The books are aimed at practising lawyers. There may a spillover audience but these are books priced at around £30 or more for an already trained and knowledgeable legal audience.
The minimum word count is 15,000 words and in general the maximum is 50,000 words. This might range from 60 pages up to 200 or more pages. As a guide, 15,000 words might take someone three hours to deliver as a lecture. It all depends upon the subject matter and the audience but in general 20,000 to 30,000 words is a fairly good place to start.
Get it finished
Sounds obvious but this is the difference between being published and not. Always step back and ask how you can get it finished. Keep your eye on the finish line. Alongside this our aim is to make the process as simple and easy for a busy practitioner as possible.
Write a plan immediately
Start by writing your chapter headings in a maximum of 20 minutes. This focuses the mind on what really matters and avoids spending months thinking over what might or might not be included.
Shorter chapters with clear sections
For our shorter books we don’t generally do legal indexing and therefore the chapter index takes in greater importance. Therefore, err on the side of more shorter chapters rather than less and longer ones. This helps with clarity and structure. The number of chapters varies from book to book but a fair starting point might be 10 to 15 chapters. Also, if it is appropriate, try and break down the chapters into clear sections and possibly also sub-sections.
The aim of most of our books is to dig down into the niches. But in doing so they should also be practical. This means showing the reader the wood from the trees and focusing on those points which are likely to arise in practice. It does not need to focus on obscure issues which are unlikely to do so. Remember if the landscape changes and we all decided on a second edition then you found address it at that point.
Where a point may need clarification, a helpful approach is to flag it and then consider explaining it from both sides. In other words, one side may argue x and the other side may argue y and it remains to be seen how the higher courts might decide this. This remains helpful whilst at the same time avoiding the need to provide definitive answers to hypothetical points.
We provide more detailed guidance in our writing guidelines which are sent along with the contract. But a good starting point is to only directly quote from Crown Copyright materials such as statutes, statutory instruments, procedure rules and judgments. If it is not Crown Copyright the first question is whether it really needs to be included in the first place. But if nevertheless it is then one approach might be to summarise whatever it is in your own words and attribute generously.
Do not mention, refer to or comment on these unless it’s by quoting a reported judgment.
The contract is done through an exchange of emails. Once agreed, we register the book with ISBN and it gets a presence on our website and Amazon. Though it does not start getting sold until it is ready.
Full writing guidelines
These are provided after the contract has been sent. They provide more detailed guidance on the nuts and bolts of writing the book than these simple tips. They can also be seen online here. But remember if you have any questions at any stage, you only have to ask.