Inside Secrets about Book Writing
Hard cover books lend gravitas—you’ve got a “real book”, not a flimsy guide that took a few weeks to scratch together. Business to business (“B2B”) marketing requires a hard cover book that is professionally designed, edited and marketed, especially if your target audience is other professionals.
Forget about writing 5-7 books. Think quality over quantity–just one book is all you need. You can always add new material to your book in a second edition and promote new editions of the book with a book launch party, just as you would with a new book.
“Your book is more than a marketing tool; it’s a long-term asset for your business.”
Adam Witty, Book the Business
Give specific, actionable advice that your target audience can use TODAY and if you live by this simple rule, your book will live forever. Get rid of rah-rah, inspirational advice that your readers can’t implement immediately in their law practice. Show exactly what you do for every practice tip and give the reader your best legal forms, i.e., your “3 Rules of Communication” for clients.
The Biggest Mistakes made by Authors
Most authors make a HUGE mistake of using their book to promote themselves. Their book is one, big sales pitch. This is a HUGE MISTAKE. Buyers of your book will hate and resent you for trying to pitch your product or service. There is one cardinal rule of book writing: Never sell or pitch anything in your book.
Don’t sell your book—give the book away! You’ll go broke trying to recoup the time and money you’ve spent on your book; the only authors making serious cash from book sales are John Grisham and Stephen King. Give the book to your top referral partners as a free gift.
Offer to give your book away on your holiday cards and gift wrap and sign your book as a holiday present. Your Holiday card might read:
The best gifts are books—let us make gift giving easier for you.
With the holidays fast approaching, there is no greater gift than the gift of knowledge. We will be happy to gift wrap a book and mail it to five of your friends with your name on it.
Don’t focus on selling your book on Amazon. Amazon will not provide you with any of the contact information for book purchasers, so there is no way to follow up with them. Tell everyone to buy your book on a customized website, i.e., www.UltimateInjuryLaw.com, which features your book. You want to capture the name, address and email of everyone who buys your book, so they can be added to your database and you can follow up with them with updates and announcements in a nurture campaign.
Scaling Your Law Practice with a Book
Offer free copies of your book in trial lawyer magazines and newspapers. Your ad in a trial lawyer newspaper or magazine might read:
CAN I GIVE YOU MY NEW BEST-SELLING BOOK FOR FREE?
You may have heard of The Power of a System, (but in case you haven’t), it’s been called “a terrific work” by Thomas A. Moore, Esq., one of the very best trial lawyers in the country.
“This is the book I wish I had when I went out on my own in 1995. It would have eliminated a lot of pain.”
Ben Glass, Esq., Great Legal Marketing, Fairfax, Virginia
The book normally retails for $26.99, but my publisher sent me an extra 150 copies to help spread the word and I want to send an extra book to you. What’s the catch? I just want to get this book in your hands.
If you haven’t claimed your free book, now is your chance. Send an e-mail to my assistant, Alyssa Marcello at firstname.lastname@example.org requesting a copy of the book. I will ship the free book (you don’t even have to pay shipping and handling) to you within 2 business days.
But time is running out for your free book. I only have 150 books and my supply is running low, so don’t miss your chance. Why not get your book for nothing?
You can use the same verbiage for a direct mail sales letter, email blast or Facebook ad that is targeted to your prospective referral partners.
Not All Leads are Created Equal
Once you’ve receive the online request for a free book, the autoresponder on your website asks 3 qualifying questions. If you want referrals of medical malpractice cases from personal injury lawyers in New York, your qualifying questions might be:
- Do you practice law in New York?
- Is 50% or more of your practice devoted to plaintiffs’ personal injury?
- Do you handle medical malpractice cases?
If the lead answers “Yes” to the first two questions and “No” to the third question, they qualify as a potential referral partner. You get the potential referral partner’s contact information, mail a hard copy of your book to them and follow up in a nurture campaign, i.e., weekly email newsletter with your best practice tips.
If the new lead does not qualify, you respond with an auto-responder that gives an e-book of the book. You can follow this same process for qualifying new leads through Facebook ads, direct mail and email.
Getting Friends to Promote Your Book
You have vendors who make money from your law practice—it’s time to engage them as evangelists for your book. Ask your vendors, i.e., software provider, intake specialist or trust company, to offer your free book to their clients in the state where you practice. Give the vendors a link to a unique landing page to send their clients for the free book offer and make sure you add video the landing page (video increases conversion by 30%).
If your target referral partners are lawyers, send a box of your books to the local law school and give them to the teacher of the law practice management class. Start with one law school and then expand to all of the law schools in your region and state. Send free copies of your book to the Executive Directors of county bar associations in your region and national and state trial lawyer organizations, i.e., American Association for Justice, and members of the legal media.
A Long-Term Strategy that Will Make You a Super Star
Writing a book is a long-term marketing play—you can’t expect overnight results. But your book should be used to plant seeds for the growth of your law practice and little-by-little your mini-celebrity status grows. And with a little hard work, you just might become a rock star.
photo credit: Author Angela Misri signs Thrice Burned via photopin (license)