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I was talking with the CEO of a non-profit earlier today.
Let’s call her “Julie”.
(As always, I’ve changed her name. Because my aim here is not to embarrass anybody or make fun of them, but to share an insight.)
Julie’s organization provides funding to law students from minority backgrounds. Its goal is to make the profession a more diverse place, in order to better serve the needs of a diverse society. Fair enough.
She’s interested in authoring a Speak-a-Book…
… but for all the WRONG reasons.
You see, Julie told me that her goal for authoring a book is to market it to other attorneys, and then use the proceeds to fund more scholarships.
This is completely backward.
As I’ve said many times (and will keep repeating as many times as necessary), you do not promote your book. Your book promotes you.
Look, Julie could do what a lot of other authors try to do.
She could list her book on Amazon.com, spread the word, and wait around for people to buy it. If she’s lucky, it might produce a tiny, weeny trickle of cash for a few months. Enough, maybe, to buy some textbooks. But not enough to fund even one scholarship, let alone achieve her mission.
Here’s a better idea:
Julie should author a book about her purpose. A book for experienced attorneys, who have already “arrived” — one that makes her case.
Then give it away to attorneys who are sympathetic.
Or, who might be sympathetic.
For example, attorneys who were once in her clients’ shoes, coming from a minority background, who almost didn’t make it into law school.
Give them a copy of her book for free.
Yes, she’ll miss out on the $20/month she would have earned from book sales. But she’ll land much, MUCH larger donations from her readers.
As a general rule, it pays to give books away for free.
This rule applies to you too.
If you’re going to write a book that tells your ideal client how to strengthen their case or solve their legal problem/situation — that makes a solid case for why they should hire you — don’t make the mistake of trying to sell it.
You’ll make more money giving it away for free.
Anyway, as Al Pacino once quipped, “The worst vice is ad-vice.” So I’ll climb down from my high horse now and let you get on with the rest of your day.
If you want to talk about doing a Speak-a-Book, he’s the next step:
Apply to the Speak-a-Book Program