Self-Publishing by Lawyers

Disintermediation, or cutting out the middleman, is a key effect of the Internet, a disaster for some, an opportunity for others. Uber inserts itself between prospective passengers and conventional cabs. “Cordcutters” bundle antennas and streaming services to avoid TV cable companies. Some lawyers are considering cutting the cord from traditional legal research services.

Dennis Kennedy is showing lawyer/authors a new, possibly lucrative form of disintermediation: Bypassing conventional publishers.

I’m finishing a (laudatory) review of Dennis Kennedy’s new book Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal Organizations. I was impressed by the fact that Dennis does not merely talk innovation: He does innovation.

Rather than go with a conventional book publisher, Kennedy self-published the book, working through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (includes option for on-demand paperback publishing as well as eBook).

I used to think of “vanity press” condescendingly, as primarily for authors whose work was not good enough to interest a “real” publisher. This book has changed my attitude. There are multiple advantages to self-publishing, including speedier development and reducing the cost to purchasers.

Kennedy is in a better position to self-publish than most authors. Having a respected third party (in this case, an established conventional publisher) select a book for publication serves a sort of credentialing function, “validating” the book for potential readers. Kennedy’s track record as a recognized expert and author allows him to “self-validate.”

Dennis found the results of self-publishing so beneficial that he explained in an interview posted at his podcast, the Kennedy-Mighell Report that the odds are 95% that he will self-publish his next book. 

Self-publishing looks like an increasingly attractive option for lawyer authors.