Want to Show Off Your Expertise? Write a Book!

In today’s increasingly digital world, you might be tempted to think that books and other types of physical literature have lost their relevance. But that’s not true! Writing and publishing a book is still a monumental achievement and a great way to communicate information. Even more, it’s instant credibility and changes the way people see you.

Writing a book is a great way to showcase your expertise. A book allows you to display that knowledge in physical form, solidifying your credibility as the go-to expert in your particular field and in your community. It can also be a uniquely personal part of your law firm’s marketing. 

As with most significant projects, the hardest thing is figuring out where to begin. After going through the publishing process with our own books, we wanted to share our process with you to help you out and point you in the right direction. The following six steps are what we used in our process, and we know they will work for you.

1. Figure out your topic

As a lawyer, you obviously have several different directions you can go. You can write a case study, commentary on a particular topic, or maybe even share that new legal theory you’ve been sitting on for a while. The possibilities are endless.

We recommend writing on a topic you are either intensely passionate about, or a legal situation your clients consistently ask you about. It doesn’t have to be an entirely new concept. After all, several other people have written books on divorce, the naturalization process, or how to start a business. As long as you’re pouring your own original thoughts and knowledge into the project, it has value.

Figuring out what you’re going to write about is easily the hardest part of this entire process. If you’re stuck between multiple ideas, pick the one that will have the most immediate impact on your audience. For example:

  • If you’re a family lawyer, you can provide your 10 proven strategies for custody hearings 
  • If you’re an estate planning lawyer, you can write a comprehensive guide on the various trusts available to your potential customers and how it can impact their estate plan
  • If you’re a business lawyer, you can write out the process of getting a business started in your city

Once you have your topic nailed down, everything will start to fall in place.

2. Build an outline

Perhaps you were different, but many people hated writing research papers in high school; especially if it required outlines, note cards, and multiple rough drafts to turn in. However, building an outline for your book will give you a visual roadmap for what your finished product will look like. It also gets your creative juices flowing in the right direction to help you craft your overall message.

Using the examples above, your outline can be as simple as listing out your 10 strategies, the trusts you want to cover, or the individual steps an entrepreneur needs to start a business. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it just needs to give you a framework from which to build out your final draft.

3. Do your research

The nice part about writing a book on a topic you know a lot about is that your own personal experience has done the bulk of the research for you. You already know the law. You also have the experience and your own philosophy of how you do things. 

At the very least, your research can include case studies, precedents, and other ancillary materials to strengthen your core points and enhance your credibility. Even more, if your website is full of relevant, evergreen blog articles that you have written (or we at Spotlight Branding have written for you), you can easily incorporate them into your book. 

4. Fill in the holes

Once you have your major points in place, you can easily fill in the transitions and minor points to connect everything back together. Once you have these gaps filled, you’ll have a better idea of where to put section and chapter breaks if you didn’t specify that in your outline. Writing your book does not have to be a linear process – you can bounce around, especially if you feel compelled to write another portion of the book first. 

5. Proofread!

Once you have a rough draft completed, you know the drill – edit, edit, and edit some more. Read through your book to yourself, then read it again out loud. Perhaps even print it all out so you can read it on a different format. I’m always amazed at how many small errors you catch when you go through the proofreading process.

If you feel like you don’t have time to proofread, you can hire a freelancer for a small fee to do it for you.

6. Find a publisher

Unless you have connections with a major publisher, going the self-publishing route is the best way to go. It requires a little more work on your end, but you retain full control of your end product. There are several self-publishing companies out there.

Self-publishing allows you to control how much you want to charge for the book, how many copies you want to order for yourself, and more. You even get to design the cover! This makes it easy for you to keep copies of your book on hand to give away to prospective clients, display at trade shows, or sell in your office. The choice is completely up to you. 

Writing and publishing a book is a great way to show off your expertise and enhance your credibility in your community. Hopefully this article gave you some food for thought and inspiration to get started.

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Spotlight Branding

Spotlight Branding is a content marketing and branding firm for lawyers and other professionals. Our goal is to help you create an online presence that positions you as a credible expert in your field, keeps you connected with your network in order to stay top of mind and increase referrals, and to become more visible online so prospects can find you!