When it comes to writing a book, there are a lot of myths. Some will tell you to go for a walk in the woods, dictate while you walk, and in just a couple of hours, you’ll have the dictated enough content for a book. Self-publishing companies pitch the concept of “Talk a Book”, which is a slightly more advanced version of dictating a book in just a few hours. Book companies offer ghostwriting services (a “professional” writes the book for you), and promise a simple, pain-free process. These are lies.
Here’s the problem: when dictating the manuscript in just a few hours, you won’t have a real book. You’ll have a mini-guide that screams second-rate with cheesy graphics, typographic and grammatical errors and poor structure and organization. Your friends/followers will resent that you are wasting their time and you will cast the image of a wannabe author. Tiny, mini-guides are crap and are not worth your time or money.
There is one, inescapable reality about writing a book: it’s damn hard. Writing a quality book won’t happen overnight (a minimum of 1-2 years) and will take a ton of hard work. Real books cost a ton of cash–self-publishing companies charge $30k-$50k to produce a quality book. The investment of time and money is enough to scare off anyone and this is precisely why writing a book is a bad idea for (almost) everyone.
Why You Should Write a Book
As a published author, you are a celebrity. State, regional and national lawyer organizations will ask you to speak at their events (some will even pay you) and the book will be your calling card. You will build relationships with prominent lawyers outside of your community and you will start getting referrals from strangers. Your book will never be thrown in the trash and will be a marketing asset that you will have for the rest of your career.
Kurt D. Lloyd, Esq. wrote a book about jury selection (“Kurt D. Lloyd on Jury Selection”) in Illinois and leverages his book to get speaking events about jury selection for the Chicago and Illinois State Bar Associations. Kurt offers his book at cost for those lawyers in Illinois who subscribe to his blog about jury selection. With his authoritative book and jury selection blog (Jury Deselection: The Law and Art of Jury Selection), Kurt gains credibility and top-of-mind awareness with his ideal referral partners.
Rather than asking for referrals, Kurt’s book gives a ton of value to potential referral partners and eventually the favor is returned through the referral of high value malpractice cases. A single referral of a catastrophic malpractice case for Kurt can be worth a king’s ransom and even one referral of a smaller case will pay for the cost of the book. For Kurt, his book is the gift that keeps giving!
How to Write a Book
First, identify your ideal client and then write a book that provides massive value for them. My ideal client is a plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyer, with a high-volume practice, who does not handle medical malpractice because they refer high quality malpractice cases. The book, The Power of a System, is, in essence, my office manual with my best tips for the marketing and management of a plaintiffs’ personal injury law firm, and I wrote this book to help plaintiffs’ lawyers build their law firm.
You may already have the content for a manuscript. If you write blog posts, just package them into a manuscript and voila! Your book might be almost done. Gary Vaynerchuk’s best-selling book, #AskGaryVee, is a compilation of his best blog posts and the content is dynamite.
The Biggest Mistake Made by Book Authors
Authors hold back their best secrets and use their book as a sales gimmick to sell a higher cost service/product. This is HUGE MISTAKE. Your readers will hate you for wasting their time with a glorified sales pitch and in the process, you wasted your time and $.
Here’s the key to writing a book: give away all of your secrets for your ideal client and hold nothing back. When you give massive value and ask for nothing in return, your ideal clients will love you. No pitching or selling anything in your book. Just unload value and you will be paid back in spades with referrals, speaking events, free press, new relationships with prominent referral partners and a legacy that might last forever.